Dr. Raphael Gygax selected as first guest curator of digital art for Art on The Mart

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Dr. Raphael Gygax selected as first guest curator of digital art for Art on The Mart
Dr. Raphael Gygax will commence the 24-month position in summer 2023, with tenure culminating in a new projection set to premiere in 2024.

CHICAGO, IL.- ART on THE MART has announced the appointment of Dr. Raphael Gygax as its first guest digital art curator. Now in its fifth year, ART on THE MART is the world’s largest digital art platform that transforms THE MART, an iconic architectural landmark in Chicago, into a permanent, larger-than-life canvas. At the start of 2023, ART on THE MART announced a new award for a guest curator to bring fresh perspectives to the platform and continue its mission to present cutting-edge digital art. This new initiative will help to further advance ART on THE MART’s contributions in the field and provide more opportunities to curators. In this new role, Gygax will contribute to programming through commissioning a new projection set to premiere in 2024 and advise on the long-term curatorial strategy for ART on THE MART. Gygax will build upon previous years of the platform’s curatorial programming that featured site-specific projections by internationally renowned artists such as Derrick Adams, Nick Cave, Barbara Kruger, Charles Atlas, and more; leaders in design such as Gensler and the Chicago Design Archives; and projections by Chicago-based artists and local organizations, from Chicago Public Schools to the Chicago Black Dance Legacy Project, to elevate voices from across the community.

“It’s an honor to contribute to the extraordinary work of ART on THE MART and help further this unique project,” said Raphael Gygax. He continues: “Video, film, and various new media have always been important in my curatorial career. The immersive experience of large projections not only provide transcendent moments, but they also make us see content and stories in a completely different way. I am looking forward to working with artists who will take on this great task and to support them in their work.”

Gygax brings to ART on THE MART more than 20 years of experience as a curator and historian of contemporary art, specializing in time-based media. Before joining ART on THE MART as the 2023-24 guest curator, Gygax concurrently served as Associate Curator, Museo Casa Rusca, Locarno, where he most recently curated the museum’s annual exhibition program, and as Head of the BFA program and Deputy Director for the Department of Fine Arts at the University of the Arts, Zurich. Previously, he held curatorial positions at the Migros Museum fr Gegenwartskunst in Zurich, as well as with Frieze London and Frieze New York, advising on the Focus and Live sections of the fairs and Frieze Projects, the non-profit program of artist commissions in London. As a freelance curator, Gygax has organized exhibitions in Zurich, Paris, Brussels, London, and New York and has realized major solo and group exhibitions throughout his career with artists such as Charles Atlas, Wu Tsang, Alex Bag, Cory Arcangel, and more. He holds a PhD in Art History from the University of Berne and an MA in Art History, Film, and Drama Studies from the University of Berne and Zurich.

“We are delighted to welcome Raphael to the team,” said Cynthia Noble, executive director of ART on THE MART. “He is a highly respected curator and art historian who will bring a breadth of knowledge to our programming. He has passionately embraced new media art in his 20-year career and will bring a global perspective to his work with our artists, our programming, and the city of Chicago.”

ART on THE MART, presented in partnership with Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), is the world’s largest digital art platform that transforms an architectural landmark into a permanent, larger-than-life canvas. A shining example of Chicago’s long-standing commitment to public art, ART on THE MART brings cutting-edge video mapping techniques to Chicago’s Riverwalk, displaying projections of contemporary art across the 2.5-acre faade of THE MART, the largest privately held commercial building in the United States, internationally recognized as a global innovator in culture, design, and technology.

ART on THE MART presents pioneering moving image work by renowned local, national, and international interdisciplinary artists. The program has commissioned work by celebrated names like Derrick Adams, Charles Atlas, Nick Cave, Barbara Kruger, and more, alongside projections by Chicago-based artists and local partner organizations, from the Art Institute of Chicago and The Adler Planetarium to the Chicago Black Dance Legacy Project and Chicago Public Schools. ART on THE MART amplifies the expressions of the broadest range of artists and partners to realize the power of public art and inspire positive community engagement along the river, throughout Chicago, and beyond.

Founded in 2018, the program is a result of a 30-year commitment by THE MART owner Vornado Realty Trust, in close collaboration with the City of Chicago, with a shared goal to provide public access to innovative contemporary art to the thousands of visitors traversing the Chicago Riverwalk each day.

Projections are visible from Wacker Drive and along the Riverwalk. The platform is free and open to the public nightly, nine months per year, from April through December.

THE MART (formerly the Merchandise Mart) is the largest privately held commercial building in the United States: it encompasses 4.2 million gross square feet, spans two city blocks, rises 25 stories, and is visited by an average of 30,000 people each business day (or nearly 10 million people annually). THE MART serves as the home to Chicago’s most creative and technologically innovative companies, including Motorola Mobility, 1871, PayPal, and MATTER, as well as Fortune 500 companies Conagra Brands, Allstate, Medline Industries, Beam Suntory, Avant, and Grainger. It is also the largest and most important center for design in North America with more than 250 premier design showrooms offering the latest resources for both residential and commercial markets. For more information, visit themart.com.

The City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) supports artists and cultural organizations, invests in the creative economy and expands access and participation in the arts throughout Chicago’s 77 neighborhoods. As a collaborative cultural presenter, arts funder and advocate for creative workers, our programs and events serve Chicagoans and visitors of all ages and backgrounds, downtown and in diverse communities across our city – to strengthen and celebrate Chicago. DCASE produces some of the city’s most iconic festivals, markets, events and exhibitions at the Chicago Cultural Center, Millennium Park, and in communities across the city – serving a local and global audience of 25 million people. The Department offers cultural grants and resources, manages public art, supports TV and film production and other creative industries, and permits special events throughout Chicago.

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