public sculpture

The pillar grins at night

The pillar grins at night

Pretty much everything in Millennium Park is kitsch rather than art, in my opinion, excepting perhaps the Lurie Garden.  The ickiest elements in the Park are the two “interactive” light pillars that are part of the Jaume Plensa-designed Crown Fountain.

The fountain is unquestionably a big crowd pleaser, with its no-holds-barred water attraction, but the pillars are grotesque and intrusive, and we residents are stuck with them 24/7.  They could have been so much better!  No one talks about how they have absolutely no aesthetic charm on three of their four sides.

What’s your opinion?

The photographer of Grant’s statue

The photographer of Grant’s statue

Shall Celia become famous for her photographs of Grant’s statue?  It’s scarcely likely.  Isn’t it wonderful, though, when a subject of interest identifies itself, and the two of you become acquainted?

Celia imagines the body of her future photographs of Grant and his horse Cincinnati spread out around her, showing them at different times of day, in different seasons, the pictures taken from various vantages, chosen (or not chosen), but in any event each revealing something special about the statue, the time, and the surroundings.

Unlike many of the major sculptures in Chicago’s parks, the Grant equestrian statue is well sited and has been given the prominence that it deserves.  Many beautiful works of sculpture have been less lucky.  Many that once stood out against the landscape have since disappeared behind mature plantings or too tall trees.  Signage impairs the dignity of some, while others are dwarfed by mountains of urban clutter that have grown up behind them.

Despite the hi-rises that you see in this picture, Grant’s statue has largely escaped this fate, thanks to the costly and enormous stone mount on which it sits, and thanks to its location in the park, next to a large pond (not visible in this picture), which has given it the geographical protection that it deserves.

Grant against the Gray

Grant is gray, © 2013 Celia Her City

The Grant equestrian sculpture in Lincoln Park is one of my favorites.  I take a picture of it whenever I can.  On this day, Grant and his horse were engulfed in gray, which, being the color of the Confederate uniform, was probably not the happiest circumstance.  But apt.

The setting and grand stone base help make this sculpture, formally titled Grant Rides Again.  The work of an Italian-born artist named Louis T. Rebisso, it was unveiled on October 4, 1891, to a crowd of some 200,000 people, an immediate and enduring success.

Grant was famous for his love of horses.  His favorite horse during the Civil War was Cincinnati.  (He also rode a pony by the name of Jeff Davis.)  I tried to find out whether the horse shown here is Cincinnati, but I couldn’t.  Anyone happen to know for certain?

Click image to enlarge.

Sweet new sculpture

Sweet new sculpture

This marvelous sculpture has just appeared in Lincoln Park.  It’s a life-size buffalo that you can see from your car when you’re stuck on Cannon Drive waiting for the light to change near the nature museum.  I walked by the other day to get a closer look.  The thing is magnificent—so true to life, yet appealing as art because of the sculptor’s masterful use of oxidized steel.

The artist is Chris Williams of Massachusetts.  The piece was made in 1999 for a couple who subsequently bequeathed it to the Notebaert.  It’s an instant hit that you just have to touch.