"Fear no art,‚ÄĚ says a shirt for sale at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) gift store.
But if you‚Äôre afraid you might not ‚Äúget‚ÄĚ contemporary art, you‚Äôre curious about what it is, or you‚Äôd just like to mingle with 1,000 or so over-21-year-olds in a beautiful setting, try the MCA‚Äôs First Fridays.
From 6 to 10 p.m. on the first Friday of every month, the MCA provides an event built around a theme featuring music; live entertainment; small-bite hors d‚Äôoeurvres from Puck‚Äôs, the museum restaurant (which is not open during First Fridays); a cash bar; beverage tasting; and a ‚Äúcreation station‚ÄĚ where you can make your own arty project.
The October 7, 2011 event had a masquerade theme and featured Isaiah Spencer and the New Orleans Jazz Band, the Pyrotechniq fire troupe performing on the plaza, DJ Sadie Woods, a rum tasting, and the opportunity to make a mask of your own. Equinox pampering station? ¬†Vosges chocolate truffles? A fashion show? Film screenings? A scavenger hunt through the exhibits? All have been offered at First Fridays.
At the ‚Äúcreation station‚ÄĚ we cut out and decorated masks with small feathers and colorful glitter glue, chatting with people around the table as we shared materials.
Our table mates were of various ages, but the crowd is largely younger. People come in ones, in couples, and in groups. Dress ranges from casual to very dressy: we saw jeans, a few suits, lots of fancy dresses and very high heels, and one split decision: a young man wearing a suit and tennis shoes.
And then there‚Äôs the art. First Friday crowds can stroll through the museum galleries, where the art provides plenty of conversation starters.
Some people become familiar with more than art: Media Relations Manager Erin Baldwin says there have been some First Friday love matches that have resulted in marriages. And the museum does do rental events, including weddings.
The museum exhibits have an appealing variety of styles and media, including the following:
The new UBS 12 x 12: New Artists/New Work exhibition featuring the work of Ann Toebbe. The painted paper overhead views of three kitchens with lots of detail to enjoy are based on conversations with Toebbe‚Äôs family members and her reflections on the roles of women.
The Language of Less (Then and Now) , which includes works from MCA‚Äôs Minimalist and post-Minimalist work from the 1960s and 1970s as well as works by five contemporary artists working in the same visual style.
Motor Cocktail presenting items using sound and movement by 1960s artists from MCA‚Äôs collection.
Pandora‚Äôs Box: Joseph Cornell Unlocks the Collection, juxtaposing some of Chicago‚Äôs extensive resources of Cornell‚Äôs work with pieces by other artists in the MCA‚Äôs collection and showing Cornell‚Äôs continuing and sometimes surprising influence.
Eiko & Koma: Time is Not Even, Space is Not Empty, with photos, videos, costumes, and set and prop pieces of performance works by the Japanese-born choreographers and dancers. On November 8, from 1 to 8 pm and November 9-13 from 1 to 5 pm, the artists will ‚Äúinhabit‚ÄĚ a massive nest ¬†(now on view in the gallery) during a ‚Äúdurational performance‚ÄĚ of the work Naked.
The MCA gift shop is open to those attending First Fridays. The large gift shop sports a collection of interesting and sometimes amusing, sometimes beautiful, and sometimes quirky things to decorate yourself, your children, and your home. Among the choices are telemarketer repellant (going like hotcakes, says the man restocking the shelf), lovely scarves and jewelry, items ¬†for kids including inflatable dinosaur heads, red panic buttons for $1.95, books, cards (both greeting and playing), mixing bowls, and clothing, including the Fear No Art tee shirts.
Museum of Contemporary Art
220 E Chicago AveÔĽŅ
Chicago IL 60611
All First Friday tickets include museum admission, live entertainment, and complimentary Wolfgang Puck hors d‚Äôoeuvres. Doors are open from 6 to 10 pm with a cash bar until 9:30 pm. Guests must be 21 or older to enter.
First Friday events and themes:
Nov 4, 2011: ¬†¬†Minimalism
Dec 2, 2011:¬†¬† Indulgence
Jan 6, 2012:¬†¬† ¬†Renewal
General admission ¬†¬†$18
Advance tickets ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†$13
MCA members ¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†$10 ¬†
Buy tickets online¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†https://boxoffice.mcachicago.org/public/default.asp?cgcode=4
Buy tickets through MCA Box Office¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† 312.397.4010