This Will Have Been: Art, Love and Politics in the 1980s

February 11 - June 3, 2012 │ Chicago

The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago’s ambitious new exhibition, This Will Have Been: Art, Love, & Politics in the 1980s represents the diversity and complexity of art produced during this tumultuous decade when the art world veered between radical and conservative, capricious and political, socially engaged and art historically aware.

The 1980s were a transformative decade in the history of art, music, and politics, beginning with the Reagan years and ending with the fall of the Berlin Wall, the rise of globalism, and the election of Bill Clinton by 1992. The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago’s ambitious new exhibition, This Will Have Been: Art, Love, & Politics in the 1980s represents the diversity and complexity of art produced during this tumultuous decade when the art world veered between radical and conservative, capricious and political, socially engaged and art historically aware.

The exhibition is divided into four sections: The End is Near looks at dialogues about the end of painting, the end of the counter culture, and the end of history. The Democracy section shows a renewed interest on the part of artists with working in the street; the growing awareness of the importance of the mass media; the increasing prominence of Central American artists and artists of color; and the pervasive commitment to the political that shaped the period. The section Gender Trouble elaborates on the implications of the 1970s feminist movement with work that expands  gender roles, and new ideas about sexuality and figuration. Finally, the section Desire and Longing is where artists working with appropriation techniques signal the emergence of queer visibility brought on by the AIDS crisis. Through it all, the exhibition shows artists struggling to articulate their wants, needs, and desires, in an increasingly commodified and seemingly impenetrable world.

Organized by MCA Chicago, This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s is guest-curated by Helen Molesworth, Chief Curator of the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston.

Mary Heilmann, Tehachapi #2, 1979, Acrylic on canvas, 48 x 72 inches (121.9 x 182.9 cm), Collection of David Doubilet, Toronto, © Mary Heilmann, Image courtesy of the artist; 303 Gallery, New York; and Hauser & Wirth enlarge

Mary Heilmann, Tehachapi #2, 1979, Acrylic on canvas, 48 x 72 inches (121.9 x 182.9 cm), Collection of David Doubilet, Toronto, © Mary Heilmann, Image courtesy of the artist; 303 Gallery, New York; and Hauser & Wirth

Mary Heilmann, Tehachapi #2, 1979, Acrylic on canvas, 48 x 72 inches (121.9 x 182.9 cm), Collection of David Doubilet, Toronto, © Mary Heilmann, Image courtesy of the artist; 303 Gallery, New York; and Hauser & Wirth


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