Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘public art’ Category

oncorner

Corner butterfly—mural story on either side

Public art and murals have been a big part of life in Chicago for many years. This was furthered even more in 2013 when Columbia College Chicago started the Wabash Arts Corridor (WAC) to help creative students use urban spaces and reclaimable resources to revitalize the South Loop’s business district. As we saw from the few murals that we found, they definitely succeeded.

Then, in 2017, the mayor of Chicago and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events designated 2017 as “The Year of Public Art”, which encouraged even more community art projects. I did mention the Year of Public Art earlier (see here https://viviennemackie.wordpress.com/2017/04/19/chicago-creativity-on-the-streets/).

bfliesfence

Butterflies behind a fence that is beginning to break open

chain

bfliesclose

Shaking off the chains

We were really impressed with a beautiful mural just opposite our hotel (the Best Western Grant Park, corner of Michigan and 11th), painted on two walls. Where the walls join was a very large butterflyand on either side a butterfly story. It started with chains behind which the butterflies appeared to be trapped. But, then the chains started to break and the butterflies were flying out free. It seems to be very symbolic and have a positive meaning, maybe related to the plight of the butterflies but also to that of humankind perhaps. A

butterflies

Flying free

symbol of hope. What do you think?

Since I wrote the previous post about Chicago  and this one I have found a couple of good lists of other murals in Chicago. So hopefully next year, when the weather starts warming up, we can go on a mural quest to find some of these.

https://chicago.curbed.com/maps/a-guide-to-44-neighborhood-murals-you-must-see-right-now

https://blogs.colum.edu/intheloop/2017/10/16/murals-around-campus-wac-crawl/

Read Full Post »

stories“If Statues Could Talk, What Stories Would They Tell?”

This summer, Chicago started a new venture to make the already-wonderful public art even more interesting. They are having some of the statues “tell stories”.

The City of Chicago and the Chicago Park District worked together with Statues Stories Chicago and arts producers Sing London to animate 30 statues dotted across the city. Some of Chicago’s actors, writers, and theaters are giving voice to these statues, each statue telling an appropriate story or making comments.

How it works: the statues that are involved have a plaque nearby that people can swipe with a smart phone.  They then get a “call back” from the statue at no cost, except normal network charges.

The project will run until August 2020.

The idea began in Britain. Chicago is the first US city to get “Statue Stories”.  The press

bean

Cloud Gate, aka The Bean, is one of the “talking statues”

has been impressed and has run many stories about the statue stories. See here: http://www.statuestorieschicago.com/press.php

We didn’t see many of the statues this time, as we only found out about the project towards the end of our weekend in the city. But, hopefully we will be back a couple of times before the project ends.  Here’s a list of the “talking” statues:

http://www.statuestorieschicago.com/statues.php

You can click on each one and get a photo of the statue, a map of where to find it, and information about the actor and writer.

Here are photos of seven of the statues in the Loop—we took these over a couple of visits.

Miro’s Chicago, Brunswick Plaza

miro

Cloud Gate, Millennium Park

The Picasso, Richard J. Daley Plaza

picasso

Spirit of Music, Grant Park

musestories

Brachiosaurus, outside Field Museum

brachiosaurus

Lake Ontario, Spirit of the Great Lakes, Art Institute South Garden

lake

Bronze Cow, Chicago Cultural Center

cow

 

Read Full Post »

Embadger

A Bucky statue at the Henry Vilas Zoo, Madison, where there are real badgers

terracefierce

One of the Buckys on Parade, looking rather fierce

pieces signWe’ve recently returned from a 10-day trip to Madison, and Spring Green, Wisconsin. Partly for a conference for my husband and partly a short family break with some of our family from St Louis.

Wisconsin is known as the Badger State and the university mascot is a badger called Bucky. This year, from May 7-September 12, Madison and Dane Country are hosting a large public art display called Bucky on Parade.  Many life-sized Bucky badger fiber-glass statues, all individually designed and painted, are dotted around the city, and people (including us) are having fun tracking them down (more on the Bucky on Parade soon).

pieces

Pieces of Wisconsin Bucky at the Zoo

capitol

The State Capitol in Madison—note the gold statue atop the dome

Why badgers, and why Bucky?

