Karen Reimer

Shoretime Spaceline explores the history of the Hyde Park Art Center’s current location, which was the site of the Chicago Beach Hotel (1892 – 1927). The enormous turreted hotel was built to accommodate the tourists of the Columbian Exposition in 1893, and was built on land that was itself built by dredging sand from Lake Michigan and dumping it on shore.  The artist created an environment where times and spaces are confused and conflated, where temporal distance looks like spatial distance, where concrete sensory experience in the present is based on a story of the past. 

With blue fabric pieced into a stylized pattern of waves or clouds, the gallery was divided into two parts not visible simultaneously to facilitate an experience of dislocation: up is down, inside is outside, west is east, history is the present. From the first floor, the fabric appears overhead as sky; from the balcony, the fabric appears at ground level as water.  Forty tons of sand were brought into the gallery, mimicking the original builder’s rogue gesture of moving sand to make his own land, but in this case reversing history to return Hyde Park Art Center’s gallery into a beach. The viewers could walk in the sand, feel the breezes from the five open garage doors of the gallery, and consider the beach resort history of this now urban space, as well as the worldwide rising sea level that might turn it into beach again in the future.