1004 Portraits | Millennium Park | Museums | Chicago Reader

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Whenever the Spanish artist Jaume Plensa is in Chicago, the first place he stops is the northeast corner of Michigan and Monroe. When he arrives there this week, it will be to celebrate the tenth anniversary of Millennium Park and his famed Crown Fountain—and to attend the openings of a pair of exhibits of his head sculptures in the park and at Richard Gray Gallery. Over the phone from Germany, where two solo shows of his work are being held this summer, Plensa describes the urge to visit Crown Fountain as a sort of impulsive pilgrimage of reassurance. "I feel every time I have to go check to see if it's still there," he says. "to make sure that it wasn't just a dream." Plensa's lingering insecurity a decade after the debut of a piece of public art that has since been cemented, along with Anish Kapoor's adjacent Cloud Gate, as a neo Chicago icon stems from the fact that his vision easily could've gone unrealized. At the dawn of the planning for Millennium Park, years before hordes of children began cooling themselves in the spit of the twin 50-foot towers of glass brick and LEDs, it seemed the only person who completely believed in Jaume Plensa's concept for Crown Fountain was Jaume Plensa. Almost as soon as the artist submitted his first sketches, the work became a source of uncertainty for the project's stakeholders. Cloud Gate, as a neo Chicago icon stems from the fact that his vision easily could've gone unrealized. At the dawn of the planning for Millennium Park, years before hordes of children began cooling themselves in the spit of the twin 50-foot towers of glass brick and LEDs, it seemed the only person who completely believed in Jaume Plensa's concept for Crown Fountain was Jaume Plensa. Almost as soon as the artist submitted his first sketches, the work became a source of uncertainty for the project's stakeholders. Continue reading >>">Continue reading >>

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