Bye-bye Chicago

It’s been a great trip, started in Ithaca and Cayuga Lake, went on to Buffalo and Niagara Falls, round Lake Ontario to Gananoque and the Thousand Islands, a few hours spent in Ottawa and finally, in Chicago. Here we are in 120 North La Salle Street, under a Daedalus and Icarus mosaic, father and son together in flight, their wings spread wide, as if to tell us it is time to take off. And took off we did, so here we are, back to base with a little walk in Tribeca, taking in Manhattan’s crazy architecture. Hello New York!

November 5th, 2017 – Chicago: Daedalus & Icarus mosaic designed by Roger Brown and painstakingly installed by Costante Crovatto.

November 12th, 2017 – Manhattan: walking in Tribeca towards the One World Trade Center, here seen behind the wing of Oculus.

 

 

 

Chicago || In the Loop

The elevated Loop, part of the iconic Chicago ”L” circuit, looping around a rectangle in downtown Chicago. It runs right in front of many windows of shops, gyms, offices – thankfully, no private apartments. Sometimes so close, it might as well run through them.

From the moment we arrived here, we felt that Chicago is what Manhattan would have been, had it not been an island: orderly, clean, with enough space for development; where pedestrians need not fight for the last millimetre of  pavement space; and with its ”L” trains still running.  Still in the Loop, almost time to leave but not before catching glimpses into two more lobbies: this is the City of Chicago City Hall and, further down, the One North LaSalle Building, with its lavish art deco cathedral for a lobby.

Lobby hopping in the Loop, Chicago

November 5th, 2017

At the end of the day [four]

Just when you think it can’t get any better.

Airplane views of Chicago from The Signature Room at the 95th, a cocktail bar located, well, on the 95th floor of the 360 Chicago tower, better known as the John Hancock Center. The cocktails must be good but who would remember after experiencing these dizzying views?

As if to prepare us for the experience, an explosion of light at the lobby: Lucent, an installation by Wolfgang Buttress, representing the 3,106 brightest stars visible with the naked eye from the Earth’s Northern hemisphere.

And, finally, a smooth landing back to Earth, walking past the iconic Wrigley Building on N Michigan Avenue.

Chicago by night on November 5th, 2017

Chicago || Hill Street Blues and the Wickedest Police District in the World

From the waterfront and Grant Park, on our way to meet a legend – both cultural and architectural.

Meet Maxwell Street Station, aka the 7th District Station, aka UIC Police HQ, aka Hill Street Station. The red brick building that was part of Chicago’s history long before it became the signature image of the Hill Street Blues television series (which, by the way, was not filmed in Chicago but in Los Angeles – on location and in studio). 

I’m reading on the UIC Police website: ”The building, designed in 1888 by the firm of Edbrooke and Burnham, is a well-preserved example of an early Chicago neighborhood police station. It was built of red pressed brick and Joliet limestone, with walls three feet thick at the base — a true fortress.”

”The station was built during a period of tremendous growth after the Chicago Fire of 1871, as the city’s population exploded from 298,000 to almost 1.1 million. As late as 1850, the entire police force of Chicago consisted of just nine men. But the growing population, along with social and economic changes, created the need for more law enforcement.”

”In 1906, the Chicago Tribune called the district “Bloody Maxwell” and “the Wickedest Police District in the World.” The police station was considered a fortress in a precinct that had grown to 200,000 residents and boasted more saloons per capita than any place in town. Over the years, the legendary station played host to some of the nation’s most notorious criminals, including Sam Giancana and Al Capone.”

Listen to the theme song which took Mike Post two hours to write:

And now, try to get the tune out of your head – see if you can! 

943 West Maxwell Street, Chicago

November 5th, 2017

Chicago || Skyline Walk

There is a walkway next to Adler Planetarium, called the Skyline Walk. It turns around the nearby Aquarium and continues as Lakefront Trail towards Grant Park. And it offers the best skyline views of Chicago from the ground, with the law clouds adding an extra layer of mystery and drama to the already impressive scene.

