One of the city’s most public art experiences is back with a trip through the universe. Art on the Mart is working with local cultural institutions to bring their work to Wacker Drive.
“You’re walking down Wacker, and can have a trip through the universe,” said Vice President of Museum Experience & Collections at the Adler Planetarium, Andrew Johnston, ”It’s really an amazing experience.”
It’s a lightshow unlike any other, featuring work from the Adler Planetarium, and the Art Institute, with work from artists like Bisa Butler.
“This highlights what we’re excited about — to be a platform that amplifies the work of other cultural organizations, even in the midst of a pandemic,” said Executive Director of Art on the MART, Cynthia Noble.
Art on the Mart’s unique location — projected across the massive face of the building formerly known as The Merchandise Mart, makes for optimal views whether you’re walking or driving.
“There are four different sequences,” Johnston said. “It starts with Earth, our home planet. Then it moves into planets and shows different worlds. Then we go to the stars and show people how stars evolve and change through time, and then we go to beyond. We show people the scale of the universe and how it came to be how it is now.”
This galactic excursion is paired with tunes provided by Sun Ra, a jazz composer known for his “cosmic” sound, which can be heard from speakers along the Riverwalk.
“Sun Ra was from outer space,” said Matt Mehlan with Creative Audio Archie at the Experimental Sound Studio. “He arrived on Earth and hoped to bring everyone back through the power of music. Building a spaceship out of his music. So his music is really eclectic.”
This trip through space is just one of many projections showcased on the Merchandise Mart. The 30-minute shows also feature work from Chicago Public School students, and the Obama portraits. While Art on the Mart continues to partner with existing institutions, they also recognize the importance of showcasing local artists. That means they’re always taking proposals.
“Over the long duration of this project, we’re going to be able to show an even greater and more diverse range of projections. So we invite everyone’s participation.”
You can take your own trip through the arts universe nightly at 9 and 9:30 p.m. along Wacker Drive.
Visit: www.ArtontheMart.com for more details.
Follow Angel Idowu on Twitter: @angelidowu3
Angel Idowu is the JCS Fund of the DuPage Foundation Arts Correspondent.