A Museum of the New Turns 50: The MCA’s Big Birthday

One of Chicago’s leading arts institutions has hit middle-age: The Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2017. Grounded in a mission devoted to the curation of contemporary art and to performance through experimentation and collaboration, today the MCA claims an expansive, diverse collection of contemporary works as well as a range of socially-conscious programs, artist initiatives and community outreach. Many influential international artists can trace their start back to exhibitions nurtured here – the MCA hosted Jeff Koons’s first solo museum show.

The MCA first opened at 237 E Ontario (the former Playboy headquarters) as a Kunsthalle—non-collecting art hall—in 1967. Over the past half century the MCA became the first building wrapped by Christo in the United States (1969), established a permanent collection, commissioned a building to house that collection (the present space opened in 1996 at 220 E Chicago), presented a landmark survey of Chicago artists and artistic traditions – Art in Chicago, 1945–1995 – began a noted public plaza series, and much more.

A 50th birthday is an honor. Anniversary celebrations will continue throughout the year, including a major, three-part exhibition on view from the end of October through January 28, 2018, titled, I Am You, You Are Here, We Are Everywhere.

An October 21 opening for the exhibition is a public event, and all are encouraged to attend. Afterall, a party is always more fun with friends.

Up-to-date event and exhibition information can be found at

Image: MCA Chicago front steps. Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.