Carts & Cocktails is an annual benefit fundraiser for the Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park. The event 2014 Carts and Cocktails, began with the welcome speech by Jacqueline Lewis [President, NMSP Board]. Other speakers included Susan Ormsby [Immediate Past-President and Event Chair], Elaine P. Maimon [President, Governor State University], Jeanne Bridges [US Head, Diversity and Inclusion, BMO Harris Bank] and Geoffrey Bates [Director and Curator at NMSP]. The program was hosted by Stefan Holt, from NBC 5 News Today.
2014: Carts & Cocktails at Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park
The 2014 Carts & Cocktails event celebrated three sculptures in particular:
– Field Rotation  by Mary Miss
– Yes! for Lady Day [1968-69] by Mark di Suvero, and,
– Serendipity  by Chakaia Booker.
Field Rotation  – by Mary Miss, is a 3.5 acres landscape made of wood and steel. it was commissioned by the Governors State University Foundation. Miss Mary has a major contribution to the Earth Art movement in the US. She incorporates elements of landscape in their sculptural compositions. Another example of this approach, also in the Nathan Manilow Sculpture Park, is the Martin Puryear’s Bodark Arc. The sculpture incorporates many historical references to world cultures, including mound building of Native American Cahokia in southern Illinois and the perimeter outline of 18th century military European fortification plans.
This year marks the 45th Anniversary of the creation of “Yes! for Lady Day”, a Mark diSuvero’s expressive 1969 masterwork. The title of this work refers to Billie Holiday, one of the great jazz vocalist of the Mid-20th century. The sculpture was created over a period of two summers while di Suvero lived in a farmhouse which was loaned by Lewis Manilow, a prominent Chicago collector and philanthropist. The site became a gathering place for local sculptors – John Henry, Richard Hunt, John Chamberlain and others – spent time, and it later became the GSU campus. Yes! For Lady Day was constructed of salvaged steel I-beams and a railroad tank car that was cut at a diagonal ellipse by the artist. Di Suvero is one of the United States’ most highly regarded sculptors and arts activists. In 2010, he was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Barack Obama. His style reflect early practice of abstract expressionist movement. As against the sculptures in the 60s, his work were not figural or representation of something. They were not volumes that sat on pedestal. They were drawings in space! His work is also known for being kinetic, and it is the viewers participation that completes the work. DiSuvero’s distinctive approach has created this poetic beauty that dances in the prairie breeze.
One of the main highlights of the evening was the solo exhibition series, “Don’t Tread on me” – by special guest artist Chakaia Booker.consists of three outdoor pieces: Serendipity , Meeting Ends  and What’s Not . These works from different times in her career suggests her creative range. Chakaia Booker is best known for her work with discarded automobile tires, which she cuts into pieces of varying length, width and shape – and fastens onto wooden or metal armatures. She builds indoor and outdoor sculptures raning in scale from intimate wall pieces to large public works.