Color Jam: Colorful Buildings and Sidewalks at State and Adams, Downtown Chicago

Go away for a week, and it’s surprising what you miss. For the last few days, I’ve been going to work a different way. I’ve been helping Liz document her different outfits for a thing called Me Made May (where participants attempt to wear something they’ve created themselves, for every day of the month).

So in the mornings, rather than me going to get Coffee at State/Adams, we’ve been walking down Jackson. A few days ago, to my surprise… I noticed the intersection was awash with color.

Yesterday, I grabbed a few pics on my way in to work:

SW corner, looking North.

NW corner, looking East. What’s interesting to me is that I’m near here all the time, but when I saw the teal-covered overhang… I paused for a minute, unsure whether that was constructed or whether it had been there all along. It’s the latter, but took me a few moments to re-remember.

Looking to the SE corner, at the nearby Bank of America (a lucky or unlucky bank, depending on how you look at it).

The color extends from the sidwalk, up the sides of nearby buildings.

Standing near the NE corner (by the CVS), checking out the painted walkway.

Looking across the intersection.

More color, extending upward. When I first saw this, I was certain that the entire intersection was set up to be a specific parallax-based installation: a design that only makes itself known from a specific angle or vantage point. I don’t think this is the case, but I was convinced for a little while.

View of the building housing a nearby Starbucks.

Again, near the CVS… I like how the color from the street also finds its way to nearby streetposts.

Back where I started, near the SW corner. One of the cooler parts of the intersection is the base of this post, where the colors converge.

Did a little digging, and found out that the color is all vinyl – and is an installation entitled Color Jam (it’s being billed as the “largest public art work in the city’s history”), created by artist Jessica Stockholder.

At a few points, I was wondering to myself: is the construction all done? Looking at the colors on the Bank of America photos, it seems like there were still a few spots left on some windows. And comparing the photos to the Artist’s Rendering, I don’t know if there’s to be an additional design added to the intersection proper.

Regardless, I’ll say this: at several points, while I was taking photos… I’d see people stop in their tracks, looking around at the ground and sky, checking out the scenery. I don’t know that any of us knew what was going on – only that something had changed, was different. And we all stopped for a moment, to look at the world around us.

Which, after all, is kind of what art is supposed to do… right?

// Edit: Found a LOT more info about the project here, including links to the project website, the press release, and a live, streaming cam of the intersection:

Tony Tasset Eye Sculpture: Construction In Pritzer Park

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