“Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago”

Naomi Beckwith, a curator to watch

At barely 41 years old, Naomi Beckwith is an African-American curator who is taking the other side of the Atlantic by storm thanks to her refreshing, all-embracing vision of today’s art. In Chicago, an interview with a woman whose social awareness underlines her inspiring take on her profession.   When the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Chicago recently celebrated its 50th year, Naomi Beckwith was part of the team that organised its three-part “We are Here” birthday exhibition. A jury member of the 2015 Venice Biennale, this young curator at the MCA Chicago since 2011 is the inaugural winner of the VIA Art Fund Curatorial Fellowship grant, aimed at promoting promising artistic projects. And let’s not forget that in March 2017, she chaired the first curatorial leadership summit at New York’s Armory Show. An opportunity for AMA to shed light on her current role at the MCA and to discover her singular perspective on curatorship.   Naomi Beckwith, what did you do before becoming curator at the MCA Chicago? I was in New York, at the Studio Museum in Harlem. I managed the artist-residency programme and I worked on cultural projects relating to African-American identity, aesthetic minorities, but also current practices on a global scale.   The MCA Chicago is considered to be one of the most influential museums in the United States, with an extensive “historic” collection of contemporary art, ever since its creation in 1967.  What were your goals when you arrived there in 2011? I was coming home so to speak, because I was born and raised in the Windy City! I wanted to develop solo shows with established artists, but above all, to set up exhibitions on young emerging artists who have never been shown. But my current exhibition, “Howardena Pindell: What remains to be...

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Anne Collier at MCA Chicago

Running until 8 March 2015, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago is showing a retrospective dedicated to American photographer Anne Collier. In this first major exhibition of Collier’s work, around forty pieces show the artist’s career from 2002 up to the present. Permeating her work are themes of pop psychology, the clichés and conventions of commercial photography, autobiography, and the act of looking or seeing. The ubiquitous male gaze is turned on its head as Collier highlights the leering sexism present in advertising and photographic media; her long-standing series Woman with Camera shows film heroines — Marilyn Monroe, Faye Dunaway, Jacqueline Bisset, Cheryl Tiegs — turning the camera back on the viewer. Continuing the readymade tradition, Collier often photographs existing pop-culture images — record-album sleeves, film stills, calenders — to bring to attention the ironic, content-heavy objects of our current media age. Her work moves seamlessly between the personal and the universal, making her work accessible whilst maintaining a distinct...

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“We are Here: Art & Design Out of Context” at MCA Chicago

Chicago, 5 July 2011, Art Media Agency (AMA). “We are Here: Art & Design Out of Context” is a month-long exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, presenting four multidisciplinary groups based in the city. These groups will use the museum gallery as a working space and consist of Object Design League, Golden Age, Tim Parsons and Jessica Charlesworth and, finally, Sonnenzimmer. Visitors can interact with artists, participate in the construction of works and observe the manner the groups develop their creations from bits and pieces to objects that can be taken home. Each group will commence their activities on Tuesday throughout the month of July. “We are Here” was organised by James Goggin, director of the Design, Print and Digital Media section at MCA. The Design Object League exhibition will take place from 5 – 10 July and designers, artists and writers will be in attendance. Caroline Linder and Lisa Smith cofounded the Design Object League in 2009 to promote their floral designs by organising exhibitions and public events. The duo describes themselves as product designers, but DOL has become known for intangible and temporal projects. The work of Caroline Linder has been exhibited all over the Unites States and in Milan, whilst Lisa Smith teaches Contemporary Practices and Designed Objects at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. The second exhibition by Golden Age is scheduled for 12 – 17 July. Artists such as Marco Kane Braunschweiler and Syms Martine will be present. Golden Age hosts a variety of collaborative projects, including exhibitions, projections and performances. From 19 – 23 July, the public can meet the designers Tim Parsons and Jessica Charlesworth. Tim, a writer and his partner, British designer Jessica Charlesworth, explore the idea of “American Ad Hoc” in works based on items...

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