Featuring works from Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art collection created mostly in the 1980s and ’90s by artists including Chris Burden, Alfredo Jaar, Louise Lawler, Inigo Manglano-Ovalle, and Adrian Piper, this exhibition reveals the continuing resonance and complexity of topics such as freedom of expression, militarism, the dynamics of race, human and economic consequences of globalization, and other defining elements of society today.
Included in the USA Today exhibition is Adrian Piper’s video installation, Cornered, a work that draws the viewer in with Piper’s calmly-delivered monologue on her own racial identity and leaves the viewer with the potent question, “what are you going to do with this information?” Several drawings from Jim Shaw’s Aestheticized Disaster series display images of conflict and mass destruction. Taken from photographs in newspapers or magazines, the careful reconstitutions of these images in graphite neutralize the violence or chaos of people’s lives. Howardena Pindell’s collage Rambo Real Estate: Homelessness poignantly comments on social and economic challenges that are as significant today as in 1987, when the work was made.
The exhibition also includes work by Dennis Adams, Chris Burden, Andreas Gursky, Robert Heinecken, Alfredo Jaar, Gabriel Kuri, Dan Peterman, Michel Rovner, and Greg Stimac, among others. Several groupings of artists’ books and archival materials from the MCA’s extensive collection complete the presentation including works by Joseph Beuys, Jenny Holzer, Yoko Ono, and Martha Rosler.
USA Today is co-curated by Elizabeth Smith, James W. Alsdorf Chief Curator and Deputy Director for Programs at MCA, and Tricia Van Eck, Curatorial Coordinator and Curator of Artists’ Books.