- “Chicago has fallen in love with the art of Mark di Suvero,” says Lois Weisberg,commissioner of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. Five of his sculptures, including “Orion,” are installed in Millennium Park through October.
Always a bridesmaid, Chicago has sat comfortably in the No. 2 spot for the last four years. But the arts scene in this city, billed as an “open-air museum” thanks in part to magnificent Millennium Park, is anything but sedentary, with new projects, improvements and public art installations constantly in the works.
“Chicago is a staple in my traveling routine,” said AmericanStyle reader Justin Crockett, of Columbus, Ohio, on his ballot. “The city has so much to offer, I am frequently overwhelmed by my choices when it comes to art and theater.” Adds Sarasota, Fla., resident Elena Hernandez- Ron, “Chicago is a city of public art and sculpture.”
Adding to that reputation is a new addition to Millennium Park, f ive Mark di Suvero sculptures installed in the outdoor Boeing Galleries through mid-October. The largest of the pack, the bright-orange “Orion,” measures in at 53 feet high and weighs nearly 12 tons.
Work has begun on the Nichols Bridgeway, a 625-foot pedestrian bridge connecting Millennium Park to the Art Institute’s new Modern Wing, which will house the museum’s modern collection. The exterior “curtain walls” of the Renzo Pianodesigned Modern Wing are now complete; double-layer glass panels will protect art from harmful rays while bathing it in natural light. The three-story building will include a sculpture terrace, the perfect diversion after a walk through the park. Both the bridge and the Modern Wing are scheduled to open in early 2009.
The city is also offering a new program this summer, Chicago Public Art Tours. Just $20 will get visitors a guided tour through some of Chicago’s distinct neighborhoods, with stops to see the public artworks that help make them so colorful.