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James R. Thompson Center will join the Chicago Cultural Center and the Graham Foundation as iconic Chicago buildings that will host the 5th edition of the Chicago Architecture Biennial (CAB)

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Made possible by The Prime Group, Capri Investment Group, and Google, the Thompson Center will house exhibitions and site-specific installations as part of CAB 5 led by the artistic team Floating Museum CAB 5 will kick off programming on September 21st by opening the Thompson Center to the public with installations and programs alongside City Sites across the Chicago, leading up to a citywide opening celebration on November 1 st

(Chicago, Illinois — September 11, 2023) — The Chicago Architecture Biennial is pleased to announce the participation of the James R. Thompson Center as a Cultural Partner and City Site for the fifth edition of the citywide exhibition, CAB 5: This Is A Rehearsal. CAB 5’s artistic team is led by the Chicago-based artist collective, Floating Museum.

Hailed as one of Chicago’s postmodern architectural marvels, the Helmut Jahn-designed building will open to the public from September 21, 2023–through the end of the year and will host five exhibitions and site-specific installations made possible by Prime, Capri, and Google. The Thompson Center’s open atrium was intended as an architectural metaphor for transparency and open government in action; the public “improvising” their civic rights and duties in concert with elected
officials out in the open. Within this context, PCI will present a “forum” designed by Chicago firm inference in collaboration with Figur, showcasing advancements in digital manufacturing. This forum will become a stage, a screen, an instrument, and a backdrop, creating space that can be transformed through its use, fostering a sense of community, encouraging social interaction and engagement, serving as a platform for a series of CAB-curated exhibitions and activations. Installations and programs at the Thompson Center will open in phases leading up to the citywide celebration of CAB on November 1st.

More details about the full Biennial program and schedule of events will be announced in September. The architecture studio PARA Project (Amenia, NY / Cambridge, MA) will present a site-specific architectural intervention within the building’s iconic atrium, which will respond to the Thompson Center’s grand scale, and will include a bookstore curated by Marya Kanakis dedicated to ecology, architectural theory and thought leadership. Dissolving the boundary between Biennial ‘Participant’ and ‘Partner,’ the Storefront for Art and Architecture will occupy a storefront located within the atrium, replicating the independent, non-profit art and architecture organization’s namesake exhibition model that it has
employed since its founding in 1982 in downtown New York. Within its storefront-away-from-home, Storefront will present a solo exhibition of new work by David L. Johnson, an emerging New York-based artist and self-described flâneur known for his ongoing removal of different forms of hostile architecture around New York City.

Elsewhere in the atrium, Ibrahim Mahama—a Ghanaian artist who uses the transformation of materials to explore themes of commodity, migration, globalization, and economic exchange—will unveil a new,  site-specific work from his series of large-scale installations that employ materials gathered from urban environments, such as remnants of wood, or jute sacks which are stitched together and draped over architectural structures.

“The Chicago Architecture Biennial welcomes its collaboration with Google, a globally respected brand, and Prime-Capri, an esteemed Chicago-based developer and civic leader,” notes Chicago Architecture Biennial Chairman Jack Guthman. “Their support is an acknowledgment of the Biennial’s role in the international dialogue, which shapes the future of architecture and design as well as its place in Chicago’s arts and cultural landscape.”


The City is the Site