Free and open to the public

Closed for renovations

 
Skip navigation

The Happening: Celebrating Bob Thompson

Colorful figures dance and listen to music within a vibrant landscape of color

Join in a day-long series of live experiences created by artists, students, community partners, and educators as we mark the end of the exhibition Bob Thompson: This House is Mine.

Share in the artmaking, enjoy live music, talks, and so much more happening throughout the day, inside the galleries and outdoors in the sculpture garden.


Browse the full schedule of engagements, ongoing activities, and food options below.

FREE, open to all. Events and activities will happen throughout the day. Please let us know if you plan to attend by registering in advance.


Schedule

12:15 pm
Richardson Middle School

Courtyard stage
The Happening opens with a performance from the Richardson Middle School band, led by longtime Smart collaborator and CPS instructor, Persida Contreras. 

12:45 pm
Brother El

Galleries
Brother El’s Sonic Abstractions II "mind for time" is an  immersive Live PA electronic music piece exploring childhood innocence, color, form, environment, and social stimuli of the time through Bob Thompson's art.

1:30 pm
Storytime with Elizabeth Hereford
Galleries
Author Elizabeth Hereford reads her book Know It All Nori: A Bedtime Story.

1:45 pm
Fifth House Ensemble

Courtyard stage
The Chicago-based Fifth House Ensemble harnesses the collaborative spirit of chamber music to reach beyond the traditionally perceived limits of classical music. They perform Spilling Over: Music for Horn Trio Inspired by the Works of Bob Thompson.

2 pm
Gallery Talk

Galleries
Art historian Nicole L. Woods (University of Notre Dame) leads a gallery tour of Bob Thompson: This House Is Mine, providing historical context of the neo-avant-gardes and early Happenings, including the pivotal role Bob Thompson played in those movements.

2:30 pm
Storytime with Elizabeth Hereford

Galleries
Author Elizabeth Hereford reads her book Know It All Nori: A Bedtime Story.

3 pm 
Ari Brown

Galleries
The Chicago Reader describes Ari Brown as a pivotal Chicago musician who belongs in the canon of great tenor saxophonists. 

3 pm
Groove Theory

Sculpture garden
Hip-hop dance crew Groove Theory perform various street styles including (but not limited to) breaking, waacking, popping, locking, house, and Chicago Footwork. 

3:45 pm
Avreeayl Ra

Courtyard stage
Avreeayl Ra has become a local Chicago legend in the richly progressive avant-garde jazz scene over a career that has spanned more than a half a century. His muscular, soul-seeded beats have been described as stirring tempos that drive animated sonic conversations. With Edward Wilkerson (reeds and Didgerido), Jim Baker (piano), Jason Roebke (bass), and Peter Maunu (violin and guitar).

3:45 pm
Choreographing the Smart: Enter the House

Galleries
Students in the UChicago course “Site-Based Practice: Choreographing the Smart Museum,” led by Julia Rhoads, Director of the Dance Program in Theater and Performance Studies, share their collaborative, site-based work. With Josette Chang, Phoebe Beckett Chingono, Hope Houston, Ling Lin, Erin (Jingxuan) Song, Caleigh Stephens, and Elizabeth Xu.

4:15 pm
David Boykin

Galleries
Like an invisible force upsetting master equations of the jazz universe, David Boykin has quietly been one of Chicago’s most important and enigmatic musicians of the recent era. Join Boykin in front of Bob Thompson’s Self-Portrait in the Studio and participate in a djembe drum circle.

5 pm
Gallery Talk
Galleries
Art historian Nicole L. Woods (University of Notre Dame) leads a gallery tour of Bob Thompson: This House Is Mine, providing historical context of the neo-avant-gardes and early Happenings, including the pivotal role Bob Thompson played in those movements.

5 pm
Catcher in the Rhyme & Underground Collective

Sculpture garden
University of Chicago student organizations Catcher in the Rhyme and Underground Collective perform original poetry and selections of work inspired by Bob Thompson: This House Is Mine

5:45 pm
Ben Lamar Gay with Adam Zanolini and Mikel Patrick Avery

Galleries
Ben LaMar Gay is a composer, multi-instrumentalist, singer, poet, and patently eclectic polymath. Ben LaMar Gay’s “+twa” will present a sonic dedication to the work of Bob Thompson entitled The Timbre of Trees And The Naked Bodies That Gather Beneath The Tones.

6 pm
Marvin Tate

Courtyard stage
Marvin Tate is a self-taught, multidisciplinary artist, community activist, and art educator. Tate performs Caught Up in Catching Up with Olula Negre (cello, voice, banjo) and Hunter Diamond (drums, winds, percussion, electronics).

6:30 pm
David Boykin

Galleries
Like an invisible force upsetting master equations of the jazz universe, David Boykin has quietly been one of Chicago’s most important and enigmatic musicians of the recent era. Join Boykin in front of Bob Thompson’s Self-Portrait in the Studio and participate in a djembe drum circle.

7:15 pm
Exhibition Tour

Galleries
Smart Museum educators Jo McEntee and Katherine Davis offer small group tours of Bob Thompson: This House is Mine

7:45 pm
Brother El

Courtyard stage
Brother El’s Sonic Abstractions II "mind for time" is an  immersive Live PA electronic music piece exploring childhood innocence, color, form, environment, and social stimuli of the time through Bob Thompson's art.

