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Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
art museum in Chicago, Illinois
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Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
art museum in Chicago, Illinois
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220 E Chicago Ave
Chicago, Illinois
United States

ebrowne's picture

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Hugh Hefner is as hot for the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (MCA) as he is for Playmates.

MCA’s original building (before the move in 1996) was the home of the Playboy Corporation and the largest donation in the museum’s history (a gift of $150,000, which now is equivalent to about a million dollars) was given by Hugh Hefner, himself. Too bad he couldn’t do for feminism what he did for art in Chicago. 

The museum wasn't always so sexy. Originally located at 237 East Ontario Street, it was the site of a former bakery and the Playboy offices, the land on which the building sits was a landfill. The area was known for its vom-worthy odor from 1893 to 1910 to the point that people refused to open their windows in the summertime. But by MCA’s founding in 1967, the stink was very much under control. Thank God, for the art’s sake. The current location of the museum is a building designed by Josef Paul Kleihues, who was one of 200 people to submit a design. The grand opening, a 24-hour event, was on June 21/22, 1996 and was attended by 25,000 people. It has since been decided that this site kicks the sweet little bakery’s ass with a view of both the City and Lake Michigan.  
 
In terms of legendary artists exhibited there, MCA is stacked. The dream team includes Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman, Jasper Johns, Kara Walker, Alexander Calder and many more. They were the first museum to give a solo show to the feminist force of nature, Frida Kahlo and the now blown up fame of Jeff Koons. They hosted Robert Mapplethorpe and most recently the “David Bowie Is” exhibit which was about as epic as the artist himself, including instrument, handwritten lyrics, costumes and photographs. 
 
But the true stars of the museum include 9 koi fish, that swim in a pond at the bottom of the stairwell named, Midnight, Sullivan, Karma, Sushi, Blue-streak Bandit, Polka Dot, Goldilocks, Sparkle, and Sunshine. The pioneering koi fish Midnight was once the pet of a 5-year-old girl but became too large for its tank and had to be relocated. But its new home is a large pond under a Calder mobile, so I’m sure it’s not too unhappy about the move. 

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Chicago is a contemporary art museum near Water Tower Place in downtown Chicago in Cook County, Illinois, United States. The museum, which was established in 1967, is one of the world's largest contemporary art venues. The museum's collection is composed of thousands of objects of Post-World War II visual art. The museum is run gallery-style, with individually curated exhibitions throughout the year. Each exhibition may be composed of temporary loans, pieces from their permanent collection, or a combination of the two.

The museum has hosted several notable debut exhibitions including Frida Kahlo's first U.S. exhibition and Jeff Koons' first solo museum exhibition. Koons later presented an exhibit at the Museum that broke the museum's attendance record. The current record for the most attended exhibition is the 2017 exhibition of Takashi Murakami work. The museums collection, which includes Jasper Johns, Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman, Kara Walker, and Alexander Calder, contains historical samples of 1940s–1970s late surrealism, pop art, minimalism, and conceptual art; notable holdings 1980s postmodernism; as well as contemporary painting, sculpture, photography, video, installation, and related media. It also presents dance, theater, music, and multidisciplinary arts.

The current location at 220 East Chicago Avenue is in the Streeterville neighborhood of the Near North Side community area.Josef Paul Kleihues designed the current building after the museum conducted a 12-month search, reviewing more than 200 nominations. The museum was originally located at 237 East Ontario Street, which was originally designed as a bakery. The current building is known for its signature staircase leading to an elevated ground floor, which has an atrium, the full glass-walled east and west façades giving a direct view of the city and Lake Michigan.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.