Keep This Eye-Catching Public Art on Your Radar This Season

By Thomas Connors | December 4, 2018 | Culture

One of Chicago’s most massive structures is transformed into a splashy new canvas with Art on theMart.

(Photo by Joshua Brott/Obscura Digital)

Willis Tower and 875 N. Michigan Ave. may be more famous buildings, but at 4.2 million square feet smack dab on the river, theMart is hard to miss—especially now, with its 2.5-acre facade serving as a gargantuan canvas for a series of stunning digital art projections by artists Diana Thater, Zheng Chongbin, Jason Salavon and Jan Tichy. Displayed for two hours each night, Wednesday through Sunday, the show—the largest permanent digital art projection in the world—is the first of many to come. On view through December, Art on theMart will resume in March with a different roster of participating artists. And thanks to an agreement between the city and theMart, we can expect to see an ever-changing light show for the next 30 years.

Plus, check out this trio of public art pieces electrifying the city:

“Black Tiberinus”

Photo courtesy of City of Chicago

The greensward of the Riverwalk between Franklin and Lake has a new focal point in this towering sculpture by Chicago-based artist Robert Burnier. Commissioned by the City of Chicago and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and named for the Roman god of the Tiber river, it comprises a massive steel frame within which swathes of bright fabric dance in the breeze. On view through May, it’ll certainly be a bright spot when the inevitable winter slump sets in.

"Listen to Learn"

(Photo © Sandra Steinbrecher 2018)

The South Loop is awash in striking, colorful, large-scale murals. One of the latest—an initiative of the Toronto Committee of Chicago Sister Cities International and Columbia College Chicago’s Wabash Arts Corridor—is the creation of Toronto-based artist Kirsten McCrea and Chicago-based muralist and Columbia alum Justus Roe. Sited at East 11th Street and Wabash, the 22-by-126-foot work combines pattern-driven imagery with a bit of a pop art sensibility.

The Wabash Lights

(Rendering by David Tracy)

In the works for ’19 is this LED installation under the El tracks near Wabash and Lake. Conceived by filmmaker Jack C. Newell and creative strategist Seth Unger, the artistic intervention comprises lengths of programmable LED lights that anyone in the world can interact with via cellphone or online, making a walk down that everyday stretch of street a whole new experience. Things are looking brighter already.

Photography by: