Martin Creed Plays Chicago

Debuting his largest kinetic sculpture to date, Martin Creed’s “Work No. 1357, MOTHERS”, is effective in grabbing attention and focusing on the magnitude and impact of mothers in society.

Standing over 20 feet tall and 48 feet wide, the white, neon, kinetic sculpture rotates 360 degrees in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago. The piece is one out of a series by Creed, who holds a yearlong residency at the museum called “Martin Creed Plays Chicago”, where the artist uses various locations in the city as the canvas for his works.

Martin Creed. Work No. 1357, MOTHERS MCA Chicago

The sculpture was created to highlight the importance and superiority of mothers in the world, says Creed of his art. It is meant to be imposing and impossible to miss, a representation of Creed’s interpretation of mothers. The size of the spinning, glowing, sculpture, as well as the highly visible public location, makes ignoring the piece a near impossible feat.

Like the most of the pieces in Creed’s repertoire, language is used to turn every day words and phrases into artwork to be interpreted by each viewer. His coinciding piece, “Work No. 845 (2007)”, displayed inside the museum, spells out the word ‘THINGS’ in bright letters and is only a few inches high – a stark contrast from his interpretation of the word ‘MOTHERS’. Individually, meaning can be drawn from each piece; but as a collection the importance, or lack there of, of each represented word becomes even more apparent.

He is also known to use inanimate objects as focal points, bringing attention to items from daily life that are often ignored. In “Half the Air in a Given Space”, Creed fills common Chicago landmarks halfway with balloons, giving visitors a visual and physical experience when they walk through his work.

Martin Creed. Work No. 268, Half the air in a given space, 2000

Creed, a UK native, is a well-known musician and an artist- winning the 2001 Turner Prize for his artwork. While he has gained celebrity for his pieces, they have not always been well received. Considered overly minimalist by some, Creed’s works have been vandalized in protest to his style. Despite the objection of critics, Creed continues to create works of art, displaying them internationally.

“Work No. 1357, MOTHERS” will be on display until the end of Dec. Two more additions to Creed’s Chicago collection can be seen in the upcoming months, being unveiled in Nov. and Dec. To follow Creed’s exhibit in Chicago go to or follow the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago on Twitter @mcachicago.