Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the City of Chicago and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) today announced that a new site-specific art installation, Black Tiberinus by critically hailed Chicago-based artist Robert Burnier, is coming to the Chicago Riverwalk later this summer.
“Chicago is world-renowned both for its public art and the Chicago River, so it is fitting when the two come together,” Mayor Emanuel said. “It is a testament to the vitality of the riverfront that Chicago’s own Robert Burnier chose the Riverwalk for his latest work.”
The large-scale work, specifically commissioned by the City of Chicago for the Confluence section of the Chicago Riverwalk between Franklin Street and Lake Street, will feature three geometric structures made of steel, nylon mesh and rope. Responding to structural constraints imposed by the narrow strip of land that curves around the riverbend where Wacker Drive turns from west to south, Burnier’s suspended forms will hang over the lawn and be visible from Upper Wacker as well as the river level. With Black Tiberinus, the artist will construct an ephemeral monumental structure comprised of abstract forms and color. Burnier, who was recognized as a “Breakout Artist” by NewCity in 2016, combines mathematics, imagination and everyday materials to create inspiring forms that bear repeated viewings at various times and seasons.
The installation is expected to be completed later this summer and Black Tiberinus will remain on display through May 2019. With a title that references the Roman River God of the River Tiber, the work joins the paintings by Candida Alvarez currently located east of Michigan Avenue and previous installations on the Riverwalk including Tony Tasset’s Deer and Scott Reeder’s Real Fake.
“The Chicago Riverwalk is an ideal setting for Robert Burnier’s work,” said Mark Kelly, Chicago's Commissioner of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. “Colorful and fluidly geometric, his work will provide a spectacular visual element, particularly when juxtaposed against the natural placidity of the river and the elegant rigidity of the surrounding architecture. I’m particularly excited to see how the changing of the seasons will inform the viewer’s experience of Black Tiberinus.”
Art installations are a key element of the Chicago Riverwalk, and more installations are planned for the space. Beginning this fall, the Chicago Riverwalk will become the prime location for the enjoyment of Art on theMART, a large-scale lighting installation projected across nearly three acres of the southern facing façade of theMART, the building formerly known as The Merchandise Mart. The installation project, privately funded by Vornado Realty Trust, will open as part of the Terra Foundation for American Art’s Art Design Chicago initiative and will be implemented by Obscura Digital, the foremost design engineer of large projection installations. Art on theMART marks the first time a projection of its size and scope will be completely dedicated to art projection with no branding, sponsorship credits or messaging allowed. It will be a curated, ongoing series of ever-changing installations beginning after dusk for pedestrians and residents to enjoy. The City and theMART will be working in partnership in the management and ongoing curation of the projected art work. More details will be released at a future date.
About Robert Burnier
Robert Burnier (American, b. 1969) lives and works in Chicago. He received his M.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute in Painting and Drawing in 2016. He also holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania (1991). Exhibitions include Of No Particular King at The Arts Club of Chicago; Primary, at Korn Gallery, Drew University, New Jersey; Lip To My Ear, at Vacation Gallery, New York; Objectified, at Trestle Gallery, Brooklyn; So That Justice Should be Tyrant at Andrew Rafacz Gallery; Ghost Nature, curated by Caroline Picard, at Gallery 400, Chicago; and La Box, Bourges, France; The Chicago Effect: Redefining the Middle at the Hyde Park Art Center; Imaginary Landscapes, curated by Allison Glenn, at Chicago Urban Art Society and Jenny From the Color Block at the Cincinnati Art Academy. His work has been exhibited at art fairs in Miami, New York, Chicago and Copenhagen, Denmark. He is included in numerous private and public collections.
About the Chicago Riverwalk
The City of Chicago’s award-winning Chicago Riverwalk, a 1.25-mile promenade through the heart of downtown, has quickly become one of the city’s most popular destinations for art, music, dining and the enjoyment of natural habitats, beloved by Chicagoans and visitors alike. The Riverwalk is managed by the Chicago Department of Fleet and Facility Management with programming support from the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Access to the space is free and open to the public daily from 6 a.m. – 11 p.m. For more information about the Chicago Riverwalk and a complete schedule of events, visit chicagoriverwalk.us — and join the conversation on social media using #ChicagoRiverwalk.