The organizers of the Pitchfork Music Festival have been dabbling in the non-music arts for a while. From the festival’s hilarious stab at having a comedy stage to its much more successful attempts at a poster fair and a craft tent, it’s never limited itself to just music.
This year, two fine art installations found a home at the festival. Giant letters made of plywood spelled out “THESE MOMENTS” near one of the stages. And in the gated VIP section, colorful inflatables of different shapes and sizes hung up in the trees.
Anna Cerniglia, founder of the Chicago-based Johalla Projects, worked with Pitchfork to curate the festival. The atmosphere presented a few unique challenges — rain, rambunctious people, the sun — that the public art-focused Johalla Projects was fit to tackle.
The balloons and beach balls were confined to the VIP section because Cerniglia and the artist behind the piece, Andrea Jablonski, feared that if the installation were out in the open, the thousands and thousands of fest-goers might interact with it a little too much.
In spite of the installation’s secure placement, a little boy managed to leave the VIP area with two balloons from the trees around his neck.
“You cannot steal beach balls!” Jablonski cried out
“I’m going to let him have them,” she decided.
The balloons, which were a mix of straight-up vinyl beach balls and blown-up balloons, were supposed was to add color to the area — prior to the rainfall during the fest, there hadn’t been much rain in Chicago.
The balls were supposed to glow in the dark, too, but the ironic and untimely rain storm made things tricky.
Matthew Hoffman built the 80-foot-wide “THESE MOMENTS” sculpture. Hoffman was inspired by the strong binds that tie music and emotional memories.
“The idea is that these three days will be new moments for people,” Hoffman said.
“THESE MOMENTS” stood next to the Blue Stage, where people went to see the smaller acts and gawk at Lady Gaga dancing off-stage — not to see the art. It begs the question, what’s the point of having fine art at Pitchfork?
For Jablonski, it’s about the festival supporting local art as much as it has supported local music. And in terms of Johalla Projects’ overall mission, Cerniglia and company believe art should be everywhere.
“I think it makes it all a little bit more playful and a little bit more fun,” Cerniglia said.
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