Laurie Simmons, Long House (Orange and Green Lounge), 2004. Photo: Laurie Simmons.

Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago to Lower Admission Prices for Visitors Impacted by Gender Pay Gap

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Chicago has announced that starting next month the institution will offer visitors who have been impacted by the gender pay gap reduced admission prices. The new pricing tier, which aims to raise awareness about pay disparity in the workplace, will roll out on February 24, following the opening of “Laurie Simmons: Big Camera/Little Camera,” the first major retrospective dedicated to the artist’s work.

“During the run of this exhibition, and in honor of Laurie’s activism to expose inequality across the lines of gender, sexuality, and race—the MCA will be offering $12 admission to any visitor who has been affected by the gender pay gap,” said MCA Director Madeleine Grynsztejn. The $12 ticket price may only be $3 less than the museum’s $15 admission fee, but the 81 percent cost differential represents the average pay disparity that women experience in the United States. The gap is even greater for women of color.

According to the American Association of University Women, “American women lose out on a staggering $500 billion each year because of the gender pay gap. But the latest government data show that progress toward narrowing that gap has stalled: Women working full time are still paid, on average, only 80 cents for every dollar paid to a man—a figure that has changed by less than a nickel during the twenty-first century.”

The pricing structure was first announced by curator Naomi Beckwith at a preview for the upcoming Simmons and Virgil Abloh exhibitions. Organized by the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, where it was on view from October 14, 2018 through January 27, 2019, the Simmons survey focuses on how the artist’s work upends traditional ideas of photography and archetypal gender roles, such as the 1950s housewife and the Wild West cowboy.