Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Buckingham Fountain's $25 million restoration project



The Buckingham Fountain ... is undergoing a $25 million restoration project [starting Sep 2, 2008].. The goal is to finish the project by April 1, 2009 .. when the Olympic Committee is coming into town.

The restoration includes:
# Plan to produce an even more spectacular water and lighting show ...
# Mend the leaky outer basin, which will be taken apart, repaired and reassembled ...



Click on the image for enlarged view ...

# Treating the fountain's bronze sea horses and fencing ..
# Replacing the loose pink gravel at the site with precast stone and concrete pavers.
# Also, landscaping and the planting of trees will more closely mirror the original plans by Edward H. Bennett.

Read more in my earlier post on the Buckingham Fountain .. click here .. ...



Click on the image for enlarged view ...

Buckingham Fountain has been one major attraction for tourists, health conscious joggers, enviormentally friendly cyclists ... and newly weds looking for great photo-opt ...



Monday, September 1, 2008

Grant Park : Chicago's open frontyard



I have put many posts on Grant Park ..
# Public Art in the Grant Park .. click here ....
# Gardens in the Grant Park .. click here ..
# Often overlooked but remarkable features like pedestrian crossings, the railway lines underneath, the street lamp posts, balustrade, corbels, the Y-symbols .. click here ..
# For a brief history of Grant Park .. click here ..

This post is about the history of Grant Park ..

Grant Park [originally named Lake Park] is proudly referred to as Chicago's "open front yard" ... This large park [319 acres] located between Michigan Avenue and Lake Michigan, is free of any skyscrapers .. and is one of the reasons of Chicago's beautiful lakeside view ...

The history of Grant Park begins from 1835, when foresighted citizens of Chicago, fearing commercial lakefront development, lobbied to protect the open space. As a result, the park's original area east of Michigan Avenue was designated "public ground forever to remain vacant of buildings." It was officially named as Lake Park in 1847.



However, being next to Lake Michigan, had it's own set of challenges ... This site soon suffered from huge lakefront erosion. To solve this problem, The Illinois Central Railroad agreed to build a breakwater to protect the area in exchange for permission for an offshore train trestle.
# In the left image, we can see the breakwater ...
# In the image below, we see the railway lines which still crosses through the Grant Park compound ... A series of bridges cross the railway tracks and lead to lawns and monuments ...



After the Great Fire of 1871, the area between the shore and trestle became a dump site for piles of charred rubble, creating the fill for what is now the actual Grant Park ...

In 1901, the city transferred the park to the South Park Commission They renamed Lake Park as Grant Park, after Ulysses S. Grant, the 18th President of the United States. Renowned architect Daniel H. Burnham envisioned Grant Park as a formal landscape with museums and civic buildings. However, construction was stalled by lawsuits launched by mail-order magnate Aaron Montgomery Ward, who sought to protect the park's open character. After almost 20 years of battle in court, Ward won the case in 1911... Eventually, Ward's ideas were adopted by Daniel Burnham in his Plan of Chicago, which called for "insured light, air, and an agreeable outlook" along the Grant Park street frontage ... As a result, the Grant Park remains an open space ... proudly called Chicago's open front yard ... The preservation of open space along the lakefront offers a great view of buildings on the Michigan Avenue .. The one exception Ward consented to was for the Art Institute of Chicago, constructed in 1892 ...

The Park's structure is based on the French parks with geometric designs. It consists of a series of bridges which cross the Railway tracks that are still on the park's compound. ...



I love these concrete balustrade and bridges ..



After the bridges, the park is divided in sections with lawns, trees and monuments.. In the heart of the city, Grant Park provides open space for Chicagonas and tourists to enjoy green space to relax and rejuvinate ...

A large number of Public Art pieces are scattered over the Grant Park area ....
For Public Art in the Grant Park .. click here ...

Grant Park: Reading Cones - by Richard Serra..




Reading Cones ..
Sculptor: Richard Serra
Description: Two freestanding 17-foot tall curved steel walls ..
Location: Grant Park .. South of E. Monroe Dr. (100 S.) and east of S. Columbus Dr. (301 E.) ..Chicago, IL 60603

From the City of Chicago's Official Tourism Website .. Reading Cones .. click here ..
Sculptor Richard Serra (b. 1939), a highly acclaimed artist from San Francisco, is especially well-known for his large-scale minimalist sculptures made of metal. The material comes in large sheets and his pieces reflect their heavy weight and oxidation process. The 32-ton Reading Cones, named for Reading, Pennsylvania where it was made, is no exception.

