Art on theMART will resume projections Thursday, April 1 with the world premiere of Astrographics, a 16-minute piece developed in collaboration with the Adler Planetarium and presented in partnership with the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.
Astrographics will explore ways in which humans conceptualize and visualize their universe, and how that has changed over time. The piece will consist of four movements (Earth, Other Worlds, Stars and Beyond) which will transport the viewer from Earth to other planets and stars, then out to deeper and more speculative realms. Each of these movements features scientific visualizations based on real data showing the scale of the universe. The visuals, produced by the Adler Planetarium, are woven together with imagery from the world’s telescopes and works on paper from the Adler’s collections. Accompanying the projection will be music from the Sun Ra Arkestra archives from the Experimental Sound Studio.
Astrographics artistically showcases both historic perceptions of space and more recent advances in the understanding of the universe. The Adler Planetarium opened May 12, 1930, and was the first planetarium in the Americas, simulating the unspoiled night sky for its urban visitors. Ninety-one years later, humankind’s understanding of the universe has been dramatically transformed. In 2019, a black hole was imaged for the first time. In 2017, humans were able to feel the ripples in spacetime from a collision of two black holes more than 1 billion light years away.
“The Astrographics video piece for Art on theMART celebrates our growing understanding of the universe and our place within it,” said Dr. Andrew K. Johnston, the Adler’s Vice President of Museum Experience and Collections. “Advances in space exploration have provided many exciting images which are scientifically important and also visually beautiful. We are excited for this opportunity to showcase the connections between science and the visual arts. It provides the Adler Planetarium a unique opportunity to remind the public of these connections, blending art and science to introduce new audiences to discover the wonders of the cosmos.”
“As a significant public art platform, Art on theMART amplifies the work of our key cultural collaborators like the Adler Planetarium and builds upon our strong partnership track record,” said Cynthia Noble, Executive Director for Art on theMART. “Illuminating the creative work of scientific discovery and its visual representation on our expansive downtown canvas is particularly resonant as Chicago renews itself in 2021.”
Accompanying Astrographics through May 19 will be previously shown projections celebrating the work of artists Claude Monet and Bisa Butler, in conjunction with the Art Institute of Chicago’s exhibits Monet and Chicago and Bisa Butler: Portraits. Beginning May 20, Art on theMART will unveil a new work featuring art by graduating Chicago Public School seniors entitled Hope is a Light: Select Works from the Chicago Public School Class of 2021 to accompany Astrographics. Astrographic will remain as part of the program through July 4.
The 30-minute total program of projections will be shown nightly at 8:30 and 9:00 p.m. beginning April 1; from May 1 – August 31, projections will be shown nightly at 9:00 and 9:30 p.m. Art on theMART can best be experienced for free from the jetty section of the Chicago Riverwalk on Wacker Drive between Wells Street and Franklin Street, where accompanying audio is also available. Current social distancing practices, based on recommendations from the City of Chicago and the State of Illinois, must be observed by all Art on theMART visitors.
About the Adler Planetarium
The Adler Planetarium connects people to the Universe and each other. Whether it is introducing a guest to the Ring Nebula, a neighborhood school to a community partner, a research team to a network of citizen scientists, or one staff member to another, the Adler’s focus on meaningful connections dates back nearly a century. The museum typically hosts more than half a million visitors each year and reaches millions more through youth STEAM programs, neighborhood skywatching events, online citizen science, and other outreach efforts. Today, the Adler is bringing our unique approach—scientific exploration rooted in community and connection—to guests from around the world who can enjoy the digital Adler from their own homes, libraries, schools or offices. With the Adler’s support, people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities gain the confidence to explore their universe together and return to their communities ready to think critically and creatively about any challenge that comes their way.
About Art on theMART
Art on theMART is the largest permanent digital art projection in the world, projecting contemporary artwork across the 2.5-acre river-façade of theMART. This expansive permanent piece of public art continues Chicago’s legacy of providing both residents and visitors with exceptional art that is both free and accessible to all. Projections are visible to the public from Wacker Drive and along the Chicago Riverwalk.
The program content rotates seasonally and is selected with the assistance and expertise of the Curatorial Advisory Board. The City of Chicago and theMART work in partnership to manage and curate the projected artwork over the course of a 30-year agreement. Privately funded by Vornado Realty Trust, owner of theMART, Art on theMART marks the first time a projection of its size and scope is completely dedicated to digital art with no branding, sponsorship credits or messaging. The permanent projection system illuminates theMART with 34 state-of-the-art projectors totaling almost one million lumens. For more information, visit www.artonthemart.com.
theMART (formerly The Merchandise Mart), located in the center of the sought-after River North submarket, is interwoven into the fabric of Chicago as an innovator in business, technology, culture, art, media and more. As the largest privately owned commercial building in the United States, it is also one of the world’s leading commercial buildings, wholesale design centers and the preeminent international business location in Chicago. Offering continuous innovation and creativity from leading manufacturers and design-forward showrooms, theMART serves as the home to Chicago's most creative and technologically innovative companies including Motorola Mobility, 1871, Yelp, PayPal and MATTER, as well as Fortune 500 companies ConAgra, Allstate, Kellogg, Beam Suntory and Grainger. For more information, visit http://themart.com/.
About the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors. For more information, visit www.Chicago.gov/dcase.