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OFF BEAT: Aon Center to host Andy Warhol's 'Empire' film


Chicago-based broker Aon Corp. will host a slice of the Big Apple on Friday night, when the Art Institute of Chicago will project Andy Warhol’s “Empire” onto 12 stories of the Aon Center’s south side.

Filmed in one continuous shot over an eight-hour period, “Empire” captured Manhattan’s Empire State Building between 8:06 p.m. and 2:42 a.m. on July 24-25, 1964.

The first-ever American outdoor screening of the black-and-white silent film will travel more than 1,800 feet from three projectors positioned on top of the Art Institute’s Modern Wing beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday.

"The real challenge with Aon is the type of surface that it is,” said Scott Williams, owner of Virginia-based Quince Imaging, hired to handle the projection. “There's nothing that can be done with the pyramidal shapes of the vertical ribs."

To help the effort, Aon has offered to white out the windows from floors 51 to 61 in order to improve the projection area.

The marble-clad Aon Center, the third-tallest building in Chicago, was completed in 1973 and stands 83 stories tall.