The Leo Burnett Company donated this large abstract sculpture to the City of Chicago in 1990 as Serra’s first permanent piece in our city. The Chicago Park District accepted the artwork in 1989, on a temporary basis. At that time, City officials had planned to relocate the sculpture to the entrance of State Street Mall after its renovation was completed. Although the Mall project was finished in 1996, the move has never taken place, and the prominent sculpture remains in its Grant Park location.






For more on Grant Park ..
# Public Art in the Grant Park .. click here ....
# Gardens in the Grant Park .. click here ..
# Often overlooked but remarkable features like pedestrian crossings, the railway lines underneath, the street lamp posts, balustrade, corbels, the Y-symbols .. click here ..
# For a brief history of Grant Park .. click here ..

Grant Park: Sir Georg Solti Garden - by Elisabeth Frink






Bust of Sir Georg Solti ..
Sculptor: Dame Elisabeth Frink ..
Completed: 1987
Location: Initially installed at Lincoln Park Conservatory

In 2006, relocated at South Michigan Ave. (100 E) 
South of Art Institute of Chicago .. Chicago, IL 60603



From the City of Chicago Official Tourism Website .. click here ..

Sir Georg Solti (1912-1997) was a world renowned orchestral conductor who served as director of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra for more than two decades. Born and trained in Budapest, Solti conducted in major cities in Europe and served as the music director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic before becoming the first Music Director Laureate of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 1969. Over the next twenty-two years, he conducted a total of 999 performances. Solti was the recipient of thirty-two Grammy Awards. Recognizing his importance to Chicago, Solti once said “They should erect a statue to me.” This bust was sculpted in 1987, and dedicated in front of the Lincoln Park Conservatory on the maestro’s 75th birthday.

Dame Elisabeth Frink (1930-1993) a British artist known for bronze figurative sculptures produced the bust.

In 2006, when a new Sir Georg Solti Garden was created in Grant Park, the Chicago Park District moved the bust there and placed it on a stately dark granite base. Chicago’s first lady Maggie Daley and Lady Valerie Solti were present at its rededication. The Grant Park Conservancy co-sponsored the new garden and relocation of the monument ..







Sir Georg Solti Garden ... south of the Art Institute of Chicago ..




Chicago Symphony Orchestra building ..
Address: Symphony Center, 220 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60604 ..
Sir George Solti was the director of Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 1969 until 1991. He was made the only Music Director Laureate in that orchestra's history. Before Solti took over as the CSO's music director, CSO violinist Victor Aitay described Solti's work style as follows:

"Usually conductors are relaxed at rehearsals and tense at the concerts. Solti is the reverse. He is very tense at rehearsals, which makes us concentrate, but relaxed during the performance, which is a great asset to the orchestra."

In total, Solti conducted 999 performances with the CSO. His 1,000th performance was scheduled to be in October 1997, around the time of his 85th birthday. But he died on September 5, 1997 .. The City of Chicago renamed the block of East Adams Street adjacent to Symphony Center as "Sir Georg Solti Place" in his memory.




 

 Sir Georg Solti Place



I had the pictures of the bust when it was initially installed at the Lincoln Park Conservatory ...






For more on Grant Park ..
# Public Art in the Grant Park .. click here ....
# Gardens in the Grant Park .. click here ..
# Often overlooked but remarkable features like pedestrian crossings, the railway lines underneath, the street lamp posts, balustrade, corbels, the Y-symbols .. click here ..
# For a brief history of Grant Park .. click here ..

Grant Park - South President's Court [Artists And Automobiles - Various Artists]


Artists And Automobiles
A series of sculptures by 5 Chicago artists...Mary Brogger, Ted Garner, Dessa Kirk, John Mason and Lucy Slivinski.
Location: South President's Court in Grant Park, located at Columbus Drive and Congress Avenue across from Buckingham Fountain ...

"Artists and Automobiles" was organized by the Public Art Program of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. It was presented by Allstate, in celebration of its 75th anniversary, and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs ...

The artists were allowed to select automobile parts at Tech-Cor, [Allstate's state-of-the-art research and training facility in Wheeling, Ill.]..which was delivered to their respective studios. The artists used the discarded car parts like windshields, tailpipes, mufflers, sidewalls, springs and bumpers, and made them into pieces of art, like..
- Lilies [by Dessa Kirk],
- Glass Bench [by Ted Garner],
- Hedgerow [by Lucy Slivinski],
- Arise 2 [by John Mason] ...


Arise 2 : by John Mason...
made by metal quarter panels ...




Lilies - by Dessa Kirk ...
made by doors, hood, trunk and roof from five separate cars ..


Glass Bench - by Ted Garner ...
made from front and rear car windows, and the sides of a mini-van ...


Hedgerow - by Lucy Slivinski ...
made from car mufflers, metal bumpers, springs, tailpipes, headlights, taillights and rotors ...

