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