Posts tagged with "Anish Kapoor":

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Anish Kapoor sues the NRA over shot of The Bean

British artist Anish Kapoor has filed a copyright infringement lawsuit against the National Rifle Association over an advertisement featuring his iconic public sculpture in Chicago’s Millennium Park, Cloud Gate (2006). The video, titled “Freedom’s Safest Place,” is part of the NRA’s “The Violence of Lies” campaign, which features multiple series of videos claiming to expose supposed irrationalities of liberal arguments and ostensible media untruths. The videos are narrated by right-wing commentator Dana Loesch and populated with images of civil unrest and violent clashes of protestors and police set to dramatic music. Kapoor claims in his complaint that the video's entreaty to meet liberal “lies” with the “clenched fist of truth” by the pro-gun organization amounts to “a clear call to armed violence against liberals and the media.” The video features a brief black-and-white timelapse cutaway of people walking in front of the sculpture, which is popularly and affectionately known as “The Bean.” Kapoor had already spoken out against the ad in an open letter this past March, demanding that the “nightmarish” NRA remove any visual references to his work. Three months later and with no action taken, Kapoor has filed suit demanding that the NRA cease using his work to support their “despicable platform for promoting violence” and is seeking $150,000 plus attorney fees for each infringement,  as well as a percentage of the money made through donations and membership sign-ups resulting from the offending ad.  
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Chicago mocks Houston’s new Anish Kapoor sculpture. You won’t believe what happens next.

On Tuesday, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (MFAH) installed a sculpture by Anish Kapoor, the same artist behind Chicago's Cloud Gate (better known as the Bean). The two sculptures are remarkably similar: both are hewn in shiny stainless steel and occupy prominent public spaces in their respective cities. They even have similar names and public sitings: Cloud Gate frames Millennium Park horizontally, while Houston's Cloud Column is mounted vertically in front of the Glassell School of Art. In light of the install, writers in both cities took to the pages of their respective papers-of-record to defend their hometown sculptures and throw serious shade across the continent. In the Chicago Tribune, Kim Janssen derided Cloud Column as a johnny-come-lately Bean and took cheap shots at Houston's arts scene:
If being surrounded by a cultureless abyss insufficiently communicates to confused tourists that they are in Houston, the bean’s verticality will therefore act as an additional reminder of their poor life choices.
Kapoor told the paper Cloud Column, which he imagined in 2000 and brought to life in 2006, is a totally separate thing from Cloud Gate, despite the obvious resemblance. Today, Houston Chronicle senior digital editor Lisa Gray responded to Janssen in a letter:
Yeah, it's true that we have a giant new shiny bean that stands upright. But Kim, did it occur to you that maybe we wanted it just because it's a cool thing? It's a piece of art, and works by the same artist often look similar. Our Calder looks kinda like other places' Calders. It made me wonder: Is Chicago feeling defensive? How bad is it there, knowing that Houston is set to pass you in population, taking your spot as third-largest city in the U.S.? Are you feeling—well, to steal someone's joke from Twitter–like a "has-bean"?
Janssen, of course, volleyed back. The Chronicle lovingly reprinted their dogged this-is-the-city-booster-hill-I'll-die-on correspondence under "Dear Chicago: Houston's bean is better. And so is Houston"–a shots-fired headline if there ever was one. Here's a selection from the conversation:
Chicago: "It's a leftover bean, a second-rate bean that's been lying around in storage for the better part of 20 years, because nobody else wanted it. Nobody except Houston wants a leftover, second-rate bean." Houston: "Our art critic, Molly Glentzer, tells me that our bean is actually the better bean—the original bean, the one made by hand, the one that reaches for the sky. Appropriate for its spot in the Museum of Fine Arts Houston's fast-growing complex—which is, as far as I can tell, the fastest-growing big art museum in the country." Chicago: "If art were measured by the yard—and I can see the appeal, to a Texan—you might have a point." Houston: "Any final thoughts? It's been a pleasure fighting with you." Chicago: "As a certified hater, I thought I'd never find as chippy a city as Chicago. But the outpouring of bile from Houston has genuinely surprised me, and given me hope that you may one day amount to something worthy of our rivalry. In the meantime, enjoy your bean, which is not as good as our bean, and never will be."
Separate from this beef, in a statement on the install, MFAH Director Gary Tinterow copped to the Chicago influence: “When we had the opportunity several years ago to acquire this precursor to Chicago’s Cloud Gate, I could only imagine that it would be as extraordinary for this city as Anish’s work has been for Chicago," he said. "Its elegant form and the subtle humanity of its hand-worked surface will fully animate this new gathering place for Houston.”
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In “Nincompoopolis,” Boris Johnson’s architectural follies mask even bigger failures

