Archive: Art in Chicago
People love this giant outdoor sculpture that spits out water

People love this giant outdoor sculpture that spits out water

Jaume Plensa - Crown Fountain, 2004, Glass, stainless steel, LED screens, light, wood, black granite and water, 16 m, Millennium Park, Chicago, Illinois, USA
Jaume PlensaCrown Fountain, 2004, Glass, stainless steel, LED screens, light, wood, black granite and water, 16 m, Millennium Park, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Within Chicago’s Millennium Park stands an interactive piece of art that the public never seems to have enough of. Designed by Jaume Plensa, a Catalan artist, the fountain is an illustration of how creativity and technology can mingle to form an enchanting piece of work. The work, which was unveiled in July 2004, was executed by Krueck and Sexton Architects and in it they use black granite which gives the illusion of a pool. The pool on which visitors stand on, is an area of space that separates two towers made from glass. Each one of the towers is 50 feet tall and LEDs are used on their surfaces to display inward faces developed by digital videography.

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Humans reduced to a blob of color

Humans reduced to a blob of color

Andreas Gursky - Kuwait Stock Exchange, 2007

Andreas Gursky - Kuwait Stock Exchange II, 2007
Andreas GurskyKuwait Stock Exchange II, 2007
Photo: Andreas Gursky/VG Bild-Kunst, Courtesy Sprüth Magers, Berlin London

Andreas Gursky is a German photographer and professor. He is most well known for large format architecture and landscape color photos, and following the 1990’s; Gursky has been using technology and computers for editing and enhancing his photos.

Gursky is known for using an elevated vantage point as his main perspective. This allows the audience to view the scenes from a place that is both peripheral and central. Using each subject to create an unconventional geometry, he organizes the world fitting in with his personal visual logic. He began his portrayals of stock exchanges in 1990 and has continued this project throughout his career.

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Throwback: New visual language in the field of photography

Throwback: New visual language in the field of photography

Thomas Struth - Pantheon, Rome, 1990

Thomas Struth - Pantheon, Rome, 1990
Thomas StruthPantheon, Rome, 1990

Thomas Struth is one of the most critically acclaimed contemporary photographers of our time. He is renowned for his black and white photographs of cities such as Düsseldorf and New York, as well as his family portraits. The artist who lives in Dusseldorf acquired his inspiration for his series of Museum Photographs while he was residing in Naples and Rome, where he discovered that there was a connection between paintings of art and religion and how these paintings connect audiences to their spirituality. The Museum Photographs, which was showcased at the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, marshaled in a new visual language in the field of photography.

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Immaculate larger than life sculptures as sanctified haven

Immaculate larger than life sculptures as sanctified haven

Jaume Plensa - Paula, 2013, Bronze, 179 x 63 x 63 cm, Toledo Museum of Art, 2016, Photo The Blade:Andy Morrison

Jaume Plensa
Jaume Plensa

Jaume Plensa is arguably one of the top sculptors today. He is largely known for creating huge-sized ethereal sculptures, and has also worked with different other types of contemporary art media, including from acoustic installations to video projections.

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Suicide car bomb from Iraq turned into art piece

Suicide car bomb from Iraq turned into art piece

 Jeremy Deller - It is what it is- Conversations About Iraq, 2009, at Joy in People at the Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre,  Photos: Linda Nylind
Jeremy DellerIt is what it is- Conversations About Iraq, 2009, at Joy in People at the Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre
Photo: Linda Nylind

In the Imperial War Museum in London, surrounded by some of the most powerful military hardware of the last 100 years rests a rusting, crumpled car. This is a clear example of what war does. The car is a piece by Jeremy Deller, and was a car that was contorted in a street bombing that killed 38 people and wounded many more at Baghdad’s Al-Mutanabbi book market. Al-Mutanabbi book market was at the heart of the Baghdad’s cultural and intellectual life.

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How do 37,000 inflated balloons look like when put in a museum?

How do 37,000 inflated balloons look like when put in a museum?

