Next time you’re looking for something to do on a Tuesday, venture over to the Museum of Contemporary Art. Tuesdays are free if you’re an Illinois resident. I, Sean Hodgman, Social Media Intern at Social Power Hour, found myself there just two weeks ago now. The museum rotates exhibitions fairly frequently guaranteeing there’s always something to see. The MCA spans three floors and can be covered in as little as an hour—though a slower pace is recommended.
On the main floor:
Before the primary galleries, a train of pink yarn stretched the length of the center hallway. Two empty chairs, a pair of needles and skeins sat piled at either end. A few people were standing around looking, wondering, scratching their heads.
Continuing on into the big showrooms:
Several large installation pieces and video loops. The videos were shown in dark makeshift rooms with a bench against one wall and a film projector running at the back. The projector was loud and hot, puttering and clicking with each frame. The image displayed took up one whole wall, floor to ceiling. One video was a collection of close ups of miscellaneous objects, resembling those I SPY picture books we all loved when we were young.
Another video presented a murder trial purely through pictures. The video shifted between a wide shot of the entire courtroom (rows of seats raised up like an amphitheater) and extreme close ups of all the people in the courtroom. The faces took up the entire wall, cropped at the hairline and just below the chin—each face filled with such emotion, such expression, you’d think they were actually moving. The faces would hold for ten seconds or so, then shift back to the vast wide shot of the courtroom—so cold and nondescript, faces obscured, (almost so you wonder, where are we again?).
Upward and onward:
The second floor had a small collection of Andy Warhol prints and Mirasol sculptures. One print series presents eight Jackie Kennedy close ups from 22-25 November 1963—beginning with the funeral, shifting back to the arrival at the airport in Dallas, then the parade, and the swearing in of LBJ.
The next floor was dedicated to the work of Jose Lerma, a noted contemporary artist. There is a large canvas that takes up one whole wall and rests on two electric keyboards producing a ceaseless droning WAH. The floor is carpeted (and requires booties if you wish to walk on it and get up close) in the design of a large cartoonish face. The canvas is filled with similar grotesque cartoon faces, outlines of the features and hair, all drawn on top of one another, faces over lapping.
Just around the corner hung a series of mobiles, dancing, just barely moving in the still air of the museum.
The latest exhibit, all the way up, called The Way of the Shovel, was a look at art and archaeology. Mostly works of photography including a photo series title “The Plot” which shows the process of digging a grave.
And then time to call it a day:
Headed back down the stairs to the main floor. In the center hall, between the main galleries, two men with identical long scraggily beards wearing matching navy t-shirts and jeans, had returned from break, and had resumed knitting. The few people standing around, passing by, all watching, eyes following, as the two men worked quietly and steadily, heads down, needles clicking, fold after fold, the huge pink scarf collecting, bunching between them.