For the U.K.’s latest passport design, a page is dedicated to British-Indian artist, Anish Kapoor. This is nothing untoward; Kapoor is a distinguished artist both nationally and on the world stage. On the page are three of his works: Marsyas, Temenos, and the Orbit, the latter of which was designed with the help of equally esteemed British engineer, Cecil Balmond.

At 377 feet, the Orbit is Britain’s tallest sculpture. A press release for its 2014 re-opening proudly proclaims that the ArcelorMittal Orbit—to call it its official name after Indian steel giant Lakshmi Mittal—“originated in 2009 when [former] London Mayor Boris Johnson launched a competition to design a sculpture for the Olympic Park.”

The term sculpture is perhaps too kind, since the Orbit looks like Kapoor and Balmond both sneezed while trying to wrest control of the mouse with Rhino running on the computer. Today, despite adding a slide, it costs the taxpayer $13,100 a week to keep running. The omnipresent Orbit looms over the London 2012 Olympic site in the London borough of Newham and now the work—an inescapable reminder of Johnson’s eagerness to create an icon—will follow Britons around the globe.

Though a picture is sometimes worth a thousand words, thankfully there is better documentation of Johnson’s foibles in the built environment. Critic Douglas Murphy’s Nincompoopolis: The Follies of Boris Johnson, does this superbly and goes beyond, relating it to Johnson’s ironic ineptitude on more serious issues with real-world ramifications, such as the Heygate Estate evictions in South London. In this instance, Johnson remarked that it was “vital we push forward with work to unlock the economic potential” of the area as he approved the replacement masterplan, seemingly oblivious of the implications. The estates were home to more than 3,000 people. 

The darker manifestation’s of Johnson’s mayoralty come later in the book, which is laid out in two parts: Johnson the architectural meddler comes first and Johnson the hapless, apathetic, and willfully ignorant politician, after. In this sense, Murphy’s depressingly long catalogue of Johnson’s errors posits the more obvious architectural blunders as a mask to his more inimical failings.

To make the grim reading digestible, Nincompoopolis is filled with personal touches from Murphy (all but two of the images used are the author's own) who found himself in London just as Johnson took the reins in 2008. His sophisticated anger is both fitting and relevant, delivered with a dry sense of humor, as he dismantles everything wrong with each project, from the process (or lack of it) to the final product. The reader is doused with lashings of context, followed by a predictable punchline: Johnson.

It’s not all doom and gloom, though. The Garden Bridge, with a corrupt tendering process in which Johnson played a central role, was scrapped by incumbent Mayor Sadiq Kahn. A shopping mall version of the Crystal Palace was another near-miss, and orders have been stopped on the New Routemaster London bus. These failed follies can hardly be classed as wins, however, with millions of dollars of public money having already been squandered on them.

Perhaps a bright spot can be found in the socially-minded work of Peter Barber Architects, which Murphy duly mentions. Johnson is also credited for issuing new housing standards in the shape of the London Housing Design Guide which, bemusingly for him given his track record, called for less “iconic” architecture and beckoned in the “New London Vernacular.” However, as Murphy points out, much of this genuinely good work rides on the legacy of former mayor Ken Livingstone, who worked with Richard Rogers during his time as mayor. “In a city that has been undergoing so much housing struggle, no amount of tasteful brick detailing can mask the problems,” Murphy remarks.

The bearer of an American passport which reads “Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson,” London’s former Mayor will never have to suffer the full consequences of Brexit, in which he played a leading role. Nor will he have to look at the Orbit embarrassingly sprawled across a page of official national documentation.

