Temporary Projects & Commissions

Art in dialogue.

Through enriching collaborations with partners at the University of Chicago and beyond, the Smart Museum of Art organizes temporary public art installations and fosters new forms of engagement through campus-wide commissions.

Six students reach upwards during a dance performance in a wood paneled room

Featured project


Spring 2023

This public art project asked who we honor at UChicago and why. Organized by a team five undergraduate students, Exemplary honored writer Susan Sontag, AB’51; dancer-anthropologist Katherine Dunham, PhB’36; astronomer Carl Sagan, AB’54, SB’55, SM’56, PhD’60; past faculty member and meteorologist Tetsuya “Ted” Fujita; and dining services workers through a series of pop-up installations and performances.

Past Projects

The University of Chicago is home to ambitious public art installations and ephemeral projects that are distinguished by their high quality, site-specificity, and responsiveness to contemporary issues and events.

The following projects were presented between 2016 and 2023.

“Untitled” (L.A.)

“Untitled” (L.A.)

September 2022–December 2023



September 27–December 8, 2021

Jenny Holzer: YOU BE MY ALLY

Jenny Holzer: YOU BE MY ALLY

October 5–December 4, 2020

The Chicago Sound Show<br />
September 27–December 29, 2019

The Chicago Sound Show
September 27–December 29, 2019

aeon<br />
Ann Hamilton

September 18–October 31, 2019

Play on Surfaces & Surfing<br />
New sculpture by Jessica Stockholder

Play on Surfaces & Surfing
May 17–June 7, 2018

Dialogo: Virginio Ferrari and Chicago<br />
An Art Design Chicago public program, October – December 2018
Cai Guo-Qiang<br />
A pyrotechnic artwork presented as part of UChicago’s commemoration of first nuclear reaction

Cai Guo-Qiang
December 2, 2017

Nuclear Thresholds<br />
Ogrydziak Prillinger Architects (OPA)

Nuclear Thresholds
September 18, 2017–Spring 2018

Slipping and Jamming: Variable Installation of Z-Forms, 2015–2017<br />
Dan Peterman (b. 1960)

Slipping and Jamming
October 3–November 30, 2017

Nuclear Reactions<br />
Lectures, tours, exhibitions, and events observing the 75th anniversary of the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction at Chicago Pile-1, and the concurrent 50th anniversary of Henry Moore’s Nuclear Energy sculpture.

Nuclear Reactions
September–December 2017

Concrete Happenings<br />
September 2016–June 2017

Concrete Happenings
September 2016–June 2017

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