Richard White, May 14, 2014
In mid May, I finally got visit to visit Millennium Park in Chicago and wasn't disappointed. Both Jaume Plensa and Anish Kapoor's public artworks were being enjoyed by thousands of people of all ages and backgrounds.
Like architecture, public art should probably not be judged until they are at least 10-years old (which these two pieces are close to being) i.e. once the lust of the new has faded away.
Both piece allow for significant public engagement which too often is missing from public art. The cameras were out in full force documenting the antics of the public. There must be a billion photos of these two artworks in the world today.
While we have all seen the skyline photos reflected in Cloud Gate aka the Bean, I was surprised by the more complex and intriguing images generated inside The Cloud.
Plensa's fountain was just as I expected, except that all of the faces take on a similar visual quality when computerized on the big screen or at least that was the case for the faces I saw on several different days and different times.
Both pieces had the public laughing, playing and smiling something we so rarely see with public art.
Public art isn't public unless it engages the public!
Anyone who is interested in public art, parks and urban placemaking should visit Chicago to see first-hand not only Millennium Park, but also Lincoln Park with its Zoo, Farm and Conservatory.
Chicago is my kind of town!