Geoffrey and I were on our way to visit the Lincoln Park Zoo when we passed a building with a glass store-front from whose interior a Pink Neon Sign called out to me. The building turned out to be the home of the Chicago History Museum (formerly known as the Chicago Historical Society), and it looked like a pretty cool place. We did not have time for an in-depth visit (next time!), but we did snap a few photos in the lobby, which is alive with a streetscape of illuminated, vintage Chicago signage such as the eight-feet tall Gas for Less sign you see above, as well as a fully refurbished Lowrider Car, which you may see in a future post! Chicago!
“Paying Attention All the Time is an Interesting Way to Go Through the Day.” That is my favorite quote from photographer Stephen Shore, and while it applies to most days of my life, it was especially true during the week I spent vacationing in Chicago. Man, excluding decent weather, that city has just about everything, including lots of fun public art. This site-specific mural of cartoonish fat cats is painted on the exterior of Broken English Taco Pub, which according to its website serves “A unique take on Mexican street style tacos.” Sound yummy!
We were running around so much that we didn’t have an opportunity to eat there (next time!) and I only got one good snap of the entire mural, but here is a cropped view of the cats, which look like ‘cat balloons,’ almost. The Luchador Mask-wearing Cat below is on the back side of the building on Wells Street as you walk toward the entrance.
There are three Broken English Taco Pub locations in Chicago, but this one is located at 1440 N. Wells (at the corner Schiller Street) in the Old Town neighborhood.
These Summer Of Love-era sneakers were designed by artist Peter Max, who is best known for his trippy, colorful and psychedelic designs of the 1960s and ’70s. As craft became a form of cultural commentary, wearable art was used as a symbol of the counterculture’s personal and political allegiances.
These sneakers had an original sale price of $3.97, and can now be found on auction sites such as eBay selling for, on average, about $600 per pair. The back of the sneaker has a grinning red mouth across it, part of which can be seen in the above photo.
Photographed as Part of the Exhibit Minimalism / Maximalism, on Through November 16, 2019 at the Museum at FIT in Manhattan .
If you think the ‘Green Juice’ smoothie that your coworker gets from the juice truck is disgusting — because it is — wait until you check out some of the ingredients inside the crazy concoctions comprising Josh Kline’s refrigerator-case sculpture, Skittles (2014).
Fifteen different smoothie flavors line the shelves of Kline’s light box-encased commercial refrigerator. Each bottle lists the unorthodox ingredients contained within, including inedible items such as latex gloves, duct tape, Ritalin and fragments of Google Glass eyewear.
These high-tech materials, synthetic chemicals, and organic substances evoke specific locations as well as contemporary lifestyles, industries and brands. With varieties like Big Data and Supplements, the indigestible ‘drinks’ inside this glowing cooler clearly illustrate the ways in which our bodies have been engineered, chemically altered, and transformed by technologies of consumption.
Which ‘Flavor’ is your favorite? Take closer look, below!
Katharina Fritsch makes meticulous reproductions of everyday objects, rendering them unfamiliar through extreme shifts in scale and either alluring or repellent color choices. Indeed, saturated and non reflective collators of color lend her sculptures a stones sense of otherworldliness.
“I always call the starting point [for a sculpture] a vision,” she has said. “I’ll be in a tram or driving a car and suddenly I get a picture in my mind. Something completely normal turns into a miracle — something I’ve never seen before. Simple things you see every day turn into something strange, something alien.”
Woman With Dog (2004) is clearly sealed up — enormously so — from from a small figurine made of seashells, as one might find in a beachside souvenir shop.
Photographed in the Art Institute, Chicago.
When I claimed that my vacation time spent in the lovely city of Chicago had provided me with multiple months of delightful things to feature in this blog, I was not at all exaggerating. Check out this rad battery-powered Pink Jeep for kids! I walked by this while strolling about look at the sites.
A wee bit of Googling took me to this page on the Wal-Mart Website, where the Jeep, referred to as a “ride-on truck,” is feted in irresistibly glowing terms:
“Nothing’s better than cruising in your truck, the sun shining down, and a juice box in hand. Start ’em young and add a car to the garage with this ride-on truck, complete with in-car and remote-control steering. Adventure awaits: get some grass in the treads of those traction wheels and conquer the backyard with a spring suspension system. Our trucks are built large, scaled small, for your little one’s biggest adventures.”
Yeah, Baby! The Jeep is from Best Choice Products (who make other models of cars for kids as well) and sells for $299 retail. Sweet Ride!
Add this to the long list of Very Cool Things I saw on my recent Chicago vacation: Spitting Fountains. Well, the proper name for this distinctive piece of public art is Crown Fountain, located in Millennium Park, but if you were a tourist and you asked a Chicago local to point you in the direction of “The Spitting Fountains,” I bet they would know what you meant.
Opened in July 2004, Crown Fountain is an interactive work of public art and video sculpture designed by Catalan artist Jaume Plensa and executed by Krueck and Sexton Architects. The fountain is composed of a black granite reflecting pool placed between a pair of glass brick towers.
The towers are 50 feet tall and use light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to display digital videos on their inward faces. While some of the videos displayed are of scenery, most attention has focused on its video clips of the faces of local residents. Here’s where the spitting part comes in: a powerful stream of water intermittently cascades down the two towers, spouting through a nozzle on each tower’s front face. Not coincidentally, the nozzle will line up with the mouth of whatever face is being displayed. Clever.
Here’s how you can best plan your photos to get a shot of the spitting. Each face appears on the sculpture for a total of 5 minutes using various parts of individual 80-second videos. A 40-second section is played at one-third speed forward and backward, running for a total of 4 minutes. Then, there is a subsequent segment, where the mouth is puckering, that is stretched to 15 seconds. This is followed by a section, in which the water appears to spout from the open mouth, that is stretched to last for 30 seconds.
Finally, there is a smile after the completion of the water spouting from the mouth, that is slowed to extend for 15 seconds. The water operates only from May to October.
Crown Fountain highlights Plensa’s themes of dualism, light, and water, extending the use of video technology from his prior works. Its use of water is unique among Chicago’s many fountains, in that it promotes physical interaction between with the public, and children especially appear to enjoy frolicing in the fountain’s water.
In fact, if you are on the street passing by and can’t even see the fountain, you can tell when it is spitting because you can hear the loud and delighted squealing of children.
Crown Fountain is adjacent to another famous Chicago landmark, Anish Kapoor’s Cloudgate (aka The Bean), so you can see them both next time you visit this beautiful city!