MCA Chicago receives transformative gift from super-collectors Marilyn and Larry Fields

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Chicago announced a gift of 79 objects from Chicago-based art collectors Marilyn and Larry Fields on November 2, 2023. The gift, which was selected by the Fields in tandem with the MCA’s curatorial staff, marks another step in the museum’s mission to create a permanent collection that holistically represents contemporary art history by building its holdings of women-identifying and BIPOC artists. The donation includes paintings, photography, new media, and sculptures by major local, national, and international artists.

“Marilyn and Larry Fields, long-time supporters of the MCA, have always valued the power that contemporary art has in fostering new ideas and inspiring change,” Pritzker Director Madeleine Grynsztejn said. “This generous gift will help the MCA move the permanent collection forward by adding emerging voices and new artists to the collection, expanding our ability to highlight under-represented narratives.”

Of the 59 artists included in the Marilyn and Larry Fields Gift, 23 will be represented in the MCA Collection for the first time. Approximately 80 percent of the works in the gift are by pivotal woman-identifying and BIPOC artists, such as Huma Bhabha, Amanda Ross-Ho, Adrian Piper, and Jennie C. Jones. The gift will also expand on the museum’s existing concentrations in the work of key figures like Arthur Jafa, Cindy Sherman, and Rashid Johnson.

“With the Marilyn and Larry Fields Gift, the MCA takes another significant step toward an increasingly decentered and diverse collection,” James W. Alsdorf Chief Curator René Morales said. “The donation equips the MCA to better represent global artistic tendencies at the same time that it allows us to reflect the kind of transnational, transcultural exchange that has always been foundational to the city of Chicago. The gift also helps us solidify our local commitment to the city through the inclusion of works by Chicago-based artists like Theaster Gates, Nate Young, and Nick Cave.”

Marilyn and Larry Fields have a longstanding relationship with the MCA. In 2012, the MCA received a $2 million gift from the Fields to endow the position of the Marilyn and Larry Fields Curator. This support has enabled those in the position, such as Naomi Beckwith and Carla Acevedo-Yates, to develop groundbreaking exhibitions. These include “The Freedom Principle: Experiments in Art and Music, 1965 to Now” (2015), “Howardena Pindell: What Remains To Be Seen” (2018), “Carolina Caycedo: From the Bottom of the River” (2020-2021), and “Forecast Form: Art in the Caribbean Diaspora, 1990s–Today” (2022-2023).

“This gift aids the MCA’s commitment to establishing a deeper view of art history and artistic production that challenges traditional collecting models,” Manilow Senior Curator Jamillah James said. “It will help the collection reflect the ever-shifting landscape of critical and social discourse within the field of contemporary art.”

Visitors can see works from the gift in Rebecca Morris: 2001–2022, currently open, as well as in upcoming exhibitions “Faith Ringgold: American People,” “Descending the Staircase,” and “Nicole Eisenman: What Happened.”

“By placing these pieces in the public domain, they can be enjoyed by more people and spur conversation about some of the important issues we are facing today,” Marilyn and Larry Fields said. “These artists can open our eyes and make us view things differently through elevating our awareness.”

ABOUT MARILYN AND LARRY FIELDS

Marilyn and Larry Fields began seriously collecting contemporary art in 2002, amassing a collection of 500 pieces by over 300 living artists.

Larry Fields was elected Trustee of the MCA in June 2005 and currently sits on the board. He has also served on the Executive and Collection Committees. From September 2015 to October 2023, he was chairman of the Collection Committee.

Marilyn Fields joined the MCA Women’s Board in 1998 and was Women’s Board President from 2004–2007. During her tenure on the Women’s Board, which ended in May 2016, Marilyn helped establish the Women’s Board Family Education Initiative.

Throughout their years of working with the MCA, the Fields have supported over 25 exhibitions, loaned over 45 pieces, and have gifted 21 artworks prior to the Marilyn and Larry Fields Gift.

ABOUT THE MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART CHICAGO

The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. The MCA interweaves exhibitions, performances, collections, and educational programs while providing a place for audiences to contemplate and discuss contemporary art in pursuit of a creative and diverse future.

The MCA is located at 220 E. Chicago Avenue and is open 10 am to 5 pm Wednesday to Sunday and Tuesdays (free for IL residents) from 10 am to 9 pm. The museum is closed on Mondays.  Admission is free for all youth 18 and under, members of the military and veterans, and MCA members.

Find more information about MCA’s exhibitions, programs, and special events at mcachicago.org or at 312.280.2660.

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