40 outdoor artworks we love (21-30)
Historic, modern, quirky or just unassailably iconic-these paragons of public art turn the entire city into a museum
Wonder walls Dejen Que Los Ninos Se Acerquen a Mi, Jeff Zimmerman, 2004 + Solidarity, Jose Guerrero and John Pitman Weber, 1973 + other Pilsen murals
At 37th St and Ashland Ave. In the 1960s, Pilsen's wall murals emerged as a powerful form of Mexican-American expression. Influenced by historicalMexican art and the concurrent South Side mural movement, this form of public art advocated civil rights and a strong community. This is best reflected in Guerrero and Pitman Weber's Solidarity, painted in 1973. It depicts strife, violent civil-rights clashes and anti-war sentiment during Vietnam. We also like some of Pilsen's newer murals, including Daniel Manrique Aria's Hands in Solidarity-Hands of Freedom in striking yellows and reds (also at 37th St and Ashland Ave), and Zimmerman's Dejen, with its giant priest hoisting a baby on the side of Saint Pius Church at Ashland Avenue and Cullerton Street.
Large and in charge Chicago, Joan Miro, 1967 + Untitled (a.k.a. the Picasso), Pablo Picasso, 1967 + Flamingo, Alexander Calder, 1974
Daley Center, 50 W Washington St between Clark and Dearborn Sts; Federal Plaza, Dearborn St between Adams St and Jackson Blvd. Cowering in the shadow of the Picasso, the Miro sculpture is tragically sited in a shadowy nook across Washington Street from its famous neighbor, between Dearborn and Clark Streets, futilely vying for your attention. Didn't know it was there, did you? As for the untitled Pablo, we've given up on whatever it's supposed to be, but when it was unveiled, the abstract shape stirred quite a controversy. Nowadays, it's difficult to see it as anything but an icon. We could knock it for its baboonish shape, but we must admit: It still draws a crowd into the Loop, and makes Chicago home to one of Picasso's only large public works. Follow the trail of Mies van der Rohe office towers south to Federal Plaza for Calder's Flamingo, which cuts through the grid of buildings with its brilliant orange and curvy shape. There may not be any digital faces spitting water, but standing among these modern works is still quite an experience.
Haymarket Riot monument, Mary Brogger, 2004
Northeast corner of Desplaines and Randolph Sts. For years, the only thing marking the spot of one the most important moments in Chicago's (and labor's) history was a plaque on the sidewalk. Now, a 15-foot-tall sculpture of a crowd around a wagon used as a stage marks the spot of the 1886 rally-turned-fatal-riot in support of an eight-hour workday.
The Bowman and The Spearman, Ivan Mestrovic, 1928
Michigan Ave at Congress Pkwy. Bold and muscular, these bronze warriors were commissioned by the Ferguson Fund to honor Native Americans. The sculptor's public works are sprinkled around the globe, but ours are considered his finest.
Fair game Lions, Edward Kemeys, 1894 + The Republic, Daniel Chester French, 1918
Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S Michigan Ave at Adams St. Some of Chicago's most beloved public artworks—including these feline icons—come from the Columbian Exposition of 1893. But it's not Expo organizers who should be credited with this phenomenon, but the prestigious turn-of-the-century park designers Jens Jensen and Frederick Law Olmsted. "They didn't think there should be war heroes in every park," Bachrach says. The influential duo preferred to fill public space with the humanist qualities of Kemey's lovable animals as well as French's The Republic, a smaller replica of the fair's iconic 65-foot "Big Mary" (the nickname fairgoers gave it) statue, at Hayes and Richards Drives in Jackson Park.
Man with Fish, Stephan Balkenhol, 1998–2001
Shedd Aquarium, 1200 S Lake Shore Dr at Roosevelt Rd. This German artist is known for his rough-hewn wooden sculptures of plain men and women engaging in everyday activities. Man with Fish, a painted bronze fountain—his first outdoor piece in the Midwest—is a twist on a typical Balkenhol, featuring an inexpressive everyman hugging an oversize speckled fish, a humorous comment on stewardship.
Nathan ManilowSculpture Park,various artists
Governors State University, 1 University Pkwy, University Park. This free park, open from dawn to dusk, was established by one of the city's most beloved art patrons, Lew Manilow, in honor of his father. It includes more than 20 monumental sculptures, including works by Mary Miss, Bruce Naumann, Mark di Suvero and Martin Puryear (whose Bodark Ark, 1982, is pictured above).
Untitled (a.k.a. the sounding sculpture), HarryBertoia, 1975
Aon Center, 200 E Randolph St between Michigan Ave and Columbus Dr. This two-piece sculpture, installed on the east and west sides of the Aon Center, also has been referred to as "Offering to the Wind." We may never know its actual title, because Italian artist Bertoia rarely explained or signed his work. We do know that these 19-foot-tall iron rods were created to be sound art, or "sonambients." If you can block out the noise of the traffic, the bustle of Millennium Park and the rushing water of the adjacent fountain, it's possible to hear the deep vibrating tones as the rods are blown by the wind.
Riverwalk Gateway, Ellen Lanyon, 2000
400 E Wacker Dr at the Chicago River. The esplanade along the Chicago River has been rightly recognized as an ideal site for public art, especially along the landscaped promenade where the river flows into Lake Michigan. Lanyon's 336-foot-long ceramic mural, commissioned by the Chicago Public Art Program, is both ahistory lesson and eye candy. Lanyon, associated with Chicago's Imagist painters, researched this project at the Chicago Historical Society.