Last weekend I was delighted to visit Chicago’s MCA on its 50th anniversary weekend – a happy accident that meant that my visit was even more meaningful and fun than it would have been otherwise!
Wandering the galleries and taking in art from Alexander Calder (above) to Amanda Williams (below), there was something new and fascinating to see around every corner.
A highlight of my visit was hearing Larry Fields, a prominent Chicago art collector, as well as generous donor and board member of the MCA speak. He presented a few pieces that he and his wife have donated to the museum. Omar Kholeif, Senior Curator and Director of Global Initiatives at the MCA, engaged in an informal question-and-answer session with Fields. Together they discussed, amongst other topics, Glenn Ligon’s works and the concept of collecting in general. Fields said, “Collecting is a way to understand the times and world you’re living in.”
Many of Fields’ comments stayed with me. He talked about how the “DNA” of any museum is its collection (true for museums and for galleries – we know who we are by what we present) and encouraged visitors to try to engage with at least one piece of artwork during each visit. He also promoted the idea of bringing children to museums. This is a good way to ensure that there is a future audience for museums – by exposing children to art and to museums when they are young.
Field’s final thoughts were inspirational and forward-looking. Discussing the book he had held throughout the presentation – Ed Ruscha’s “Make New History” as pictured above – Fields presented the concept of “making one’s own history,” and how each of us does so every day. Fields encouraged the audience to dream big and forge ahead with our unique histories in the making… Just what we are doing at Beacon Gallery!