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Art on theMART Announces Spring Program Aligned with Year of Chicago Theatre

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Posted  3 months ago  in  Arts and Culture

theMART, with the City of Chicago, on February 21 announced the program alignment of Art on theMART, the largest permanent digital art projection in the world, with the 2019 Year of Chicago Theatre, a city-wide celebration of Chicago’s theater community spearheaded by the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and the League of Chicago Theatres.

Art on theMART’s spring program will feature Chicago theater with a work by renowned lighting designer John Boesche. The program will debut March 13 and loop for two hours a night, five days a week (Wednesday – Sunday), beginning approximately 15 minutes after sunset. Subsequently, a collaborative piece by two Chicago theater professionals, scenic designer John Musial and Lucky Plush Artistic Director Julia Rhoads, will premiere on the river-façade of theMART in June.

“Our hope in aligning with the City of Chicago’s Year of Chicago Theatre is to present a program that showcases Chicago’s multi-faceted and multi-disciplinary theater community,” said Art on theMART Executive Director Cynthia Noble. “Each selected artist contributes in a unique way to Chicago theater and will lend their perspectives to Art on theMART’s monumental platform, transforming this iconic work of public art.”

John Boesche Rendering from 7 Soliloques

On March 13, lighting designer John Boesche will unveil the first acts of 7 soliloquies, a multi-part projection piece that captures seven significant Chicago theater artists in brief solo performances. In addition to performers, the work will also feature prominent composers, sound and scenic designers, puppeteers, and visual artists, creating a celebration of Chicago’s diverse theater community. Boesche will continue to add acts to the work following its premiere.

Boesche’s work will be presented alongside a new commission by Istanbul-based video mapping group Ouchhh Studios for the spring program. The complementary piece uses data gathered from musical compositions by famed Chicago-based jazz musicians to create a real-time experience in which a landmark architectural site transforms artificial intelligence into a visual experience.

Rendering by Ouchhh Studios

Art on theMART brings Chicago’s legacy of public art and iconic architecture together and helps reshape the way people interact with the Chicago River,” said Mayor Emanuel. “It is a fitting tribute to align the 2019 programming with the Year of Chicago Theatre; bringing new energy to the Riverwalk and honoring the cultural and artistic diversity that theater adds to our city.”

Art on theMARTs second commission in alignment with the Year of Chicago Theatre is the result of a collaboration between scenic designer John Musial and Lucky Plush Artistic Director Julia Rhoads. The work utilizes fragmented choreography and script from Julia Rhoads' work with Lucky Plush, a Chicago-based dance and theater ensemble, reimagined within John Musial's layered and evocative projection design. The source material draws from Lucky Plush's Rooming House, in which varied interpretations of personal and mythic storytelling leads down a rabbit hole into the lives of everyday people who do extraordinary things.

“This project brings a surprising intimacy and humanity to the grand stage of theMART’s riverfaçade, truly reflecting the adventurous and collaborative spirit of Chicago theater,” Julia Rhoads stated.

Art on theMART 2019 program selections were confirmed by an esteemed Curatorial Advisory Board comprised of several of the city’s most distinguished arts and culture leaders. In addition to Art on theMART Executive Director Cynthia Noble, Curatorial Advisory Board members include Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago Assistant Curator Grace Deveney, Art Institute of Chicago Assistant Curator Robyn Farrell, EXPO CHICAGO President/Director Tony Karman, Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events Director of Public Art Lydia Ross, artist Edra Soto, and artist Amanda Williams.

About the Artists

About John Boesche

From Broadway theater productions to performances by premiere dance companies, John Boesche is an acclaimed Chicago-based lighting designer with a diverse creative background. Locally, he has worked on productions at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Goodman Theatre, Joffrey Ballet Chicago, Steppenwolf Theatre, and many more. He has also worked on dozens of productions nationwide, including The Glass Menagerie on Broadway at the Roundabout Theatre. Since 2012, Boesche has been Chair of Digital Media for Live Performance, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

About Ouchhh Studios

Ouchhh is an award-winning independent creative new media agency with cross-discipline expertise in art, science, and technology. Ouchhh is considered to be a multidisciplinary creative hub focused on interactive new media platforms, artificial intelligence, data-driven sculptures, and kinetic public arts. Their immersive experiences and A/V architectural facade performances explore boundaries of art’s relationship with architecture, science, technology, and new media.

About John Musial

Julia Rhoads is the founding Artistic Director of Lucky Plush Productions, a MacArthur Award-winning ensemble recognized for its unique blend of dance, theater, comedy, and socially relevant themes. Her work has toured to over 55 cities worldwide, reaching notable venues including Joyce Theater (NYC) and the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Independent directing and choreography credits include Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Lookingglass Theatre, Redmoon, and River North Dance Chicago, among others. Julia’s work has been supported by major awards from Herb Alpert Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, National Performance Network, National Theater Project, and National Dance Project. Julia received her BA in history from Northwestern University and her MFA in performance from the School of the Art Institute Chicago. She is currently Director of Dance and Lecturer in Theater and Performance Studies at The University of Chicago.