Art on theMART Announces 2019 Fall Program

John Boesche, To Be In Love, Performance by Cheryl Lynn Bruce and Original Artwork by Kerry James Marshall. Photograph by Bob Grosse.

By CGN Staff via PR

On September 21, Art on theMART, the largest permanent digital art projection in the world, will unveil new site-specific commissions by Charles Atlas and Petra Cortright. The program will also feature extended viewing of select soliloquies by Year of Chicago Theatre artist John Boesche, including a projected performance by Cheryl Lynn Bruce backgrounded by images of paintings by artist Kerry James Marshall. The approximately 25 minute program will be unveiled with a free public launch event at 6:30 p.m. on September 21 in alignment with EXPO ART WEEK (September 16 – 22). The launch event will feature food vendors and entertainment on Wacker Dr. between Wells St. and Franklin St., followed by a fireworks display that concludes the program.

“We are proud to present a strong program highlighting new contemporary artwork by Charles Atlas and Petra Cortright on our monumental platform this fall,” said Art on theMART Executive Director Cynthia Noble. “The visually and conceptually rich work is perfectly suited for a presentation of this scale and will be essential viewing for Chicagoans and visitors from around the world.”

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 two hours a night for ten months of the year (March – December), beginning approximately 15 minutes after sundown. The projections are regularly on view five nights a week from Wednesday – Sunday, with expanded nightly viewing to seven nights a week from May 13 – September 30, 2019.

About theMART

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. Encompassing 4.2 million gross square feet, theMART spans two city blocks, rises 25 stories, and is visited by an average of 30,000 people each business day and nearly 10 million people annually. 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.

Rendering by Charles Atlas for Art on theMART Fall 2019 Commission. © Charles Atlas; Image courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine, New York.

The program content rotates every season 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 will be 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

About the Artists

Charles Atlas

Charles Atlas has been a pioneering figure in film and video for over four decades. Atlas has extended the limits of his medium, forging new territory in a far-reaching range of genres, stylistic approaches and techniques. Throughout his production, the artist has consistently fostered collaborative relationships, working intimately with such artists and performers as Leigh Bowery, Michael Clark, Douglas Dunn, Marina Abramovic, Yvonne Rainer, Mika Tajima/New Humans, Antony and the Johnsons, and most notably Merce Cunningham, for whom he served as in-house videographer for a decade from the early 1970s through 1983; their close working relationship continued until Cunningham’s death in 2009.

John Boesche

From Broadway theater productions to performances by premiere dance companies, John Boesche is an acclaimed Chicago-based media 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.

Petra Cortright

Petra Cortright’s core practice is the creation and distribution of digital and physical images using consumer or corporate softwares. She became renowned for making self-portrait videos that use her computer’s webcam and default effects tools, which she would then upload to YouTube and caption with spam text. Cortright’s paintings on aluminum, linen, paper or acrylic are created in Photoshop using painting software and appropriated images, icons and marks. The digital files are endlessly modifiable, but at a “decisive moment” they are translated into two-dimensional objects. They become finite, yet their range of motifs and marks, and their disorienting perspectives and dimensions suggest dynamic change.

Petra Cortright, rendering of  Webcam still life with flowers blue, green, and red.