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Catching a Loop Link bus? While you wait, enjoy the view

A new art installation at the Loop Link station near Washington and LaSalle streets features a series of square pictures that from certain angles line up with the background. | Lou Foglia | Sun-Times

Chicago’s new Loop Link bus stops are getting a bit more interesting, thanks to public artwork being built into each stop.

CTA stops “are more than just places to catch the train, they’re community stations,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “They should reflect the community.”

Just as with CTA bus, subway and L stops throughout the city, Emanuel wanted to commission artwork for the new Loop Link shelters.

The Department of Cultural Affairs began its search last summer.

“Originally, I wanted sculptures,” Emanuel said, but the department suggested the station’s glass panels contain the artwork.

Miguel Lagos installs film to the glass panels on the Loop Link station near Madison and LaSalle streets Wednesday. Artist Christine Tarkowski designed the moire patterns, which, she said, are lines that criss-cross in a way that “conveys a sense of motio
Miguel Lagos installs film to the glass panels on the Loop Link station near Madison and LaSalle streets Wednesday. Artist Christine Tarkowski designed the moire patterns, which, she said, are lines that criss-cross in a way that “conveys a sense of motion.” | Lou Foglia/Sun-Times

Two artists were chosen: Paola Cabal and Christine Tarkowski, said Nathan Mason, curator of exhibits and public art for the department.

Cabal’s series of glass panels is featured at the four Link stops along Washington Street. Tarkowski’s will be featured at the four stops along Madison Street.

Installation of Cabal’s artwork began last week, said Miguel Lagos, a contractor with Arlington Glass & Mirrors, while the Tarkowski panels were being put in starting Wednesday.

Cabal’s vision was a series of time-lapse photographs specific to each location. Small, square photos placed inside the glass are designed to match up to architecture across the street from each stop.

The Loop Link station canopy between Clark and Dearborn streets obstructs the view of the Joan Miro sculpture. | Lou Foglia/Sun-Times
The Loop Link station canopy between Clark and Dearborn streets obstructs the view of the Joan Miro sculpture. | Lou Foglia/Sun-Times

One of the stations which features Cabal’s work is across Washington from Daley Plaza. But the placement of that particular shelter blocks the view of the Joan Miro sculpture on the south side of the street.

It couldn’t be avoided, said Department of Transportation project manager Charlene Walsh; traffic flow patterns demanded the Loop Link shelter be built in that spot.

Along Madison, Tarkowski’s series of panels are designed as moire patterns. Moires are lines that criss-cross in a way that “conveys a sense of motion,” Tarkowski said.

“There’s an inherent property of movement and motion” in the context of public transportation, Tarkowski said. Her moire patterns “represent the idea that the city is a place that’s always moving in time, geography and people.”

A new art installation at the Loop Link station near Washington and LaSalle streets features a series of square pictures. | Lou Foglia | Sun-Times
A new art installation at the Loop Link station near Washington and LaSalle streets features a series of square pictures. | Lou Foglia | Sun-Times