Gabrielle Berger, who holds a degree in art history and formerly worked at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, booked the outdoor terrace months ago, expecting the lush greenery of Millennium Park and Chicago’s legendary skyline would be the backdrop to her June wedding. Instead Restless Rainbow, designed by artist Pae White for the terrace, will obstruct that view.
“I knew what risks we were taking in booking the space,” Berger, who thought the stark white walls of the museum’s modern wing would fit with her wish for a “minimalist” wedding, told the Chicago Tribune. “But what they’ve selected to display in the space during wedding season is absurd.”
Renting the terrace costs $5,000, and it’s $10,000 for the entire third floor, including the Terzo Piano restaurant, according to Art Institute spokeswoman Erin Hogan.
The artwork, which opens to the public Saturday, consists of colorful vinyl strips that wrap around the terrace’s glass panels and sweep across the floor. The panels on the north end of the terrace, which overlooks over Millennium Park, are 18 feet tall.
Hogan said that once White’s plans for the terrace were finalized in March, the museum informed those who booked summer weddings and other events. She said the museum is looking for ways to address the concerns of wedding parties that have expressed concerns over how White’s art will affect their celebrations.
“At the same time, we are an art museum committed to bringing contemporary art – and art of all periods and places – to our visitors,” Hogan said.
To appease unhappy couples, the Art Institute has been coming up with alternatives, including full access to Nichols Bridgeway, which connects the modern wing to Millennium Park.
Wedding planner Renny Pedersen says a client has decided to serve cocktails on the bridge, after a wedding in the museum’s Griffin Court, a sky-lit passageway that serves as the entrance to the modern wing.
“Whenever you are booking a modern space, you have to be OK with things that might be beyond your control,” Pedersen said. “You have to have a really, really good sense of humor.”
Anna Gonis reserved the terrace to serve cocktails for her wedding party on June 25. She has persuaded 10 other couples to join her in a formal complaint to museum officials.
“This isn’t against the artist themselves; it is an amazing opportunity for them,” Gonis said. “But in fairness, the institute needs to keep in mind the other individuals who have contracted the space.”
White visited the exhibit on Tuesday, as it was still being installed. She said she had just learned about the unhappiness of some future brides who planned to use the site.
“It is just news to me, so I am just kind of processing it,” said the artist. “My intention was not to be disruptive.”
Information from: Chicago Tribune, http://www.chicagotribune.com
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