Artist Sarah Morris gifts audiences a homage to the city of huge shoulders, bludgeoning winds, architectural and culinary feats, feasts; its awe -inspiring majesty splayed, over sixty-eight minutes of profound, beautiful wonderment; her camera, like a magician’s wand, transforms all that she films; the benign is elevated to the sublime; the pedestrian becomes grand; a stop sign, fractured pavement, stroked equally, blessedly, as the monolithic Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower), John Hancock, Prudential, Wrigley buildings. She captures the splendor of this mighty metropolis, enhanced by the luminous, undulating, dominance of Lake Michigan, perpetually defining its glory.
She references every artist/architect who have used Chicago as a canvas for creativity: Picasso, Chagall, Mies van der Rohe, Frank Gehry, Anish Kapoor; speeding down Lake Shore Drive, Michigan Avenue, streets recalling past presidents; compelling contrasts between the subway, pedways, expressways, with the elitism of foreign automobiles. The visual cacophony accompanied by the wizardly score of British artist, and Sarah’s husband, Liam Gillick.
Voyeuristically, we stroll through architect Helmut Jahn’s, State of Illinois Building; glamorous offices of Ebony Magazine, crown of the Johnson Publishing empire; experience the conception and daily birth of the Chicago Tribune newspaper; emphatically gorge on the corned beef at Manny’s delicatessen, swoon over the delicacies at Alinia; join the “hog butchers” in the bloody butchering; stuff the casings of the ubiquitous “hot dog”. Fleeting glimpses of recognizable individuals, others simply “strangers in the night”; regardless, dawn or dusk, kiosk or boardroom, animate or inanimate, Morris’s “Warholian” approach is perspicuous, her camera lionizing in equal proportion, all it reverentially touches.
I live in Chicago. Sarah Morris’s “Chicago, 2011” reaffirms why, and how much I love it.