Martin Creed - Work No. 247. Half the air in a given space, 2000, Museo de Arte Contemporanea de Vigo, 2011 - 2.jpg

Martin Creed - Work No. 247. Half the air in a given space, 2000, Museo de Arte Contemporanea de Vigo, 2011 - 2.jpg
Martin CreedWork No. 247. Half the air in a given space, 2000, Museo de Arte Contemporanea de Vigo, 2011

Martin Creed’s Work Half the Air in a Given Space, is brilliantly fun way to experience interactive art. As an audience member you find yourself pushing your way through a space, whether it be a room or a hallway or a lobby, filled (only halfway) with up to 37,000 balloons. You as an audience member are completely surrounded by marshmallows, and although the image is joyfully preposterous, however, as you get into the space you find you feel a mixture of emotions including exhilaration, disorientation, but don’t be surprised if you feel a little bit claustrophobic.

Half the Air in a Given Space can be described as an interactive installation (which is easily an understatement if anything). This is every child’s dream or every globophobic’s worst nightmare (globophobia is the fear of balloons), basically a space that’s filled with of hundreds or thousands of balloons of the same color. Half a room’s entire volume is filled with balloons, and visitors become a part of the art by walking through the balloon filled room.

For those who are not globophobic or clausterphobic, this piece is supposed to evoke the feeling of deep celebration and remanence of childhood memories. If you have no problem with balloons or small spaces, you can be pretty much guaranteed that you will leave the installation with a smile on your face from the touch of nostalgia you have emerged from.
In 2012, Creed installed four versions of this work in neighborhoods throughout the city, each site featured a different colored balloon. Thus not only are audience members who brave the balloons submerged in a room half filled with air, but they are submerged in the color, in a supernatural world in which their senses cannot fully be relied on, a world in which beauty and playfulness is combined.

Martin Creed - Work No. 200. Half the air in a given space, 1998 Courtesy the artist and Hauser © Martin Creed
Martin CreedWork No. 200. Half the air in a given space, 1998
Courtesy the artist and Hauser © Martin Creed

Martin Creed - Work No. 200. Half the air in a given space, at Tate St.Ives, 2011
Martin CreedWork No. 200. Half the air in a given space, at Tate St.Ives, 2011
Photo by Rosa Park

Martin Creed - Work No. 200. Half the air in a given space, at Tate St.Ives, 2011, Photo by Rosa Park
Martin CreedWork No. 200. Half the air in a given space, at Tate St.Ives, 2011
Photo by Rosa Park

Martin Creed - Work No. 200. Half the air in a given space, at Tate St.Ives, 2011
Martin CreedWork No. 200. Half the air in a given space, at Tate St.Ives, 2011

Martin Creed - Work No. 204. Half the air in a given space, 1999, dimensions variable, City Gallery, Historic Water Tower, Chicago, 2012, Photo- Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago
Martin CreedWork No. 204. Half the air in a given space, 1999, dimensions variable, City Gallery, Historic Water Tower, Chicago, 2012
Photo: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago

Martin Creed - Work No. 247. Half the air in a given space, 2000, Museo de Arte Contemporanea de Vigo, 2011
Martin CreedWork No. 247. Half the air in a given space, 2000, Museo de Arte Contemporanea de Vigo, 2011

Martin Creed - Work No. 247. Half the air in a given space, 2000, Museo de Arte Contemporanea de Vigo, 2011
Martin CreedWork No. 247. Half the air in a given space, 2000, Museo de Arte Contemporanea de Vigo, 2011

Martin Creed - Work No. 247. Half the air in a given space, 2000, Museo de Arte Contemporanea de Vigo, 2011, Photo by Moby
Martin CreedWork No. 247. Half the air in a given space, 2000, Museo de Arte Contemporanea de Vigo, 2011
Photo: Moby

Martin Creed - Work No. 247. Half the air in a given space, 2000, Museo de Arte Contemporanea de Vigo, 2011
Martin CreedWork No. 247. Half the air in a given space, 2000, Museo de Arte Contemporanea de Vigo, 2011

Martin Creed - Work No. 329. Half the air in a given space, 2004. Rennie Collection
Martin CreedWork No. 329. Half the air in a given space, 2004, Rennie Collection

Martin Creed - Work No. 329. Half the Air in a Given Space
Martin CreedWork No. 329. Half the air in a given space

Martin Creed - Work No. 360. Half the Air in a Given Space, 2015, Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle, Photo by Evan Chakroff
Martin CreedWork No. 360. Half the air in a given space, Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle, 2015
Photo by Evan Chakroff