Brexit, hopefully, was Johnson’s political swan-song. It made sense as well. The Routemaster and Crystal Palace fiascos were projects inspired by a misplaced public love of nostalgia, to which Johnson, seeing his chance as a so-called man of the people, rushed ham-handedly to cater to.

Inspiration also came from New York, where Johnson was born, but again, these ideas were executed in the wrong way. The High Line’s success spurred the Garden Bridge into almost becoming a reality, but ignored the 1964 New York World’s Fair. Johnson was determined to emulate the grandeur of antiquated world expos, but this somehow resulted in the Orbit and nearly led to a enormous glass mall, neither of which approached the legacy of 1964.

Nincompoopolis is a playful word, more endearing than insulting. However, Murphy does not shy away from showing that beneath Johnson’s boyish bravado and messy hair, depicted atop the Orbit on the book's coveris a more clueless and sinister character.

Nincompoopolis: The Follies of Boris Johnson Repeater Books $10.00

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Chicagoans troll Anish Kapoor’s Bean in Facebook meme wars

In what is turning into a long-running war of Facebook memes, a handful of Chicagoans are producing Facebook events targeted at the Anish Kapoor–designed Cloud Gate sculpture, also known as The Bean. The events, which have attracted thousands of online RSVPs, range from the silly to the slightly obscene. One string of events seems to have started with Windex the Bean, which is scheduled for November 15. Following its creation, counter events were scheduled entitled Paint the Bean black so they can't Windex it, and Prime The Bean so they can paint it black. Yet another followed that was entitled Pour Paint Thinner On The Bean After They Paint It Black So We Can Windex in hopes of rebutting the others. More ridiculous events, unrelated to cleaning or painting the sculpture, include Flip the bean over so it gets an even tan line and Turn the Bean 90° So it Feels New Again. Another invites guests to Release The Bean into Lake Michigan and shout "You're free!" Speaking of being free, one event plans to Break open the bean to free the tiny man who lives inside. Playing off the "bean" nickname, two other events include Pour Spaghetti Sauce All Over The Bean, and of course Bake The Bean. While there is no sign that any of these events will happen in any way, if you are looking to Succumb to our collective existential dread outside the bean, there is an event for that, too.
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Why everybody’s mad at Anish Kapoor

Anish Kapoor has everyone grumbling these days. The knighted artist is known for his intellectual preoccupation with blood, female anatomy, nothingness, and obtuse-yet-high-drama installations—like his 2017 piece Descension in Brooklyn, an infinitely spinning whirlpool. Descension explores, Kapoor said, “negative space,” a concept which is arguably the crux of his work. His pieces can, on one hand, appear benign and purely decorative, like Blood Mirror (a concave bowl of arresting, reflective red) while some are severe in their violent ugliness, like Internal Object in Three Parts (a series of three meat-textured reliefs that, some would argue, are disarming in their vulgarity). Much of that vulgarity comes from his dogged pursuit of extreme materiality: he strokes his whimsy by making art that is desperately large in scope and overwhelming in its concentration of color. His work also often inevitably segues into his favorite topic: The Void.

A post shared by Anish Kapoor (@dirty_corner) on

Enter Vantablack: the blackest synthetic material on Earth. It absorbs almost all the light and radiation that hits its surface (99.96 percent of it) and was originally developed by British researchers in 2014 for aerospace, engineering, and optics. Vantablack, which is a substance made of “vertically aligned carbon nanotube arrays” (hence, “Vanta”), is “grown in a forest” of carbon nanotubes and is hydrophobic—absorbing no water. It makes everything around it look cartoonish against its unsettling lack of dimension. When sprayed on, it causes an optical illusion that flattens features and forms to render objects into a two-dimensional void. It’s so black that Surrey NanoSystems (the company that manufactures Vantablack) notes on its website that “it is often described as the closest thing to a black hole we’ll ever see.” If there is any living artist with the clout, savvy, and the Nietzschean impulse to monopolize the closest incarnation of a black hole, it's to no one’s surprise (and to many people’s chagrin) that the person would be Kapoor. He bought an exclusive license to use the material—making it impossible for other artists to access and experiment with it. Immediately, painter Christian Furr told the Daily Mail, “I’ve never heard of an artist monopolizing a material. This black is like dynamite in the art world…. It isn't right that it belongs to one man.” But it is not, as Wired notes, the first time an artist claimed rights on a color (artist Yves Klein famously patented his own hue of blue), nor did Kapoor actually create anything himself. Technically speaking, Kapoor did not monopolize the color black. Vantablack is not a paint or a color. It’s a material. It’s commercially unavailable. It’s engineered. It’s untouchable; the surface fades away when those microscopic nanotubes are disturbed. And it can only be applied by professionals. Surrey NanoSystems chose Kapoor as their highest-value bidder “because we didn’t have the bandwidth to work with more than one—we’re an engineering company—we decided Anish would be perfect,” Ben Jensen, the CTO at Surrey NanoSystems, told Wired. “His life’s work had revolved around light reflection and voids.”

