Jun 28th 2022

The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago is thrilled to announce the opening of Chicago Works: Gregory Bae. The exhibition will be on view from June 28, 2022, through January 29, 2023 in the Sternberg and Rabin galleries on the museum’s third floor. A public opening reception will take place at the museum on Saturday, July 9 from 1:00 to 3:00pm. The exhibition is organized by Nolan Jimbo, Marjorie Susman Curatorial Fellow.

The MCA will host an opening reception of the Gregory Bae exhibition in early July and will share those details closer to the date.

Bae’s kinetic sculptures, drawings, and videos undertake the romantic yet futile project of pausing time, imagining the possibility of resisting the forces of aging, decay, and separation. Throughout the exhibition, everyday objects loop, stutter, or fail: a tire spins atop a treadmill, clocks tick in place, and acrylic frames preserve torn sheets of paper. Meticulously rendered landscapes also appear within Bae’s work, which attempts to overcome distances both physical and cultural. In particular, translation and travel between the United States and South Korea are recurrent themes throughout the show.

“Chicago Works: Gregory Bae gathers a focused selection of Bae’s work, which melds the language of conceptual art with urgent discussions related to race and the limits of representation. While the artist’s work speaks in the broadest terms of time and space, it subtly alludes to his personal experience as a first-generation Korean American, moving seamlessly between the universal and the culturally specific,” says Nolan Jimbo, Marjorie Susman Curatorial Fellow.

The first solo museum presentation of Bae’s work, the show is part of the MCA’s Chicago Works exhibition series, which spotlights Chicago-based artists who are shaping the local contemporary art scene.

“Over the past decade, the Chicago Works series has served as a platform for the city’s most experimental artistic practices, reflecting the diversity of Chicago’s artist communities and the rigor of the work made here. Chicago Works: Gregory Bae spotlights Bae’s meticulously crafted conceptual projects, which contemplate the poetics of time and distance through a diasporic lens. In light of the artist’s recent passing, we hope this exhibition will both acknowledge Bae’s lasting impact on artists in Chicago and build awareness of the poignant work he left behind,” says René Morales, James W. Alsdorf Chief Curator.


About the Artist:

Gregory Byungho Bae (b. 1986, Salt Lake City, UT; d. 2021, Chicago, IL) received a BFA in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design and an MFA in painting and drawing from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where he also served as a lecturer.

In 2021, he founded Chicago API Artists United (CAAU) in response to anti-Asian sentiment in the United States. In 2018, he co-founded exhibition space Bill’s Auto, Chicago. Solo exhibitions of Bae’s work were presented at table, Chicago (2019); 4th Ward Project Space, Chicago (2018); Federico Luger Gallery, Milan (2017); The Mission Projects, Chicago (2017); Chicago Urban Art Society (2015); and Opsis Art, Seoul (2015).

He received awards from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, New York; Chicago Artists Coalition; and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, New York.

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