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Dialogue Series 2022: Public

Dialogue is a decade-plus public program series at the MCA. While it has morphed over the years, it is now a yearly set of programs with a rotating theme, and is part of a museum-wide commitment to sustained inquiry about museum practice, access, and inclusion.

The theme for this year’s Dialogue Series is Public. The public sphere is often expressed as open, free, and accessible—in contradistinction to the closed, less free and accessible world of the private. Consider, for example, the value accorded to public universities, libraries, or museums over their private versions. This year’s speakers, however, both question this common understanding of public and propose other models to reimagine our relationship to this idea.

The 2022 series is also more collaborative than previous ones as we extend our working relationship with the Chicago Humanities Festival—their fall festival theme is also, fittingly, Public—and produce a collaborative program with the Public Art Fund in New York.


October 2022

Rick Lowe. Photo: Brent Reaney.

Rick Lowe
Oct 22, 2022, noon | Northwestern University’s Norris Student Center

Rick Lowe discusses Project Row Houses, which was an early model and remains at the forefront of reimagining what public art can do.

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Portrait of Wendy Red Star. Photo: Beatrice Red Star Fletcher, courtesy of the artist.

Wendy Red Star
Oct 25, 2022, noon | online

Katerina Stathopoulou, Associate Curator at the Public Art Fund, moderates a conversation on art in the public sphere between artist Wendy Red Star and Gaylord Torrence, the Fred and Virginia Merrill Senior Curator of American Indian Art at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.

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November 2022

Elizabeth Alexander. Photo © Djeneba Aduayom.

Keynote: Elizabeth Alexander with Romi Crawford
Nov 15, 2022, 6 pm | Edlis Neeson Theater

One of the great literary voices of our time, Elizabeth Alexander, reads from her recently published The Trayvon Generation, after which she discusses her work and its implications for the public sphere in the United States with Romi Crawford, a Professor of Visual and Critical Studies at SAIC.

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View of Cloud Gate (2006) by Anish Kapoor, Chicago, Illinois. Photo: Lee Bey.

Lee Bey, Blair Kamin & Laurie Petersen
Nov 29, 2022, 6 pm | Edlis Neeson Theater

The architecture critics Lee Bey, editorial writer and architecture critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, and Blair Kamin, Pulitzer Prize–winning architecture critic formerly of the Chicago Tribune, along with Laurie Petersen, editor of the AIA Guide to Chicago, explore the past, present, and future of the public’s use of Chicago’s built environment in a conversation moderated by Executive Director of American Institute of Architects Jen Masengarb.

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Major support is provided by Julie and Larry Bernstein, the Zell Family Foundation, and Carol Prins and John Hart/The Jessica Fund.

Generous support is provided by Lois and Steve Eisen and The Eisen Family Foundation, and Caryn and King Harris.