MoCP Summer 2021 Exhibitions

Exhibitions "Much Unseen is Also Here: An-My Lê and Shahzia Sikander" and "Martine Gutierrez" will run from June 3 – August 29, 2021.


The Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago (MoCP) presents Much Unseen is Also Here: An-My Lê and Shahzia Sikander, an initiative of Toward Common Cause, from June 3 – August 29, 2021. This exhibition brings together the works of two major artists who both consider the theater of the landscape, monumentality, cultural history, and representation.  

The exhibition is organized by guest curator Abigail Winograd, MacArthur Fellows Program 40th Anniversary Exhibition Curator, Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago.

Probing monuments and identity, MacArthur Fellows An-My Lê and Shahzia Sikander explore history’s embeddedness in our present. Lê’s TheSilent General (2015 - ongoing) presents large-scale views of places and people in the contemporary American landscape, while Sikander uses sculpture, drawings, and animation to examine representations of intersectional femininity that is prompted by questions of who monuments historically depict.

With The Silent General, Lê negotiates her relationship to the tradition of American Road photography in particular, that storied genre associated with the likes of Robert Frank, Lee Friedlander, and Danny Lyon. These pictures confront the political rhetoric of the moment and tackle current events, while Sikander’s work examines the intersection of power, gender, empire, and self. Highlights include a deconstruction of traditional form entitled Promiscuous Intimacies (2020), in which two female figures sculpted in bronze----a Greco-Roman Venus and an Indian Devata (deity)----are intertwined. 

Through this unique curatorial endeavor, Much Unseen is Also Here presents the work of two Asian-American women artists who are both probing their relationships to America, its monuments, and the history of art in the midst of our nation’s collective upheaval.  

The exhibition takes its title from the Walt Whitman poem "Song of the Open Road" (1856) in which Whitman writes: “You road I enter upon and look around, I believe you are not all that is here /  I believe that much unseen is also here.”  

Much Unseen is Also Here is a collaboration between the Smart Museum of Art at the University of Chicago and the Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago.The exhibition is part of Toward Common Cause: Art, Social Changeand The MacArthur Fellows Program at 40  initiative, organized by the Smart Museum of Art in collaboration with exhibition, programmatic, and research partners across Chicago.


The Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago (MoCP) presents Martine Gutierrez, from June 3 – August 29, 2021. This exhibition features work from Gutierrez’s independent art publication, Indigenous Woman (2018), a 124-page glossy magazine exploring how deeply sexism, colorism, racism, transphobia, and other biases are embedded and ubiquitous in popular culture and fashion photography.

This exhibition is organized by Asha Iman Veal, MoCP curatorial fellow.

Disrupting beauty ideals of cisgendered whiteness, Gutierrez reappropriates pop cultural imagery to center herself as both artist and muse.

“We are conditioned to assume that physical appearance is, in fact, identity, which is often not the case,” writes Martine Gutierrez in Indigenous Woman. “As mixed transwomen, we’re often seen as male when we feel female, or have been assumed to be from another culture because our ethnicities are ambiguous. None of us fit neatly into one category.” 

Martine Gutierrez (b. 1989, Berkeley, CA) is an artist, performer, and musician who produces elaborate narrative scenes that employ tropes of pop culture to explore the complexity, fluidity, and nuances of both personal and collective identity in terms of race, gender, class, indigeneity, and culture.

“Martine Gutierrez introduces herself as the cynosure of global desire," says exhibition curator Asha Iman Veal. "Mass-culture imagery becomes far more sly, tenacious, and intriguing when reimagined and revised by this female artist of color." 

This exhibition of Gutierrez’s photographs, presented in the Print Study Room of the MoCP galleries, represents a body of work that has been exhibited all over the world including the 58th Venice Biennale. In August 2021, Martine Gutierrez at the MoCP will coincide with Public Art Fund’s Martine Gutierrez: ANTI-ICON, a new series of photographs on 350 JCDecaux bus shelters across New York City and Chicago. 

Exhibition dates are subject to change due to Covid-19. Reservations are required. Visitors can make a reservation at


The MoCP is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. The MoCP is supported by Columbia College Chicago, the MoCP Advisory Board, the Museum Council, individuals, and private and corporate foundations. The 2020-2021 exhibition season is sponsored by the Illinois Arts Council Agency, the City of Chicago's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), the Efroymson Family Fund, and the Philip and Edith Leonian Foundation.

Martine Gutierrez has been generously supported through The David C. and Sarajean Ruttenberg Impact Fund for Photography and the Sandquist/Kinney Foundation.

Much Unseen is Also Here has been generously supported through the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and the Terra Foundation for American Art.


The Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago is the world’s premier college art museum dedicated to photography. As an international hub, the MoCP generates ideas and provokes dialogue among students, artists and diverse communities through groundbreaking exhibitions and programming. Now in its 45th exhibition season, the Museum of Contemporary Photography cultivates a deeper understanding of the artistic, cultural and political roles of photography in our world today.


Marissa Fox
Manager of Marketing & Community Engagement