The state’s nickname originally referred to lead miners who settled here in the early 1800s. The miners built temporary homes by digging caves into nearby hillsides. These caves came to be called “badger dens” and the miners were called “badgers”. Because the miners lived in these dens, they could work through the winters when others could not.

The nickname spread to include the people of Wisconsin, and then to the state itself. In 1957 the badger was adopted as the official state animal, partly because they admired its ferocity. The badger is also on the state coat-of-arms, and tops the helmet of Wisconsin, the name of the golden female figure on top of the dome of the State Capitol building in Madison.

statue

Wisconsin, the statue (try to see the badger on her helmet)

1st and 10

1st and 10 Bucky on State Street

The Story of Bucky

Bucky’s real name is Buckingham U. Badger. His story starts in the 1890s when the University of Wisconsin-Madison football team began using a live badger as their mascot. But the animal was too fierce to be used on the sidelines, so it was sent to the Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison.

In 1940, artist Art Evans drew a new mascot, but at that time it was variously called Benny, Buddy, Bernie, Bobby and Bouncey. Then in 1949 the Pep Committee had a contest to name the badger, and “Bucky”, or Buckingham U. Badger, was chosen. The winner was a student, Bill Sachse. That same year the first papier-mache head of a badger was created, another student wore the outfit, and an icon was born.

It’s a fun story, and the Bucky on Parade was a lot of fun for us too.

Read Full Post »

placement

The town of Garachico on Tenerife Island. On the end of the spit of land, center left, you can see 2 white shapes. Those are the Yasuda sculpture

placement2

Garachico from the other side. Now you see the arches more clearly

placement closer

The arches at the end of the spit

gatesKan Yasuda on the Canary Islands

We saw an exhibition of outdoor sculptures by Kan Yasuda in Sapporo, Japan a few years ago (see here https://ourvisitstojapan.wordpress.com/2018/03/07/talented-sculptor-kan-yasuda/ ), plus he has a permanent imposing piece in the JR Tower Complex in Sapporo.

gatesotherside

gateV

gatetoanother

Looked at from this angle, one can easily imagine the symbolism of one gate leading to another world/life

So, imagine our surprise when we saw an unusual outdoor installation in Garachico on Tenerife Island (Canary Islands) and discovered that it’s one by Kan Yasuda. It is two large white square arches/gateways, spaced apart and facing the sea pounding on the black volcanic rocks. One is open and the other divided, perhaps like a double doorway. This type of arch/gateway is frequently used by Yasuda and perhaps represents a key to another world/life.

These arches in Garachico are on a spit of land off the main public car park along the seafront, and we guess that they are strategically placed (as Yasuda always does) but I couldn’t find much information. The name is Monument Tensei Tenmoku (which apparently translates loosely as “door handles”). Garachico acquired them in 1999.

At night the town lights up the arches with changing colored lights, which gives a whole different atmosphere to them than during the day.

blue

green

purpleVery interesting and we enjoyed walking up to the arches, and looking at them as a frame for the tiny black rocky island just in the sea beyond.

Who would have thought to find these here on Tenerife? And yet, apparently Yasuda is very interested in Multiculturalism and bridging worlds, so then it is very fitting.

 

 

Read Full Post »

men2More Public Art in Chicago

As I was walking recently  to the Chicago Cultural Center from our hotel I happened on this outdoor sculpture, one I have not seen before. It was apparently officially installed about two years ago.

Living World Series, Gentlemen, bronze on cast bronze plinth, by Ju Ming (1938-) from Taiwan. He trained as a woodcarver, but went on to an international career creating works in many materials. These figures are in bronze, but do have a look of wood carvings, I think.

