Chicago

View of “Duro Olowu: Seeing Chicago,” 2020, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Photo: Kendall McCaugherty.

View of “Duro Olowu: Seeing Chicago,” 2020, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Photo: Kendall McCaugherty.

“Duro Olowu: Seeing Chicago”

Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (MCA Chicago)

This boldly maximalist group exhibition curated by Nigerian-born British fashion designer Duro Olowu was the first show at the museum organized by a noninstitutional curator. It included more than three hundred pieces by more than 250 artists (exceeding the number of works in the 2019 Venice Biennale), borrowed from more than sixty private and institutional Chicago-area collections. Installed salon style and organized into six loosely thematic sections, the show was broadly international in scope, with a focus on postwar and contemporary African and African-diasporic artists, most of them female and many with ties to Chicago.

The space was consumed by a floor-to-ceiling profusion of artworks, densely arranged on walls and mesh partitions and displayed upon painted plinths. The section titled “Look at Me” explored the vicissitudes of portraiture and included paintings by Jordan Casteel,

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