The MCA’s exhibitions feature the art of our time in every possible media by artists of local and international renown. Explore the variety of MCA exhibitions on view now, coming up next, or from our rich past. Images in this section are published for educational use under the umbrella of the Fair Use doctrine.



  • A man stands amidst tall, wispy plant stalks about twice his height. He holds a machete and two bundles of dried up stalks in front of him to make an "X" shape.
    Jonathas de Andrade: One to One
    1. Long A brown-skinned field worker wearing a yellow baseball cap, royal blue shirt and pants, and protective legwear stands in the center of a small clearing and looks directly at you. He is holding a machete and two bundles of harvested sugarcane stalks. The stalks extend well beyond his head and are held at two angles to cross at his center forming an "X." A wall of tall green sugarcane foliage rises up directly behind him against a pale blue sky. His feet disappear into a blanket of brown sugarcane leaves.
  • The Commons Artist Project:
    Brendan Fernandes
    1. Long Two people perform in an empty outdoor parking lot, one lunging and one leaning back, with their arms extended forward and wrists flexed. They seem to face each other, but the masculine person is closer to you and the feminine person is several paces further back. Their dark skin is highlighted by bright sunlight shining toward you that casts their shadows on the asphalt. The sky is blue and palm trees are in the background.
  • A photograph of a light-colored rock formation shows a cross-section of sediment lines.
    Chicago Works:
    Assaf Evron
    1. Long A photographic print of a desert scene features a rock formation against a blue sky on a sun-filled day. The formation is made up of layers of sediment colored in a range of cream, sand, tan, and umber. The sun rakes across the surface to reveal the texture of the rock and creates long shadows. The central sediment lines are squiggly, winding horizontally across the surface of the rock. Dark crevices appear at the base of the formation and small, dried-up vegetation grows sporadically across the rocky ground. It appears as though it could dried-up riverbed.

Past exhibitions


  • White icicle-like formations layered above plumes of blue smoke fill two side-by-side panels.
    Atrium Project:
    Lorna Simpson
    1. Long Billowing blue smoke fills the bottom of two side-by-side panels. Layers of white icicle formations obscure black-and-white newspaper clippings in the middle sections of each panel. Behind the forms, a wash of black, grey, and white fills the tops of each panel.
Projected on the wall of a dark room is the image of two monitors, one playing a boxing match, the other showing multiple bars of sound waves.
    MCA Screen:
    Paul Pfeiffer
  • A gigantic cat skeleton stands in the center of a large atrium with its back arched and its tail pointed straight up in the air.
    1. Long A cat skeleton stands two-stories-tall and ready to pounce, with its spine arched, tailbone on end, and fanged mouth hanging open. It is poised on all fours in the middle of a dimly lit, blue-tinged large gallery space and its white form is dramatically illuminated as if caught in the night.
  • Three pairs of shoes sit below three raised black boxes that support six wooden heads. The closest head is hollowed out, others have light-skinned faces emerging from the wood, but the third has a long pointed beak-like form.
    We Are Here
  • An architectural arched gateway is shown, installed within a modern gallery space. The arch is made from bricks in a range of different blues with golden yellow accents and decorated with stylized animals.
    Michael Rakowitz: Backstroke of the West
  • Thirteen colorless glass bottles and two green bottles, each a different shape and size and without a label, stand in a cluster in front of a white wall.
    The Commons Artist Project:
    Edra Soto: Open 24 Hours
  • A square, wooden board precariously balanced on books leans against a white wall in a room with a hardwood floor scattered with photos.
    Woman with a Camera
  • A bright red-orange house is boarded up, standing next to an empty urban lot during sunset.
    Chicago Works:
    Amanda Williams
    1. Long A view of a house from the street at early sunset shows green grass, vacant lots, bushes, and tress. The house's windows are boarded up, and the house appears to be vacant. The entire house—except for the soffit, which is black, and parts of the upper facade, which are white—is painted a vibrant shade of red-orange.
  • Dark gray, cloud-like shapes spread diffusely across a field of deep blue. Near the center, a starburst shape of deep red and orange emerges. Tiny white dots cover the entire image, occasionally connected to one another by faint dotted white lines.
    little lower layer
  • A red, white, and silver cartoon mouse character is positioned diagonally so that its round head, bulbous ears, smiling grin and large friendly eyes fill the square canvas.
    Takashi Murakami: The Octopus Eats Its Own Leg
  • A piece of glass is folded into quarters with green edges facing up, resting on a white surface. A smoking stick is wedged into the top fold. There is a dark, round shadow behind the sculpture on the right.
    MCA Screen:
    Camille Henrot
    1. Long A sheet of hard glass is folded over and bent in two as if it were a plastic bag. A smoking stick rests between the green lips that comprise the edges of the glass. A dark circular shadow dominates the area to the right of the glass, a stark contrast to the white background.
  • A collage on paper featuring two sets of black and white cartoonish eyes and mouths, on top of which are affixed two photographs of a young Abraham Lincoln, the whole composition splattered with drips of black and white paint.
    Atrium Project:
    Joyce Pensato
  • A shadowed figure leans over a partially nude youth, who is smiling with his eyes closed. They are both in a bed with gray sheets.
    Eternal Youth
  • A yellow banana rests on top of a column made up of three silver paint cans and two bags of ice. 
The bags of ice are sandwiched in between the paint cans.
    Chicago Works:
    Chris Bradley
  • Bright yellow organic shapes with black triangles of varying sizes appear in the foreground of this painting, while red streaks and smeared handprints appear in the background.
    Riot Grrrls
  • Three dancers in colorful leotards and a triangular structure of colored banners are covered by two dancers’ silhouettes that reveal an orange-red room with three dancers and crowds of people.
    Merce Cunningham: Common Time
  • A black box containing an image of white box is mounted on the side of a thick black frame. The entire piece is intersected by a horizontal blue line, which appears to be painter's tape.
    Above, Before & After
  • A colorful geometric shape against a starry background floats above a figure wearing a bright orange-and-green jumpsuit and a colorful semi-circular headdress.
    MCA Screen:
    Camille Henrot
    1. Long A three-dimensional geometric shape floats in a starry night sky, taking up most of the upper two-thirds of the painting. The shape is multi-faceted, with 7 faces showing. Each face has has a gradient of vibrant colors ranging from yellow to green, blue to pink, and red to black. The faces are flat and matte, stark against the spray-painted starry night sky. Behind the shape, we see black and grey stripes creating a shadow of the shape. The ground is white, as if it is covered by snow. There are four round-edged rectangles along the ground, in pastel colors. A small lone figure stands in the bottom center of the painting, wearing an orange jumpsuit with green side stripes, red gloves, dark blue boots, and a striped, semi-circular hat. The figure stands directly under the geometric shape, looking at us, and is dwarfed by the size of the geometric shape.
  • A person stands silhouetted in front of a square wall of fluorescent light in a dark space.
  • A gallery installation featuring three videos of dolphins underwater projected on the walls and floor. The projectors are visibly suspended at varied heights in the magenta-colored room.
    Diana Thater: The Sympathetic Imagination
    1. Long A view of a spacious gallery that is dark magenta and lit by blue video projections. Three videos of dolphins swimming in the water are projected on the walls and floor from suspended projectors, creating the impression that the viewer is swimming below and looking up at the dolphins. A fourth projection on the floor shows the silhouette of an ambiguous person swimming in scuba gear.