Thursday, November 22, 2012

Strangely placed objects

Have you ever noticed how certain things have been placed oddly along the Lake Front Trail?

Benches provide a great place for people to sit and enjoy a little rest while taking in the peaceful nature of the lake, and the stunning scenery. Except this bench, which is not only yards from noisy Lake Shore Drive, but also directly facing an enormous tree trunk. 

I wonder when the bench was placed there, and why. It is an unusual double-wide model, which is nice. I guess it would be a good spot to read that Kilmer poem about trees

Then there's the choice of placement of some of the sculptures in the exhibits I mentioned in my last post. Most of the works are easily seen and enjoyed by people walking or riding on the Lake Front Trail, but others turn their back on the trail and instead are angled to be seen by the drivers of the cars passing by. This seems to be an utter waste of fine art to me.
This sculpture is called "Bas-Relief Billboard" by Christine Perri. It's a lovely piece with interesting images and textures that demanded a few minutes of my attention, to consider what statement the artist may have been making with her choices. But here's how the artwork is displayed:
Those vehicles are buzzing by at about 50 mph, and the sculpture is nothing but a momentary blur of rust and green. If the piece registers in a driver's mind at all, it may be just to wonder when the "Welcome to Lakeview" sign will be attached.

And finally, since earlier this year, I noticed this lovely bust of 18th-centry Swedish philosopher, scientist and theologian Emanuel Swedenborg.
What caught my eye, however, was the unusual placement of the bust and the pedestal, on the far western part of the grass, just yards away from Lake Shore Drive, and facing it! So Mr. Swedenborg has the pleasure of witnessing the sight, noise and fumes of 15,000 cars and trucks passing by each day.
I couldn't imagine why we would dishonor a historical figure like this, and discovered the interesting story behind all of it on this entry on the blog Architecture Chicago PLUS. To sum up, the original bust was placed exactly here with great pomp and circumstance by Chicago's Swedish community in 1924, when Lake Shore Drive was probably still a beautiful and calm street, and not the superhighway it is today. The bust was stolen in 1976 and replaced in April 2012. So, I guess I can understand re-using the pedestal and podium area, but I think he would enjoy the view more if we flipped him around to face the Lake Front Trail and the lake. 
Yes, the rumors are true! We have rescheduled the Bike Walk Lincoln Park meeting to discuss bike share station locations to Tues, November 27, at 7:00 pm, at Bike Walk Lincoln Park headquarters. Please e-mail me at to RSVP and get details!

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