Archive for the ‘Millennium Park’ Category

Happy New Year! Past and future architecture.

01/01/2009
In with the old, in with the new.

And isn’t that what makes cities great?

What I’m looking forward to in 2009: The grand opening of Renzo Piano Building Workshop’s Modern Wing at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Above, on the left – Piano’s Modern Wing due to open May 16, 2009.
Above, on the right- Right, Louis Sullivan Arch from the entryway to the Chicago Stock Exchange (1893, demolished 1972.)

Here’s another photo of the new wing-


And the blade of a bridge Piano designed to cross the street from the Art Institute to Millennium Park, and back-

Yes, that is Frank Gehry’s Pritzker Bandshell and trellis you see above.

Neatly engineered, this bridge shoots across the many lanes of Monroe street. Of course the bridge will be modernist white when finished. And doesn’t the city look great, in this winter photo taken yesterday? That gleam, rising on the left, is the still-rising Trump Hotel and Tower. You do see it even from afar.

I’ll have more on Renzo Piano in Chicago soon. Including views inside the galleries.

Happy New Year! Here’s to a fine ’09 – together.
-Edward

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Frank Gehry and "Ungapatchket"

09/19/2008

I’ve seen a little written about

Frank Gehry’s installation at the current Venice Biennale.

But nothing about its wonderful name. He calls it Ungapatchket.

Man, I should be a millionaire by now. Everything I created as a child I was told was
Ungapatchket. Well actually, Ongepotchket.

It’s Yiddish for “messed up. Thrown together. Not carefully assembled. Or, excessively decorated.”

I know Frank Gehry, aka Ephraim Goldberg harzs Yiddish. When I interviewed him about


the open trellis he designed to go in front of his bandshell in Millennium Park in Chicago, and I asked him what Chicagoans will do when it rains, because unlike in L.A. it rains often and a lot in Chicago, Gehry told me, “They didn’t want to spend the money for a retractable cover, so, you’ll throw a schmata over it!” Yiddish for rag.

And on that same trip he told the New York Times,

Over an egg-white omelet at the Ritz cafe (whose ornate decor he dismissed as ”ongepotchket,” or excessively embellished), Mr. Gehry said he was tantalized by the chance to work in Chicago, ”the architecture city of America.”


For the record: Ongepotchket

An adjective based on a past participle, of the verb ‘onpatshken’, to sully. The stem of the verb is Slavic, and the prefix is Germanic, cognate with German an-. The differences in spelling reflect both the various ways of spelling Yiddish words with Roman letters, as well as differences in dialect — ‘un’ is southern, and ‘on’ is northern. According to the YIVO system used by scholars to write Yiddish words with Roman letters, the word is spelled ‘ongepatshket.’ but other spellings can be fine.

As a side note, the same Slavic root gives rise to another less common Yinglish word, ‘potchkey,’ meaning to fiddle around.

Maybe that’ll be the next piece by Gehry. Potchkey.

Photo: Frank Gehry Ungapatchket
2008, Photo Giorgio Zucchiatti, © Fondazione La Biennale di Venezia

Renzo Piano’s bridge between Chicago’s Millennium Park and Piano’s new Art Institute building

05/12/2008


That’s Piano’s building on the far left, the new Modern Wing, with the “flying carpet” roof slightly in view. Millennium Park is on the right.

The views should be great, as you rise through the trees of Millennium Park, look over Michigan Avenue, and out at Grant Park and Lake Michigan. It’ll be nice to get new vantage points from a new outdoor level, in a city of unrelenting flatness.

But I still say, close Monroe Street and truly connect the art to the park.

Does anyone have other photos or videos of the pedestrian bridge that went up this weekend?

The completed Nichols Bridgeway will span some 620 feet.


Photo by Al Podgorski/Chicago Sun-Times

Piano in Chicago

02/06/2008

James Russell’s article today on Renzo Piano’s museums, with the memorable sentence,

It’s time for timid trustees to give Renzo a rest

reminded me to post this photograph taken two weeks ago of Renzo Piano’s “Modern Wing” for the Art Institute of Chicago.

