I’ve been seeing a lot more sculpture lately, thanks to several initiatives that have been bringing more contemporary art to the lakefront and parks. The Grandmother’s Garden in Lincoln Park alone has eight or ten new sculptures, including (above) ‘Narrow Horse,’ by Jozef Sumichrast, and Christine Rojek‘s ‘Cross-Pollination.’
What I like best about the new sculptures is their siting. Many can be seen really well from a car or bus, so that you can look them at them when you’re commuting. It’s great to be able to look out the window at some interesting art when sitting in traffic in your car. Other sculptures have been plunked right down on neighborhood sidewalks, obligating you to look at them as you go by.
These frank strategies, which take into account modern realities, result in fleeting encounters that deepen. From a distance, I appreciated the insect-like qualities of Derick Malkemus‘s ‘Stone Wobble,’ which looks like a giant beetle or a fantastical flying bug that’s happened to light. When I was finally lucky enough to get up close, I learned the name of the piece, and could appreciate its beautiful materials and the balancing act it pulls.
Most of the small-scale works in the parks are only temporary. Installed in the fall of 2012 in connection with the 23rd International Sculpture Conference held in the city, they are likely to disappear next fall. In the meantime, it’s been a pleasure to enjoy these wonderful works for free. I hope the exposure brings the artists patronage as well as publicity.
Chicago Sculpture Exhibit, which likewise has been bringing large-scale works to lakeside parks under the leadership of Aldermen Tom Tunney and Vi Daley, will happily continue its work. I’m grateful to them for bringing us impressive sculptures like Jason Verbeek‘s Prairie Pump, which stands near the north entrance to Diversey Harbor, and which my sister and I very much admire.