Tony Tasset Eye Sculpture: Construction in Pritzer Park

The is an enormous eye, being constructed in Pritzker Park, near State and Jackson in downtown Chicago. Three stories tall, it’s the creation of artist Tony Tasset, and while it may not be his first eye to be displayed in public… it’s the largest.

Construction began yesterday, although today workers seem close to putting the whole piece together. I got a text from my coworker Chris, who alerted me to the fact that they were building today.

I work right at the corner of State/Jackson, so we can see the park and can watch the construction from some of the office windows. During lunch, I swung by for a few photos.

Guy taking a nap while no one can see.

Closeup of the eye – the frame/structure is on the left, but workers were busy piecing together the topmost portion. Luckily, while I was standing there… they lifted up a large portion of the eye.

Slowly placing the top of the eye.

Fastening the pieces together.

It was hard to get a good shot of the interior – this is the best one I got.

About 100 feet away, workers were working on the base of the sculpture.

Here’s a view of the interior frame.

Peeking through the gate at a piece of the eye.

Looking towards the base.

Another interior shot. This gives a bit more perspective on how large the thing really is.

I stopped by Kashif’s office, where there’s a pretty direct view of the sculpture. We’re up on the seventh floor, looking over State/Jackson.

I spoke briefly with a woman who looked like the official photographer. On a whim, I asked if I could get a hard hat and come inside to take more photos… but got shot down. Swing and a miss.

I did find out though that the sculpture itself weighs six tons (at least that’s what one of the workers told me). According to the photographer, the plans are to put the eye together today and install the iris tomorrow. Despite the fact that the official unveiling is slated for July 7th, she felt that people would be working on the sculpture all the way up until that day.

Fore more background, check out this interview with Time Out Chicago. Also, for more of Tasset’s work, check out Kavi Gupta’s Gallery.

His piece entitled Blob Monster is pretty awesome, and looks like it was set up right at the Merchandise Mart, where we all used to work. I’m bummed to have missed out on that.

// Edit: During the afternoon, I kept sneaking back to Kashif’s office to see if I could catch them raising the eye into place with the crane. Unfortunately, I missed the actual lift, but I have a few more before and afters.

The top part of the eye is assembled, and a second level is created off the main structure.

The eyeball, being put into place.

The Horse Before the Mart
Early Morning Whirlybird
They’re Building… Some Sort Of… Big… Chair?

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. I’m surprised you were able to stand that close to the sculpture; I know what an aversion to eyes you have. How ever did you manage? heh

    Liz Reply

  2. I hope they add seating at this plaza along with the Eye. Last time I saw that spot it looked like they were trying to keep people away. The edges of the planters were pointy so people could sit on them and there’s a conspicuous absence of benches. FAIL

    Lee Reply

  3. Amazing. I really hope this sculpture is permanent. I wonder if Tasset knows that over 20,000 ophthalmologists from all over the world will be gathering in Chicago for a few conferences in mid-October??

    colboogiebrown Reply

  4. What a FUCKING JOKE. Dumbest thing I’ve ever seen in my life. Someone should break the artist’s arms so he/she can never do something this stupid again.

    johnny eyeball Reply

  5. Mike – er, I mean Johnny – is that you?

    Allison Reply

  6. To the girl named allison…i know not who you speak of…but let me just say…i wish no harm upon the talented artist who created this work…regardless of my prior comments. cheers!

    johnny eyeball Reply

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