The Future of Art
Kerry James Marshall ruminates on the dynamics of adding a contemporary art museum to a city.
When you introduce a new museum into a city that already has a really great world-class museum, you have two impulses. One is, you could think of it as competition between those two museums, but because the MCA and the Art Institute do such different things, or did such different things at the time, it really wasn’t about a competition between the two, but it really did sort of open up a way in which the museums could expand or the city could expand and start to develop a relationship to the ongoing development of and the future of art as opposed to being a repository for great things that had already been made.
So the dynamics of the MCA energized the city in a way that only a museum of contemporary art could. So it was an excitement in that regard because you got to see a lot of artwork that was being made in the moment. You got to see artists who were just becoming people that would become historically important later on. So you got to experience that while it was happening. One of the roles of what a contemporary art museum was supposed to do is to be on the leading edge, to be in the moment, to always be looking ahead at the way things are developing, while at the same time establishing the paradigm for making this history relevant.