Looking west on Monroe Street.
(Millennium Park would be on the right side of the street.)

People in Chicago are already buzzing about the size of the thing, since it is west of Michigan Avenue, in Grant Park. The built city used to stop at Michigan Avenue. East of that was supposed to be parkland. Now on Monroe the buildings seem to extend out in the park toward Lake Michigan another couple of blocks, all the way to Columbus Avenue.

It will be elegant. Renzo Piano’s museum buildings almost always are.

Russell says of the Chicago addition,

In design drawings, the modern art wing that Piano designed for the Art Institute of Chicago resembles three Beyelers stacked atop each other.

Beyeler Foundation Museum by Renzo Piano 1997

Russell continues,

Will the aloof, elegant structure transcend its model to reveal the Art Institute anew and engage an urban setting that’s got everything — skyline, park, lake? We’ll find out in May 2009, when the wing opens.

Piano has benefited from a trend away from sculpturally expressive museums to bland designs that are invariably described as “architecture serving art.” It’s true that spectacular atriums and strangely shaped galleries can make displaying art more difficult. Yet the best of them freshen our vision.

Piano’s L.A. County Museum of Art, due to open next week, does looks bland on the outside. His California Academy of Sciences, to open Sept. 27th in Golden Gate Park in San Francisco looks anything but bland. And the Art Institute of Chicago wing is appropriately somewhere in the middle.

Looking east on Monroe Street

But this great facade facing north seems to want to have open space in front of it. It “asks” for Monroe Street to be closed. That would also connect Millennium Park to the Art Institute with green space.

Instead a bridge over Monroe, designed by Piano, is planned.

I can’t wait to see this thing lit at night.

-E

06/14/2007

Both Sides Now, L.A and Chicago

Back in Daleyville, I’m trying to absorb what I’ve learned from Los Angeles. To integrate that place with the place I live now, Chicago. Hm. What do you think? Should we install John Baldessari’s cloud carpet from the L.A. County Museum of Art around the base of “Cloud Gate” in Chicago’s Millennium Park?

Maybe just temporarily – (smile).
More thoughts on L.A. soon.

-E

06/03/2007

Serra Gehry Meier Munch

If you can’t make it to New York, to see the Richard Serra show opening today at MoMA


See Frank Gehry’s “hallway” at Disney Hall in Los Angeles


If you can’t make it to Los Angeles to see Gehry behind Disney Hall,
walk along and through his bridge in Chicago

If you can’t walk Gehry’s only bridge,
lean back against Richard Meier’s Getty Center in L.A.


Each unique but related.

And if you can’t lean back against Meier’s Getty Center,

!

-Edvard

Photo of Serra’s “Sequence” (2006), Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

Mark di Suvero, works and the man, in Millennium Park – Chicago

04/15/2007

Who’s the guy chilling in Millennium Park?


Why, it’s the artist himself – Mark di Suvero. He’s up when there’s work to be done.






You load sixteen tons, and whadya get? Yoga is the name of the sculpture.
It features a (moving in the wind) Pantheon-like oculus. These heavy, heavy beams turn gracefully in the wind.


Mark di Suvero.

His works are going up in Millennium Park. In the Boeing (outdoor) Galleries. 5 of them.

Three went up today, the one above, and Shang

and Rust Angel


I like the color. It goes with the colorful faces on the Crown Fountain; and color is always welcome in the park.

All of the di Suvero’s are on access with Cloud “The Bean” Gate, which is a fine juxtaposition. Metal/metal, but highly polished/not and sensuous curves/industrial and harder lines. Each informs the other and helps you appreciate it.

Another difference is, “the Bean” is extremely photogenic. di Suvero’s works are not. You have got to experience them. You must walk through them, and touch them, and then they talk to you – or sometimes they sing adn make music. They tell you how they’re constructed and how what looks so heavy can also float and how they don’t have a center point where you think it might be. What’s not there is as important as what is. Their raw, visceral, sweet power looks great in Millennium Park. I’ll write more about them soon.

And you’re supposed to have fun with them.


Watching them go up today was even sexy. It was such beautiful weather I had to pull myself away from the park. Two more go up tomorrow.

