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Chicago Performs: September 7–10, 2023

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Due to unforeseen circumstances, Anjal Chande’s The Next Cup of Tea performances have been postponed. Ticket holders will be notified by the MCA Box Office.

Experience one weekend of groundbreaking performances by Chicago artists.

Chicago Performs returns to the MCA with new works by three artists: Jonas Becker, Anjal Chande, and Irene Hsiao. This annual festival of live arts celebrates the wealth of innovative work being made by Chicagoans today by inviting three to four local artists to share new works of performance, including pieces developed through the MCA’s In Progress series and New Works Initiative. Bringing together work across genres and career-stages, Chicago Performs supports artists who are entering a new phase of their practice—whether stepping onto a larger stage for the first time, exploring new directions, or expanding the scale of their projects—and offers the public an unprecedented chance to witness the city’s groundbreaking performance artists in action.

Chicago Performs is organized by Tara Aisha Willis, former MCA Curator, with Laura Paige Kyber, Curatorial Associate.

About the Performances

Jonas Becker, New Normal

Performers’ actions fluctuate between struggle and care as they negotiate rocks, pebbles, ash, and one another in this work that embodies the experience of coping with collective trauma.

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Anjal Chande, The Next Cup of Tea

Through interaction with abstract props, Chande contrasts the ordinariness of daily physical routine with the compelling, gnawing quality of inner feelings, inviting us to look at our kaleidoscopic interior, and to accept the task of deciphering whatever it is we feel today.

This performance has been postponed. New dates will be announced soon.

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Irene Hsiao, Blue Alice

Thinking of her Mylar costume as a shell, a shelter, or an armor though which viewers glimpse the shining creature hiding inside, Irene Hsiao’s improvised performance plays with expected norms for how to interact with art and performance in a museum setting.

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About the Artists

Jonas Becker

Jonas N. T. Becker makes photographs, videos, and performances that explore how systems of power place value on the body and the resource-rich landscape. His practice is research based, excavating layers of mainstream and marginalized histories, particularly in rural America. Each of Becker’s projects focuses on a specific landscape, drawing attention to interrelated histories and human impact. Becker has exhibited internationally, including at MCA Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, ICA LA, and LAXART. Becker works between his home state of West Virginia and Chicago, Illinois, where he is a professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Anjal Chande

Anjal Chande is an artist, performer, producer, writer, space-maker, and visionary who was recently featured on Vocalo Radio’s “This Is What Chicago Sounds Like” in September 2022. Described by The New York Times as a “gifted stylist” and by Time Out Chicago as “arrestingly poetic,” her work has been presented/supported by the Chicago Dancemakers Forum 2019 Lab Artist Award, Ragdale Foundation, Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, the Illinois Arts Council, Sophiensaele in Berlin, the Smithsonian in Washington, DC, Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Drive East in New York, World Music Festival in Chicago, and numerous stages in India. She received a Fulbright award to perform and study in Berlin, researching the dance community and factors that contribute to thriving urban arts ecosystems. Chande founded Soham Dance Space in 2007 as a home for creative practice, live performance, critical dialogue, and community gatherings. She is a mover and shaker in the Chicago dance field and a vocal advocate for artists of color. Trained in numerous music and dance forms since childhood, Chande draws from a wide creative range in making her art. She teaches performance art and bharatanatyam through radical pedagogies and has a desire to instill a sense of creative possibility and critical reflection within her students. Her essay on bharatanatyam dance in Chicago will be in the forthcoming Third Coast Dance anthology published by University of Illinois Press.

Irene Hsiao

Irene Hsiao creates performances in conversation with visual art in museums, galleries, and public spaces, a practice that includes site-specific interaction with visual artworks and experimental engagement with artists, institutions, and the public. Her work includes durational improvisation, interactive installations, dances for stage, video, and virtual performance. She is a 2022-23 Fellow at High Concept Labs, the first Artist in Residence at 21c Museum Hotel in 2022-23, inaugural Artist in Residence at the Smart Museum of Art in 2020 and 2021, and a 2020 Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist. She has received individual artist awards from the Illinois Arts Council Agency and City of Chicago Department of Culture & Special Events.


Chicago Performs is supported by The New Works Initiative, which puts the creative process at the heart of the MCA’s relationship with Chicago by supporting the development of new performances and creative projects. Lead support for the New Works Initiative is provided by Elizabeth A. Liebman.

Lead support for the 2023–24 season of MCA Performance and Public Programs is also provided by Elizabeth A. Liebman.

Generous support is provided by Ginger Farley and Bob Shapiro, Martha Struthers Farley and Donald C. Farley, Jr. Family Foundation, N.A., Trustee; Susan Manning and Doug Doetsch; Carol Prins and John Hart/The Jessica Fund; and an anonymous donor.

Additional generous support is provided by Diane Kahan and Anne L. Kaplan.

The MCA is a proud member of the Museums in the Park and receives major support from the Chicago Park District.

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