Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago
The Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Chicago is one of the most avant-garde modern art museums in the world and has been since the day it opened in 1967 inside the former Playboy headquarters. Today, the museum’s permanent collection includes more than 2,500 works of art dating back to the 1920s, with pieces from current artists like Sophia Al-Maria, Marlo Pascual and Michael Armitage. The museum was the first to introduce audiences to the works of Martin Puryear, Jeff Koon and Jenny Holzer.
The MCA Chicago has always put a big focus on emerging artists, many of whom have gone on to successful careers. It showcases artists through a variety of lectures, symposia, roundtable discussions, films and musical performances. The museum also hosts a variety of exhibitions from local and international artists.
“Last year, the museum celebrated its 50th anniversary with a $16 million renovation,” said Karrie Leung, assistant director of media relations for the MCA Chicago.
The opening included a new restaurant by chef Jason Hammel that offers groups and visitors the chance to dine in private or join in the communal tables for light bites and drinks, or meals with table service and a full bar. Special group tours are available upon request.
Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston
When the Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston (ICA) opened in 1936, it was considered the “renegade offspring of the Museum of Modern Art” in New York City. Although the ICA remains a sister institution to the MoMa, it has taken on a more experimental role as to exploring what is possible through the world of modern art.
The museum was the first to introduce Americans to the works of Georges Braque, Oskar Kokoschka and Edvard Munch. In more recent years, the museum has become better known for its ability to showcase the works of well-known and up-and-coming visual and performing artists. In the late 1990s, the ICA began hosting a teen filmmaking program called Fast Forward to help encourage young filmmakers, and the museum has been pivotal in the careers of Bill Viola, Cornelia Parker and Young Jean Lee.
The museum offers groups the chance to book private and custom tours in advance, with options for self-guided or guided tours.
“This summer we opened a new space called the Watershed,” said Colette Randall, director of marketing and communications for the ICA/Boston. “It’s a former metal factory that we’ve renovated for large-scale art projects, and it’s located across the harbor from us. So now your museum admission includes entry to our exhibitions spaces here at the main museum and then a seven-minute-long ferry ride across the harbor to east Boston.”