June 27, 2011

Public Art Forms

for the Masses
Public art is art in any media whose form, function and meaning are created for the general public through a public process. It is a specific art genre with its own professional and critical discourse. Public art is visually and physically accessible to the public; it is installed in public space in both outdoor and indoor settings. Public art seeks to embody public or universal concepts rather than commercial, partisan or personal concepts or interests. Notably, public art is also the direct or indirect product of a public process of creation, procurement, and/or maintenance - Wikipedia

The Chicago Public Art Collection includes more than 500 works of art exhibited in over 150 municipal facilities around the city, such as police stations, libraries, and CTA stations. As part of the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, the Public Art Program administers the Chicago Public Art Collection and implements the City’s Percent for Art Ordinance. The Collection provides the citizens of Chicago with an improved public environment and enhances city buildings and spaces with quality works of art by professional artists. - Chicago Public Art Collection

A Public Art Gallery of Sorts
Art comes in all shapes, sizes, and locations. This post is about public art desplayed in murals in CTA stations, statues & structures on street sidewalks & parks, limestone drawings & 'brick wall art' and even 'tree art' within Lake View
The Spectrum of Public Art 
in Lake View
on an exterior wall on the corner of Oakdale & Broadway
photo - Chicago Architecture Info-Facebook
A building wall art
2018 photos - Chris Cullen Photography
below photo - Melrose at Halsted Street
unknown source
Chicago Rainbow Pride Crosswalks-Facebook
above - rainbow crosswalks at in Boystown
2019 photo - Joel Cruz via Pictures of Chicago-Facebook
below Addison/Sheffield CVS store
2019 photo - Gregg Moreland 
via Pictures of Chicago-Facebook  
 and the view below the art in 2018 below
A Building Mural
Irving Park Road & Seminary Avenue
Works of Art:

Goethe Monument

This heroic statue [located as a gateway to Lincoln Park from Diversey Parkway] pays homage to famous German writer and philosopher John Wolfgang von Goethe (1749–1832). In 1910, the Goethe Monument Association held a competition to select a sculptor for the memorial. The committee did not want a figurative portrait of Goethe, but rather, a sculpture that would embody the “spirit of Goethe.” The members of the committee hoped to release artists “from the trammels of costume and conventionality” and permit them “to give free flight to their imagination and enthusiasm.” At the time, the Lincoln Park Commissioners had also decided to discourage the installation of conventional portrait busts in the park. Nine sculptors submitted proposals to the Berlin-based jury, and after the winner was selected, the Art Institute of Chicago hosted an exhibit in 1911 of all nine competition models. After its completion, the critics lampooned the Monument to Johann Wolfgang von Goethe in the Chicago Tribune for several weeks. In response, one of the competition’s judges, Karl Bitter, defended the committee’s choice, arguing; “after conscientiously deliberating for three days, we chose this design unanimously and enthusiastically.” Modeling and casting the monument in Germany, Hahn rendered the sculpture in bronze with a rich brown patina. The massive eighteen-foot-tall statue weighs eighty tons. - Chicago Park District

Signal of Peace

1910 photo - Art Institute of Chicago

Sculptor Cyrus Edwin Dallin (1861–1944) had great reverence for Native Americans. Born in Utah, he grew up playing with Ute Indian boys who lived in nearby encampments. In 1880, Dallin went to Boston to train under Truman H. Bartlett, an accomplished sculptor. Several years later, he moved to Paris to study at the Académie Julian. In Paris, Native Americans became the focus of Dallin’s artwork. When Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show came to France to perform, Dallin had several Indians pose for him as models. In 1889, he began working on a sculpture depicting an Indian chief on horseback holding a staff with a feather on it, symbolizing peaceful intentions. Dallin named the artwork A Signal of Peace and displayed it at the Salon of 1890 in Paris. A Signal of Peace, originally located just northwest of the Ulysses S. Grant Monument, was moved to its current site east of Lake Shore Drive by the mid-1920's to accommodate the expansion of the Lincoln Park Zoo. In the early 1940's, the Billy Caldwell Post of the American Legion petitioned to move the bronze sculpture to the Caldwell Woods in the Cook County Forest Preserves. The Chicago Park District denied the request.
The Alarm
1905-10 photo - Art Institute of Chicago