Up yours #pink

A post shared by Anish Kapoor (@dirty_corner) on

All this caused a visceral irritation in the art world, at least on social media, and something else was afoot. Amid the high tempers over the ethics of access arrived Stuart Semple, a British artist nearly half Kapoor’s age who had a real problem with this whole situation. Semple, who creates and sells pigments on his website, showed up with his little bottle of fluorescent pink—or as he labeled it, The Pinkest Pink. Semple called Kapoor a “rotter” in a YouTube video because he refused to “share the black” and thus inspired social media warfare with its seminal tool: the hashtag #Sharetheblack became a trending topic. So did Stuart Semple’s website, which disparagingly addresses Kapoor’s monopoly and also states a legal caveat about The Pinkest Pink’s purchase:
Purchasers of PINK will be required to make a legal declaration during the online checkout process though, confirming that: “you are not Anish Kapoor, you are in no way affiliated to Anish Kapoor, you are not purchasing this item on behalf of Anish Kapoor or an associate of Anish Kapoor. To the best of your knowledge, information and belief this paint will not make its way into that hands of Anish Kapoor. If you order some I hope you love it. And please if you get a chance tell @anishkapoor_art to #ShareTheBlack
Semple bagged both empathy and sales. If Twitter and Instagram commentaries were any indication of the general feeling of discontent, they also mobilized a marketing campaign for Semple, who sold not only oodles of color but perhaps a philosophy—or maybe a protest against monopoly.

Painting atom bombs - photo: Nadia Amura, 2014

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It would make sense that an artist with the fame, street cred, and agency of Kapoor would be the first to get his hands on Vantablack. And it’s little surprise that Kapoor got his hands (or, more precisely, his middle finger) on something else, despite the ban against him: Semple’s Pinkest Pink. He proceeded to post an image on Instagram with his middle finger dipped in the powder with a caption “up yours #pink,” sparking outrage. It probably doesn’t help that, aside from his Instagram post, Kapoor has remained mum on the topic. When asked for comment, his representatives responded with scientific information on Vantablack—deftly stating that “Vantablack is not a paint, it’s a material.” (Fair. Point noted.) On Semple and Kapoor’s Instagram accounts, users provide support and drama, respectively. Comments on Semple’s Instagram read generally like this: Comments on Kapoor’s Instagram, on the other hand, are far less wholesome. Here are some PG examples:
  • Pine_straw_mtn: "You bought exclusive rights to this paint, and the only thing you did with it is make a hole? The guy who invented this stuff literally has an example of a hole illusion in the tests, and you just copied that? You couldn't think of anything more creative? You are the cancer of the art world."
  • mcd: "A real artist would not need a color or lack thereof all to them selfs you are far from a true artist"
  • io: "Capitalist scum"
  • Awkwardjosie: "You're not a bad artist, but you're a shitty person. Imagine how your fan base and exposure could grow if you have up the rights. Just a thought."
It’s unclear what Kapoor will try to do with Vantablack, aside from post on Instagram and create a predictable circle on the floor. It’s also unclear why Kapoor won’t talk about any of this, especially if—given his pink-dipped finger—he knows what’s happening.

