Less well known (and much smaller) than the Art Institute of Chicago is the Museum of Contemporary Art. Located just around the corner from the John Hancock Center and the Water Tower, the MCA focuses on post-WWII era art. The MCA is composed of exhibitions rather than displaying items from their permanent collection.
We went on a Sunday afternoon and spent about 3 hours which included a very well done docent-led tour of their current (as of 7/8/2012) Skyscraper exhibition. Admission was inexpensive ($12) and is free on Tuesdays. You probably won't find any 'famous' artworks or artists represented, but if you like art it is well worth a few hours.
Since its opening in 1967, Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art has hosted the works of Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Frida Kahlo and Jeff Koons, just to name a few. Even if it has now acquired a permanent collection consisting of over 2000 objects created after 1945, the MCA still devotes much of its gallery space to new promising artists. As always when I visit contemporary art museums, I have to admit that I just couldn't get some of the pieces, but others were very interesting. The museum also hosts different dance, theater and music events, and when I was there I was lucky enough to catch a really good free jazz music show in the museum's garden. Another interesting feature of the museum is the Puck's at the MCA restaurant, which offers visitors a wide selection of dishes created by world-renown chef Wolfgang Puck at a reasonable price.
The MCA is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, with late nights (8:00 pm) on Tuesdays. Admission is $10 (free on Tuesdays).
Great Museum and located close to Michigan avenue. Kids 12 and under are free. There are even family programs/tours on some Saturdays. Details on the web page. The Museum was a nice break from shopping and Navy Pier.
There is a lot you can do at/around this museum:
- On the plaza in front of the museum: farmers market. There you can buy fresh fruit and vegetables, flowers, baked goods, cheeses, spices and more..
DAYS: Tuesdays. From June,12 till October, 30.
HOURS: 9am - 6pm.
- classes and workshops. Must be 18 or older to enroll.
- Tuesday evenings in the Cafe
HOURS: Around 6 - 6.30pm.
DAYS: Tuesdays. October, 9 - May, 27.
We went for a free jazz evening. It was awesome!!!
- Free daily tours.
Tuesday at 1pm and 6pm.
Wednesday - Friday at 1pm.
Saturday - Sunday at 12, 1, 2 and 3pm.
One of the nation's largest facilities devoted to the art of our time. The MCA documents contemporary visual culture through painting, sculpture, photography, video and film and performance. The mission of the MCA is to be an innovative and compelling center of contemporary art where the public can directly experience the work and ideas of living artists, and understand the historical, social, and cultural context of the art of our time.
The permanent collection features paintings, photography, and other media dating from 1945 onward - including works by Rene Magritte, Andy Warhol, and Jeff Koons. You'll also find a stunning terraced sculpture garden. There is a Wolfgang Puck restaurant in the building.
For singles, the museum offers a program called First Fridays. The first Friday of the month they open the museum at night and have drinks, food and music so singles can mingle while looking at the art (you cannot bring the food and drinks into the exhibit though). In my single days I prefered to go during the summer months as you could mingle in the garden and not feel so in a fish bowl.
Tues. 10 am to 8 pm
Wed. through Sun. 10 am to 5 pm
Admission is free from 5 - 8 pm on Tuesday evenings
$10 General Admission
$ 6 Students, Senior Citizens
Massive Change is a design exhibit at the MCA in Chicago. I am not sure how long it will be going on but it is pretty interesting. "The Massive Change Project explores the legacy and potential, the promise and power of design in improving the welfare of humanity."- taken directly from the website (www.massivechange.com) It is a beautiful looking exhibit. I found it a bit type heavy and I really like type. Hopefully, they didn't intend that people read all of that because it was simply impossible. There were giant letters in black over a white wall. The contrast was too much for my eyes. Also at the MCA is and exhibit about architecture and sustainability. It is not a large exhibit. It really only occupies one room on the third level, I believe. There are also some crazy drawings and other fine art things in the museum. There is an installation by Dan Flavin, the guy who does the art with flourescent lights. It was not so awesome to look at, but what I did was assign a different sound to each the pink light and the yellow light and then I went around the room to see how that exhibit would sound. The bulbs are placed in varying spaces from one another and thus creating some type of song. It was nice for me.
I really love this museum, they have modern art with is nice. But they are really ahead of the game, their current exhibit: Massive Change is brillant! This exhibit is very thought provoking. And they have a great deal now, if you can't make it on tuesdays which are free the enterence is $10 per person. But if you take some batteries or an old cell phone to be recycled, you can get in with a 2 for 1 deal!
They have a Wolf Gang Pucks(not sure if i spelled that right). It looks nice but it is very expensive. This is something strange, but the museum air seems really dry, I felt very thirsty the whole time I was there. Maybe drink alot before you go, you can't carry a drink around with you.
One last thing, Infront of the building there is a car that looks like it was dropped from high above and is sunk into the ground. I forgot to take a picture of it. It is really cool! And the other thing that stinks is that you can't have a camera in the museum, there are so many cool things there, but i suppose that is why you can photograph them. And no pens either! (i guess because they think you might go crazy and start writing on everything!)
(a friend of mine just went to the museum and now I have a picture of the car sunk in the ground)
The MCA is a great place to visit for a decent price. On top of the other exhibits inside, we got to see an andy warhol display entitled "Stars, Deaths & Disasters" (only until June 18, 2006) for $10. Prior to the exhibit we had brunch at the Wolfgang Puck's restaurant inside the museum where the window provides great views of lake Michigan.
This museum is considerably smaller than the Art Institute and, since the institute has a section on modern art, I wouldn't recommend seeing both unless you're really into art. There are some interesting pieces here, but much is subject to interpretation. Descriptions are provided for those who, like me, are not quite sure what they are looking at. All kidding aside, its an interesting excursion just off the Magnificent Mile. I liked the sculptures outside best of all though.
Showcasing works created since 1945, this is a wonderful collection of innovative and thought provoking art. FREE on Tuesdays 10am-8pm, Wednesday-Sunday 10am-5pm, Closed Mondays.
$10 general admission
$6 students and seniors
age 12 and under - free
Museum of Contemporary Art
Originally housed in a remodeled bakery, the MCA was the art community's answer to the more traditional approach taken by the Art Institute of Chicago. What started as an idea to collect and exhibit any form of art produced from 1945 on, the museum has widened its exhibits to include not only paintings and photography, but also video and other media.
Since its inception in 1967, the museum has both improved and moved. Expansion was always the theme as the museum bought and renovated neighboring spaces, including an adjacent townhouse, which was subsequently 'sawed' apart to accommodate some of the collection's larger pieces.
In 1991, when it became apparent the museum would have to expand yet again a new location was chosen not far from the historic Water Tower. German architect Josef Paul Kleihues was chosen from a list of over 200 nominations to design the new museum. The MCA is Kleihues' first design in the United States, but his past works encompass many museums and public buildings in Germany.
The end result is Chicago's newest and one of the nation's largest museums of its kind. The building design is classic with a grandiose staircase leading to the front entrance. The structure is now large enough to display the entire permanent collection along with the many different temporary exhibits in its smaller galleries simultaneously.
And just what does the MCA house? Modern art fans can look forward to works by Adrian Piper, Franz Kline, Rene Magritte, Ed Paschke, Andy Warhol and Jeff Koons, on display in the permanent collection. The infamous Robert Mapplethorpe photography traveling exhibit had the largest attendance in the museum's history- but not without a bit of controversy.
There is also gift shop, bookstore and 15,000-volume art library. One of the highlights not to miss is the terraced sculpture garden.
TIP: If you have the time, the café overlooking the sculpture garden is a pleasant place to take a break.