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Lynda Barry, 100 Demons: Dancing, 2000-02.
Courtesy Adam Baumgold Fine Art and Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

An exhibition devoted to Chicago comic artists tops the MCA’s 2021 calendar

The work of Lynda Barry, Daniel Clowes and Kerry James Marshall will go on display this summer.

Zach Long
Written by
Zach Long

After reopening briefly at limited capacity over the summer, Chicago museums closed their doors to visitors when Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Tier 3 mitigations in November, responding to a spike in COVID-19 cases across the state. Gov. Pritzker has indicated that regions will be able to move back to Tier 2 mitigations if positivity rates drop in the coming weeks, which could allow "indoor recreation centers" like museums, movie theaters and performing art centers to welcome back guests (so long as Chicago's stay-at-home advisory has been lifted).

Chicago's Museum of Contemporary Art doesn't currently have concrete plans to reopen (an MCA representative told us that the museum is closely monitoring the situation to ensure the safety of guests), but the institution announced it's 2021 exhibition calendar this morning. The lineup includes exhibits devoted to artists like Andrea Bowers, Carolina Caycedo and Christina Quarles, as well as an extension of the MCA's "The Long Dream" exhibit, which showcases work from 70 Chicago artists.

The most exciting exhibit on the docket is "Chicago Comics: 1960 to Now," which surveys 60 years of cartooning history in the city, with a focus on the work of BIPOC and women comic artists. Set to open on June 19, the exhibit examines comics not only as a form of entertainment, but as a medium that is adept at commenting on social and political issues. The display will include comics, graphic novels, zines, original drawings, dioramas, films and installations created by artists who worked in Chicago.

Artists featured in "Chicago Comics" include former Chicago Reader cartoonist Lynda Barry, Ghost World creator Daniel Clowes and acclaimed painter Kerry James Marshall, who draws an ongoing comic strip called Rythm Mastr that is centered around Black characters. According to an MCA representative, the works will be on display in the museum and will also be viewable via a virtual tour of the exhibition hosted on the museum's website.

Check out the MCA's calendar of upcoming exhibitions to learn more about what the local institution has in store for 2021—and let's hope that we're able to wander through some of Chicago's best museums again someday soon.

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