Broadway World, July 26, 2018

Chicago Humanities Festival, in partnership with The Terra Foundation for American Art, EXPO CHICAGO and Navy Pier today announced the initial list of participants for Creative Chicago: An Interview Marathon, led by one of the world’s most influential curators and critics Hans Ulrich Obrist, artistic director of London’s Serpentine Galleries. Known for his dynamic, long-form interview sessions, the five-hour interview marathon will be comprised of back-to-back conversations with prominent Chicago innovators from a variety of creative fields. Obrist’s first U.S. marathon will take place Saturday, September 29, 2018 in Navy Pier’s Aon Grand Ballroom, during EXPO CHICAGO 2018 (September 27-30). Creative Chicago is funded in part by the Terra Foundation for American Art and is part of its year-long, citywide initiative, Art Design Chicago, celebrating the city’s rich art and design history through exhibitions and special events throughout 2018.

Creative Chicago will take a multi-dimensional, multidisciplinary look at creativity in the city-past, present and future. Bringing together artists, authors, architects and other creatives, the marathon will examine the numerous forces that make Chicago a center for art and design. In addition to previously announced participants artist Theaster Gates and architect Jeanne Gang, notable Chicagoans include author Eula Biss; artists Art Green, Joseph Grigley and Brandon Breaux; architect Stanley Tigerman; photographer Dawoud Bey; and more.

“Creative Chicago will feature many of the dynamic individuals who make our city a powerhouse for creative ventures,” says Chicago Humanities Festival Marilynn Thoma Artistic Director Alison Cuddy. “Foundational artists such as Art Green of the Hairy Who and Gerald Williams of AfriCOBRA, contemporary photographer Dawoud Bey and Obama Presidential Center Museum Director Louise Bernard, as well as members of our city’s creative vanguard, including performance artist Shani Crowe, filmmaker Cauleen Smith and artist Amanda Williams, will engage in rich revelatory conversations that will lay bare our city’s deep creative center. By bringing together people who might not otherwise engage in conversation, we hope the marathon will be a creative act in itself, sparking future collaborations and new creative ventures.”

The celebrated oral historian and iconic Chicagoan, author Studs Terkel, was a major influence and inspiration for Obrist’s creative practice-making Chicago a fitting destination for the curator’s first U.S. marathon. The two met in the 1990s during one of Obrist’s visits to Chicago. Terkel’s style of interviewing-intense, intimate and wide-ranging-and his subject choices (both major artistic figures and everyday citizens), inspired Obrist’s marathon-style approach to interviewing, and is a central aspect of his current artistic and curatorial practice.

Archives will also play a vital role in Creative Chicago including Terkel’s radio interviews, material from musician Sun Ra and Hans Ulrich Obrist’s own Chicago-based archive. These historic materials continue to provide insight and inspiration for practicing artists, calling attention to the legacy of these influential leaders in Chicago’s contemporary creative landscape.

Obrist hopes that by interviewing the city’s leading visionaries, the metropolis at the edge of Lake Michigan will reveal itself to be a collaborative “archipelago” of arts and culture. “Rather than having a predetermined image or idea,” of what Chicago is and represents in 2018 Obrist says, “that’s the journey.”

“The Creative Chicago marathon is certain to bring greater awareness of Chicago’s role as an important art and design center, past and present,” said President and CEO of the Terra Foundation for American Art Elizabeth Glassman. “The diversity of participant perspectives adds to a deeper understanding of the many ways our creative communities continue to shape culture locally and well beyond Chicago. A centerpiece program of Art Design Chicago, the marathon will contribute to the rich array of stories explored through the initiative this year.”

Creative Chicago: An Interview Marathon participants (in formation):

  • Amanda Williams, Artist
  • Art Green, Artist
  • Barbara Kasten, Artist
  • Brandon Breaux, Artist
  • Buritt Bulloch, Owner, Old Fashioned Donuts
  • Brandon Breaux, Artist
  • Cauleen Smith, Artist
  • Dawoud Bey, Photographer
  • Eddie Bocanegra, Organizer/Activist
  • Eula Biss, Writer
  • Fatimah Asghar, Poet
  • Gerald Williams, Artist
  • Jeanne Gang, Architect
  • Joseph Grigely, Artist/Art Historian
  • Louise Bernard, Museum Director, Obama Presidential Center Museum
  • Shani Crowe, Artist/Performer
  • Stanley Tigerman, Architect
  • Theaster Gates, Artist
  • Alison Cuddy, Marilynn Thoma Artistic Director, Chicago Humanities Festival

Creative Chicago will be free and open to the public. This event is only one in a robust series of Chicago Humanities Festival programs connected to the broader Art Design Chicago initiative celebrating the unique and vital role Chicago plays as America’s crossroads of art and design, creativity and commerce through more than 30 exhibitions, plus hundreds of tours, talks and special events taking place through 2018. Creative Chicago will also launch the Chicago Humanities Festival’s Fallfest 2018: Graphic!focusing on the increasingly visual nature of the world, which is transforming the way people work, play, communicate and think. Fallfest 2018: Graphic! will launch September 29th and run from October 27 to November 11.

Held during EXPO CHICAGO, the marathon continues the legacy of Hans Ulrich Obrist’s participation with the exposition as part of the /Dialogues program, presented in partnership with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.”We are thrilled to be a partner of the Chicago Humanities Festival, alongside the Terra Foundation for American Art, to present Hans Ulrich Obrist’s first Marathon in the U.S.,” said EXPO CHICAGO Director of Programming Stephanie Cristello. “Our past collaborations with Obrist to present panels and conversations with some of the city’s leading artists have illustrated his deep commitment to elevating figures living and working in the city within an international context. This Marathon will expand on this rigorous approach to Chicago’s legacy as a center for contemporary art, and delve into parallel cultural fields, which it so deserves.”

About Hans-Ulrich Obrist

Hans-Ulrich Obrist was born in Zurich, Switzerland, and began working throughout his home country curating contemporary art exhibitions such as “Manifesta 1,” founding the “Museum Robert Waiser” and being named an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects. Ignited by his fascination with an artist interview as art itself, Obrist began “The Interview Project,” his life-long project featuring lengthy interview conversations with cultural figures including John Baldessari, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster, Yoko Ono, and Robert Crumb to name a few. Interviews from this project have been recorded and published in Artforum, as well as a series of books with 69 interviews from artists, architects, writers, film-makers, scientists, philosophers, musicians, and performers. In addition to “The Interview Project,” Obrist continues exploring the world of art from the lens of curator earning him the New York Prize Senior Fellowship for 2007-2008. His more recent work includes The Marathon series, an on-going exploration of the intersection between art and societal topics impacting the world today. Obrist was appointed the artistic director of London’s Serpentine Galleries in 2006 and continues to curate being dubbed the “curator who never sleeps” by The New Yorker. He topped the ArtReview Power 100 list of the most influential people in the art world in 2016.

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