MCA Chicago
Oct 19, 2019–Apr 5, 2020

The Shape of the Future reckons with the dubious dream of a universal design language. The exhibition explores global modernism as a framework for utopia and speculative world making, marked by traces of labor, political fantasy, and cultural turmoil. This occurs on both an international scale—Yto Barrada examines unfinished real estate developments in Morocco, Richard Misrach measures progress against ancient history in Egypt, and Bodys Isek Kingelez invents a vernacular for an architecture of African abundance—and a local one: David Hartt reveals the physical and ideological contours of the Johnson Publishing headquarters in Chicago, while Mary Brogger plays with the clean lines and legacy of the Farnsworth House in Plano, Illinois. Buckminster Fuller, Pablo Helguera, Jack Pierson, and Jim Shaw find the pinnacles and ruins of modernism's essences, and Damián Ortega takes literally the prompt of an architecture of transparency. Gunther Förg finds the modernist contours of fascism, while Mauro Restiffe documents design as a backdrop to socialist optimism. Highlighting the histories and ideologies embedded in the built environment, artists reveal the complexity—and at times absurdity—of the modernist project as a collection of disasters and reveries.