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Martin Creed Plays Chicago

Martin Creed Work No. 405 Ships coming in, 2005
Martin Creed Work No. 405 Ships coming in, 2005Martin Creed Work No. 405 Ships coming in, 2005

Martin Creed Exhibit, MCA, Chicago


Running now through December 2012 at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago

The Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago is currently home to a year-long artist-in-residency project with English artist, Martin Creed. Creed, while based out of London, is well-known throughout the world as both a visual and performance artist. The artist will be providing the museum with a new work of art each month over the course of the year, including a performance art ballet piece in November (tickets will be available in July).

Martin Creed is a multi-faceted artist, comfortable in working in various media, from paint to found object sculpture and video art. His ease with various artistic materials adds a sense of mystery to the year-long show. Since he is not working primarily with one medium, viewers have no idea what type of work might appear in the coming months. This creates a sense of visitor anticipation. This slowed-down art opening also allows viewers to recognize that many artists choose to work in varied mediums and deal with different concepts in their works. While many art exhibits deal with an artist’s work from certain time, which tend to deal with similar ideas and materials, this exhibit really emphasizes how wide-ranging an artist’s portfolio can actually be. The first work in the Museum of Contemporary Art residency was a piece entitled Things. The artwork is simply multi-colored neon lettering placed upon a lone white wall on the bottom floor of the museum, near an entrance. It easily serves as a one-word descriptor of what the year-long exhibit is sure to entail- things; different types of things. It is a generalized term that allows Martin Creed’s creativity to have no boundaries during this display.

This exhibit creates a somewhat hide-n-go seek twist as part of the museum going experience. The installations are tucked away in various areas throughout the MCA and in non-sequential order. It requires viewers to not only search for the works everywhere and anywhere, but also keep a mental checklist of which month’s work has not been located yet. In the beginning of June there are only five pieces to search for and that is already a challenge for some of the pieces. One could only imagine that as the year continues, the works will be much more difficult to locate!

The museum is providing newspapers chronicling the artist’s endeavors within the museum. They, like the artwork, are located throughout the museum and actually assist viewers in providing information on what to look for, since many of the works easily camouflage into museum surroundings. They are published every month and not only detail the artist’s works, but also provide remarks on the pieces from various art insiders. The museum is also hosting a blog on the artist’s happenings which can be accessed through the MCA’s website and allow for visitors to post their thoughts and comments.

The exhibit is an interesting concept, slowing the traditional art show experience down to a year-long crawl and providing viewers a reason to visit multiple times. It also stretches the show throughout the museum and will eventually go beyond the museum walls. Instead of having visitors go to a specific part of the MCA for the show and potentially leave, visitors are required to travel throughout the museum and are much more likely to view all of the MCA’s works on display. Much like the Mark Handforth outside exhibition from the fall of 2011, which drew in passerby and didn’t require a visit inside the museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art is once again providing unique art going experiences for Chicago.
Guest Writer - Melissa Gumbs