Dan Peterman’s Running Table Returns to Millennium Park

June 29, 2009 · Print This Article

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Chicago artist Dan Peterman’s Running Table begins installation in Millennium Park’s Chase Promenade today, and will be ready by Thursday, July 2nd, just in time for the Park’s Independence Day picnic and musical festivities. The Table will be available for public use for the rest of the Park’s 2009 summer season.

The one hundred foot long picnic table was first installed in 1997 in Grant Park.
Made from “the equivalent of two million recycled milk bottles,” Peterman’s table emphasizes the communal aspects of park experiences and public space in general.

Laurie Palmer described Peterman’s Table in a 1997 issue of Frieze:

“On close inspection, the surface of the table is rough to the touch, chaotic and unfamiliar – the swirls and strings of re-melted plastic asserting themselves. Stepping back, you can see subtle undulations in the extruded panelling: unlike wood, once-again plastic remains supple – as thick as you make it, it will still want to sag. Like other works by Peterman made of recycled plastic and suggesting infinite progression, the table is of modular construction so that, by implication, it could keep going for as long as there is space to accommodate it. Supply of materials is not a problem, since what the table is in part designed to be used for – consumption – provides the raw material for its continual extension. Here, the modular form is interlocking, so that the table can’t be broken up into separate tables of reasonable size—if you took it apart, you’d have slivers of tables, like puzzle pieces, a design feature that ensures the integrity of the idea. (The bench components, however, built into the overall design, are discrete, to allow for swinging the legs around, and some semblance perhaps of smaller groupings within the collective whole).”

You can read the full text of the Frieze article here, and more about Peterman’s work and the Running Table here.