Chicago's lesser-known public art

There's more to Chicago's public art than the Millennium Park mainstays.



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You’ve splashed around in Crown Fountain, taken a photo of your morphed face in Cloud Gate (a.k.a. the Bean) and climbed on the Picasso in Daley Plaza. If you’re like most Chicagoans, that’s where your public-art interaction begins and ends, so you’ve probably seen only a fraction of the several hundred works in the city’s arsenal. Offered through the Office of Tourism, the new Public Art Tours of the South Side (Wednesday 30), West Side (August 13) and North Side (August 27) will introduce you to the following hidden gems:

Agora, 2006 (Grant Park, Michigan Ave at Roosevelt Rd)
Magdalena Abakanowicz’s installation (pictured, below) angers some South Loop residents. Why were 106 nine-foot-tall, cast-iron headless figures plopped into their midst, and why are dogs barred from the area? (Turns out Park District employees realized urine was oxidizing the sculptures’ ankles.) Agora does seem bleak from a distance, but your perception of it changes when you walk among the figures, whose purposeful strides suggest excitement and hope.

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