8:03 pm
Sunset Balloon Release

Sculpture garden
Balloon release at 8:03 pm (sunset time) inspired by the Saxophone great Sonny Rollins’ quote, “A different sunset every night; that’s what jazz is about.”

8:15 pm
Sonny Rollins on Garden of Music

Sculpture garden
In a pre-recorded interview, tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins discusses his relationship with Bob Thompson, how Thompson made everywhere he traveled home, and how Rollins and other jazz legends are depicted in Thompson’s 1960 work, Garden of Music.

8:15 pm
Bond Singers
Galleries
A seven-member vocal consort of undergraduate students at the University of Chicago. Their young voices bring a fresh enthusiasm to music of all periods, from the 16th century to the present.

9 pm
Nick Mazzarella & Dana Hall

Courtyard stage
Chicago Jazz scene collaborators alto saxophonist and composer Nick Mazzarella and percussionist and composer Dana Hall co-create a closing Jazz extravaganza.

10 pm
The Lullaby Project
Courtyard stage
The Happening ends as University of Chicago student musicians share original lullabies for local parents, grandparents, and caregivers. Gayathri Rao (solo vocal) performs “Twilight Hum” and Cory Turnbaugh (solo piano/keyboard) performs “Our Bright Sun.”


Ongoing

1–9 pm
Tin-type photobooth

Sculpture garden and lobby
Using a large-format camera, nature light, and a long exposure, Max Li (UChicago MFA 2021) collaborates with audiences to capture images on a tintype plate. Drop by and grab a prop to participate. Happening every hour.

1–4 pm
Build a Bird Family Day

Sculpture garden
Join in a bird puppet-making and wooden birdhouse workshop! Get inspired by Bob Thompson’s painting Bird Party and then make a movable bird puppet and paint it bright hues of red, orange, and teal. Then, add your creation to a collaborative aviary or take it home. All materials provided.

2–7 pm
Alberto Aguilar and Alex Bradly Cohen

Sculpture garden, lobby, and galleries
As a roving, improvisational performance, artists Alberto Aguilar and Alex Bradley Cohen navigate This House Is Mine and the Smart Museum through color, play, words, and audience participation.

2–8 pm
Live Tattoo Sessions with Aidan Frierson, Baby, and Nani Nathan

Lobby
Aidan Frierson (@skinlessdogg), Baby (@goodtattoo4u), and Nani Nathan (@jananivn) are Chicago-based artists, who have each created new flash art inspired by Bob Thompson’s art. You can sign up directly with the artists for a real tattoo session from this special flash using their Instagram accounts above, stop by to observe the work in action, or apply your own free temporary tattoos.

2:30–5:30 pm
Caricatures

Lobby
Artist  Robert Walter from Brush and Heart, a local event art company, will draw caricatures of guests from the West buttress of the lobby.  

6–7:30 pm
Figure Drawing

Sculpture garden 
Offered in collaboration with UChicago’s Outside the Lines, this relaxed figure drawing session features live models and poses inspired by the figures in Bob Thompson’s paintings. Open to all skill levels. All materials provided.

6:30–10:30 pm
Metropolitan Tenants Organization & National Public Housing Museum
East exterior museum wall
Tenants, community residents, and organizers with Metropolitan Tenants Organization project a moving text installation on the façade of the Smart Museum, featuring L. Ren Garcia from MTO and Tiff Beatty from National Public Housing Museum. Staffed for facilitated dialogue throughout, projection best experienced following sunset at 8:15 pm. 

All day
Virtual Performances

Lobby 
Streaming throughout the day on a monitor in the lobby, experience three distinct Smart performance productions—dazzling soprano Sarah Brailey is joined by cellist Caleb van der Swaagh as part of the UChicago Presents SOUND/SITES series; Blueswoman and Museum Educator Katherine Davis performing Nina Simone songs of protest from an April 5 event at the Smart; and 12 object chats featuring Museum Educators and UChicago interns exploring individual works from the Bob Thompson exhibition. 

All day
Free Life for Bob Thompson, a playlist by Arnold J. Kemp

Galleries and online
An aural exploration of swinging bebop, hard bop, Beat poetry, free jazz, and deep cuts that blur the boundaries between such creative forms, curated by Arnold J. Kemp for Bob Thompson: This House Is Mine.


Dining & Facilities

2–10 pm
Food Trucks

Greenwood Avenue
Local food trucks set up on the Greenwood walkway near the Smart Museum. 

Guests showing their Happening wristband may utilize restrooms in the Smart Museum as well as in Court Theatre (5535 S. Ellis Avenue) and Ratner Athletic Center (5530 S. Ellis Avenue), both located immediately to the west of the museum building.  


Thank you

The Smart Museum thanks all our friends, partners, and fellow team members who have generously shared their work as part of this program.


Image: Bob Thompson, Homage to Nina Simone, 1965, Oil on canvas, 50 1/8 x 74 1/8 in. (127.3 x 188.3 cm). Minneapolis Institute of Art, The John R. Van Derlip Fund. © Michael Rosenfeld Gallery LLC, New York.