While access to ‘The Bean’ is limited, our city has other public art worth seeing

Chicago’s public sculpture portfolio is bigger than Cloud Gate. And now is as good a time as any to get around town and see some of it.

SHARE While access to ‘The Bean’ is limited, our city has other public art worth seeing
Among the city’s wealth of public art: A 1933 Marquette Park neighborhood monument honoring two Lithuanian pilots who were killed attempting to fly from New York to Lithuania.

Among the city’s wealth of public art: A 1933 Marquette Park neighborhood monument honoring two Lithuanian pilots who were killed attempting to fly from New York to Lithuania.

Sun-Times file

Getting close to Millennium Park’s famed Cloud Gate will be tough until next spring, thanks to repair work that began this week on Grainger Plaza that surrounds the sculpture.

But there’s more to Chicago public art than the popular Anish Kapoor sculpture. Here’s a sample of what the city has to offer from now until the Bean is, well, done.

Downtown: The Picasso and Miro’s Chicago. The two works face each other across Washington Street, but the 50-foot tall CorTen steel Picasso dominating Daley Center Plaza gets all the attention. Though the modernist what’s-it was controversial when it was unveiled 56 years ago this month, it has since become a worldwide symbol of Chicago. Catalan artist Joan Miro’s 39-foot tall concrete, bronze and steel sculpture at 69 W. Washington St., erected in 1981, is beautiful and curious-looking, with its outstretched arms and fork-like headdress. But why did the city obscure this great work by building an ugly CTA bus shelter in front of it in 2016?

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South Side: Victory monument and the Darius & Girenas Memorial. The Victory monument, at 35th Street and King Drive, was built in 1927 to honor Chicago’s all-Black 370th Infantry, whose soldiers were among those that liberated France in World War I. Created by sculptor Leonard Crunelle, the column-like sculpture features four bronze panels with heroic Black figures topped by a sculpture of a World War I doughboy. The Darius & Girenas Memorial, near 67th Street and California Avenue, is one of the city’s few Art Deco monuments. The marble and bronze work was built in 1935, honoring Captain Stephen Darius and Lieutenant Stanley Girenas, who were killed in 1933 trying to fly from New York to Lithuania. The under- appreciated work features a globe with airplanes showing Darius and Girenas’ route, and a relief of the two pilots dressed in aviator’s garb.

North Side and West Side: Riverview and Zellij Fountain. Jerry Peart’s Riverview was erected in 1980 outside a police station and courthouse at 2452 W. Belmont Ave. Colorful and kinetic-looking, the aluminum sculpture remembers Riverview Amusement Park, which stood on the site until 1967. The Zellij Fountain, unveiled in 2003, brings a bit of Morocco to the Garfield Park Conservatory interior, 300 N. Central Park Ave. Designed by Said Ben Adiba, Hassan Jemghili, and Jawad Rizki, the fountain is made of geometrically-arranged terra cotta tiles. Its motif of flowers and organic shapes is a natural fit for the conservatory.

Chicago’s public sculpture portfolio is much, much bigger than Cloud Gate. And with the Bean on ice, now’s the time to get around town, outside the Loop, and see some of the rest of it.

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