They’ll be there for nearly a year. Lucky us.
-E

03/16/2007

de Saint Phalle or di Suvero?

“I feel a sudden urge to sing
The kind of ditty that invokes the Spring!”

Spring is here and two fab exhibitions have just been announced for Chicago


“The night is young, the skies are clear
So if you wanna go walkin’, dear

It’s delightful, it’s delicious, it’s de-lovely

It’s di Suvero, it’s de Saint Phalle, it’s de-sinful….


I understand the reason why
You’re sentimental, ’cause so am I

It’s
de Saint Phalle, it’s di Suvero, it’s de-sculpture
in da Garfield Park, in Millennium Park, it’s delicious!

Time marches on and soon it’s plain
de Saint Phalle’s won your heart

and di Suvero your brain


It’s delightful, it’s delicious, it’s di Suvero, it’s de Saint Phalle,
it’s de-lovely
!”

2 press releases

“NIKI IN THE GARDEN”

The Extraordinary Sculptures of Niki de Saint Phalle
At the Garfield Park Conservatory May 4—
October 31, 2007

Coming to Chicago’s Garfield Park Conservatory this spring will be more than 30 extraordinary and monumental outdoor sculptures by the internationally-renowned artist, Niki de Saint Phalle.


Entitled Niki in the Garden, this spectacular exhibition of Saint Phalle’s imaginative artwork will be beautifully displayed in the building and on the grounds of the Garfield Park Conservatory from May 4 through
October 31, 2007.

Niki in the Garden is presented by the Chicago Park District, The Boeing Company, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, the Chicago Office of Tourism and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Bureau of Tourism, as part of the citywide celebration, Art of Play: Summer in Chicago 2007.

Massive in scale, Saint Phalle’s magical and joyful works include enormous animals, mythical figures, totems, sports heroes and most famously, her Nanas—oversized, often dancing, powerful women celebrating life. Some of the pieces reach as high as eighteen feet and span up to twenty-five feet long and most invite sitting, climbing or crawling through their secret passages. The fiberglass sculptures are brilliantly embellished with mirrors, glass, semi-precious stones and ceramic mosaics that come to life in all kinds of light. …

Niki de Saint Phalle’s sculptures will be found throughout the grounds of the Garfield Park Conservatory, located at 300 N. Central Park Avenue, 15 minutes west of downtown Chicago. The Conservatory is open every day from 9 a.m. through 5 p.m. and on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. There is a suggested donation of $5 per adult, children are free.

Niki de Saint Phalle was born in 1930 in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France and raised in New York City. A passionately imaginative and self-taught artist, Saint Phalle was extremely prolific, creating a stunning repertoire of work that includes sculptures, paintings and illustrations. She is best known for her work on the sensual and overtly womanly Nanas, which is French for “babes” or “chicks.” Calling the large-scale sculptures and architectural installations “heralds of a new matriarchal age,” Saint Phalle boldly personified her idea of feminine empowerment in these uninhibited, colorful Nanas. Their frenetic dancing, outrageous shapes and shades have appeared in museums, advertisements and outdoor sculptural exhibits around the world. Other notable works include Hon in Stockholm (1966), the Stravinsky Fountain in Paris (1983), Noah’s Ark in Jerusalem (1998), Queen Califia’s Magical Circle in Escondido (1999—2003) and her most important work, the Tarot Garden in Tuscany (1980—1998). In the early 1990s, Saint Phalle settled in southern California, and in 2000 she was awarded the acclaimed 12th Premium Imperial Prize in the sculpture category, considered the Nobel Prize in the art world. She remained in California until her death in 2002.

Niki in the Garden is made possible by the Niki Charitable Art Foundation, a nonprofit organization committed to the late artist’s ideals and the preservation of her legacy for future generations. The Foundation is headed by Bloum Cardenas, the artist’s granddaughter.

The Garfield Park Conservatory is located at 300 N. Central Park Avenue and is easily accessible by automobile or public transportation.Free parking is available just south of the Conservatory’s main entrance.

