Every month in 2012, the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Chicago presents new objects and installations by Scottish artist Martin Creed as part of his unique year-long artist residency, Martin Creed Plays Chicago. Creed's works range from poetically simple objects to large-scale participa.tory performances, including painting, sculpture, films, dance, performance, and music that re-evaluate the status of art with a generous sense of humor. Labeled a conceptualist and provocateur, Creed is creating new works every month to appear in non-gallery spaces in and around the museum, as well as on the MCA Plaza, and out in the city. As the MCA turns the museum over to Creed for the year, his residency illustrates the MCA's vision of an "artist-activated, audience-engaged" museum.
Creed (b. 1968) is one of the UK's leading artists and winner of the 2001 Turner Prize. He is currently organizing the project Work No. 1197: All the bells in a country rung as quickly and as loudly as possible for three minutes on July 27, 2012, as part of the UK government's Cultural Olympiad that accompanies the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Creed's first artwork at the MCA, Work No. 845 (THINGS), was installed in January and set the tone for his subsequent interventions. Originally a manufacturer's sample from a sign shop, Creed distances his found material from its original purpose and makes a simple statement using one ordinary word, THINGS, with a vivid, neon glow.
Subsequent works include:
Work No. 405, Ships Coming In - two videos of ships entering a port in Italy (February)
Work No. 916 - a sculpture of stacked cardboard boxes (March)
Work No. 798 and Work No. 1349 - geometric paintings on the MCA's atrium walls (April)
Work No. 1355 - nails hammered into the walls (May)
Work No. 792 - a sculpture of stacked legos (June)
While some projects are site-specific, others play with the notion of a curated object, such as an upcoming work that places a crumpled ball of paper in all the MCA's public spaces. In addition to his objects, Creed gives a number of performances, including a public talk with an on-stage shadow, and the US premiere of his first ballet on the MCA Stage in November.
Martin Creed Plays Chicago connects this renowned artist to the MCA and the city of Chicago in multifaceted ways. Outside of the building, Creed explores the vibrant music scene in Chicago and recorded an album at Chicago's Soma Electronic Music Studios. Each album has a distinctly different cover, created by students from the School of the Art Institute. A limited edition EP is planned for release in the fall. A blog
chronicles Creed's year-long residency through his projects and activities, and visitors' experiences and reactions.
In August, Creed's large, illuminated sculpture, Work No. 1092 (MOTHERS), is planned for installation on the plaza as part of the MCA's summer plaza series. Reaching nearly 40-feet high, this freestanding sign features glowing letters spelling MOTHERS majestically scaled across the top on both sides. A motor slowly spins the work in a 360-degree rotation, lending a rhythmic incantation to the word over the plaza. Creed frequently engages text in his work, using simple language to powerful effect. Throughout his career Creed has used neon as one of his primary materials, sometimes in modest scale - such as THINGS in the MCA's first-floor lobby -- and other times in oversized scale. MOTHERS is Creed's most ambitious neon project to date.
MCA Stage: Work No. 1020 (Ballet)
Creed creates a non-traditional ballet performance featuring his rock band and Joffrey Academy dancers with music and choreography centered on the five body positions of classical ballet. The performance takes place November 15-16, 2012.
Creed lives and works in London and spends time in Alicudi, Italy. His work has been exhibited widely at a variety of international venues, including the Moscow Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Centre Pompidou-Metz, France; Tate Modern, London; and Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Netherlands. Best known as winner of the 2001 Turner Prize, where Creed presented a work where the lights go on and off, Creed's work also kicks off the London 2012 Summer Olympics on July 27, 2012 with a city-wide effort to have everyone ring bells across England for three minutes. Martin Creed Plays Chicago is the first major Midwestern presentation of his work.