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Hans Ulrich Obrist to Hold First US “Interview Marathon” in September

Hans Ulrich Obrist, the artistic director of London’s Serpentine Galleries, will host his first “Interview Marathon” in the United States this fall. The event will be part of the Chicago Humanities Festival—an initiative developed in partnership with the Terra Foundation for American Art, Expo Chicago, and Navy Pier—and will take place on Saturday, September 29.

Dubbed “Creative Chicago: An Interview Marathon,” the free, five-hour-long series of conversations with twenty artists, authors, architects, and other representatives of Chicago’s culture scene will examine the city’s historical role as an art and design center. Among those participating are artists Cauleen Smith and Theaster Gates; poet Fatimah Asghar; cultural historian Tim Samuelson; Louise Bernard, director of the Museum of the Obama Presidential Center; and businessman Buritt Bulloch, who owns a local doughnut shop.

Obrist—who has been known to hold back-to-back interviews every year at the Serpentine Galleries, some of which have lasted twenty-four hours—cited the work of Chicagoan oral historian Studs Terkel as the inspiration behind the event. According to a release issued by the festival’s organizers, Terkel had “a major influence” on Obrist’s career. In an interview with New Art City in 2015, Ulrich said that after meeting Terkel, who recorded over 10,000 hours of oral histories over the course of his life—Terkel died in 2008—he helped Ulrich make his interviews more systematic.

Participants in the marathon include:

Fatimah Asghar, poet
Louise Bernard, director, Museum of the Obama Presidential Center
Dawoud Bey, photographer 
Eula Biss, writer 
Eddie Bocanegra, organizer/activist 
Brandon Breaux, artist 
Buritt Bulloch, owner, Old Fashioned Donuts 
Shani Crowe, artist/performer 
Alison Cuddy, artistic director, Chicago Humanities Festival
Jeanne Gang, architect 
Theaster Gates, artist 
Joseph Grigely, artist/art historian
Art Green, artist
Barbara Kasten, artist
Cauleen Smith, artist
Stanley Tigerman, architect 
Amanda Williams, artist 
Gerald Williams, artist