International from the Start

1960s Founders Global Joe Shapiro

In the 1960s no other art institution in Chicago was focused on showing contemporary art from outside the US.

And at that point in time, you know, I think what really kind of led to the founding of the MCA was the fact that the Art Institute at that point in time was still kind of hung up on Impressionism. And while they were developing their modern galleries and had the Society for Contemporary Art, it itself—the Society for Contemporary Art in the mid-sixties had morphed into the Society for Contemporary American Art and wasn't in any way focusing on contemporary European art, which is of course what most of the surrealism was.

And I think that these guys—I say these guys—the five or six of them, Joe being the driving force, really felt there should be a place in Chicago that was showing the more cutting-edge and not exclusively American contemporary art.

Related Stories

Mayor Rahm Emanuel's proclamation for MCA Day, Oct 20, 2017.

MCA Day in Chicago

WHEREAS, the City of Chicago has long been home to involved and inspiring cultural repositories dedicated to exploring artistry and redefining perspectives; and WHEREAS, one such institution, the Museum of. . . more
Chicago Events