Hans Ulrich Obrist to Lead Five-Hour-Long ‘Interview Marathon’ in Chicago With Artists, Architects, Donut-Shop Owner

By Alex Greenberger 

This September, Hans Ulrich Obrist, the artistic director of London’s Serpentine Galleries, will lead an event he’s calling “Creative Chicago: An Interview Marathon,” a five-hour-long series of conversations with artists, art professionals, and business owners. The event, which is being put on as part of the Chicago Humanities Festival in collaboration with the Terra Foundation for American Art, the Expo Chicago art fair, and the Navy Pier, is set to be held on September 29.

Obrist has been known to do these kinds of back-to-back talk events in Europe—he hosts a version of the marathon, which sometimes goes as long as 24 hours, each year at the Serpentine Galleries—but this program is the first time the curator will stage one in the United States. At “Creative Chicago,” which does not have an admission fee, Obrist will sit down with 18 artists, business owners, and art professionals, among them Barbara Kasten, Dawoud Bey, and Theaster Gates, and discuss with them the history of the Windy City. (Another one of the participants is Buritt Bulloch, the owner of the Chicagoan shop Old Fashioned Donuts.)

According to a release, while conceiving the event, Obrist drew inspiration from the work of Studs Terkel, the late Chicago-based historian known for his interview-heavy books on wide-ranging topics, most notably Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do (1974). Terkel’s curiosity was woven into “Creative Chicago,” which Obrist said in a statement was not made with a “preconceived idea or image” in mind, but is rather a “journey.”

The list of participants in “Creative Chicago: An Interview Marathon” follows below.

Amanda Williams, artist

Art Green, artist

Barbara Kasten, artist

Brandon Breaux, artist

Buritt Bulloch, Owner, Old Fashioned Donuts

Brandon Breaux, artist

Cauleen Smith, artist

Dawoud Bey, photographer

Eddie Bocanegra, organizer/activist

Eula Biss, writer

Fatimah Asghar, poet

Gerald Williams, artist

Jeanne Gang, architect

Joseph Grigely, artist/Art Historian

Louise Bernard, museum director, Obama Presidential Center Museum

Shani Crowe, artist/performer

Stanley Tigerman, architect

Theaster Gates, artist

Alison Cuddy, artistic director, Chicago Humanities Festival