• Floating Monuments: Mecca Flats
    Jeremiah Hulsebos-Spofford, Faheem Majeed, Andrew Schachman, and Avery R. Young
    Chicago Park District, Chicago
    Jul to Sep 2023
    Floating Museum

Concept sketch for "Floating Monuments: Mecca Flats," 2022. Courtesy Floating Museum

Floating Monuments: Mecca Flats is an inflatable architectural monument that conjures up themes of erasure and disinvestment on Chicago’s South and West Sides while celebrating Chicago’s Black Renaissance. Mecca Flats was originally built for white residents during the 1882 Worlds fair and was desegregated in the first half of the twentieth century, becoming a major gathering site for the Chicago Black Renaissance. It was demolished in 1952 to build Illinois Institute of Technology’s Crown Hall. By using a deployable sculpture at an architectural scale across multiple Chicago Park District sites, the project seeks to explore what it means to conjure up the ghosts of past architecture through a complicated monument that intersects with histories of colonialism, capitalism, urban planning, cultural production, and a contested building envelope. The piece shows how an interdisciplinary project can blur the lines between architecture, sculpture, performance, and institutional partnerships to model a pluralistic approach to monumentality.

Jeremiah Hulsebos-Spofford is a visual artist and assistant professor of sculpture at Indiana University Northwest. His work has been shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, the Arts Club of Chicago, the American Academy of Arts and Letters (NYC), UC San Diego Art Gallery, Glass Curtain Gallery, and Hyde Park Art Center, among other spaces.  He has held fellowships and done residencies at the Sculpture Space, the MacDowell Colony, Vermont Studio Center, the Brown Foundation Program at the Dora Maar House, the American Academy in Rome, and the Skowhegan School of Sculpture and Painting.  His work has been supported by grants from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts, the Harpo Foundation, the Propeller Fund, the Chauncey and Marion Deering McCormick Foundation, the Field Foundation, an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship, the Joyce Foundation, the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, an Indiana University Presidential Arts Fellowship, and a Fulbright Fellowship in Sicily. Selected reviews of his projects have appeared in Artforum, Sculpture Magazine, Hyperallergic, and the Chicago Tribune.

Faheem Majeed is an artist, educator, curator, and community facilitator. He blends his unique experience as a nonprofit administrator, curator, and artist to create works that focus on institutional critique and exhibitions that leverage collaboration to engage his immediate, and the broader community, in meaningful dialogue. Majeed received his bachelor of fine arts degree from Howard University and his MFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC).

Andrew Schachman designs environments, infrastructures, and installations. He is the executive codirector of two organizations that are experimental spaces for delivering arts and culture within existing metropolitan networks: Floating Museum and Fieldwork Collaborative Projects. Trained as an architect, he designed and managed projects for the offices of Zaha Hadid, Perkins and Will, Carol Ross Barney, and Doug Garofalo. His projects have received numerous awards, including the Distinguished Building Award from the American Institute of Architects and the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Award for Architectural Excellence in Community Design. As Principal of Studio Andrew Schachman, he recently completed the design for the Palais de Tokyo’s exhibition, Singing Stones, in the roundhouse of the DuSable Museum of African American History. Schachman is a lecturer in urban design at the University of Chicago.

Best known as a poet, songwriter, and performer, multi-disciplinary artist Avery R. Young is also an award-winning teaching artist who mentors youths in the crafts of creative writing and theater. He has been an Arts and Public Life Artist-In-Residence at the University of Chicago and has written curriculum for Columbia College Chicago, Young Leeds Authors, True Star Magazine, and Chicago Public Schools Art Integration Department. Young’s poems and essays on HIV awareness, misogyny, race records, and art integration have been published in The BreakBeat PoetsThe Golden Shovel Anthology: New Poems Honoring Gwendolyn BrooksAIMPrint, and other anthologies.

Floating Museum is an arts collective that creates new models exploring relationships between art, community, architecture, and public institutions. Using site-responsive art, design, and programming we explore the potential in these relationships, considering the infrastructure, history, and aesthetics of a space. Floating Museum is codirected by Avery R. Young, Andrew Schachman, Faheem Majeed, and Jeremiah Hulsebos-Spofford.