By GINNY VAN ALYEA
The Museum of Contemporary Art opened its doors at 237 East Ontario in October 1967, and a great deal of things have changed both inside and outside of the museum. This weekend on October 21 and 22, 2017 the museum will once again be opening its doors to the public to invite everyone in to a major celebration to see and participate in the art that has been at the heart of the MCA's contemporary programming for five decades. The museum aims to share the role of the contemporary museum in today's community and to celebrate Chicago itself by highlighting history and fostering new creative connections all weekend long. Visitors can enjoy free admission and join Chicago artists and creatives in a range of mediums and fields to commemorate 50 years, celebrate the present and look to the future.
This weekend's events also inagurate the MCA's recent renovation, and visitors are invited to dine in the new restaurant, Marisol. The anniversary weekend also launches the museum's new community space, the Commons. Of course, there will also be a lot of art on view, particularly notable is a museum-wide exhibition, We Are Here, a three-part exhibition drawn from the MCA’s significant collection of twentieth- and twenty-first-century art, organized by three of the museum’s visual arts curators, that highlights the museum's permanent collection of art from 1945 to today.
The museum also opens a collaborative exhibition of two of the most important artists in the museum’s history, as well as icons of the last 100 years. Heaven and Earth: Alexander Calder and Jeff Koons finds common ground between these seemingly disparate artists, with Alexander Calder’s weightless sculptures nominally representing “heaven” and Jeff Koons’s celebrations of the mundane and concrete as “earth.” This pairing highlights both artists’ interest in playing with balance and gravity to make compelling sculptural statements, while reveling in the contrasts between high art aspirations and mundane material choices.
At the end of the day, the birthday celebration is just that – a party. The events planned promise to be festive and high-energy, and they will take place from morning until late-night. On Saturday evening, October 21, the key program samples the city's broad range of musical offerings, kicking off with DJ Calixta of CumbiaSazo!, and including showcase sets with theMIND and Kaycee Ortiz as well as a rare live performance by Lupe Fiasco. The evening concludes with Legacy in the Living, an immersive dance party with Kiara Lanier and Dj Duane Powell. that recounts Chicago's musical history. Visitors are encouraged to come in their best art-inspired dress and to immortalize the occasion with photography by GlitterGuts.
Free reservations for the atrium concert featuring DJ Calixta, theMIND, Kaycee Ortiz, and Lupe Fiasco are available October 18 at noon. Museum galleries and artist projects remain open to all throughout the evening event and the atrium reopens at 9:30 pm for the museum-wide dance party.
A lineup of the anniversary weekend's events is shown below.* Read the list closely... There are going to be very special birthday cakes served, designed by Emily Nejad of Bon Vivant Cakes, in collaboration with Chicago artists Mari Eastman, Magalie Guerin, Paul Heyer, William J. O’Brien, and Amanda Williams.
Here's to 50 MCA!
Note: events marked as *Atrium mean that access is by pre-reserved free ticket for these performances. Ticket holders enter Atrium through Plaza steps. Tickets can be reserved starting Wednesday, October 18 at noon. Atrium reopens to the public at 9:30pm for the Dance Party.
MCA Hearts Chicago is co-organized by MCA Chicago and No Small Plans Productions.
SATURDAY (10 am–11 pm)
• 10 am Lykanthea (PLAZA)
• 11 am Opening Ceremony, with the Chicago Children's Choir (PLAZA)
• Noon–2 pm Lou Mallozzi with Fred Schmalz, Tracking Shots (PERIMETER OF BUILDING)
• 12:15 pm Liz McCarthy, Whistle Hang Out (ATRIUM and STAIRS)
• 1–3 pm Family Nook and Story Time with Drag Queens featuring Muffy Fishbasket (TERRACE)
• 2 pm Participatory Music Coalition (ATRIUM)
• 3 pm South Shore Drill Team (PLAZA —> ATRIUM —> TERRACE)
• 3:30 pm Cake is served! Artist-designed cakes created by Bon Vivant Cakes (TERRACE)
• 5 pm avery r. young and de deacon board perform protest pretty, followed by Jamila Woods in conversation with avery r. young and Tasha Viets-VanLear (THEATER)
After Hours in the Atrium (ticket required)*
6 pm DJ caliXta of CumbioSazo!
7 pm theMIND
7:20 pm Kaycee Ortiz
7:50 pm DJ caliXta
8:20 pm Lupe Fiasco with DJ Double L
9:30 pm Legacy in The Living
Recount Chicago's musical history in an immersive dance party with Kiara Lanier and Dj Duane Powell.
SUNDAY (10 am–5 pm)
• 9 am Christa Donner, Guided, reservation required (ATRIUM) RSVP with names of attendees
• 11 am Screening: Nobody's Here but Me (THEATER)
• 11:30 am Young Chicago Authors Pop-Up (GALLERIES)
• Noon Michael Rakowitz, Enemy Kitchen (PLAZA)
• Noon–4 pm Teen Creative Agency: MCA 100 (LAKE VIEW ROOM)
• 12:30 pm Behind "the Stage" Tour with Yolanda Cesta Cursach, Curator of Performance (4TH-FLOOR LOBBY and BACKSTAGE)
• 12:30, 2, and 3:30 pm Brendan Fernandes, Art by Snapchat
• 1 pm Aaron Hughes, Tea Performance (PLAZA)
• 1 pm Screening: Burden (THEATER)
• 1:30 pm Young Chicago Authors Pop-Up (GALLERIES)
• 2:30 pm Behind "the Stage" Tour with Tara Aisha Willis, Associate Curator of Performance (4TH-FLOOR LOBBY and BACKSTAGE)
• 3 pm Screening: Hairy Who & the Chicago Imagists (THEATER)
• 3:30 pm Young Chicago Authors Pop-Up (GALLERIES)
All details may be found on mcachicago.org
Top image: MCA Prime Time: Off Rack September 23, 2017 Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago