Since opening in 1967, the MCA has championed artistic experimentation and risk taking. Kicking off the museum’s 50th anniversary, the show honours the artists and exhibitions that placed the museum at the vanguard of contemporary art. The historical material on display highlights some of its daring early projects with emerging artists and advertising campaigns that encouraged Chicagoans to try something new. Although the artists and projects displayed may have been seen as radical or (as per one critic) “so close to the racy brink that today’s artists sometimes fall over”, they have since become accepted into the nation’s cultural history.
This exhibition commemorates some of these boundary-pushing shows and artists through a selection of rare films, videos, photographs, and ephemera from the MCA’s archives.
As part of our mission to support experimental art and artists, the MCA has introduced new artists through solo exhibitions. In the 1980s, the museum’s Education Department began producing videos in conjunction with these solo exhibitions, showcasing and preserving the artists’ insights into their work and creative process in their own words.
To the Racy Brink is the first of a series of exhibitions celebrating the MCA’s 50th anniversary. This exhibition is organized by Lynne Warren, Curator, and Mary Richardson, Library Director. It is presented in the Turner Gallery on the museum's fourth floor.