Thursday, July 10, 2014

Thith Fountain'th The Besssth!

Pipkin's hope for a grassy spot to nap was a bust, but continuing his hop south in Millennium Park he came across Crown Fountain, which, in his opinion, is the best fountain ever!

Two 50 foot (15 m) tall glass brick towers oppose one another across a shallow granite pool. Images of Chicago residents are displayed on LED screens while water pours over the structure. After a few moments, the faces begin spitting out a stream of water!

Pipkin loves art that is accessible, that fits in with its surroundings and is interactive and fun, and he enjoyed seeing diversity in the faces of Chicago. This place isn't just great on a hot summer day for splashing around, but it's a lot of fun for people watching! Tourists will walk by and stand in front of the towers to take photos, unaware that they are about to get a soaking.  It's fun to people watch and watch the people watching other people.

Most fountains you can't even splash around in. The fountain is surrounded by benches for tired parents to sit on while their kids run around burning off some energy. Juame Plensa did a fantastic job designing this fountain, and the city park provided a wonderful place for people to enjoy Chicago. Well done!

Crown Fountain is located in Millennium Park between Cloud Gate and the Art Institute of Chicago. The fountain runs, weather permitting, from May to October.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Great Lawn at Millennium Park

immaculate green
pristine blades, a sharp warning -
please keep off the grass

After braving the crowds visiting Cloud Gate, Pipkin wanted a chance to nap (and maybe snack) on the grass at the Great Lawn in front of the Frank Gehry designed Pritzker Pavilion. There were no musical events scheduled at the bandshell, so Pip assumed he'd have no trouble finding a spot on the lawn. He was right, unfortunately. The disappointment inspired the above haiku by Domo.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Agora: The Gathering Place - Grant Park, Chicago

Wandering around the south end of Chicago's Grant Park, Domo came upon a large group of armless, headless sculptures, seemingly caught suspended in a moment of walking meditation. There was something about these sculptures that made Domo feel incredibly warm, welcome, and included.

Agora is the name of this collection of sculptures by Polish artist Magdalena Abakanowicz, and it is Greek for "gathering place" or "assembly". All 106 sculptures are 9 feet (2.7 m) tall and were made from a seamless piece of iron.

Pipkin isn't very fond of crowds (and neither is the artist, whose fear of crowds is thematic in her work) and he has a fear of being trampled underfoot, but he braved walking amongst these stoic figures. He loved their rusted, bark like texture.

Domo, who has often felt a little like an outsider (people don't "get" what he is. Brown, boxy, lock-jawed. He's been teased about being an ice cream sandwich - like that's a bad thing to be?) but walking amongst these sculptures he really felt like he belonged in this gathering place. That's the interesting thing about art. Everyone interprets it in different ways, depending on who they are and what they see.

Domo may have enjoyed being in the thick of the crowd but Pipkin appreciated seeing the mass from a little ways away.

However you may enjoy viewing these sculptures, you'll find them at the south end of Grant Park, at Michigan Ave and East Roosevelt Rd.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Labbits Like Beans: Cloud Gate at Millennium Park

Partly cloudy days are perfect for visiting and photographing Anish Kapoor's stainless steel sculpture Cloud Gate at Millennium Park. Its legume like shape has resulted in the nickname The Bean.

To Domo, the Bean looks a lot like the T-1000 from Terminator 2, or that NTI (non-terrestrial intelligence) probe/water creature from The Abyss. The Bean seems harmless enough now, just sitting there. Watching. Waiting.

Pipkin doesn't see anything ominous about the Bean. Its omphalos (Greek for "navel") on the underside is rather cute, in his opinion. The concave design warps and duplicates reflections around it, but at its center you can find yourself again.

With a self-timer, you can get all sorts of fun pictures. Since Pip and Domo are small in the human world, they picked a quiet spot under the Bean for a photo where they wouldn't get trampled on.

This would be a great spot for photos at dusk, when it's dark enough that the city lights come on, but light enough in the sky still to take great pictures of the city mirrored in Cloud Gate.

Moon and Bean