Things to do this weekend in Chicago
Five nights a week, a 25-story-tall video installation takes over the side of the Merchandise Mart, filling the building's historic facade with vibrant colors and moving images. Harnessing 34 digital projectors, the show features work by a rotating lineup of artists and is best viewed from Wacker Drive or the Riverwalk, between Wells and Orleans Streets. Art on theMART lights up the night Wednesday through Sunday, with projections beginning approximately 15 minutes after sunset.
The Gene Siskel Film Center's annual European Union Film Festival serves as North America's largest showcase for films from European Union nations, including countries like Austria, Belgium and Croatia. This year's program features more than 60 films, representing all 28 EU nations. Highlights of the lineup include Romanian murder mystery Thou Shalt Not Kill, German teen drama Tiger Milk, Spanish animated film Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles and Hungarian Cold War comedy Lajkó--Gypsy in Space.
Contemporary art comes to the Driehaus Museum for the very first time, when the Gilded Age mansion hosts Shonibare’s sculptures dressed in colorful high-Victorian costumes and two collections of photographs. The British-Nigerian artist's work is spread throughout the house, contrasting the humor and irony of his creations with the beautiful, antiquated spaces in which they reside.
Best known for her photos of dolls and miniature objects (as well as for being the mother of Girls creator and star Lena Dunham), New York artist Laurie Simmons creates work that views reality through a surreal lense. The MCA's career retrospective, entitled "Big Camera/Little Camera," includes works that explore scale, female gender roles and the artificiality of social media. In addition to photographs, guests can view a collection of the miniature props that Simmons used in her imagery, sculptures that comment on society's obsession with the female body and a trio of short films, including one in which actress Meryl Streep interacts with vintage puppets. In acknowledgement of Simmons' activism in the realm on gender inequality, the MCA will offer $12 tickets (81 percent of the regular $15 admission price) to those affected by the gender pay gap through the duration of the show's run.
Step inside one of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama's famous Infinity Mirror Rooms at this new pop-up exhibition, which features installations that blend art and science. Other attractions include a “zero-gravity ball pit” that uses helium balloons and fans to simulate a weightless version of the childhood attraction, a floor that reacts to your footsteps and a gigantic screen that replicates your image with black and white discs. According to a press release, the exhibit will remain on display for a “limited, but undetermined, amount of time,” so you might want to book tickets sooner rather than later. Oh, and if you happen to use the restroom during your visit, definitely go ahead and press the red button.
The North Shore's annual salute to this prized family of flowers is the perfect cure for wintertime blues. The greenhouses and gallery will be packed with more than 10,000 in-bloom orchids, featuring an array of hybrids.