A post shared by Anish Kapoor (@dirty_corner) on

Is the reactionary conversation surrounding this—which many may call petty and some may call productive and ethical—exactly the point? Did Kapoor play his cards this way on purpose as a piece of performance art? Or was that Semple’s idea in using Kapoor’s name and a philosophy of artistic access as “brand” for his product? You’d think the beef would die down after Semple got his big boost, but just last week, the drama once again reignited with Semple’s release of Phaze, a color changing paint that goes from purple to The Pinkest Pink, and Shift, a color-changing rainbow paint. His video posts on Instagram included a link to buy the products, and of course, the hashtag #sharetheblack. One wonders whether those involved in this conversation speak out of moral obligation, or from a place of altruism, or whether this whole thing is really a matter of attacking the Kapoor and his power. By the way, not only has Kapoor ticked off artists, it seems, but also his neighbors. His recent decision to add a floor extension to his London home caused his neighbors to create a petition to “to help try to stop Anish Kapoor [from] blocking our precious light & view, a valuable thing in our crowded city.” The plea continues: “You'd think Anish Kapoor would understand the value of light, colour, and social responsibility.”
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Anish Kapoor brings an endless swirly to Brooklyn

Anish Kapoor has brought a liquid sculpture to the Brooklyn waterfront for his latest work of public art. Descension is a hot tub katabasis, an endless swirly into the depths of Brooklyn Bridge Park. The water, sculpted by a funnel, dialogues with the continuous flow of the East River and traffic over the Brooklyn Bridge in the near distance. At 26 feet in diameter, the piece, presented here by the Public Art Fund, builds on Kapoor's longtime exploration of emptiness (and could also be seen, depending on your politics, as an apt metaphor for the state of the world today.) Up close, its foamy surface—and gurgling machinations—feels peaceful. For safety reasons, a thin white rail encircles the piece to prevents toddlers and Pomeranians from drowning, but also creates distance between the visitor and the void. A video of the installation can be seen below.
Previously, Kapoor has installed Descension in Italy, India, in Paris's Seine, and in the garden at Versailles. Here in Brooklyn, “Anish Kapoor reminds us of the contingency of appearances: our senses inevitably deceive us," said Public Art Fund Director and Chief Curator Nicholas Baume, in a prepared statement. "With Descension, he creates an active object that resonates with changes in our understanding and experience of the world. In this way, Kapoor is interested in what we don’t know rather than in what we do, understanding that the limit of perception is also the threshold of human imagination.”
This is the nonprofit's fifth year in Brooklyn Bridge Park, but it's not the first time the Public Art Fund has exhibited work by the London-based artist. In 2006, the group brought Kapoor's Sky Mirror, a 35-foot-wide concave mirror, to Rockefeller Center.
"The fact that this is free [to visit] matters," Kapoor said, at a press conference yesterday. "We believe that art liberates us, opens us, frees us, to have it as open access is a terrific thing," a particularly rich observation from an artist who's unapologetically hoarding the blackest black on earth. Descension is on view through September 10 at Brooklyn Bridge Park's Pier 1.
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Anish Kapoor will install a dark, ominous whirlpool at Brooklyn Bridge Park

British artist Anish Kapoor will bring Descension to Brooklyn Bridge Park. The work is as dystopic as its name implies: A dark whirling funnel of water will descend down into an abyss, adjacent to the East River at Pier 1. Descension sees Kapoor's desire to coalesce negative space and energy finally realized, coming in the form of a 26-foot-wide whirlpool. To create the dark look, an all-natural black dye will be used to evoke the sensation that the water's journey is never-ending. Perimeter railing that traces the pool's circumference will stop audiences plunging into the illusory chasm, but will allow them to peer over, perhaps creating a swirling sinister phone-swallower in the process. The concept was first conceived in India (Kapoor's country of birth) at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale that ran from 2014 to 2015. There he exhibited the work as an interior piece, though later he furthered the idea in Versailles, France, exhibiting Descension as an outdoor work. Descension has also made an appearance in Italy where it was exhibited inside the Galleria Continua, a disused cinema theater. “Anish Kapoor reminds us of the contingency of appearances: our senses inevitably deceive us. With Descension, he creates an active object that resonates with changes in our understanding and experience of the world,” said Public Art Fund Director and Chief Curator Nicholas Baume in a press release. “In this way, Kapoor is interested in what we don’t know rather than in what we do, understanding that the limit of perception is also the threshold of human imagination.” The Public Art Fund—a non-profit arts organization which receives public and private support—is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. "We’re thrilled that Anish’s newest work will be a highlight of this anniversary season, more than a decade after his outdoor debut with us," added Baume. Descension will be on view from May 3 to September 10 this year.
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World’s tallest tunnel slide to wind five times around the 2012 London Olympics Orbit Tower

