For The MacArthur Foundation, we created an art program that supports and reflects the foundation’s mission: fostering creativity, sustainability, and individual empowerment.
In 1990 the MacArthur Foundation expanded its art collecting activities in response to a facility renovation in its Chicago headquarters. But rather than just decorating the building’s walls, the foundation developed an art program that supports and critically reflects on the foundation’s larger mission: fostering human creativity, the generation of new ideas, the role of the individual in democratic societies, and sustainable practices globally.
From 1995-2010, Burns continued on this course, acquiring relevant new artworks, managing and periodically reinstalling the collection, and conducting educational programs for employees, increasing their understanding and appreciation. With a focus on international perspectives, and the ways globalization is affecting contemporary cultural practices, Burns also organized film screenings, panel discussions and presentations by artists, curators and theorists.
Examples of relevant programs include: Border, Michal Rovner’s film about the Israeli/Palestinian border with a discussion led by Rashid Khalidi, an expert in Middle East Affiars at the University of Chicago; The Art of Cuba; Beauty in Art; India: The Transmission of Culture Through Photographs, a discussion with Dr. Homi Bhabha from the University of Chicago; and talks by individual artists including Shazia Sikander, Kerry James Marshall and Janine Antoni.