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

September 18–December 29, 2019
Opening Reception: September 17, 7–9 pm

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

Loosely taking the idealism displayed at the 1933 World’s Fair in Chicago as a point of departure, this multimedia exhibition asks how do 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. From cars to shopping malls and houses designed for the future to political change, progressive thinking has had contrasting consequences as it made its impact felt across the globe in the decades that followed.

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, Da Da Company, and the new Houses of Tomorrow—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, 2019, Video and sound installation, 20 min. Image courtesy of the artist. Photo by Jonathan Loïc Rogers.