Chicago Art Institute Adds Warhol's 'Empire' to Skyline


Excerpt from Chicago Tribune | By Mark Caro

... Andy Warhol's eight-hour silent, black-and-white epic "Empire," which consists of one long, unbroken shot of New York's Empire State Building. Said to be the first outdoor U.S. screening of this landmark if not exactly action-packed film, the event marks the very public, logistically challenging kickoff to the Art Institute's new exhibition "Light Years: Conceptual Art and the Photograph, 1964-1977." ...

.... Projecting the film from the Art Institute to a skyscraper several blocks away presents its share of challenges.

"It's like 1,800 feet, which is a significant distance to throw unmodulated light," said Scott Williams, owner of Quince Imaging, the Virginia company hired to run the projection from a tent on the museum's sculpture terrace. The film, on loan from the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, will be stored on a massive hard drive (a 35mm print would have no chance across that distance), and Williams said he and his crew will set up four projectors two or three to be active and the remainder as backup to project enough light.

"Brightness is the key," Williams said. "Three thousand square feet is a huge image."

The movie's 4:3 aspect ratio will translate to a picture that's 150 feet tall and 200 feet wide, which will cover the building's width. Williams said the Aon Center offered to white out the windows from floors 51 to 61, although the image "will go above and below that a bit." ...