A new immersive exhibit on the Mag Mile invites viewers to see things from all perspectives.
Artist Michael Murphy’s work “WOW” is composed of more than 1,000 mini disco balls.
Michigan Avenue is a world-famous shopping destination, but these days it’s also a hotbed of intriguing visual culture, from the Museum of Ice Cream to the recent hit Prince: The Immersive Experience. The latest must-see? Perceptual Experience, an immersive exhibition from New York-based perceptual artist Michael Murphy, whose work has been showcased in publications like Time magazine and through partnerships with brand like Nike, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Bombardier. “I like to think that a person’s interpretation is a bit of a reflection of the individual,” says Murphy, who received his master of fine arts from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2003.
In Murphy’s show, the art does not exist until the viewer makes it happen—that is, the works come into being as the viewers move around them. From one side of the room, “Air” looks like the Air Jordan 1 sneaker before transforming into the Chicago’s legend’s Jumpman silhouette, which Murphy says nods to the current sneaker culture and his relationship with the Jordan brand (he was tapped to create an Air Jordan sculpture for Niketown Chicago in 2014). “The work in the show is inspired by a sort of state of current affairs in the U.S. and abroad,” he shares. “[Some] are inspired by the conflict in Ukraine and the prowar propaganda surrounding it.” When speaking of a work titled “Polina,” which depicts a portrait of a six-year-old girl, Murphy says, “[She] was fleeing Ukraine when I started her portrait.”
Debuting the exhibit in Chicago is a proud moment for Murphy. “It feels like I’ve come full circle, as I cut my teeth as an artist in Chicago. I developed much of the tech used in the show here,” he says. “I left Chicago as an aspiring artist and am returning now as an established one. I love Chicago, and I hope that comes through with the show.” Through Jan. 28, The Shops at North Bridge, 540 N. Michigan Ave.