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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Tuesday, April 23

Gapers Block

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Andrew Huff / August 7, 2009 1:30 PM

This was one of our first Fuel questions all the way back in 2003, but so much has changed that it felt like it was time to ask again.

David / August 7, 2009 2:33 PM

Rich Daley has consistently been the best performance artist in Chicago for near two decades running.

He's easily my favorite piece of public art.

charlie / August 7, 2009 2:47 PM

Batcolumn - Claes Oldenburg

I think it should be relocated to the center of Michigan Ave just north of the river.

y a j / August 7, 2009 3:04 PM

My favorite is Daphne; its one of the massive metal nymphs by Dessa Kirk. I first saw the set years ago at Michigan & Roosevelt. They're scattered now.

Pete / August 7, 2009 4:09 PM

Calder's flamingo, in Federal Plaza. The red curves are particularly striking against the boxy black background of the Mies van der Rohe-designed federal buildings.

Karl / August 7, 2009 10:41 PM

I'm a big fan of the John Kearney steel statues that are hidden all around town. It's always a surprise to find a new one. Does anyone know where to find a complete list of their locations?

Vespine Gallery / August 8, 2009 9:11 AM

Maple seed sculpture on sough Halsted street near the Dominicks.

Vespine Gallery / August 8, 2009 9:13 AM

That would be south Halsted.

Anna B / August 8, 2009 9:28 AM

I'm a big fan of the shiny moose at the NBC plaza, even though they keep moving it. It's probably not the best piece of art in Chicago, but one of the most lovable!

Chicago Garden / August 8, 2009 3:00 PM

The Picasso in Daley Plaza. I spent many a day sitting or sliding down on it. Next favorite would be the Calder's flamingo for the reason Pete mentioned.

paul / August 9, 2009 4:10 PM

I love the maple seed urn thing too.

I'm also a fan of the "Valiant Struggle". If you haven't seen this you must - a car's tongue lifts a golden sow into the air as a a fat couple hangs on. In the Boeing garden section of Millennium, part of the temporary (until October) Chinese Contemporary Sculpture exhibit.

Daniel F Cullen / August 9, 2009 4:35 PM

The private house that is painted as a mural of a Campesino Rising at Cullerton and Wood Sts. Amazing work.

mike-ts / August 9, 2009 11:31 PM

Are those murals still on the Metra underpasses in Hyde Park?

If not, then Wrigley Field. When you come up the concourse to the walkway and look upon the field and see the rich green-ness and think of the rich history, it inspires a sense of awe and reflection that art gives.

Cominskey did that too, and give the Cell a generation to settle in, and it'll also have its own feel. Especially once the people from the World Series team have all moved on and that becomes one of those "back in the days" memories.

Jenny / August 10, 2009 8:39 AM

The Henry Moore at U of C (marking the place of the first nuclear reaction) and the Miro across from Daley Plaza.

Dubi / August 10, 2009 9:44 AM

the giant ball northeast of soldier field. I don't know who did it.

JJHunsecker / August 10, 2009 9:55 AM

As our collective display to the world, the Cultural Center, with its gorgeous mosaics in Preston Bradley Hall, those amazing interior staircases, as well as the evocative G.A.R. Room. Truly the People's Palace. Locally (in the nabe), the statue of young Lincoln in the park at Clark and Ridge--serious, sensuous, plebeian,alluring, with a sense of the impending tragedy of his presidency.

CC / August 10, 2009 10:00 AM

The Chagall's Four Seasons mosaic in the plaza south of the Chase building.

Not only is it beautiful and full of amazing detail, but it's nice to be able to get a Chagall fix despite the Art Institute keeping American Dream packed away for years now with no plans to put it on display again despite the new wing being complete.

Mucky Fingers / August 10, 2009 11:09 AM

I love all the pier art along the northern lake front. Over the years it's been scattered over Foster beach and Montrose beach (and perhaps a few other beach fronts I can't name right now).

Back in the 80s, the paintings were very stoner-oriented. There were paintings for the album cover for Pink Floyd's "The Wall", cannabis leaves, the Doors logo, the Rolling Stones tongue logo, and the Led Zeppelin angel.

There are new pieces up today that are equally good, but the beer-and-weed vibe of the older paintings always made me stop to wonder about what a wonderful party they must have been having while painting them.

Most of all, these paintings are done out of love. There is no money or even formal acknowledgment for creating them.

Guy Smiley / August 10, 2009 1:37 PM

Probably the Picasso, since I finally figured how it's supposed to be a woman after looking at that thing since they first erected it. I guess it was the "The Bean" of its day: no one like it when it was first unveiled, thought it was ugly and a waste of money. But it grew on us and you can hardly find a cheesy "Chicago" mug or T-shirt at Walgreens without it being included in the collection of Chicago "icons" printed on it.

Least favorite: "Monument With Standing Beast" by Dubuffet in front of the Thompson Center. It looks like pigeon shit.

prattfall / August 10, 2009 4:23 PM

@mike-ts, the murals have been replaced with new ones. The old went unmaintained for years, and were pretty much destroyed.

And, since no one else has said it, my favorite piece of public art in Chicago is your mom.

cookie / August 10, 2009 4:29 PM

loredo taft's fountain of time. got a nice renovation recently. it's huge!

Mikey / August 10, 2009 4:44 PM

The Crown Fountain in Millennium Park.

Splashing through there each year at the end of Lollapalooza has sorta become our unofficial tradition...

y a j / August 10, 2009 5:28 PM

I agree with this - Least favorite: "Monument With Standing Beast" by Dubuffet in front of the Thompson Center.
I work here at JRTC and I call it Snoopy, in a blender.

vespine gallery / August 10, 2009 6:27 PM


If you want to see some of the Hyde Park murals before they were all almost destroyed, go to and click on Leah Mayers. Scroll through her pics for ones of the murals.

fluffy / August 10, 2009 7:17 PM

graffiti art

mtke-ts / August 10, 2009 10:30 PM

Thanks! I had a Reader article about her and the murals, but it'll be hard to find. I have some shots from 1999, too, but in B&W, since I was shooting the daylights out of monochrome film back then.

lori / August 10, 2009 11:24 PM

well, I decided tonight after seeing Shellac in millenium park and having a late night romp with my kids in the Crown fountain that the combo platter of the Frank Gehry stage and the Crown Fountain are my faves.

like CC from above, I also miss the Chagall American Dream that used to be on display at the AIC, and I think it's a shame that it is not a part of the modern wing. thanks for posting that photo CC.

Jim / August 11, 2009 10:07 AM

Every Chicagoan should go see the Statue of the Republic in Jackson Park.

It's a reproduction of the original that was erected for the Columbian Exposition in 1893. Truly beautiful when you consider it's historical significance to this great city.

Kateri / August 11, 2009 10:36 AM

I love the Chagall mosaic best, but I'm also a fan of the John Kearney giraffes at opposite ends of Elaine Place in Wrigleyville.

(Karl, Wikipedia has a good list, but I'm not sure if it's complete: )

cookie / August 11, 2009 2:34 PM

good choice, jim. the statue of the republic is stunning. and just imagine - the original statue was THREE times that size!

Guy Smiley / August 11, 2009 2:57 PM

The Art of Pizza on Ashland.

Former Sun-Times colummist Art Petaque

The Art Ensemble of Chicago

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