In this month’s “Art in the Parks” spotlight, we’ll take a closer look at a few lakefront and downtown public art pieces and share a sneak peek of our upcoming installations!
Brought to us by Tess Landon, Special Project Assistant
with the Chicago Park District’s Department of Cultural & Natural Resources
THE LAKEFRONT is one of Chicago’s most beautiful and unique assets. It provides an opportunity for Chicagoans and visitors to walk, bike, and swim, to take in views, and to visit the many attractions along the water. What many people do not know is that the green areas and parks along the lakefront are all managed by the Chicago Park District.
In addition to maintaining the beaches, gardens, and parks, one of the Park District’s most exciting lakefront initiatives is our public art collection. The lakefront and nearby parks boast more than thirty large-scale public art works from world class artists. These sculptures come together to form a free outdoor museum spanning from Bryn Mawr in the North to Rainbow Beach in the South.
Christopher Wool: UNTITLED
Originally installed in August 2014, Christopher Wool’s bronze sculpture Untitled has just been extended for another year. The sculpture, which sits on the north end of Buckingham Fountain Plaza, stands out as an amorphous shape against the grid of the skyline behind. Wool is a Chicago native best known for his paintings of large stenciled letters. Several of his pieces are in the collection at the Art Institute of Chicago, just steps from Untitled.
Tom Friedman: LOOKING UP
Immediately after its installation in the summer of 2016, Tom Friedman’s larger than life sculpture Looking Up became a citywide favorite. The stainless steel sculpture has been the site for countless pictures of visitors giving their best impression of the figure’s upward gaze. One of the most interesting details about Looking Up can be seen upon close inspection – the surface is created out of molds of aluminum kitchen items including muffin tins, cake sheets, and pans. The location on the lakefront path at 4800 South was chosen specifically by Tom Friedman during a visit to Chicago.
Indira Johnson: TEN THOUSAND RIPPLES
Indira Johnson’s sculpture project Ten Thousand Ripples uses the image of the emerging Buddha head as a symbol of peace and self-realization. The strategically placed public sculptures are an invitation for personal reflection on the possibility of finding peace in our lives and our communities. Emerging Buddha head sculptures can be seen in two Park District locations – east of the Iowa Building north of the Museum of Science & Industry, and on the lakefront path south of Diversey – as well as elsewhere throughout the city.
Look out for these two new additions to the Chicago Park District public art collection in the coming weeks!
< At twenty-eight feet and thirty-four feet tall, Isa Genzken’s Two Orchids will soon tower above visitors to the south end of Buckingham Fountain Plaza. Genzken is a celebrated German artist whose sculptures often speak to themes of architecture and contemporary culture. The giant, realistically sculpted orchids (flowers that have become common in many homes and offices) will provide an interesting juxtaposition to both the surrounding landscaping in Grant Park and the city skyline.
> Next week, Bernar Venet’s steel sculpture Disorder: 9 Uneven Angles will be installed on the Congress median in downtown Chicago. The piece is made from nine rusted beams, the tallest of which reaches twenty-five feet. Venet is a French conceptual artist whose minimal works highlight their materiality and form. The siting pushes viewers to consider the visual relationship between the architectural steel beams and sharp angles of the sculpture and the surrounding buildings and streets.