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Art Institute Exhibit Turning Brides Into Bridezillas

By Chuck Sudo in Arts & Entertainment on May 18, 2011 7:40PM

Image via the Art Institute of Chicago.

The Art Institute of Chicago has a new site-specific exhibit from artist Pae White called Restless Rainbow in which White looks at what would happen if a rainbow became disorganized. Per the Art Institute's description:

From the surface of the floor to the tops of the glass walls, White’s work turns the Bluhm Sculpture Terrace into a completely activated site in and of itself. Restless Rainbow inverts the traditional act of “looking out” from the terrace—at the Chicago skyline, Millennium Park, and the lakefront—and instead invites visitors to enjoy it as an immersive space, brought fully to life through the use of color, line, and texture. White said, “I am not really interested in the blurring of boundaries; it’s really more that there is an art opportunity in all of these things. . . . In many ways it is about finding these hidden zones.” The Bluhm Family Sculpture Terrace is just such a “hidden zone.” Though highly visible, it is recognized more for what it presents than for its own spatial dynamics. Restless Rainbow changes that equation, bringing the space to life through a riot of color and play.

What the Bluhm Family Sculpture Terrace also represents, to women who pay anywhere from $5,000-$10,000 for the privilege, is a wedding venue with a gorgeous view of the Chicago skyline. A venue with a now obstructed view of the skyline that doesn't fall in line with some brides dreams of the perfect wedding. Some of those brides are venting to the Tribune, now that the Art Institute has informed them that White's exhibit was dotted and crossed. Gabrielle Berger is one of those brides. She calls White's exhibit an "acid-trip funhouse."

"I knew what risks we were taking in booking the space," said Berger, who thought the stark white walls of the Modern Wing would fit with her wish for a "minimalist" wedding. "But what they've selected to display in the space during wedding season is absurd."

Tribune reporter Cynthia Dizikes writes that the exhibit and the problems it poses to the Princess Bride fantasies of wedding parties who booked the terrace "highlights the fine line modern-day museums sometimes walk between art and commerce." Here's another fine line: White's exhibit is largely funded by the Bluhm Family Endowment. The same Bluhm family for whom the Terrace is named.

Money talks. Some louder than others.