November 5th, 2017

Agora[mania]

The Greek word Agora (/ˈæɡərə/; Ancient Greek: ἀγορά agorá) means ‘open place of assembly’ and, early in the history of Greece, designated the area in the city where free-born citizens could gather to hear civic announcements, muster for military campaigns or discuss politics. Later the Agora defined the open-air, often tented, marketplace of a city (as it still does in Greek) where merchants had their shops and where craftsmen made and sold their wares. The original Agora of Athens was located below the Acropolis near the building which today is known as The Thesion and open-air markets are still held in that same location in the modern day. [source]

Agora is an installation of 106 iron torsos designed by Polish artist Magdalena Abakanowicz and permanently installed at the south end of Grant Park in Chicago. 

November 5th, 2017

Chicago || At the end of the day [three]

Nothing like a Chicagoan [almost] smiling face looking down from their 50 feet twin LED towers and Louis Comfort Tiffany’s 1.6 million pieces of iridescent glass exquisite mosaic on Macy’s vaulted ceiling, to cool you down and prepare you for a good night’s sleep.

Crown Fountain is a black granite reflecting pool between two glass brick towers projecting images of Chicago citizens. It was designed by Jaume Plensa and is part of the Millennium Park’s public artworks since 2004.

The sparkling Tiffany Dome was installed on the vaulted ceiling of Marshall Field’s – now Macy’s on State Street, in 1907. It is the largest Tiffany mosaic in existence and contains more than 1.6 million pieces of favrile iridescent glass, patented in 1894 by Louis Comfort Tiffany. [source]

November 4th, 2017

Ground control to Major Tom

July 15, 2004. A giant object resembling a silver cloud made its first Earth landing, in Chicago’s Millennium Park. Reacting immediately, local authorities covered it up in a combined effort to reassure the public and control the curious crowds.

May 15, 2006. Authorities could no longer hold back the crowds. In a bold, unprecedented move, they unveiled the space oddity that has remained dormant ever since, defying all laws of physics, leaving scientists and general public puzzled and intrigued. People from the four corners of the earth flock to the park to monitor, examine and eventually try to explain what it is, where it came from and what it is doing here.

Cloud Gate, affectionately nicknamed ”The Bean”, is a public sculpture by British artist Anish Kapoor. It must be one of the most photographed public artworks in the city and I can totally see why.

November 4th, 2017

There will be no TRBL here

|3| – Family of Robot:  Baby, 1986, single-channel video sculpture; thirteen television monitors and aluminum armature – by Nam June Paik

Family of Robot, the first series of video sculptures that Paik created, consists of three generations of family members, including grandparents, parents and aunt and uncle and children. The children, including Baby, are made of televisions that are newer than those constituting their elders. This Baby was assembled from thirteen Samsung monitors, which at the time were some of the most up-to-date equipment. 

|4| – No More No Less (Chicago), 2017, model, MDF, paint, paper and wood – by Mauricio Pezo & Sofia von Ellrichshausen

No More No Less is an ongoing project in which the architects of the firm Pezo Von Ellrichshausen insert a museum at a 1:10 scale into an exhibition space. 

|6| – Custom desk from Untitled No. 2, Chicago, Illinois, 1987, enameled steel and glass – by Krueck and Olsen Architects (now Krueck and Sexton)

|7| – Prefabricated Bath Unit, Les Tournavelles, Arc 1800, France, 1975/78 – by Charlotte Perriand

Completed at the end of Perriand’s career, these units were the culmination of many years of work to make domestic spaces more usable, affordable, responsive to contemporary life and especially at Les Arcs, enjoyable and fun. 

Christopher Wool

|9| – Boy, 1992 – by Charles Ray

With Boy, Ray created a particularly disquieting figure. The sculpture stands just shy of six feet tall, the artist’s exact height, yet maintains the softness of youth. 

|10| – Dilapidarian Tower, 2010, display boxes, mixed media, lights, tables – by Richard Hawkins

|11| – Three Men Walking II, 1948-49, bronze – by Alberto Giacometti

The Art Institute of Chicago

November 4th, 2017