For more information about ‘Niki in the Garden,’ visit www.cityofchicago.org/Tourism.

It’s di Suvero!

Four Large-Scale Sculptures by Acclaimed Artist Mark di Suvero
To Be Installed in Millennium Park for One Year
April 17, 2007—April 1, 2008

Chicago’s Millennium Park will come alive this season when four large-scale sculptures by the prominent abstract expressionist sculptor Mark di Suvero grace the Park’s Boeing Galleries from April 17, 2007 through April 1, 2008. Framing the dramatic art and architecture of Millennium Park and juxtaposed against the stainless steel lines of the Frank Gehry-designed Jay Pritzker Pavilion, these soaring sculptures will enhance one of Chicago’s most popular public spaces—Millennium Park.

Shang, 1984-85, Steel, 25’ x 19’ x 21’ 9”

A prolific sculptor, di Suvero’s dynamic works have punctuated landscapes and urban environments for half a century. His arresting pieces have consistently drawn critical acclaim, confronting audiences with their audacious colors and shapes, and mesmerizing even the casual passer-by with their subtle energy and intricate proportion.

In Millennium Park, two pieces will be placed in the North Boeing Gallery and two in the South Boeing Gallery. The largest, Orion, a bright orange sculpture, measuring 53 feet high and weighing close to 12 tons, will sit in the North Boeing Gallery along with Johnny Appleseed, a 23’6” foot high structure with two large steam shovels intersecting its steel base. In the South Boeing Gallery are two kinetic steel pieces, Shang, a 25 foot tall sculpture, and Yoga, a 29’6” tall sculpture. Children are invited to climb on the suspended steel beam in Shang that acts as a swing and everyone can see Yoga’s graceful movements as it turns in the wind.

“Mark di Suvero was invited to be the first sculptor to exhibit his work in the Boeing Galleries, given his reputation as one of America’s most influential artists,” said Helen Doria, Executive Director, Millennium Park. “Visitors can interact with his work just as they do with the Crown Fountain and Cloud Gate—the permanent art in the Park. That connection to the art has become part of the essential spirit of Millennium Park, making visitors want to return again and again.”

Johnny Appleseed

A companion exhibition of photography of di Suvero’s sculptures taken by the legendary art dealer, Richard Bellamy, will be on view in the Chicago Cultural Center’s Chicago Rooms, located at 78 E. Washington Street, from June 8 through October 1, 2007.

Mark di Suvero was born in Shanghai, China in 1933, where his father became part of the Italian consular service. At the outbreak of World War II, his family moved to San Francisco and he became a U.S. citizen. In New York in 1957, di Suvero began using scrap from demolished buildings to create what he called “cubist, open spatial sculptures.” In 1960, he was injured in an accident at a day job which left him paralyzed. Confined to a wheelchair for a year, di Suvero learned to use an electric arc welder and began to show his first stainless steel work in a New York gallery. In the 1960’s, he mastered the use of the crane, acetylene torch and welder, then, bought his own crane and began to use it to bend and assemble steel for his art. In the late 1960’s, di Suvero worked on and off for over two years making sculpture in the Chicago area, creating several of his significant works from that period. Di Suvero’s sculpture has been shown widely in the United States and Europe. He currently divides his time between large industrial studios in California, New York and Chalon-sur-Saone, France.

For more information about Mark di Suvero/Millennium Park,

visit www.millenniumpark.org.

Mark di Suvero/Millennium Park is presented by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, Millennium Park, in cooperation with Millennium Park, Inc., and is sponsored by The Boeing Company with support from the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation. The sculpture is available for all to enjoy free of charge.

###

Maybe I’ll gain a deeper appreciation for the work of di Suvero. Or do I prefer my I-beams on the sides of buildings?

Remember, Milwaukeeans voted against di Suvero. So I really should like his work. (That’s a joke. I heart Milwaukee. It’s just not Chicago.

Of course, Chicago is not Paris; where Niki de Saint Phalle with Jean Tinguely, some folks from the Middle Ages and others, created a great public space and fountain.

