In Search of Some Lighter News? Two Shedd Aquarium Penguins Just Visited the MCA Chicago

Partners for life, Izzy and Darwin walked through the museum together with a sense of curiosity and wonder.                                                                                                                 Photo credit: ©Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez


Via PR

The Museum of Contemporary Art hosted viral penguin duo Izzy and Darwin from the Shedd Aquarium earlier this month, providing variety and exercise for the penguins as they explored the museum’s community engagement space, the Commons, and Just Connect exhibition. A bonded pair of Magellanic penguins that are partners for life, Izzy and Darwin walked through the museum together with a sense of curiosity and wonder, making stops at their favorite MCA Collection artworks including dynamic works by Ellen Berkenblit, Andreas Gursky, Paul Heyer, Kerry James Marshall, and Hollis Sigler, among others. The field trip encourages Chicagoans to plan a visit to both cultural institutions, which are open to the public with new protocols in place to ensure the safety and health of visitors.

The Just Connect exhibition - which is on view through November 8, 2020 and addresses how the current pandemic has made us more aware of how much we desire connection and depend on our communities, families, and social fabric for a sense of belonging - lured Izzy and Darwin’s attention with its colorful paintings, photographs, videos, and sculptures. MCA Chief Curator Michael Darling observed the penguins taking in works such as Gursky’s Avenue of the Americas, a dazzling, large-scale photograph of an illuminated urban landscape, and Marie Christine, a painting by Margot Bergman that features a portrait of a woman with four eyes. A vivid floor-to-ceiling mural by Ad Minoliti that recalls vintage logos and retro book covers from the 1970s enticed the penguins to explore the museum’s light-filled atrium.

The penguins also spent time gazing at the colorful display of lanterns and plants hanging from the ceiling of the Commons, a space in the museum designed for visitors to rest, reflect, and connect with one another. The Commons offers a variety of programs and performances by local artists that are now available online as virtual events at