chicago

“Negotiating Rapture”

Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (MCA Chicago)

How do you negotiate, or come to terms with, rapture? Shouldn’t rapture be felt, rather than contested, adjudicated, or philosophized? To inaugurate the Museum of Contemporary Art’s grand new building, curator Richard Francis has created “Negotiating Rapture,” an entrance into the realm of the exalted, the sublime, the transformative. Like the term “rapture” itself—much less familiar than the overworked concept of the sublime—nothing about this exhibition is easy or expected.

Eleven artists, belonging to several of the generations active during the postwar era, appear in the following order: James Lee Byars, Ad Reinhardt, Agnes Martin, Bill Viola, Francis Bacon, Anselm Kiefer, Barnett Newman (with his quintessential The Promise, 1949), Bruce Nauman, Shirazeh Houshiary, Joseph Beuys, Lucio Fontana. The sequence generates some tough juxtapositions: how do you make the transition from, say,

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