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1980s exhibit at the MCA
Installation view of "This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s." Photo by Nathan Keay.

In the 1980s, art gained new ground as a luxury commodity thanks to Reaganomics; photography challenged the traditional mediums of painting and sculpture; the HIV/AIDS crisis politicized the art community; and globalism chipped away at New York's reign as the center of the art universe.

A major new exhibition at the MCA, "This Will Have Been: Art, Love and Politics in the 1980s", includes more than 130 works that examine the complexity of art produced during this viewpoint-shifting decade. Guest curated by Helen Molesworth of Boston's Institute of Contemporary Art, the exhibit runs through June 3 and is divided into four sections: "The End Is Near," "Democracy," "Gender Trouble" and "Desire and Longing." It showcases a vast cross section of notable artists, from Cindy Sherman and Jeff Koons to Julian Schnabel and Jenny Holzer.

We never thought we'd have a chance to go back to the '80s, but right now seems like a good time for a visit.

MCA Chicago, 220 E. Chicago Ave.; 312-280-2660 or

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