Chicago Art Fairies. Are they a myth?

City life can be fast and at times, one doesn’t seem to see new things pop up in the city such as a 30 foot-sculpture that didn’t exist before. Is it true that public art fairies are a myth? There is a lot of public art in Chicago with the recently installed Real Fake piece near Trump Tower.

There are different organizations in Chicago that have the mandate of designing and placing art such as the cultural center that was born out of the Chicago Public Library. Each placement is different and the process of designing and actually placing can be daunting. 

These are some of the well-known sculptures in Chicago which were assembled with little or no notice from the public.

Cloud Gate

Located in Millennium Park it is commonly referred to as the Bean or the Cloud Gate. It was created by Anish Kapoor, a British artist and it was his first piece in the United States. The Bean weighs 110 tons and is 33 feet by 66 feet by 42 feet and appears like liquid mercury. It beautifully reflects Chicago’s skyline. When it was being placed, pedestrians didn’t notice it as it was kept in a tent and out of sunlight since it could melt the structure. It was officially opened to the public in May 2006.

The Picasso

As its name sounds, this piece of art was by Pablo Picasso. Over 160 tons and 50 foot high, the art form was assembled in Gary by the American Bridge Company. Once finished, it was disassembled and taken to Chicago where it was assembled again and unveiled on August 1957. Since Picasso never gave it a name, it has been referred to as The Picasso ever since. The sculpture is located in front of the Daley Paza, Washington Street.

Monument with Standing Beast

Created by Jean Dubuffet, this sculpture may make you feel lost. It consists of four different elements; a tree, a standing animal, an architectural form and a portal. This monument reflects street graffiti style aesthetics and was unveiled in 1984. It weighs 10 tons and is 29 feet tall.


Unveiled in 1974 by American artist Alexander Calder, the sculpture can be viewed at the Federal Plaza. The monument is made up of three quarter-inch-thick steel plates secured with gussets and ribs. The piece of art is 50 tons and it makes the white and black surroundings appear dull in comparison.

Crown Fountain Chicago. 

This piece was created by Jaume Plensa, a Spanish artist and it changed the public art scene. The art piece took 2 years to complete and was handled by Krueck and Sexton Architects. Two tall 50-foot black and white glass block towers face a shallow pool. The towers have LED screens that project video games to visitors and Chicago residents while the mouths on the towers open to allow water to sprout out. Many of the pieces in this art were constructed outside Illinois and were sent from Pennsylvania and Florida. The fountain was designed in Toronto and each hour it uses 11,000 gallons of water.

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