ART on THE MART's 5th Anniversary Season Features 2 Site-Specific Commissions

Only in the Dark, 2023. Created by Dr Yiyun Kang. Courtesy of ART on THE MART. 

Via PR

CHICAGO, IL – ART on THE MART, an innovative digital art project that transforms a Chicago architectural landmark into a larger-than-life canvas, celebrates its 5th anniversary this fall with work by two veterans in the field of digital and video art. The 2023 fall programming will feature a new commission by the acclaimed Dr. Yiyun Kang, esteemed in the field of projection mapping and immersive art, and the return of the popular projection by the renowned Charles Atlas. Dr. Kang and Atlas’s projections will be on view nightly at 7:30pm CT from September 14 to November 15, 2023.  

“I am thrilled to welcome Dr. Kang to Chicago and ART on THE MART. As such a groundbreaking artist in the realm of projection mapping and immersive art, it’s exciting to see her vision be realized on THE MART,” said Cynthia Noble, Executive Director of ART on THE MART. “In celebration of our 5thanniversary, it’s also hugely exciting to welcome back Charles Atlas, whose career is deservedly booming right now. We look forward to having him in Chicago again.” 

Responding to humanity’s environmental crisis and the unfathomable power and intelligence of AI technologies, Dr. Kang’s site-specific commission Only in the Dark will unfold over three immersive scenes that mix digital animations with AI-generated imageries to explore how we can think collectively about a more inclusive future. The work begins with a scene depicting the shifting structure of THE MART, alluding to a new beginning. The second scene uses biophilic designs to illustrate the coexistence of nature and humans. Ending with a hopeful future, the final vignette depicts a human dancing in water surrounded by a beautiful halo created from the light bouncing off the water’s surface. ‘Only in the Dark’ is presented in partnership with Superblue, where Dr. Kang is the latest addition to the gallery’s artist roster.   

In creating ‘Only in the Dark,’ Dr. Kang was inspired by THE MART and its history and position as a leader in sustainable practices. Owned and operated by Vornado Realty Trust, THE MART is an architectural icon and an internationally recognized leader in culture, design and technology. Known colloquially as a “city within a city,” THE MART opened as the largest building in the world in 1930 and has continuously evolved to incorporate the latest in environmental practices. In 1996, THE MART became one of the first major properties in downtown Chicago to adopt the district cooling system to reduce the discharge of CFCs. THE MART was awarded its LEED certification in 2007 and its Fitwel certification in 2018, earning the title of largest Fitwel-certified building in the world. 


The Geometry of Thought, 2019. Created by Charles Atlas. Courtesy of ART on THE MART

“To escape our current darkness, this work suggests using non-binary thinking,” Dr. Kang said. “Building upon THE MART’s history of contributing to environmental solutions, I hope ‘Only in the Dark’ will help us to consider new ways of thinking to address some of the most pressing issues facing us today.”  

Reflecting on its five years of empowering artists to create innovative new work, ART on THE MART’s fall 2023 season will revisit Charles Atlas’s celebrated projection, The Geometry of Thought, which first debuted in fall 2019. The site-specific work features a characteristic combination of abstract shapes and numerals unfolding over eight chapters. The chapters will begin with a splash of color starting at the base of THE MART’s façade and rising to the top of the turrets, animating and exploring the iconic structure and architecture. Atlas has been a pioneering figure in film and video for over four decades. He has extended the limits of his medium, forging new territory in a far-reaching range of genres, stylistic approaches and techniques. In December 2023, the Art Institute of Chicago will also have The Years (2018), a recently acquired work by Atlas, on view in their galleries. ART on THE MART will then bring the projection back for a 1-3 day pop up timed to the opening.  

“I am thrilled to return to the beloved city of Chicago with ‘The Geometry of Thought’ animating THE MART’s façade,” said Atlas. “It is a truly unique platform for an artist to create work for and it’s been exciting to watch the program develop over the last five years.” 

ART on THE MART can best be experienced from the jetty section of the Chicago Riverwalk on Wacker Drive between Wells Street and Franklin Street, where accompanying audio can also be heard. ART on THE MART is presented in collaboration with the City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and is complimentary to all viewers. 

For more information on the 2023 season, please visit or follow #ARTonTHEMART.