Rendering of the River Assembly exhibit along Chicago's Riverwalk (photo courtesy of the Floating Museum).
Clef Notes Chicagoland Journal for the Arts
The exhibit, River Assembly, will transform an industrial barge into a mobile art gallery displaying work created by local artists, cultural institutions and community organizations.
The Chicago Riverwalk and the Chicago Park District’s Eleanor Boathouse at Park No. 571 are welcoming a temporary riverside exhibition by the Floating Museum, the collaborative arts organization that creates temporary, site-responsive installations to activate sites throughout Chicago. The interactive spaces engage artists, historians and organizations in events that think outside the museum and generate community conversation. The summer exhibition, River Assembly, launched this week at the Eleanor Boathouse in Chicago Park Districts’ Park No. 571 (2828 S. Eleanor Street) and will remain on view through August 13. The barge will then travel along the river to the Chicago Riverwalk (at the River Theater between LaSalle and Clark Streets) where it will dock for two weeks from August 14 to August 28, when it will move on to Navy Pier. The installation is open daily, and admission is free.
“The Floating Museum is taking collaborative arts to the next level by bringing temporary, site-responsive museum spaces to sites throughout Chicago’s neighborhoods,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Using the city’s waterways, the museum activates sites along the river to bring art and cultural programming directly to visitors and Chicago residents.”
The Floating Museum has transformed an industrial barge into the aesthetically striking River Assembly exhibit – a mobile gallery and platform for public art and cultural programming. At each docking site, art crates will be unloaded to the riverside. The exhibition features a monument to Jean Baptiste Pointe du Sable, a moving image program, interdisciplinary performances and a “wonder cabinet” made from crates by Terry Dowd Inc. Some of these crates contain artwork, while others are transformed into works of art to be displayed along the riverside. The River Assembly exhibit plays on concepts of buoyancy and migration to physically move art across neighborhoods and transforms city sites into a full museum campus with exhibitions and programming.
Free music performances, community discussions and hands-on activities will take place by the river every Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday in August, with programming at the Eleanor Boathouse August 9–12 and at the Chicago Riverwalk August 16–27. Wednesdays will feature a “Song Circle” led by renowned poet and vocalist Avery R. Young. Thursdays will feature “Breaking Bread” sessions with a panel of community participants leading a conversation and Fridays will present live music events. Saturday afternoons (12–3 p.m.) bring “Sticks + Tape”–a guided collaborative building exercise for all ages–making a temporary, large-scale art structures out of simple materials. Additionally, on Saturday, August 12, the film Salty Dog Blues will screen in partnership with South Side Projections and Nights Out in the Park at Park No. 571.
From August 15 to 27, a free daily tour will lead visitors through the Chicago Riverwalk’s display, discussing the artists, partners and museum. Finally the culminating event “art.i.fact” will take place on the Chicago Riverwalk on August 27, 7–8 p.m. Playing on the idea of art as truth-telling, the event brings together some of the city’s most talented musicians and singers for a combination of live music led by Avery R. Young, dance performances and video art. A full schedule of programs is available at thefloatingmuseum.com/calendar.
Floating Museum participating artists include Miguel Aguilar, Marcus Alleyne, Hebru Brantley, Kris Casey, Louis DeMarco, Bill Douglas and a host of emerging and luminary artists. Participating organizations include DuSable Heritage Association, DuSable Museum of African American History, Graffiti Institute, Hyde Park Art Center, Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, among other area institutions.
The Floating Museum joins other temporary installations of public art on the Chicago Riverwalk in this Year of Public Art. Between Franklin and Lake Streets, visitors can currently see the monumental Deer by Tony Tasset, Vejigante, Mask On by Sam Kirk and Ballerinas by Tyrue “Slang” Jones. Scott Reeder’s Real Fake is on view at the northeast corner of Upper Wacker Drive and Wabash Avenue. A series of banners designed by Candida Alvarez will be installed in mid-August east of Michigan Avenue.
For more information and a complete schedule of River Walk events, visit chicagoriverwalk.us.