Museum of Contemporary Art (Chicago)

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Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) is a contemporary art museum founded in Chicago in 1967 . The MCA building, completed in 1996, was the first project by the German architect Josef Paul Kleihues in the USA.


The museum is one of the largest modern and contemporary art museums in the United States . It provides a comprehensive overview of art since 1945 and, in chronological order, largely follows the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago . The MCA was founded in 1967. It initially had its showrooms in the building of a former large bakery. The opening exhibition of the newly founded MCA was entitled Pictures To Be Read / Poetry To Be Seen , which was followed by Claes Oldenburg's Projects for Monuments and Dan Flavin's first museum solo exhibition Pink and Gold . The old museum building was finally "packed" by Christo . It was the first such action by Christ in the United States. The first director was Jan van der Marck. In 1970 he commissioned Wolf Vostell to realize the sculpture Concrete Traffic in Chicago.

After an extensive competition, the design by the architect Josef Paul Kleihues was selected in May 1991 , who had previously worked for the Museum of Prehistory and Early History in Frankfurt am Main (1980–86) and the Städtische Galerie and Lütze Museum in Sindelfingen (1987– 90) had designed. The construction period of the MCA was from 1994 to 1996. The four-story new building opposite the water tower of Chicago (Old Water Tower) was inaugurated in 1996 and comprises a total of approx. 12,500 m², of which approx. 3,600 m² are exhibition space.

Stairs inside the museum


“Chicago's new museum uses this power. It brings art back into a shell, at the top of the stairs to Parnassus, and undoubtedly flatters the artists as it undermines contemporary art. The stairs are stately, and so is the shell. In its deliberation and flawlessness, Kleihues' design is reminiscent of the golden age of Chicago architecture. However, he does not try to express the searching, restless desire of today. "

- Herbert Muschamp, The New York Times , June 30, 1996


The permanent collection of art after 1945 (post war) is representative over all decades, mostly with groups of works by the artists. From the 1940s to 1960s works by Francis Bacon , Joseph Beuys , Alexander Calder , Dan Flavin, Jasper Johns , Christo, Claes Oldenburg, Gordon Matta-Clark and Andy Warhol , among others, are shown; the 1970s to 1990s are with Chris Burden , Chuck Close , Jeff Koons , Bruce Nauman , Richard Prince , Ben Schonzeit and Cindy Sherman represented. Contemporary artists include works by Matthew Barney , Andreas Gursky , Jim Hodges, Judy Ledgerwood, Kerry James Marshall, Catherine Opie, Paul Pfeiffer and Jeff Wall .

German-speaking artists are also represented in the collection with representative, partly large-format works, including: Bernd and Hilla Becher ( Kühltürme , 1983), Thomas Demand ( Poll , 2001), Anselm Kiefer ( Banner , 1990), Sigmar Polke , ( Asche zu Asche , 1992), Thomas Ruff ( portrait of Heinz Haussmann , 1988), Dieter Roth , ( stamp box , 1968), Thomas Schütte ( very big spirits , 2004) and Franz West with Blue , 2006. The work group Eis (1989) by Gerhard However, Richter is in the collection of the Art Institute of Chicago .

In addition to the presentation of the permanent collection, there are also temporary exhibitions. In 1988 an exhibition with works by Gerhard Richter was shown, and in 1991 a retrospective by Sigmar Polke took place. In 2000 an installation by Tobias Rehberger and in 2001 one by Katharina Fritsch could be seen in the sculpture garden . In 2003 the Japanese photographer Hiroshi Sugimoto was introduced and in 2006 a retrospective by the photographer Wolfgang Tillmans was shown.


  • Andrea Mesecke u. a .: Josef Paul Kleihues. Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago . Mann, Berlin 1999, ISBN 978-3786114369 (English).
  • Lynne Warren et al. a .: Life, Death, Love, Hate, Pleasure, Pain: Selected Works from the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago . La Jolla, 2003, ISBN 978-0933856738 (English).
  • Collective Vision: Creating a Contemporary Art Museum . University of Chicago Press, Chicago 1996, ISBN 978-0933856431 (English).

Web links

Commons : Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. About Wolf Vostell's Concrete Traffic in Chicago
  2. quoted from

Coordinates: 41 ° 53 ′ 49.5 "  N , 87 ° 37 ′ 16"  W.