What Makes Us Different

Board Chicago Future

Gerhard Bette explores what sets the MCA apart.

I think what makes us different is the diversity of what we do. The simplest one is we have performance and visual arts at the same time—that not many institutions have, that Chicago especially; I don't remember anybody really having that.

So diversity of that is diversity of perspectives just because contemporary art is much more challenging. We push people. But when you then go back, what makes us different is—this institution was created for a special purpose. So the board in the very beginning wanted to maintain a certain level of differentiation and that, over time, has created enormous loyalty to the cause of being different, of being willing to be edgy, or being willing to push the envelope, and I think that creates, on the flip side, a very interesting coherence where you're saying, "We're committed to do something different," and that loyalty stands out. And that loyalty attracts.

Some of the board has turned over quite a bit, so that attracts a lot of interesting people, and that's what makes it different. I mean forget the building, forget the green space, forget Marisol. It's, at the end is kind of where the people that want to make it happen.

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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