Madeleine Grynsztejn, Pritzker Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, announced a $2 million gift from Marilyn and Larry Fields to endow the MCA Curator position currently held by Naomi Beckwith. Color Bind: The MCA Collection in Black and White is the first collection-based exhibition curated by Naomi Beckwith, whose new title is Marilyn and Larry Fields Curator at the MCA Chicago.
Color Bind: The MCA Collection in Black and White
Works of art using a single color has been a major strategy for artists throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, from Ad Reinhardt's mid-century black paintings to Imi Knoebel's contemporary forms that attempt to imagine infinitude. Color Bind: The MCA Collection in Black and White, which runs from November 10, 2012 to April 28, 2013, investigates the museum's rich collection through one of art history's basic formal lenses: the use of the colors black and white.
Color Bind looks broadly at the MCA Collection to show how color can be used literally, formally, and metaphorically in art, and to reveal how formal considerations are often rooted in social issues. Many artists represented in the exhibition, such as Robert Ryman, significantly limit their palette or produce works of one color in order to explore and emphasize the most basic formal aspects of art making, such as line, color, and technique.
Beyond these formal aspects, artists such as Richard Serra and Félix Gonzáles-Torres use minimal color tones as a critical take on art's representational role. Other artists intentionally use specific techniques combined with a black-and-white palette as a method of introducing social and ethical dimensions into art practice. For example, Raymond Pettibon, Marlene Dumas, and Howardena Pindell appropriate the inky form of newspapers and comic books as a way to comment on conflict and violence. Kara Walker adopts 19th-century silhouette forms to present racially exaggerated bodies, and Glenn Ligon, who does the same in his print series, also uses the monochrome canvas in his paintings as both a metaphor and a foil for depictions of race. Artists such as Bruce Nauman and Barbara Kruger use text to demonstrate how basic language can be co-opted into polemics, or "black-and-white" forms of discourse.
With a variety of works in all media, Color Bind considers the ways that the words 'black' and 'white' evoke both simple formal notions and metaphors for race, politics, and historical movements. Set to coincide with the US elections, this exhibition calls attention to the ways seemingly impartial formal terms assume moral dimensions that, in turn, complicate and politicize the very works assumed to be neutral.
Marilyn and Larry Fields Curator: Naomi Beckwith
Madeleine Grynsztejn, Pritzker Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Chicago, has announced a $2 million gift from Marilyn and Larry Fields to endow the MCA Curator position currently held by Naomi Beckwith. In recognition of this significant gift, the MCA has established the "Marilyn and Larry Fields Curator" endowment, naming this curator's position.
"This tremendous gift is a tribute to the Fields and their extraordinary support for the MCA and their long demonstrated passion for curators and their work," said King Harris, Chair of the MCA Board of Trustees.
"What is most rewarding about this position being named by Marilyn and Larry Fields is that they both have had a significant history of supporting curatorial work," said Madeleine Grynsztejn. "Even prior to Larry's tenure as an MCA Trustee, he and Marilyn invested in our collection and in the work of our curators who are our thought leaders and creative engines of the museum. We are very honored by this generous gift from the Fields."
MCA Trustee Larry Fields said, "We are delighted to be able to make this gift to the MCA. It is very fitting that the first Marilyn and Larry Fields Curator is Naomi Beckwith, an incredibly intelligent and talented curator who is just beginning her career at the MCA, but has already shown remarkable scholarship as a curator who is energizing the museum."
"I am thrilled and grateful to Marilyn and Larry for their early and ongoing support, and for this gift, said Naomi Beckwith. "It's an amazing validation of the work that I do on a daily basis while also making an investment in the MCA's future programming. I'm so proud to carry their name into the art world."
Marilyn and Larry Fields are avid and knowledgeable art collectors who are very supportive of the MCA and Chicago's art community, as well as the national and international art world. At the MCA they've supported numerous exhibitions, most recently Phantom Limb: Approaches to Painting Today, Rashid Johnson: Message to Our Folks, and This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s. The Fields have also given numerous significant works to the collection, including Alec Soth's Charles(from Along the Mississippi series), (2004) and Daniel, Niagara Falls, Ontario (2004); Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla's Ruin (2005); Thomas Ruff's zycles 3065 (2008); Rivane Neuenschwander'sFound Calendar (2002); Trisha Donnelly's Untitled (Leopard) (2005); Paul Pfeiffer's Study for the Morning After the Deluge (2001) and Memento Mori (2004); Eve Sussman's The Rape of the Sabine Women (2006); Yang Fudong's City Light (2003), and Leslie Hewitt's Untitled (2007) in honor of Naomi Beckwith.
Larry Fields has been a member of the MCA Board of Trustees since 2005 and serves on the Executive and Collection Committees. Marilyn has been involved with the MCA Chicago since 1999 when she became a member of the Woman's Board. She served as President of the Woman's Board from 2004-07, during which she spearheaded the Family Education Initiative that engages volunteers in the MCA's family education programs. She most recently co-chaired Vernissage, the MCA benefit that kicked off the EXPO Chicago art fair.