A brisk walk through any section of Chicago will reveal that the city is a haven for outdoor art. Sculpture gardens, murals, and monuments can be found almost everywhere in the city. Some have achieved iconic status and come to symbolize the city itself. These works attract locals and selfie-taking visitors from around the world. It’s impossible to see them all in one day. Here is a guide to the best of Chicago outdoor art.
1. Cloud Gate (The Bean)
No visit to Chicago is complete without a picture with the famous Cloud Gate, lovingly called “The Bean.” It is Chicago’s Rockefeller Center, its Bourbon Street, the city’s center of gravity where excited tourists and nostalgic Chicagoans celebrate the city together. British sculptor Sir Anish Kapoor constructed the giant globule by welding 168 stainless steel plates together into a seamless mass that distorts as it reflects the city’s stunning skyline. Its iconic fame, rendered in the short years since its 2006 completion, is a testament to its power to unite and connect people to the undeniable energy that permeates Chicago.
2. Agora (Grant Park)
Anyone walking south on Michigan Avenue past Buckingham Fountain will find a series of tall brown figures ambling aimlessly in Grant Park. This is the Agora, an art installation of more than one hundred nine-foot high, cast iron, headless people arranged by Polish sculptor Magdalena Abakanowicz. The Greek word for a meeting place in Athens, the Agora has been on permanent loan from the Polish Ministry of Culture since 2006, and commemorates the influential role Chicago’s Polish immigrants have played in the city’s history.
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