Exploring the fascination of building higher
When you live in Chicago, it’s a phrase you hear so often, you might cease to register its significance: “Birthplace of the modern skyscraper.”
But our city did indeed shape the world’s skylines with early breakthroughs in load-bearing structural frames. Buildings have been going up and up ever since, and the Museum of Contemporary Art is celebrating the myth and message of those awe-inspiring forms in a just-opened exhibit, “Skyscraper: Art and Architecture Against Gravity.”
The stunning centerpiece of the show is Polish artist Monika Sosnowska’s steel sculpture in the form of a crumbling fire escape that has been suspended from the ceiling of the museum’s dramatic four-story atrium. You’ll also see Andy Warhol’s 1964 film of the Empire State Building, Catherine Yass’s video of high-wire artist Didier Pasquette and works by close to 50 other international artists. A section of the exhibit titled “Vulnerability of Icons” is poignant in its view of our post-9/11 relationship to these monuments of power.
The next time we’re walking among the Loop’s towering giants, we’ll be gazing up in a whole new light.
MCA Chicago, 220 E. Chicago Ave.; 312-397-4010 or mcachicago.org