The Stravinsky Fountain near the Centre Pompidou (pompous dude?) in Paris. I’ve loved it since the day it opened, I might have even been there that day. Do you hear music? That’s the back of the Firebird. As in Suite. The fountain is also next to IRCAM, a center of avant garde experimental art music, and for the science of music and sound.

Speaking of music again, a tip of de-hat to Cole Porter.

-de-lovel-E

(Aren’t you glad Boeing is headquartered in Chicago? I am. Some objected when the Mayor gave them enticements to move here. Seems they’re giving us enticements now.)

update: A little more di Suvero di light here.

01/17/2007

Seattle transforms its identity?
Son of Chicago’s Millennium Park!

The Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle opens this Saturday. 9 acres at the north end of the downtown waterfront.

The Seattle Times has a fine web feature on the park here.
Their art critic Sheila Farr writes,

“It’s not often in the life of a city that its identity transforms.

Not just the way a place looks or functions, but the way people perceive it, at home and abroad. …

The park has already captured the attention of city planners in New York and Paris for the innovative way it reunites the city and shore, and it’s being hailed as an amazing gift: Most of its $85 million price tag was paid by private donations. …

Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels said, “I think people will see [the park] and they will want more … this will give them a flavor of what’s possible.”

Nickels pointed to Chicago’s Millennium Park as an example of how a city can blossom by providing world-class gardens, performance space, art and plenty of room to breathe in the heavily trafficked core of the city. Seattle’s new sculpture park, while much smaller, offers a sample of the amenities this city has been lacking.

The Olympic Sculpture Park isn’t meant to be a simple brush with nature. New York architectural firm Weiss / Manfredi embraced the setting, with all its traffic, trains and busy people. …

A meandering path bridges Elliott Avenue and a set of working railroad tracks to culminate in an alluring 850-foot strip of restored beach — the only slice of natural shoreline in downtown.

You can see more than 20 major sculptures by Richard Serra (lower left in photo), Alexander Calder (right in photo), Claes Oldenburg, Mark di Suvero and Louise Nevelson, Louise Bourgeois and others. It’s owned and operated by (but not adjacent to) the Seattle Art Museum.

Read Sheila Farr’s full story here.

[via]

So far, I don’t think there’s any single work of art in there, as great as Chicago Millennium Park’s “Cloud Gate” but then, that would be asking a lot.

Photo: Alan Berner/ The Seattle Times

01/17/2007

Seattle transforms its identity?
Son of Chicago’s Millennium Park!

The Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle opens this Saturday. 9 acres at the north end of the downtown waterfront.

The Seattle Times has a fine web feature on the park here.
Their art critic Sheila Farr writes,

“It’s not often in the life of a city that its identity transforms.

Not just the way a place looks or functions, but the way people perceive it, at home and abroad. …

The park has already captured the attention of city planners in New York and Paris for the innovative way it reunites the city and shore, and it’s being hailed as an amazing gift: Most of its $85 million price tag was paid by private donations. …

Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels said, “I think people will see [the park] and they will want more … this will give them a flavor of what’s possible.”

Nickels pointed to Chicago’s Millennium Park as an example of how a city can blossom by providing world-class gardens, performance space, art and plenty of room to breathe in the heavily trafficked core of the city. Seattle’s new sculpture park, while much smaller, offers a sample of the amenities this city has been lacking.

The Olympic Sculpture Park isn’t meant to be a simple brush with nature. New York architectural firm Weiss / Manfredi embraced the setting, with all its traffic, trains and busy people. …

A meandering path bridges Elliott Avenue and a set of working railroad tracks to culminate in an alluring 850-foot strip of restored beach — the only slice of natural shoreline in downtown.

You can see more than 20 major sculptures by Richard Serra (lower left in photo), Alexander Calder (right in photo), Claes Oldenburg, Mark di Suvero and Louise Nevelson, Louise Bourgeois and others. It’s owned and operated by (but not adjacent to) the Seattle Art Museum.

Read Sheila Farr’s full story here.

[via]

So far, I don’t think there’s any single work of art in there, as great as Chicago Millennium Park’s “Cloud Gate” but then, that would be asking a lot.

Photo: Alan Berner/ The Seattle Times