A memorial to the Ottawa Indians, The Alarm is one of the oldest outdoor sculptures in Chicago. Donated by Chicago businessman Martin Ryerson (1818–1887), the bronze sculptural group depicts a Native American family. The male figure is standing alongside his dog and listening for danger while the wife and baby are sheltered at his feet. The artwork is highly detailed with realistic depictions of each element including the arrows' feather fletching and ornate fabric that holds the baby to the cradleboard. Ryseron had great admiration for the Ottawa Indians. As a young man he developed personal relationships with members of the tribe when he traded furs with them. He went on to make his fortune in the lumber industry and real estate. Ryerson commissioned the piece in 1880, long after the tribe had been forced to resettle. Art historian Mary Lackritz Gray explains, “Ryerson was especially anxious that the sculpture portray their strength of character and peacefulness and avoid the stereotype of the unfeeling savage.” 

This was the first major commission for John J. Boyle (1851–1917), a Philadelphia-born artist who had spent several months observing Native Americans in North Dakota. The monument originally included bas-relief panels on each side of its base entitled “The Peace Pipe,” “The Corn Dance,” “Forestry,” and “The Hunt.” After the original bronze panels were stolen in the late 1960s, the Park District replaced them with similar scenes of Ottawa life carved into granite and installed on each face of the base. Though first unveiled near the Lincoln Park Zoo, the monument was moved to its present location on the lakefront in 1974 to make way for the new Ape House. - Chicago Park District

The Lake View's
Post Office Mural 
There was countless programs in place during the 1930's to revive the economy and put folks back to work to feed their families - the WPA was one of them. The Works Progress Administration (WPA) was instituted by presidential executive order under the Emergency Relief Appropriation Act of April 1935, to generate public jobs for the unemployed. The WPA was restructured in 1939 when it was assigned to the Federal Works Agency. By 1936 over 3.4 million people were employed on various WPA programs. Administered by Harry Hopkins and furnished with an original congressional allocation of $4.8 billion, the WPA made work accessible to the unemployed on an unparalleled scale by disbursing funds for an extensive array of programs. The Federal Art Program was one of them. 
1930's image - Kids Britannica
Under the direction of art critic and curator Holger Cahill, the Federal Art Project operated in all 48 states and instituted divisions for easel painting, murals, sculpture, posters, prints and drawings.The Federal Art Project division of the WPA tended to favor figurative art rather than abstract art; a trend that resulted in many of the century's greatest abstract painters (Rothko, Pollock, Krasner, etc.) creating rather uncharacteristic art.

WPA’s Federal Art Project hired thousands of artists. “More than 20,000 paintings, murals and sculptures were produced by artists who were paid up to $42 a week. Among them were future superstars Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning, Mark Rothko and Thomas Hart Benton. Much of the art was installed in public places such as schools and hospitals.” Just in the past few years, the General Services Administration (GSA) has recovered at least 150 pieces of art. The Postal Service owns more than 1,200 murals and sculptures that were commissioned by the Treasury Department's Section of Fine Arts from 1934 to 1943. Post office art wasn't meant to create jobs, says Dallan Wordekemper, preservation officer for the Postal Service. Instead, artists competed to create works that would boost morale during the Depression. The idea, Wordekemper says, was to "bring art to the populace" without charge in a place they visited daily — the local post office. Art that is recovered and restored, he says, often goes right back on post office walls or libraries for the same reasons. - Parsley's Picks: buried treasure

This 1940 article below reflects a negative view of this part of the WPA program. 

Painter and printmaker Harry Sternberg was employed by the 
Work Projects Administration (WPA) in late 1930’s to create art for the Lake View Branch of the Chicago Post Office located 
at Irving Park Road near Sheffield. 
text - excerpt from 1982 Tempo article
 image - from Chicago Tribune
text below - Guide to Chicago Murals 2001
In 2000, a resident of Chicago, Dr. David Baldwin, began a project to restore the original work of art that were barely still visible but let alone poorly maintained. In 2003, after a three year restoration project his work revealed a mural the symbolized art of its’ day but and hallmarked the importance of art and need for employment during the Great Depression of the 1930's.
photo - Jane Rosenbluth Baldwin
In 2010, the Chicago Branch of the Lake View Post Office was renamed after a legendary folk singer Steve Goodman
photos below by Alex Bean 
via Forgotten Chicago Discussion Group
a sectional view:
Ephemeral Art

There are many forms of ephemeral art, from sculpture to performance, but the term is usually used to describe a work of art that only occurs once, like a happening, and cannot be embodied in any lasting object to be shown in a museum or gallery.

