Public Art in Chicago

Cloud Gate, Millennium Park, Chicago

Boston Globe columnist Yvonne Abraham was in Chicago last week. Her column today compares the extraordinary commitment to public art by that city with the lackadaisical approach followed in Boston. This past July, I also visited Chicago and concur with Abraham. Above is a photo I took of “Cloud Gate” in Millennium Park and below is the Picasso sculpture at Daley Center Plaza.

Although not a big fan of Picasso, seeing this artwork was high on my to do list: Near the end of “The Blues Brothers”, Elwood tells Jake they have to get to the county assessors office at Daley Plaza to which Jake replies, “That’s where they’ve got that Picasso.” That journey precipitated the movie’s closing car chase.

Chicago Picasso

2 Responses to Public Art in Chicago

  1. PaulM says:

    We need something as massive, compelling, and imaginative as these two sculptures in Chicago to mark the new Hamilton Canal District. There should be a percent-for-art component in the budget for the Justice Center, whenever it gets built. And it should be a work of art by an artist, not something devised by the project architects as an accent for the courthouse. We have a rare opportunity to integrate a signature work of art in the District, particularly in the area where Thorndike Street sweeps right into the downtown—that’s a prime gateway into the city.

  2. Conor says:

    Thanks for this great post! I was in Chicago for the first time this past Spring and was completely awe-struck by the public art. Boston, and certainly Lowell, could learn much from their approach to Urban Development.

    I also recently watched a special on PBS about Daniel Burnham, one of the designers/architects responsible for Chicago’s design (along with Washington, DC). I would certainly recommend it to anyone interested in urban design or architecture.. It’s an excellent piece by PBS.

    The special also touched upon Burnham’s vision for Cleveland, which specifically focused on using the railway station as a gateway to the City. This dovetails nicely with the comments of the previous poster in the case of Lowell. The area of Thorndike Street has enormous potential to serve as this crucial gateway as it is the first impression commuters experience when exiting the train from Boston or other points south. The City has recently taken steps in the right direction by installing sidewalks and improving the Gallagher Terminal as a gateway, but there is still much more to be done.

    To quote Daniel Burnham: “Make no little plans. They have no magic to stir men’s blood.”