Wednesday morning July 7th the Chicago Loop Alliance (CLA) will unveil EYE; a lifelike, three-story (30-foot-tall) blue iris (the same as the artist) eyeball sculpture by internationally-renowned Chicago-based contemporary artist Tony Tasset. Eye will be mounted on the Escalator cover at Pritzker Park on the corner of State Street and Van Buren.
In addition to the steel reinforced fiberglass Eye (currently being fabricated by F.A.S.T. Corp. of Sparta, Wisconsin) Tony Tasset is also installing 156 street banners revealing a bold red cardinal – the state bird – in flight against a bright blue sky which in series animates like a flip book on State Street lamp posts north from Congress Parkway to Wacker Drive. The artworks are the centerpiece of CLA’s inaugural Art Loop 2010. An annual celebration of public art in the Loop the Chicago Loop Alliance hopes to continue in which a new work by an important artist is commissioned each summer, along with free related educational and cultural programs, and promotions and discounts from CLA member partners.
CLA Executive Director Ty Tabing is quoted saying:
“We expect Tony Tasset’s EYE at Pritzker Park will become a destination for those living, working and visiting the Loop, and we hope this temporary art installation encourages the public to tour the area and discover all of the incredible public art on display year round. Tony is an artist who excels in multiple art forms – from the visual art of CARDINAL to the sculptural EYE – and we’re proud to showcase this Chicago talent in our first Art Loopseason.”
According to Tasset,
“I hope both EYE and CARDINAL change the everyday experience for pedestrians and drivers along State Street. The image of the flying bird is quieting and humble in contrast to the commercial bustle surrounding it, while the enormous scale of the EYE serves to miniaturize its surroundings. Although EYE and CARDINAL are unique works and do not depend on each other, the two works are linked formally; by the red, white and blue color pallet as well as the repetition of the eye in the bird close up. The juxtaposition of these two archetypal images with the city of Chicago as a backdrop should create a grand surreal picture, in the spirit of Magritte and Dali.”
Other components of CLA’s Art Loop 2010 include its new Pop-Up Art Loop™ initiative which has transformed empty storefronts in the Loop into a moveable feast of public art galleries, exhibits and studios. Pop-Up Art Loop has created some 12 temporary galleries to date, showcasing professional photography, sculpture, 2-D art, video and new media, installations and more. In addition, a free, downloadable Loop the Loop walking tour of public art, including the Tasset exhibition, the Pop-Up Art Loop Galleries, and permanent installations by Calder, Miro, Chagall, Picasso and Kapoor is available on the Chicago Loop Alliance website. The tour is also available via pre-loaded MP3 players on loan at the ArchiCenter at 224 S. Michigan Avenue.
I have always loved anything that mixes the timeless with the now (explains Moby a lot I guess, who had a great show at the Vic last September) and while talking to a archeology friend the other day about their favorite cultural artifacts & activities she brought up the New Zealand All Blacks Rugby team’s tradition of performing the Haka before every match.
If you have never seen it, this is one of those bucket list kind of things to see live. As if New Zealand needed more tourism reasons. If it’s too violent for anyone there is a sweeter version to be had as well.
Ka mate! Ka mate! Ka ora! Ka ora! (I die! I die! I live! I live!)
Ka mate! Ka mate! Ka ora! Ka ora! (I die! I die! I live! I live!)
Tenei te tangata puhuru huru (This is the hairy man)
Nana nei i tiki mai (Who fetched the Sun)
Whakawhiti te ra (And caused it to sine again)
A upa… ne! Ka upa…. ne! (One upward step! Another upward step!)
A upane kaupane whiti te ra! (An upward step, another…. the Sun shines!!)
There are bums. There are tramps. There are hobos. And then there’s Tony. That’s how the description of Tony Fitzpatrick’s new show “This Train” goes, and after talking to him at length about it, I would agree when at first it didn’t seem fitting.
Tony Fitzpatrick loves America, and not in that “I love the coast vs. the plains, the hills vs. the valley or certain cities over others” kind of way. No, Tony is of that rare type that from the surfers on the west coast to the bar patrons in the northeast and from the shrimp boats in the south to the factories in the north, he identifies with what makes America whole and loves it equally.
That’s what the “This Train” performance is seemingly for him; a 100 minute mix of art, music and spoken word that looks back on the working class, post civil war/early industrial influences in America (the music, the hobo alphabet, the melting pot) and how many became one without being the exact same.
With the support of the vocal skills of Kat Eggleston and his long time friend Stan Klein, “This Train” looks to give its audience a sample of the music, visuals and soapbox plain direct speak that Tony loves and has sewn into his work for a long time.