 Lake View's Own 
Ephemeral Art
Once located on Elaine Place what was thought by the local residents to be permanent but was, in fact, just not

The three sculptures have been a staple of the neighborhood for almost three decades and were the work of Chicago artist John Kearney. Kearney is known for using steel objects, mostly car parts, to create sculptures of animals. In Chicago, his work includes three deer in front of the Aon Center, two horses owned by the Chicago Park District and a collection of Wizard of Oz characters in Oz Park, including the Tin Man, Cowardly Lion, Scarecrow, Dorothy and Toto. The owner of the Lakeview sculptures, Milton Zale, also owned most of the buildings on the 3400 north block of Elaine Place, and sold them to a group of investors – sans sculptures.

Residents were not happy with the abrupt removal. Bret Beaudry said he was stunned when he found them gone and even thought, “Someone might have tried to steal them.” George Eastman, who has lived on the street for 30 years, remembers when the giraffes were put up. - WBEZ

photo - University of Illinois-Urbana/Champaign

After a long history, at least since 1978, on Elaine Place there were these metal objects that were removed from the street in 2012. The artist John Kearney, based in both in Chicago and Provincetown, was the artist who created figurative sculptures, often of animals, using multiple, found metal objects, specifically bumpers from cars.

1981 photo - William Brubaker Collection 
via University of Illinois
Two Remain 
at Roscoe/Elaine Place 
as of July 2021

Milton Zale [seller of the property] said it simply was time to sell his property in Lakeview, but the buyer of his buildings didn’t want to pay for the insurance on the sculptures. You see, people like to climb them. Zale said the sculptures are being restored in a studio. Zale said he would be willing to sell them, hoping they can go back to Elaine Place. - CBS Local

The removal October 11, 2012
Joe E. Dale contributor - Facebook
Separation Issues
2012 photo - Lake View Patch
a miniature made of aluminum 
the (real) human form 
photo by Boris Geissler Chicago Phoenix/Facebook
in 2013
These sculptures are meant to be only temporary
A collaboration by Lincoln Park citizen associations and then later Lake View in 2008. This public art venture was first established in 2001 to be a statement of civic/corporate/community pride based on local neighborhood participation. This continuous & yearly exhibit was conceived to enrich the neighborhood landscape by publicly exhibiting the works of art by area sculptors along the streets & byways of our community. 

'Public art is more important than ever. Chicago Sculpture Exhibit is an ideal way for people to experience beautiful and inspiring art in a safe way. With sculptures in so many Chicago communities, many people don't even have to travel to enjoy a fun and educational activity.' - Chicago Sculpture Exhibit

Only Lake View 
Locations ...
St. Luke's Parish on Belmont
Waveland & Wilton
Clark & Lincoln
Waveland & Wilton
Sheridan Road & Sheridan Road
Lincoln & School Street
Broadway & Roscoe Street
3505 Southport Avenue
Diversey & inner Lake Shore Drive
Grace & Southport - Blaine School
855 W Aldine
3757 N Clark Street
3108 Broadway
1500 W Belmont Avenue
100 East Diversey Parkway
just north of Diversey Harbor 
east of the Signal of Peace Monument
*I suspect this one will be permanent*

3456 Elaine Place
3400 Elaine Place
921 W Barry Avenue
3423 N Southport Avenue
3840 N Southport Avenue
3400 Elaine Place
3620 N Halsted Street
 and a zoomed view below

