40 outdoor artworks we love (11-20)
Historic, modern, quirky or just unassailably iconic-these paragons of public art turn the entire city into a museum
Chicago Ground Cover, Dan Peterman, 1997
Grant Park's Spirit of Music Garden, 601 S Michigan Ave at Harrison St. It's easy being green. The next time you're burning it up at one of the city's SummerDance concerts, look down. You're standing on one of Peterman's artworks: the dance floor. As American minimalist sculptor Carl Andre proved, there's something delightfully mischievous about knowingly stepping on art. Here, Peterman does more than push the boundaries of conventional art—he sends a political message. By making his dance floor out of recycled plastic, cell foam and other reusable materials, he shows that art can be eco-friendly and utilitarian at the same time.
Nuclear Energy, Henry Moore, 1967
S Ellis Ave between 56th and 57th Sts. This bronze at the University of Chicago is English sculptor Moore's monument to the first controlled, self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction. Headed by Enrico Fermi in 1942 at this site, the experiment initiated the atomic age. Its ambiguous shape (a skull? nuclear-blastmushroom cloud? cathedral?) and human scale allow for a wide range of interpretation.
Illinois Centennial Monument (a.k.a. Logan Square obelisk), Henry Bacon, 1918
Milwaukee Ave at Kedzie and Logan Blvds. Affectionately referred to as the "chicken on a stick," the eagle perched atop this 27-foot-tall stone obelisk marks Logan Square's center. Commemorating Illinois's centennial, the bird keeps a watchful eye over cars speeding around the European-style traffic "circle," and hipsters noshing at nearby Lula Cafe.
Warm and Fuzzy Fun, Christine Tarkowski, 2001
Chicago Children's Advocacy Center, 1240 S Damen Ave between Washburne Ave and 13th St. For this project commissioned as part of the city's Percent-for-Art program (an initiative dictating that a portion of the budget used to construct public buildings be allotted for public art), the artist photographed a pile of brightly colored stuffed animals, then printed that image on 4-foot-by-4-foot panels of aluminum siding, which were then attached to the building's 2,880-square-foot rear facade.
Make love, not war General John Logan Memorial, Augustus Saint-Gaudens, 1897
In Grant Park, Michigan Ave at 9th St. Of the plethora of war memorials in our parks, let's consider this memorial to a Civil War hero from Illinois. In 1968, it was the gathering site for antiwar protestors, yippies and hippies during the Democratic National Convention—who had a field day clambering all over it, and calling for an end to the Vietnam War, before Richard J's boys in blue tossed them through the windows of the Hilton across the street. Other notable military immortals include the George Washington Memorial in Washington Park, the Ulysses S. Grant Memorial in Lincoln Park, and the Philip H. Sheridan Statue at Lake Shore Drive and Belmont Avenue.
River Road Ring,Martin Puryear, 1985
Blue Line Rosemont station, 5801 N River Rd at Foster Ave. This piece was installed in 1985 for the then-new River Road station (now Rosemont). The ring, made of mahogany and 27 feet in diameter, hovers at an angle over the escalator passage, like an elegant hula hoop in space.
Pillar of Fire,Egon Weiner, 1961
Chicago Fire Academy, 558 W DeKoven St at Jefferson St. This marks the spot where the Great Chicago Fire started. Legend says Mrs. O'Leary's arsonist cow did the deed, but we'll take 30-foot bronze flames over a bronze bovine any day.
Crossing, Hubertus von der Goltz, 1998
LaSalle Gateway Plaza, on LaSalle St just north of Hubbard St. This German artist was commissioned by the city to create one of his signature sculptures of balancing figures. Here, an aluminum man attempts to make his way across a 25-foot steel sculpture.
Man on a Bench, George Segal, 1985
On the northwest side of Perlstein Hall at the Illinois Institute ofTechnology, 10 W 33rd St at State St. IIT commissioned Segal to create an outdoor sculpture in 1985 to honor the centennial of Mies van der Rohe's birth. (He headed the architecture program at the school for 20 years and designed much of its campus.) Segal's signature sculptures of ordinary people doing ordinary things—in this case, a white-patinaed bronze man seated on a bench with rumpled clothing, perhaps meditating—seems like a fine way to honor a man who liked to keepthings simple.
Arts and Science of the Ancient World: The Flight of Daedalus and Icarus, Roger Brown, 1990
120 N LaSalle St between Washington and Randolph Sts. A rare glittering mosaic by the late Chicago Imagist Brown sits across from City Hall, just on the other side of LaSalle Street. Two handsome men in tunics, with wings strapped to their muscular arms, fly with determination above the waves of the lake, the sun glaring from above. In this commission, Brown celebrated Chicago's merging of art and technology, assuring usthat the intrepid Daedalus would have "felt at home here."