The idea for the show grew in the death of Studs Terkel in 2008. Studs, a man who greatly influenced Tony, was an American author, historian, actor, and broadcaster who received the Pulitzer Prize for General Non-Fiction in 1985 for “The Good War.” A man who made his home in Chicago after being born in New York City and is best remembered for his oral histories of common Americans.
To hear Tony talk about “This Train” feels more like a tribute to Studs and his ideals of enjoying the differences in people, finding that common humanity be they unionists, capitalists, Klansmen or even misguided members of the Tea Party movement. It reminds people not to over glorify the origins of American thought, politics or art; that we are all just immigrants; and that the Bughouse Square/Washington Park soapbox speeches in Chicago are as noble and important as the ones in the Capital building. That High Jazz music was born in the bosom of the whorehouses of New Orleans and that Art is at its best when it speaks to everyone with the purpose of sharing a story.
“This Train” runs in Chicago, July 15 – August 1 at Steppenwolf’s Merle Reskin Garage Theatre, 1624 N. Halsted St.
More can be heard from Tony in an audio interview here
This week: The first in our series of interviews from the Open Engagement conference that took place in Portland this past May. We start off with an excellent discussion that Randall Szott, Duncan, Brian and the occasional Incubate person had with artist, writer, lemon tormentor Ted Purves. Topics include; Ted’s work, the past present and future of Social Practice and what it means to be an artist today.
This series of interviews (thusfar, I’ve only gone through the first two) are some of my favorite discussions that (the royal) we have had in the 5 years of the show. Great stuff!
Ted Purves is a writer and artist based in Oakland. His public projects and curatorial works are centered on investigating the practice of art in the world, particularly as it addresses issues of localism, democratic participation, and innovative shifts in the position of the audience. His two-year project, Temescal Amity Works, created in collaboration with Susanne Cockrell and based in the Temescal neighborhood of Oakland, facilitated and documented the exchange of backyard produce and finished its public phase in winter 2007. His collaborative project Momentary Academy, a free school taught by artists over a period of 10 weeks, was featured in Bay Area Now 4 in 2005 at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in San Francisco.
Ted recently received a visual arts grant from the Creative Capital Foundation and a Creative Work Fund grant from the Elise and Walter Haas Foundation.
His book, What We Want Is Free: Generosity and Exchange in Recent Art, was published by State University of New York Press in 2005.
The Open Engagement conference is an initiative of Portland State University’s Art and Social Practice MFA concentration and co-sponsored by Portland Community College and the MFA in Visual Studies program at Pacific Northwest College of Art and supported by the Cyan PDX Cultural Residency Program. Directed by Jen Delos Reyes and planned in conjunction with Harrell Fletcher and the Portland State University MFA Monday Night Lecture Series, this conference features three nationally and internationally renowned artists: Mark Dion, Amy Franceschini, and Nils Norman. The conference will showcase work by Temporary Services, InCUBATE, and a new project by Mark Dion created in collaboration with students from the PSU Art and Social Practice concentration.
The artists involved in Open Engagement: Making Things, Making Things Better, Making Things Worse, challenge our traditional ideas of what art is and does. These artist’s projects mediate the contemporary frameworks of art as service, as social space, as activism, as interactions, and as relationships, and tackle subject matter ranging from urban planning, alternative pedagogy, play, fiction, sustainability, political conflict and the social role of the artist.
Can socially engaged art do more harm than good? Are there ethical responsibilities for social art? Does socially engaged art have a responsibility to create public good? Can there be transdisciplinary approaches to contemporary art making that would contribute to issues such as urban planning and sustainability?
Open Engagement is a free conference May 14-17, 2010, in Portland, Oregon. This annual conference will be a focal point of a new low residency Art and Social Practice MFA that PSU hopes to launch in Fall of 2010.
This years conference will host over 100 artists, activists, curators, scholars, writers, farmers, community organizers, film makers and collectives including: Nato Thompson, The Watts House Project, Linda Weintraub, Ted Purves, Henry Jenkins, Wealth Underground Farms, Brian Collier, Anne E. Moore, David Horvitz, Chen Tamir, and Parfyme.
Pure fluff fun but this aluminum mold can in just a few seconds turn ice cubes into any number of shapes from spheres, molecules, snowflakes to soccer balls. The high conductivity of the aluminum slowly melts the cube and the weight of the top section squeezes it into shape. You can make 30-40 of these an hour and have a great item for a gallery opening or party.
If you really want to go the next step you even have AK-47 ice trays which make a magazine at a time lol.