What better way to prolong the relevance of a pricey sculpture commissioned for the 2012 Olympics than to tack the world’s longest tunnel slide onto it? Nearly 376-feet tall, the ArcelorMittal Orbit Tower designed by Turner Prize–winner Anish Kapoor and structural designer Cecil Balmond is the UK’s tallest public art piece - a helter-skelter eight-strand lattice of distinctive red metalwork modeled after an “electron cloud,” according to Balmond. Wrought from 2,000 tons of steel, the commemorative Orbit Tower lords over London’s Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park as a hallmark of the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics hosted in the city. Suspended 264 feet above ground, the tunnel slide will snake around the tower five times, ending in a straight 164-foot stretch to the ground. Speed of descent peaks at a dizzying 15 mph, with the vertigo-inducing ride lasting about 40 seconds. On the way down, visitors can glimpse snatches of East London views through the transparent sections of the slide. Currently, adrenaline junkies will be one day abseil down the tower for $134, or $205 for GroPro footage of the descent and a commemorative T-shirt. “What more exciting way to descend the ArcelorMittal Orbit than on the world’s longest and tallest tunnel slide,” said Peter Tudor, the park’s director of visitor relations. “We are committed to ensuring our visitors have the best possible day out every time they visit Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, and as with all our venues, we are constantly exploring ways to ensure we lead the way with the latest visitor experience. This slide really will give a different perspective of Britain’s tallest sculpture.”  If heights don’t intimidate you, plan to be in London in Spring 2016 to catch a ride on the world’s tallest slide.  
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Anish Kapoor opens up the floor to a bottomless whirlpool at the Kochi Muziris Biennale

Black hole meets bottomless whirlpool in a site-specific exhibition by Bombay-born, British-bred artist Anish Kapoor. Titled Descension, the gated vortex of churning, frothing water spirals endlessly in a circular pit on the floor of Aspinwall House, Fort Kochi, holding viewers enraptured like moths to flame. The main doors of the foyer open to views of a peaceful coastline in striking contrast to the angry, roaring churn from within that brings cataclysmic scenarios to mind. It took a week of digging by 50 laborers to whittle a hole large enough to sink the whirlpool, all the while being careful not to dig too deep and inundate the space with seawater. The sunken hole measures approximately 8.5 x 10.5 x 10.5 feet. Kapoor won a Turner Prize in 1991 and the Praemium Imperiale in 2011, but Descension is one of the artist's few site-specific installations. The all-consuming exhibition was displayed at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, the first biennale for contemporary art to be held in Kochi. “I would say the skin of an object is what defines it. Its weight and mass are contingent on its skin. But scale, of course, is much more mysterious,” Kapoor said in a video released on his official website. Kapoor is known for monumental installations that exploit the laws of physics to optical effect, such as the nearly three story-tall Sky Mirror mounted over Fifth Avenue in 2006 that visibly inverted the skyline. ‘Leviathan’ was another striking spectacle, a giant, involuted, four-armed balloon that occupied the Belle Epoque exhibition hall of the Grand Palais in Paris for five weeks, where viewers could enter the balloon for a belly of the beast-like experience.
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Millennium Park Turns Ten! Here Are Ten Amazing Photos of Chicago’s Jewel Through the Years

Happy birthday, Millennium Park! Yes, the Chicago park named for the chronological milestone now 14 years in the rearview mirror is turning 10—it went famously over-schedule and over-budget but we love it nonetheless. Last year 4.75 million people visited Chicago’s front yard, taking in free concerts and events, and probably taking at least as many selfies with Anish Kapoor's Cloud Gate and the flowing titanium locks of Frank Gehry's Pritzker Pavilion in the background. In honor of the anniversary, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events is kicking off a series of shows and exhibitions that includes new work from Crown Fountain designer Jaume Plensa. Hey, Jaume! Email us if you need another face for your 40-foot LED projection! Here at AN, we're celebrating with ten of our favorite photographs of the park taken over the past decade and more. Take a look below.