Chicago: Museum of Contemporary Art

November 10, 2017 Field Trip.

I move through galleries differently than I used to. Now, I look at everything, but only stop for what attracts my attention or curiosity. Then I will spend time with that piece and then I might note the artist. I will often snap two pictures for my archives using my iPhone: one of the piece and another of the artist plaque. Sometimes reading the plaques affixed next to the piece annoys me because it can change the context of the piece for me. This piece by Tania Bruguera (Cuban) entitled “Poetic Justice” (2002-03), drew me in as a documentation of the everyday. It is comprised of tea bags and a small video screen that was playing footage of a man having his head shaved. Tea bags, TV and hair cuts seem so mundane, yet are a part of our human existence.

The write up about the piece said “…rows of canvas mounted tea bags with miniature screens displaying archival news footage to draw parallels between colonial history and news media”. Hmm thats not what I got, but I liked the piece.






The next piece that I wanted to note (I chose my top 4 pieces from this huge museum to blog about) was called “Atrabiliarios”¬†(1993) by Columbian Artist Doris Salecedo.






It was made with plywood, shoes, animal bladder and surgical thread. Holes were made into the gallery wall to install this piece. The artist said it was about “loss & memory”, but this piece resonated with me because of the shoes embedded within a suggested surgical context. Operating rooms are sterile environments with no room for the personal. The shoes feel like an intrusion on a man made space meant to be devoid of the personal. And what does that mean…?


I was also attracted to Thomas Hirschhorn’s work “Series B” (2000-01) purely for the aesthetics and the layering of, and editing of, information. It was made using marker, ink and magazine pages on paper.












The final artist I will discuss is Chicago artist, Amanda Williams and her work entitled “Color(ed) Theory” (2014). She paints (alongside teams of volunteers) abandoned houses in Chicago’s south side, in order to “highlight racially charged city spaces and to challenge and subvert persistent racial inequality”. The colors are specially choosen for their association with race and class. Most of these houses are eventually¬†demolished.


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