3325 N Halsted Street
3131 N Clark Street
Falling Man
3401 N Elaine Place
The Spiral
3400 N Elaine Pl
3456 N Elaine Place
919 W Barry Avenue
Prairie Tamer
3131 N Clark Street
3333 N Halsted Street
3840 N Southport Avenue
3400 N Elaine Place
The Angel of Death
3310 N Broadway
this structure must have been installed prior to the pandemic
3801 Fremont Avenue
3401 Elaine Place
1047 W Irving Park Road
The Big Face
3131 N Clark Street
246 W Diversey Parkway
3423 N Southport Avenue
3310 N Broadway
3451 N Elaine Place
3401 N Elaine Place
3324 N Halsted Street
3900 N Broadway
3900 N Broadway
3301 N Ashland
3310 N Broadway
Life Leaf 
3906 N Sheridan Road
Praire Vane 
3335 N Ashland
3820 N Southport
Still Standing 
3000 N Halsted
To The Point
855 W Aldine
Treasure Tower 
3401 N Elaine Place
3451 N Elaine Place
3400 N Elaine Place
Up, Up, and Away 
1047 W Irving Park Road
3324 N Halsted
The Year
3402 N. Elaine Place
3407 N. Elaine Place
3451 N. Elaine Place
3335 N. Ashland Avenue
3900 N. Broadway Avenue
3820 N. Southport Avenue
3301 N. Ashland Avenue
3904 N. Sheridan Avenue
3324 N. Halsted Avenue
3310 N. Broadway Avenue
1047 W. Irving Park Road
within Lake View
Art of all styles have become a fixture along 
the renovated CTA stations in the city
Along the Redline
photos - CTA
 Outdoor Sculpture
Along the Brownline
photos - CTA
Chicago Outdoor Sculpture
Bridge Underpass
2018 photo - Scott Kleinberg 
2012 photo - SunTimes
photo - Chicago Public Art Group

 photos - Chicago Public Art Group
photos below - Garry Albrecht
2012 photo - James H.
along the Shoreline
(my Facebook album)
photos - A Place for Us LGBTQ Life at Belmont Rocks
located new the Lincoln Park Gun Club
Like the caveman before them, artists carved their works of art on limestone blocks all  over the world. Here on the shores near Belmont Harbor some beach-like bathers for their cue. 
Some art was just plan old graffiti, some not. Thanks to a fellow Chicagoan photos of the countless works of art will not be forgotten. 
Depression Art
at Nettelhorst School
Another location of depression art and other murals by comtemporay local artists is located at Nettelhorst Elementary in Lake View 
Contemporary Chicago
'Louis Nettelhorst School Elementary Alumni'-Facebook
Rudolph Weisenborn’s mural at Nettelhorst Elementary shows his interest in modern European painting styles such as Cubism. Fractured space, jagged lines, and vibrant primary colors convey Chicago’s energy and modernity during the 1930s. On the left, an abstracted portrait of a sophisticated urban dweller is followed by forms of modern transportation such as small biplanes at Chicago Municipal Airport (Midway) and boats on Lake Michigan. The right half of the composition shows the stockyards on Chicago’s South Side and a construction worker holding an anvil and working on a steel frame structure. A native of Chicago, Weisenborn worked for a time as a gold miner and cowpuncher in Colorado before becoming an artist. He received four years of academic art training before turning his attention to more avant-garde painting styles. In addition to Contemporary Chicago, Weisenborn’s Chicago mural commissions included the only abstract mural for The Century of Progress (1933-34) exhibition and a mural series at Crane Technical High School.  
2014 photo - Michael McLoughlin via
 'Louis Nettelhorst School Elementary Alumni'- Facebook
and adding there own along the way
other art displays
 in the original building, a 21st century photo 
Louis Nettelhorst School Elementary Alumni-Facebook
entrance to the lunch room
Louis Nettelhorst School Elementary Alumni'-Facebook
One of the largest collection of WPA murals is located in 
Lane Tech High School located in the Community of 
North Central. Here are some samples:
Four vertical panels mounted between the exterior doors of the Lane Tech auditorium describe 
the teaching of the humanities

and more was added in 2016
be Called Art?
photos & text from DNAinfo
'The artist is Samantha Rausch. The art piece is titled "Endless." According to Rausch, it's meant to blend different concepts of time and life with the image of a dead tree.'
located between Stratford Place & Hawthorne Place/LSD
Art Supported 
by Commerce
images - LakeView Roscoe Chamber of Commerce
The Lakeview Public Art Committee is responsible for identifying innovative artists and securing funding to support the display of public works of art in highly-visible locations throughout West Lakeview. Consisting of volunteers who share diverse experience in the arts and fundraising, the committee and its recommendations help advance the mission of Friends of Lakeview, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and partner of the Lakeview Roscoe Village Chamber of Commerce and Special Service Area (SSA) 27.

600 block of Roscoe
photo - Neil Allen

Post Notes:

View more public art in Chicago via Flickr.

Follow me to my next post called

These posts are exclusively used for educational purposes. I do not wish to gain monetary profit from this blog nor should anyone else without permission for the original source - thanks!