On the plinth are a group of square, pedantic-looking men in suits and ties, some with menhats, or with bags and briefcases, and umbrellas.

This is on the AMA Plaza, next to the IBM Building housing the Langham Hotel on the north side of the river.

It’s an unusual  sculpture, and many people who walk by stop to take pictures.

Read Full Post »

CCposter

Exhibits at Chicago’s Cultural Center

wallposter

Poster about the Wall of Respect

wallphoto

Old photo of the Wall of Respect

As mentioned earlier, this year is Chicago’s Year of Public Art and the 50×50 Initiative, sparked by Chicago’s 50 wards and the 50th anniversary of 2 famous public art works in the city: Picasso’s “Untitled” (see previous post), and The Wall of Respect.

The Wall of Respect is no longer in its original position but a special exhibition on it is in the Chicago Cultural Center until July 30th. The exhibition, called Vestiges, Shards and the Legacy of Black Power, is in the Chicago Rooms, 2nd Floor North in the Cultural Center (corner of Michigan, Randolph and Washington).

wallcolor

How the wall looked

Blues

The Blues panel

Jazz

The Jazz panel

Curated by Romi Crawford, Abdul Alkalimat and Rebecca Zorach, and students in the Department of Art History, this exhibition chronicles how the Organization for Black American Culture designed and produced this first mural for, and within, Chicago’s Black South Side communities. It features 7 sections with the images of leading black icons (called heroes), ranging from Sarah Vaughan and John Coltrane to Marcus Garvey and Ossie Davis. Two of the panels are devoted to musicians—one for Blues, one for Jazz—not surprising, as Chicago has always been a hub for music, notably Blues and Jazz with many famous black artists.

roofpillar

Using photographs and documents relating to the Wall of Respect and other murals, this exhibition explores the mural movement in Chicago in its historical context, investigating how race and class have intersected with the spatial politics of the city.

wallstory

Story of the Wall of Respect

heroestoday

Who is your hero today?

In 1967, the Organization of Black American Culture painted this huge mural “guerrilla-style” on the wall of a decaying building on the South Side of Chicago at 43rd Street and Langley Avenue. They called it the Wall of Respect. This mural, which grew out of the Black Liberation Movement of the 1960s, was controversial from the start and only survived a few years—but in that time it inspired a community movement that went on to paint vivid colors on walls across the city and beyond. The Wall of Respect received national acclaim when it was unveiled in 1967.

Just outside the exhibit rooms, the center has strips of colored paper. They invite people today to write down the names of their heroes and make a long paper chain—a Heroes Chain. Would be a fun project for school kids, I think.

Muddymural

Muddy2Not far away on the side of a building opposite Macy’s is a huge colored mural of Muddy Waters. I couldn’t find any information on that. Any ideas, anyone?

Somewhat linked to this topic is another exhibition at the Cultural Center: that of Eugene Eda’s Doors for Malcolm X College (see future post)

 

Read Full Post »

bannerIt’s Chicago’s Year of Public Art, so let’s get out and experience some of this creative art.

I was always aware that Chicago has a great tradition of making public art available to all, and its collection of public art is one of the defining characteristics of the city, but this special year gives another dimension to this.

2017 has been designated Year of Public Art Chicago, with a new 50×50 Neighborhood Arts Project. Managed by DCASE (Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events), the 50×50 initiative will provide up to $1 million for new public arts projects.

Chicago has a long and rich history of public art, so why now? This initiative was

plaza

The Picasso in Daley Plaza

inspired by Chicago’s 50 wards and the 50th anniversary of 2 of Chicago’s most famous seminal public art works: The Picasso in Daley Plaza, and The Wall of Respect, which once stood at 43rd Street and Langley Avenue on Chicago’s South Side.

DCASE manages the Chicago Public Art Collection, which includes 500+ works exhibited in over 150 municipal facilities around the city, such as police stations, libraries and CTA station. DCASE also administers the City’s Percent-for-Art Ordinance, which was established in 1978 and stipulates that 1.33% of the cost of constructing or renovating public buildings will be used for public art.

