Concrete Happenings: Fall 2016 – Spring 2017
Don't just look at art. Grapple with it.
The University of Chicago has a rich history of embracing challenging public art on and around campus as a means of extending the intellectual life of our community beyond classrooms, libraries, and labs, and into the everyday spaces that shape the human experience.
Concrete Happenings builds on that legacy by inviting artists, communities, scholars, and art-lovers to experience the power of public art through a yearlong celebration featuring exhibitions and interactive public programs, including happenings, music performances, film screenings, talks, book and paper arts workshops, and more.
Catalyzed by the return to campus of Fluxus artist Wolf Vostell’s Concrete Traffic (1970), a 1957 Cadillac deVille encased in concrete, the impact of Concrete Happenings goes beyond a single work of art. A loosely-defined, international art movement active in the 1960s and 70s, Fluxus sought to involve audiences in the creation of art through “happenings” intended to disrupt daily life and create space for new approaches to the everyday.
Concrete Happenings turns that idea into a mission. The massive Concrete Traffic sculpture now lives in the Campus North Parking Garage, where the final phase of its conservation will take place in the public eye. Its permanent siting and public conservation offer concrete examples of how public art can transform the everyday, activate public urban spaces, and drive new dialogues through encountering the unexpected. Throughout Concrete Happenings, Concrete Traffic will act as the touchstone for countless unique opportunities to engage with a crucial art historical moment and explore how public art can galvanize communities and change conversations.