Public Art in Chicago

by Chris Duesing

My Public Art in Chicago Page (in progress), check back soon!


Cloud Gate by Anish Kapoor

Cloud Gate is a sculpture by Indian/British artist Sir Anish Kapoor. It is in the AT&T Plaza at Millennium Park above the Park Grill, between the Chase Promenade and McCormick Tribune Plaza & Ice Rink. The sculpture is nicknamed The Bean because of its shape.

The Chicago Picasso

The Chicago Picasso (often just The Picasso) is an untitled monumental sculpture by Pablo Picasso in Daley Plaza. Richard Bennett, an architect who worked on the Daley Center project, wrote Picasso a poem asking him to make the sculpture. Picasso accepted saying “You know I never accept commissions to do any sort of work, but in this case I am involved in projects for the two great gangster cities” (the other being Marseille, France). Picasso refused the $100,000 payment, considering his work a gift to the people of Chicago.

Picasso created a maquette of the statue (a small, initial version, similar to a painter’s sketch) in 1964, which is on display at the Art Institute Museum.

Crown Fountain

Crown Fountain is an interactive work of public art and video sculpture in Millennium Park. It was designed by Spanish artist Jaume Plensa. The fountain is made of a black granite reflecting pool placed between a pair of 50’ glass brick towers that use LEDs to display digital videos on their inward sides. The videos depict faces seemingly “spitting” water, which corresponds with streams of water shooting out of the statue and arcing in to the reflecting pool. It serves also as a playground, often filled with children and adults alike in the summer, playing in the water.


Flamingo is a 53-foot (16 m) tall, 50 ton vermilion colored, steel statue by artist Alexander Calder. Located in the Federal Plaza in front of the Kluczynski Federal Building downtown in the financial district. It was commissioned by the United States General Services Administration and was unveiled in 1974, although Calder’s signature on the sculpture indicates it was constructed in 1973.

Monument with Standing Beast

Monument with Standing Beast is a sculpture by Jean Dubuffet which resides in front of the Thompson Center downtown. It is a 29-foot (8.8 m) white fiberglass work weighing 10 tons and was unveiled on November 28, 1984. It has been taken to represent a standing animal, a tree, a portal and an architectural form. The sculpture is based on Dubuffet’s 1960 painting series Hourloupe.


Agora is an installation of 106 iron sculptures depicting legs and torsos which sits at the south end of Grant Park in Chicago. Designed by Polish artist Magdalena Abakanowicz. The name Agora refers to the urban meeting places of the Ancient Greek city-states. Abakanowicz has said that her art draws on her fear of crowds, which she once described as “brainless organisms acting on command, worshiping on command and hating on command”.


Further Reading
Chris Duesing
Chris Duesing

I am a photographer, writer, entrepreneur, and programmer living in the great city of Chicago. I love to solve problems with technology and share what I have learned along the way.