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.
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’sCloudgate (aka The Bean), so you can see them both next time you visit this beautiful city!
This giant Pink Cherry Blossom glass tile mosaic is located at the 77th Street 6 Train subway station, on the mezzanine walls above the stairs leading to the train platfrom. It is part of a larger wall mural, by artist Robert Kushner, entitled 4 Seasons Seasoned, commissioned for the station in 2004. For the mosaics in this mural, Kushner created bouquets of flowers – from every season – that reflect such influences as Dutch flower paintings and Japanese screens. Most neighborhoods have flower shops, but they are especially abundant on the Upper East Side, and have associations with many of the city’s finest hospitals, parks, and museums located there. A painter, sculptor and printmaker, Kushner has always been fascinated by organic motifs. A key figure of the Pattern and Decoration Movement, he continues to feature vegetal motifs in his works, often along with geometric patterns and architectural shapes. At 77th Street, he gives the community a blazing bouquet to brighten the day (and night)!
The dynamic, curvilinear design of the Current Chair (2004) by Vivian Beer seems to defy the strength and hardness of the steel from which it is made. Historically, few women have worked in metal other than to fashion jewelry, and fewer still have made metal furniture.
About her innovative design Beer remarked, “I wanted this chair to seem as if it had been cut and crushed out of a single sheet of metal. At the same time, I wanted it to feel as fast and clean as water its silhouette . . .The balance and the trickery are important.” The chair’s title suggests that the artist’s choice of the color blue alludes to swiftly moving water.
Teri Greeves (b. 1970) is a member of the Kiowa Native American tribe, and her culture deeply influences her work. Khoiye-Goo Mah (2004) translates in the Kiowa language as “Kiowa women,” and four Kiowa women are depicted on these sneakers: the artist’s grandmother and mother, both skillful bead workers who taught artist this traditional craft,; her aunt, the first female fancy war dancer in the state of Oklahoma, and spiritual woman, who had the honor of naming the artist.
Artist LJ Roberts offers the following input on the piece: “Converse hi-tops have long been a part of my everyday life. I’ve modified them as a means of personal expression, and for years they have been the surface on which I move and travel. Khoiye-GoodMah integrates matrilineal skill sharing, craft, movement, and Independence. To converse it to communicate, and to also reverse or revert; Greeves’ artwork does this in rich and complex layers.”
Photographed in the Museum of Ats and Design in Manhattan
The Delancey and Essex Street Station is home to the J, M, Z, and F Trains, and also this colorful glass mosaic mural of two fish, which appear to be swimming on the surface of the water. Fun!
With minimal Googling, I discovered that the mural is called Shad Crossing, Delancey Orchard (2004) by artist Ming Fay. For the backstory, let’s go to Yelp ReviewerTina C. from Queens, who writes:
Glass mosaics on platform and mezzanine walls symbolizes the the liveliness of the once thriving fishing marketplace in this storied Lower East Side community. Aquatic images are a metaphor for “crossing” in a glass mosaic mural on the Brooklyn-bound platform, inspired by the prominent DeLancey family’s eighteenth century farm, which stretched from the East River to the Hudson River. The farm’s cherry orchard was located where Orchard Street stands and is memorialized with radiant cherry trees on the Manhattan-bound platform.
The larger mural is adjacent to this underground directive (above) , but on the platform for the Brooklyn Bound F, you will also find these small tile mosaic Fish Heads at random intervals along the wall.
TV and Music Industry Legend Dick Clark has passed away today, April 18, 2012, at the age of 82 after suffering a massive heart attack. He had a good, long life. For about the first 70 years of his life, say up until he had that devastating stroke in 2004, Dick Clark looked just as he did in the photo above. He was like a modern-day Dorian Gray, staying forever young while an oil painting of his likeness aged in an attic somewhere. Tell me I’m not right about that. The man just never aged. RIP Dick Clark. I wish I knew your secret to eternal youth.