# I did not see the art work of Mary Brogger is in the garden ... I am not too sure if it's on display ir not. However an exceptional piece of sculpture by Mary Brogger, the "Heymarket Memorial .. click here ... can be found in the Near North District on the DesPlaines Street between Lake and Randolph streets ...

# More sculptures made with automobile parts:
A lifesize sculpture named the "Moose" by John Kearney is on display at 401 N Michigan Avenue ... in the Pioneer Court .. click here ...

# Another sculpture using automobile parts by John Kearney, named the "Tin Park" can be found in the Oz Park .. click here ...

For more on Grant Park ..
# Public Art in the Grant Park .. click here ....
# Gardens in the Grant Park .. click here ..
# Often overlooked but remarkable features like pedestrian crossings, the railway lines underneath, the street lamp posts, balustrade, corbels, the Y-symbols .. click here ..
# For a brief history of Grant Park .. click here ..

Grant Park: Balbo Monument



Balbo was a fascist and the monument was a gift from Mussolini to the people of Chicago for their generosity in naming a street in honor of Balbo after the 1933 worlds fair held at Chicago.


The inscription reads ...
Taken from the website: "Ostia in Chicago" .. click here ..
QUESTA COLONNA
DI VENTI SECOLI ANTICA
ERETTA SUL LIDO DI OSTIA
PORTO DI ROMA IMPERIALE
A VIGILARE LE FORTUNE E LE VITTORIE
DELLE TIREMI ROMANE
L'ITALIA FASCISTA SUSPICE BENITO MUSSOLINI
DONA A CHICAGO
ESALTAZIONE SIMBOLO RICORDO
DELLA SQUADRA ATLANTICA GUIDATA DA BALBO
CHE CON ROMANO ARDIMENTO TRASVOLO L'OCEANO
NELL' ANNO XI
DEL LITTORIO



which can be translated as ...
THIS COLUMN
TWENTY CENTURIES OLD
ERECTED ON THE SHORES OF OSTIA
PORT OF IMPERIAL ROME
TO SAFEGUARD THE FORTUNES AND VICTORIES
OF THE ROMAN TRIREMES
FASCIST ITALY BY COMMAND OF BENITO MUSSOLINI
PRESENTS TO CHICAGO
EXALTATION SYMBOL MEMORIAL
OF THE ATLANTIC SQUADRON LED BY BALBO
THAT WITH ROMAN DARING FLEW ACROSS THE OCEAN
IN THE ELEVENTH YEAR
OF THE FASCIST ERA


For more on Grant Park ..
# Public Art in the Grant Park .. click here ....
# Gardens in the Grant Park .. click here ..
# Often overlooked but remarkable features like pedestrian crossings, the railway lines underneath, the street lamp posts, balustrade, corbels, the Y-symbols .. click here ..
# For a brief history of Grant Park .. click here ..

Grant Park [Sitting Lincoln - by Augustus Saint Gaudens






Lincoln Statue ...
Location: North President's Court, Grant Park ..
Sculptor: Augustus Saint-Gaudens
Architect: Stanford White designed the enormous 150-foot semi-circular exedra ..
Unveiled: 1926 ...
A gift to the city of Chicago by John Crerar, who left a $100,000 bequest in 1889 to construct a Lincoln statue. His trustees commissioned the sculptor Augustus Saint Gaudens to create this tribute ..
 
 

Although Saint-Gaudens "Standing Lincoln".. in the Lincoln Park ... [click here] ... is often considered superior to this sculpture, the artist worked laboriously to have the "Seated Lincoln" evoke the sense of loneliness that burdened Lincoln at the time of the Civil War. It was cast in 1908. However the monument was not installed in 1926. In the interim period, the Seated Lincoln was displayed at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art and the 1915 San Francisco Exposition. Finally, in 1926, the South Park Commissioners installed the bronze figure and its enormous 150-foot wide marble setting, known as an exedra, by architect Stanford White.











 
"Standing Lincoln" and "Sitting Lincoln"
The above mentioned statue at the Grant Park is often called as the "Sitting Lincoln" ... to diffrentiate it from another famous statue of Lincoln in the Lincoln Park called as "Standing Lincoln" ... and this is also by the same sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens ... and the same architect Stanford White ... For more on "Standing Lincoln" ... click here ... 





For more on Public Art in the Grant Park ... click here..

For more on Grant Park ..
# Public Art in the Grant Park .. click here ....
# Gardens in the Grant Park .. click here ..
# Often overlooked but remarkable features like pedestrian crossings, the railway lines underneath, the street lamp posts, balustrade, corbels, the Y-symbols .. click here ..
# For a brief history of Grant Park .. click here ..