0038 Vibes @ The Museum of Contemporary Art
Art Direct / Build / Curate / Design / Produce
In early 2015, we were approached by the Museum of Contemporary Art with the hopes of working together to launch a new quarterly late night event series in their space, with Land and Sea Dept. being the first in what has since become their ongoing ‘MCA Prime Time’ initiative.
The MCA is a contemporary art museum located in Chicago, one whose mission is “to bring artists and audiences together to experience and contemplate contemporary art and culture in ways that can deepen what it means to be a citizen of both Chicago and the world.”
Our program, ‘Vibes’, explored themes of collaboration, community and inspiration, allowing us to work across our collective experiences in the realms of art, design, food, music and more in a contemporary museum setting, across all four of its floors.
In the realms of art, installation and video, artists Lilli Carré, Paul Nudd and Philip Vanderhyden contributed pieces for a video program that played over the course of the evening. Mike Rea presented a new mixed media piece, ‘Band Practice’, Jose Pellot installed a sculptural piece, and Jeremiah Chiu (Plural) showed his interactive ‘Smartphone Symphony’ piece in the MCA’s performance theater.
In terms of drinks and food, nearly all of our principles and properties were represented in kiosks that we designed and built in our shop / studio, miniature versions of each outlet. On the beverage side, Paul McGee (Cherry Circle Room, Lost Lake), Phil Olson (Longman & Eagle) and Charlie Schott (Parson’s Chicken & Fish) offered up a curated selection of cocktails. Chefs Matthew Kerney (Longman & Eagle, Off Site Bar), Hunter Moore (Parson’s Chicken & Fish) and Pickle & Chub (Jennifer Jackson & Justin Tootla, Thank You.) all contributed dishes from their respective restaurants.
With regard to music, electronic pop savant Dan Deacon headlined the event, resulting in plenty of audience participation and theatrics. Deacon played through deejay Dave Mata’s massive, sculptural speaker wall, which marked the debut of the ‘Impala Sound System’. Pysch-folk abstractionist Ryley Walker performed a stirring set above the crowd on the museum’s second floor mezzanine, and Elliot Bergman (Nomo, Wild Belle) led an improvising ensemble on the plaza, inside (!) an Alexandre da Cunha sculpture, captivating and welcoming guests audibly as they came in. Domestic Animal and Afterglowings performed a liquid light show and noise set in the ‘LSD Mini Mart’
We curated the pop-up mart as a means of collaborating with and including more friends of ours, which resulted in a wide range of creatives across disciplines, showcasing art, design, publications, objects and records. Participants included Andrew Rafacz Gallery, Devening Projets + Editions, Drag City, LVL 3, No Coast, PATRON, The Pitchfork Review, Pot Shop, Sonnenzimmer, Tan & Loose Press and WesternXeditions. Ryan Travis Christian curated an a video program for the mart space, featuring work by Nate Bernot, Shana Moulton, Allison Schulnik, Scott Wolniak and more, and Drag City Records provided sounds from their fine, fine catalog of releases.
The event sold out quickly, with nearly 2000 people in attendance, a response that we found quite humbling. It was, in a word, nuts. So, so many thanks to those of you that attended and participated, and major propers to the Museum of Contemporary Art staff for being such a joy to work with.
video: Richard Smith
photos: Clayton Hauck