What an amazing concept. Go Chicago!

perilsThere will be many special exhibits and tours, but I was only in Chicago for 3 days this April, so could only track down a few of these special art works at this time.

Turns out that many of these famous public art works have an interesting story and history, starting with the Picasso. To co-incide with this Year of Public Art, the Chicago Cultural Center has a small exhibit called The Fame and Perils of Chicago’s Public Art. The introductory board tells us that, “Planning and creating public art can be a risky venture. Depending on how or what you count, the placement of art in Chicago’s public spaces has a 200-year long history. Sometimes the art is loved. Sometimes it is hated. To further complicate matters, times change—and so do the tastes of people.”

So…to start with Picasso’s “Untitled”.

frontcloserUntitled” by Pablo Picasso, on the Richard J Daley Civic Center Plaza, 50 W. Washington Street. In 1967 Pablo Picasso’s monumental sculpture was unveiled in Chicago’s Civic Center (now called the Richard J. Daley CivicCenter).

In 1963, imagining a work for the new Chicago Civic Plaza, architect William Hartmann of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill turned to Pablo Picasso. Using an introduction from English artist Roland Penrose, Hartmann contacted Picasso describing a “site for the most important piece of sculpture in the United States.” Picasso accepted and worked on plans for the largest work of his career, mostly with his vision of an abstract female figure, which he gave as a gift to the city.

This abstract design was not originally popular when the monument was erected in

Banks

Newspaper picture with Banks superimposed

1967. In fact, as I learned from the small exhibit in the Chicago Cultural Center, many Chicagoans thought it was a giant portrait of the artist’s Afghan hound. An alderman from the City Council proposed replacing the Picasso with a giant statue of Chicago Cubs legend Ernie Banks, and a local paper ran a story with a photo of Banks superimposed on that of the Picasso.

At the time of the opening of the Picasso, Mayor Richard J. Daley insightfully dedicated it with these words, “what is strange to us today will be familiar tomorrow.” That has proved true, and 50 years later it’s an iconic part of the city’s landscape, and much loved by locals and visitors. So much so, that Northwestern grad and vocal art advocate, Patricia Stratton, has written a book dedicated to the sculpture called “The Chicago Picasso: A Point of Departure”.

sideI find this work of Picasso’s very interesting: I can definitely see the Afghan hound in there, but also a female figure. What do you think?

Picasso’s work was Chicago’s first major pubic art work in the modern style, rather than historical effigies and memorials that had been traditional before. It inspired much private and public investment in art for the city center, including Marc Chagall’s mosaic “The Four Seasons” in 1974, which then inspired his “America Windows”. Other commissions included monuments by Joan Miro (1963), Jean Dubuffet (1969) and Alexander Calder (1974), among many others. And so a tradition was born.

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Leslie Nichole

A Lifestyle Blog

Tom Plevnik photography

One picture could change your life.

The Little Blog of Magic

The alluring travel blog.

Celtic Connections and Travels

Many trips over many years to Scotland, Wales and, recently, Ireland, deserve to be grouped together, so here we go!

Lucid Being

“Those that claim to possess the answer are miles behind those that seek it” - Lucid Being

kirilson photography

the stories behind the pictures, and vice versa

eatliveescape.wordpress.com/

Ingredients for a Beautiful Life!

Minerva's pencil case

Marilyn's musings

Fotoeins Fotografie

photography as worlds between words

Dining with Donald

Donald on dining in and out

Paris1972-Versailles2003

Travel and my anecdotes

Deuxiemepeau; Picturing Poetry by Damien B. Donnelly

Between the lines and through the lens...

Camellia's Cottage

Alabama Lifestyle Blog

Our Visits to Japan

Trying to capture the essence of this lovely country

Sunny District

Welcome to my happy place!

Transplanted Tatar

Travel of the hidden-treasure variety

Odedi's Wine Reviews Blog

Wine reviews so good, you can almost "taste it" !