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Billionaire hedge fund manager Ken Griffin has given $10 million to the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago through his charity.

The gift by the Kenneth C. Griffin Charitable Fund will be used to create the Griffin Galleries of Contemporary Art, the museum said in a statement Friday. The gift is part of the museum’s Vision Campaign to raise $64 million for programming, which has reached $60 million in private donations toward the goal.

“The Vision Campaign is about great art and ideas -- that connect with the community and propel the MCA as a leader in the cultural economy,” Madeleine Grynsztejn, the museum’s Pritzker director, said in the statement.

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The "David Bowie Is” exhibition broke the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago’s attendance record with more than 193,000 people visiting in its 15-week run.

“David Bowie Is” is the most successful exhibition in the MCA’s 47-year history, with some Bowie-related programs and performances selling out in less than an hour as well as the highest sales for the MCA Store.

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The last American retrospective of the work of Jeff Koons, the perma-smiling master of high art and low, took place at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago in the summer of 2008. A week before the show closed, Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy. It was easy to imagine then, as the US braced for its worst economic crisis in 80 years, that we might never see another Koons retrospective – the costs could never be met, and the American public would surely lose its taste for easy pleasures with giant price tags.

But while the US went bust, the US art market has boomed to even bubblier heights than in the 1980s, when Koons was the poster child for art-world excess. His reputation has skyrocketed; his prices, too. Now he arrives, flashbulbs trailing, at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, where a 35-year retrospective takes up nearly every room in the joint.

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If you haven’t wandered in the doors of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago lately, there’s a lot to catch up on. MCA Chicago has bid adieu to Illuminated Things and put away the shovel, but there’s plenty of new and exciting things to see.

"Unbound: Contemporary Art After Frida Kahlo" is a beautifully curated exhibit that speaks to four themes Kahlo herself emphasized in her storied works—gender performance, national identity, the political body, and the “absent” or traumatized body.

This isn’t the MCA’s first encounter with Frida. In 1978, MCA Chicago was the first museum to display Kahlo’s works in a solo exhibition. This goes beyond the body of Kahlo’s work though, past the fame of the artist and her iconic Mexican folk art style and more to what she was trying to say with her work. The exhibition space gives each of the four ideas equal and separate space, but the exhibit never seems disjointed, and flows seamlessly from one idea to another almost conversationally.

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Wednesday, 16 October 2013 17:57

Comprehensive Calder Exhibit Opens in Chicago

The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago presents DNA: Alexander Calder, an exhibition mapping the course of Alexander Calder’s nearly 50-year career. Works on view include mobiles, stabiles and works on paper created between 1927 and 1974, which explore Calder’s masterful use of form, balance, color and movement.

The core of the works on view comes from the Ruth and Leonard Horwich Family Loan, which the Museum of Contemporary Art has housed, cared for, and displayed since 1995. The Horwiches were among the museum’s earliest supporters and founders. The couple befriended Calder, ultimately acquiring over two dozen major works by the artist. The Horwiches continue to collect Surrealist and Chicago Imagist art.

DNA: Alexander Calder will be on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago through August 17, 2014.

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On Tuesday, May 21, 2013, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) announced that 2,000 museums across the country will offer free admission to active duty military personnel and their families in honor of Memorial Day on May 27, 2013. The announcement was made at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.

Participating fine art museums include the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles. The NEA in cooperation with the Department of Defense and Blue Star Families organizes the annual initiative, which lasts through Labor Day weekend (September 2, 2013).

For more information visit www.arts.goc/bluestarmuseums.


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