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Floating Museum Carries Culture Across Neighborhood Boundaries

The Chicago River will become a conduit for films, music, sculptures, and more.

When Hyde Park sculptor Jeremiah Hulsebos-Spofford and South Shore multimedia artist Faheem Majeed visited the DuSable Museum of African American History archives five years ago, they left with a question: How could they move culture across neighborhood boundaries?

Their answer: Floating Museum, a barge-turned-gallery that features works by dozens of artists and a rotating roster of performers as it travels to four sites in August. “Faheem calls it a big, sticky ball moving through the city, picking up arts and culture,” says Hulsebos-Spofford of the project. Here, five highlights.

GO:Floating Museum will dock in four places: SkyART (July 31–August 6), the Eleanor Boathouse at Park 571 (August 7–13), the Chicago Riverwalk (August 14–27), and Polk Bros. Park at Navy Pier (August 28). thefloatingmuseum.com

 
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Fringe Films

Illustrations: Tomi Um

When it comes to sourcing obscure films about Chicago, nobody is better than Michael W. Phillips Jr. of South Side Projections. Phillips will present the 2012 documentary Salty Dog Blues, about retired Puerto Rican and black merchant marines and their struggles after military duty, on August 12 at 7 p.m.

 

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Cabinets of Curiosities

Built from dozens of wooden crates, the gallery’s massive pyramid-like structure resembles a ziggurat. Some of the containers display pieces of art, and others have been transformed into artworks themselves. Participants include photographer Assaf Evron and graffiti artist Miguel Aguilar.

 

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Hymns Revisited

Poet and singer Avery R. Young will conduct a choir performing his original works, which mix gospel, funk, and traditional hymns with lyrics that touch on Emmett Till and the victims of lead-tainted water in Flint, Michigan, every Wednesday at 6 p.m.

 

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DuSable Memorialized

One of the central installations is a monument of sorts: a 12-foot sculpture that pays homage to Jean Baptiste Point DuSable, a Haitian who, in the 18th century, was Chicago’s first permanent settler.

 

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Art at All Hours

Digital works by multimedia artists, including Krista Franklin and Cecil McDonald Jr., will be projected on the barge’s 12-foot screen all day long at each of the four stops. For example, renowned artist Dan Peterman will display looped footage of him rowing down the Calumet River as a meditation on movement and water.

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