Martin Creed - Work No. 360. Half the Air in a Given Space, 2015, Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle
Martin CreedWork No. 360. Half the air in a given space, Henry Art Gallery, University of Washington, Seattle, 2015

Martin Creed - Work No. 965. Half the Air in a Given Space, 2008, multiple pieces, The Cleveland Museum Of Art
Martin CreedWork No. 965. Half the air in a given space, 2008, multiple pieces, The Cleveland Museum Of Art

Martin Creed - Work No. 965. Half the Air in a Given Space, 2008, multiple pieces, The Cleveland Museum Of Art
Martin CreedWork No. 965. Half the air in a given space, 2008, multiple pieces, The Cleveland Museum Of Art

Martin Creed - Work No. 1562. Half the air in a given space, 2015, THEMUSEUM, Kitchener, Canada
Martin CreedWork No. 1562. Half the air in a given space, THEMUSEUM, Kitchener, Canada, 2015

Martin Creed - Work No. 1562. Half the air in a given space, 2015, THEMUSEUM, Kitchener, Canada
Martin CreedWork No. 1562. Half the air in a given space, THEMUSEUM, Kitchener, Canada, 2015

Martin Creed - Work No. 1562. Half the air in a given space, 2015, THEMUSEUM, Kitchener, Canada
Martin CreedWork No. 1562. Half the air in a given space, THEMUSEUM, Kitchener, Canada, 2015

Martin Creed - Work No. 2497. Half the air in a given space, 2015, Park Avenue Armory
Martin CreedWork No. 2497. Half the air in a given space, Park Avenue Armory, NYC, 2015

Martin Creed - Work No. 2497. Half the air in a given space, 2015. dimensions variable. Phoenix Art Museum. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth
Martin CreedWork No. 2497. Half the air in a given space, dimensions variable. Phoenix Art Museum
Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth


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Free candy in a museum – Félix González-Torres

Free candy in a museum – Félix González-Torres

Felix Gonzalez-Torres - "Untitled" (Portrait of Ross in L.A.), 1991, The Art Institute of Chicago
Felix Gonzalez-TorresUntitled (Portrait of Ross in L.A.), 1991, Candies individually wrapped in multicolor cellophane, endless supply. Dimensions vary with installation; ideal weight 175 lbs. At The Art Institute of Chicago
(Photo mark6mauno Flickr)

Felix Gonzalez-Torres’ piece “Untitled” (Portrait of Ross in L.A.) is one of his nineteen candy pieces and featured in many museums around the world. The work targets the topic of a serious nature, one that is still unfortunately often taboo in mainstream society. It takes the topic from the shadows, where individuals still cringe and avert their eyes, and lays it on the table for discussion and contemplation.

The approximate 175 pounds of candy that make up the work resemble the 175-pound body of Ross Laycock, the artists’ boyfriend who died of AIDS in 1991. As each person takes a piece of candy, they in turn act as the AIDS virus depleting Ross’ body, piece be piece taking it away until there is nothing left. Felix Gonzalez-Torres, who dedicated his artwork to the one he love and lost, died in 1996 of AIDS.

His work doesn’t only represent the disease and its depletion on the body, but it represents the love between the person who is suffering from the disease and the person who is there to support them and suffer with them. The sweet candy, in and of itself, is a representation of love. If you think about giving candy to a loved one on valentine’s day, sweets in a box with flowers on mother’s day, candy has long been tied to affection and love. While the candy is eaten, while the body begins to disappear, the love remains.

While there has been much development and change since the 80’s and 90’s, there has been no cure and there has remained a stigma attached to the disease. Treatment allows individuals with HIV to live long and fairly normal lives, however there is still much more work needed in the area, and there is need for unstigmatized conversation.

This work of art says so much and is absolutely just as important today as it was in the 90’s. If you ever have the chance, this is a piece you must see.

Felix Gonzalez-Torres - "Untitled" (Portrait of Ross in L.A.), 1991, The Art Institute of Chicago
Felix Gonzalez-TorresUntitled (Portrait of Ross in L.A.), 1991, Candies individually wrapped in multicolor cellophane, endless supply. Dimensions vary with installation; ideal weight 175 lbs. At The Art Institute of Chicago

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