Think You Know the Best of The Cultural Mile? | Seeking Beauty in Illusion

3 October 2017

The Museum of Contemporary Photography, just up the street from 1000M


1000M residences have their pick of the best the Cultural Mile has to offer. From an unbeatable collection of public art in Grant Park to the storied collections at The Art Institute to diverse cultural institutions, there are endless opportunities to seek beauty.

Just up the street from 1000M, the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College provides a chance to find beauty in illusion. Founded in 1976, MOCP is the premier museum for photography in the Midwest. Taking full advantage of its privileged location on Michigan Avenue, the museum’s exhibitions rotate through a vast group of recognized and emerging artists from both the national and international arenas, while also showcasing MOCP’s own rich permanent collection. In this way, it presents projects and exhibitions that embrace a wide range of contemporary aesthetics and technologies, offering an intimate and comprehensive visual study center.

The main gallery of the Museum of Contemporary Photography, just up the street from 1000M

We talked with Karen Irving, the Deputy Director and Chief Curator at the Museum of the Contemporary Photography (MOCP), to understand what makes photography such an alluring medium.

Karen’s first relationship to photography was behind the lens, but she found herself better skilled as a curator, being able to think and talk about photography more dexterously than create it herself. Her attraction to photography, over other artistic mediums, was its relationship to truth and illusion.

East Gallery of the MOCP, which is just up the street from 1000M

“Photography claims to portray an accurate and truthful representation, but it is always a construct of what the photographer wants you to see and what the viewer sees,” Karen explained — an analysis as applicable to Instagram as MOCP exhibitions. “Photography is completely fascinating,” she added.

Their just past exhibition, re:collection, highlighted works from MOCP’s 14,000-plus piece permanent collection in a new light. “When we exhibit our permanent collection, we try to find fresh ways to present the works. In this exhibition, we are probing the experience of looking, and how images influence each other when displayed in the same space. We are also exploring the various ways in which artists approach current social and political issues using photography.” For those interested in doing a deeper dive into viewing MOCP’s collection, you can simply schedule a private appointment.

With free lectures and programming year around, Karen describes the MOCP as an excellent drop-in opportunity to grab some “food for thought” and gain a greater understanding of thought-provoking contemporary photography as well as an appreciation for traditional work that has not yet received critical acclaim.

MOCP is one of many places just outside 1000M’s front door to seek beauty.

Penelope Umbrico's 7,626,056 Suns at the MOCP, which is just up the street from 1000M