We’ve been treated to many months of stunning art spectacles on the facade of the Merchandise Mart since they returned earlier in 2022 for a spring program in collaboration with Shedd Aquarium.
After the climate change-themed projections of ‘Choral’ in spring, ‘Billiken’ inspired by the largest and longest-running African American parade in the country and Nick Cave’s ‘Ba Boom Boom Pa Pop Pop’ took over the 25-story-tall face of the Merchandise Mart during summer before handing over to ‘Trap Moulin Rouge’ by Jasmin Taylor and ‘Love Letters’ by Yuge Zhou for fall.
Now the “largest permanent digital art projection in the world” will begin showing some sensational new shows for its winter program. “Chicago Design Through the Decades” by Daria Tsoupikova, Sharon Oiga, and Guy Villa Jr will start tomorrow night before The Nutcracker by Joffrey Ballet of Chicago joins the projections on Saturday, November 19.
Both shows will light up the 2.5-acre river façade at 7:30 & 8 pm nightly, changing from the 8.30 and 9 pm summer and fall showing times.
According to the Art on the MART program, “Chicago Design Through the Decades” is dedicated to “celebrating the life of Wayne Stuetzer (1938–2020)—a treasured colleague and a Founder and Director of the Chicago Design Archive.”
This piece will involve evolving forms “under the modes of photography, minimalism, futurism, three-dimensionality, and postmodernism throughout the 1930s–2010s” before ending in the 2020s “with digital portraits produced by using neural networks, a machine learning (ML) approach that formed the foundation of much of modern artificial intelligence (AI)—technologies becoming increasingly prevalent in contemporary art.”
The last part is a tribute to the alma mater of neural networks; both Warren McCulloch, a neurophysiologist at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC), and logician Walter Pitts from the University of Chicago, who proposed the first mathematical model of a neural network.
Joffrey Ballet’s “The Nutcracker” projections, meanwhile, ”allows visitors to experience scenes from the holiday classic as they listen to Tchaikovsky’s famous score.” Set during the 1893 World’s Fair, it follows Marie, a young girl who receives a magical nutcracker for Christmas and is transported to a magnificent world beyond her wildest dreams.
“Representing the innovation, ingenuity, and hope of Chicago, the production features the work of Tony Award®-winning choreographer Christopher Wheeldon” reads the project summary on artonthemart.com.
Attracting thousands to the Riverwalk and Wacker Drive in downtown Chicago every week Art on theMART provides a public platform for local artists, national artists, and international artists with work ranging from schools to renowned exhibitions and everything in between.
The 30-minute shows will run nightly at 7:30 pm and 8 pm through Friday, December 30th. The best places to view the projections are from the jetty section of the Chicago Riverwalk between Wells and Franklin Streets.
More information can be found at artonthemart.com/programming.
[Featured image from artonthemart.com]