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PUBLIC ART IN THE LOOP

A Picasso, a flamingo and a bean are among the public art pieces in Chicago's collection.

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For public art not to miss in Chicago, here's a round up. Visitors with a love for large-scale artworks will find no shortage of eye candy in Chicago with the stellar public art collection. Take a public art tour in Chicago, or create your own scavenger hunt between the public art highlights in Chicago's Loop listed below.

 

Picasso

The Picasso (1967)

Just outside the Daley Civic Center Plaza sits the first monumental Modern sculpture to be placed in the Loop. The Picasso, (50 W. Washington St.) with its abstract design, puzzled many when it was installed in 1967, but has since grown into an icon of Chicago pride. It's widely considered a monumental achievement in the artistic style of Cubism, combining frontal and side views from a single vantage point.

 

Chicago by Joan Miro

Chicago (1981)

Directly across Washington Street, just steps from The Picasso, is the work of another 20th century master, Joan Miró. Simply named Chicago, it's a 40-foot-tall abstract figure of a woman wedged between two skyscrapers.

 

The Four Seasons by Marc Chagall

The Four Seasons (1974)

Another stop on your tour of Modernist artworks is The Four Seasons by Marc Chagall, a surrealistic mosaic depicting humans' physical and spiritual life cycles. Composed of thousands of inlaid chips in over 250 colors, it portrays six scenes of Chicago.

 

Agora

Agora (2006)

At the intersection of Michigan Avenue and Roosevelt Road, find yourself walking amongst the walkers of Agora (Michigan Ave. at Roosevelt Rd.). The bizarre display of over one-hundred torso-less sculptures reflects our busy, fast paced lifestyles. The figures are positioned to be walking in multiple directions, both destined for a location and frozen in time.

 Flamingo by Alexander Calder

Flamingo (1974)

If you find yourself dying for a splash of color, look no further than the Flamingo (Federal Center Plaza). The bright, vivid sculpture and curvilinear form elegantly clash the Mies van der Rohe, International style architecture around it.

 

Monument with Standing Beast in Chicago

Monument with Standing Beast (1984)

One of the most eye-catching sculptures in the Loop comes from celebrated urban artist Jean Dubuffet. Commissioned by the State of Illinois, Monument with Standing Beast (100 W. Randolph St.) sits on the James R. Thompson Center Plaza. Its open design and fiber glass construction invites viewers to enter the sculpture and become a part of the piece. A triple threat, the sculpture is said to represent a tree, a portal, and an architectural form. The piece is affectionately referred to by some Chicagoans as "Snoopy in a blender."

 

Cloud Gate aka The Bean

Cloud Gate (2004)

Anish Karpoor's Cloud Gate (better known as "The Bean") has quickly become one of Chicago's most recognizable landmarks. At over 110 tons, the stainless steel structure is one of the largest outdoor sculptures in the world. Its polished, reflective surface and skyline background make for a perfect picture opportunity for you and your family.

 

Buckingham Fountain

Buckingham Fountain (1927)

For a more "royal" aesthetic, the Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park is patterned on the Latona Basin in the gardens of the Palace of Versailles. The fountain contains four identical pairs of twenty-foot bronze sea horses.

 

Art Institute of Chicago

Lions at The Art Institute of Chicago (1894)

You don't have to go to the Lincoln Park Zoo to see lions. In fact, you don't even have to leave Michigan Avenue. Constructed in 1894 by Edward Kemeys, two bronze lions stand guard at the entrance to The Art Institute. The sculptures are realistically designed but not exactly feared. During holidays and city events the big cats are often dressed and decorated for the occasion.

 

Abraham Lincoln in Grant Park Chicago

Seated Lincoln (1926)

Abraham Lincoln was nominated to represent the Republican Party on the shores of the Chicago River. So, it's only natural that the city honors our 16th President with a larger-than-life sculpture in Grant Park.

 

ALSO IN THE LOOP:

Chicago Rising from the Lake (1954)
Not all public art is reserved for skyscrapers and plazas; in fact one of the city's most famous pieces is installed on the Columbus Drive Bridge. Chicago Rising from the Lake (Columbus Dr. Bridge) is artist Milton Horn's tribute to Chicago's unconquerable spirit. The bronze bas-relief of a woman emerging from Lake Michigan symbolizes the city's effort to rebuild after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.  

The Flight of Daedalus and Icarus (1991)
While walking through the city's financial district, look up at 120 N. LaSalle to see The Flight of Daedalus and Icarus (120 N. La Salle St.). The brightly colored mosaic by world renowned artist Roger Brown depicts the story of Icarus, a man so overcome with his ability to fly that he soars too close to the sun and melts his wax wings. The piece is both a tribute to human ingenuity and a cautionary tale located, rather appropriately, between Chicago's governing and financial institutions. 


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