Omar Kholeif Leads New Global Visions Initiative at MCA Chicago

The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago launches its Global Visions Initiative with the aim of becoming the most forward thinking museum in North America.

The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago’s Omar Kholeif, who was appointed Senior Curator in 2015, will lead the research and acquisitions initiative in dialogue with new board member Sheikh Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi.

Omar Kholeif. Photo: Dan Weill. image courtesy Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

Omar Kholeif. Photo: Dan Weill. Image courtesy Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.

On 28 July 2017 the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA) announced the launch of the Global Visions Initiative, a programme that seeks to develop the “global reach” of the museum’s collection and public programmes. This means that a larger portion of the budget for acquisitions and curatorial activities will be geared towards supporting contemporary art and artists from the Middle East, South Asia, Africa and Latin America.

With the aim of forwarding these goals, the UAE-based contemporary art and politics expert Sheikh Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi – who is the founder of the Barjeel Art Foundation – was elected to the MCA Board of Trustees. With his experience as a prominent commentator on Arab affairs, as well as a stint as a Director’s fellow in the MIT Media Lab, Al Qassemi will be advising on acquisitions of contemporary art and new media from the Arab world.

Michael Rakowitz, ‘May the Arrogant Not Prevail’ , 2010, Found Arabic packaging and newspapers, glue, cardboard, and wood, 597.5 x 493.4 x 95.3 cm. Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, gift of Marshall Field’s by exchange, 2015.4. Image courtesy of the artist and Rhona Hoffman Gallery.

Michael Rakowitz, ‘May the Arrogant Not Prevail’ , 2010, found Arabic packaging and newspapers, glue, cardboard and wood, 597.5 x 493.4 x 95.3 cm. Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, gift of Marshall Field’s by exchange, 2015.4. Image courtesy the artist and Rhona Hoffman Gallery.

The MCA’s Senior Curator, Omar Kholeif, is leading the MCA’s Global Visions Initiative and will be working closely with Al Qassemi on developing research opportunities for the museum as well as creating a dialogue between institutions and artists across the various regions they are hoping to collect from. Kholeif commented:

I am thrilled to be leading the Global Visions Initiative with the support of our extraordinary co-chairs whose expertise and experience I trust and value. Together, I believe we have the potential to re-shape art history and make the MCA the most global and forward-thinking contemporary art museum in North America.

The Global Visions Initiative has already organised and funded a series of solo exhibitions by artists from the target regions, with the Iraqi-North American artist Michael Rakowitz, the Nigerian-born Otobong Nkanga and the Egyptian artist Basim Magdy all having exhibited at the MCA recently. Slated for 2019 is the group exhibition “Many Tongues: Art, Language, and Revolution in the Middle East”, curated by Kholeif.

Jumana Manna, 'A magical substance flows into me', 2015, digital video, color, sound, 1 hour 10 minutes. Image courtesy the artist.

Jumana Manna, ‘A magical substance flows into me’, 2015, digital video, colour, sound, 1h 10min. Image courtesy the artist.

Since arriving at the institution in 2015, Kholeif has already secured a number of works by artists from the Middle East for the MCA permanent collection, including a key work by the Arab-German artist Marwan, Untitled (Das Knie) (1967); a painting by one of the Iran’s  most important artists, Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian, Group 4 (2012); and a film by Berlin- and Jerusalem-based artist Jumana MannaA Magical Substance Flows Into Me (2015).

Rebecca Close

1809

Related Topics: Emirati curators (UAE), Foundations, Political, Middle Eastern artists, news

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