Skip to main content

Renowned Artist to Light up Campus for Next Five Nights

Marco Rotelli will use words of Shakespeare, Dante, others in stunning light show

EVANSTON, Ill. --- World-renowned Italian artist Marco Rotelli will bathe the façade of Northwestern University’s Deering Library with one of his signature light installations each night from 5 to 9 p.m. Monday, Jan. 13, through Friday, Jan. 17.

Taking place during five of the darkest, gloomiest nights, Rotelli’s “Rage, Rage Against the Dying of the Light” takes its name from the Dylan Thomas poem “Do Not Go Gentle into That Good Night.” It will be visible to everyone passing Northwestern’s historic Deering Library (1935 Sheridan Road, Evanston) including commuters traveling along Sheridan.

Inside the Gothic-style library from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 13, and again from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 16, members of Northwestern’s acting faculty and theatre students will read from and perform winter-related passages from some of the world’s greatest poetry and plays. Hot chocolate and popcorn will be served inside the library at the reading’s conclusion.

While the indoor readings are free and open to the public, Deering Library can accommodate only 150 people. Prospective audience members are encouraged to arrive early.

“The week’s events are inspired by ancient beliefs that by raising our voices to protest the cold and dark of winter, we ensure the return of spring,” says Jeff Garrett, associate University librarian. “We’ll celebrate the triumph of the human spirit with Rotelli’s extraordinary work of art and the words of Shakespeare, Dante, Emily Dickinson and others.”

Among the Northwestern faculty performers Monday and Thursday are Henry Godinez, who is also resident artistic director at the Goodman Theatre, actress and director Cindy Gold, and director and storyteller Rives Collins. Phrases and passages from the works they read and perform will be visible on the library’s façade to visitors outside the library.

Born in Venice in 1955, Rotelli has exhibited in work in North America, Europe and Asia, including the Beijing Olympics. “Last year, he created a one-night lighting installation at Northwestern,” Garrett says. “It was beautiful, but over in the blink of an eye. By repeating this new installation five successive nights, we hope no one will miss the chance to enjoy it.”

The events are made possible by a partnership of many area institutions: Northwestern University Library, the Instituto Italiano di Cultura of Chicago as well as Northwestern’s Kaplan Institute for the Humanities, Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art and department of French and Italian.