Nicole Eisenman’s First Major Survey Comes to the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago

Experience the depth and breadth of Nicole Eisenman’s practice beginning April 6 at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA) — the only United States venue to feature this versatile artist’s first major survey.

Over the course of her more than 30-year career, Eisenman has worked across a range of formats and techniques to create inventive, materially ambitious, and often humorous paintings that address a range of subjects, from daily life to urgent political crises. These works often meld the autobiographical with an array of cultural and historical sources — such as Renaissance painting, underground comics, and 1930s socialist murals — intending to make sense of our ever-changing social and political landscape.

Nicole Eisenman: What Happened traces the entirety of Eisenman’s career to date, beginning with the murals and drawing installations from her rise within the New York art scene of the early 1990s, and continuing up to the present with a number of recent paintings. “Rebellious, witty, personal, relatable,” explains Associate Curator Jadine Collingwood, “Eisenman’s irreverent work captures the intimacy of everyday life while confronting the urgent political issues of our time.”

Nicole Eisenman, “Coping” (2008), oil on canvas, 65 × 82 1/8 inches (image courtesy Collection of Igor DaCosta and James Rondeau, Galerie Barbara Weiss; photo by Bryan Conley, © 2023 Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh)

With around 100 of Eisenman’s works on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the exhibition aims to reveal that despite the cultural shifts that have taken place in the decades since Eisenman began working, what remains constant throughout her work is the unfailing determination to hold space for resistance, community, and to almost always meet the viewer with an anarchic sense of humor.

Curated by Monika Bayer-Wermuth and Mark Godfrey, with the assistance of Cameron Foote for Whitechapel London, the MCA’s presentation of Nicole Eisenman: What Happened is organized by Associate Curator Jadine Collingwood and Assistant Curator Jack Schneider. The exhibition will be on view through September 22, in the Griffin Galleries of Contemporary Art on the museum’s fourth floor.

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