Looking Forward

Chicago Collection Community Future

A museum's self-reflection is the catalyst for a robust future.

That’s always the key question. The question of the role of the MCA in Chicago goes back to when I was here in the late seventies, early eighties, and at first, one could be a bit confused or troubled that an institution this important or this successful continually has to ask itself about its role. I’ve decided that’s very healthy. It’s self-reflective to be able to go back, and it should—in a museum of contemporary art—reassess that every year, every two years, every five years because everything else is changing so quickly. The artistic world is changing with it. The technological ability that we have now has been revolutionized.

If the museum doesn’t take advantage and make themselves open to these changes, then that will be I think a negative. But as long as the institution stays nimble and stays able to move, it’ll retain that brio, if you will—the sort of spirit of kunsthalle. And that’s what I care about so much. One sees it in other institutions as well. The debate about the permanent collection versus the kunsthalle. As long as the institution itself—with an inspired and enlightened curatorial staff—looks forward, trusts artists, and moves beyond the past, it seems to me the kunsthalle metaphor is completely powerful, particularly in the city, given the richness of all the other cultural institutions, too.

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Video still, Behind the Scenes at an Art Museum. © MCA Chicago.

Behind the Scenes

MCA staff members are interviewed in 1997 about their work. Interviews include Torri Johnson, security officer; Margaret Farr, assistant director of education; Pablo Helguera, coordinator of public programs; Dominic Molon,. . . more
1990s Community Education Staff