Samson Young: Silver Moon or Golden Star, Which Will You Buy Of Me?

September 18–December 15, 2019

In his first U.S. museum exhibition, Samson Young premieres a trilogy of animated music videos that explores varying concepts of social progress and utopia.

Loosely taking the idealism displayed at the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair as a point of departure, this multimedia exhibition asks how people adapt to societal changes that they have little control over. For Young, “progress” as it was defined in the 1933 fair’s subtitle “A Century of Progress” represents a specific variant of aspirational thinking that was exported around the globe in the decades that followed. Through careful processing and manipulation of images, sound, and space, Young considers the promotion of utopian dreams while dwelling on the various ways in which cars, shopping malls, and model homes like the House of Tomorrow and Armco-Ferro House are embedded with ideas of social progress and personal freedom.

The exhibition is the culmination of a year-long research project undertaken by the artist that commenced during a residency co-sponsored by the University of Chicago’s Smart Museum and Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society. The exhibition showcases a trilogy of animated music videos—The highway is like a lion's mouth (feat. Michael Schiefel), Da Da Company (feat. Michael Schiefel), and the new Houses of Tomorrow (feat. Michael Schiefel)—that Young describes as a “song cycle.” Additionally, the exhibition includes archival materials related to the 1933 World’s Fair and “sound drawings” and 3D-printed sculptures by the artist.


The accompanying catalogue acts both as an introduction to Young’s work and a lavishly illustrated document of the exhibition. It features original essays by Orianna Cacchione and G. Douglas Barrett and an interview between Seth Kim-Cohen and Young. Published by the Smart Museum of Art and distributed by the University of Chicago Press. Available fall 2019.


The Smart Museum of Art is a program partner of the 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial

Chicago Architecture Biennial

Images: Samson Young, Photograph from the production of Houses of Tomorrow (feat. Michael Schiefel), 2019, Video and sound installation, 20 min. Image courtesy of the artist. Photo by Jonathan Loïc Rogers.