Jessica Stockholder named Art Loop 2012 artist

Jessica Stockholder, rendering of Color Jam (detail), 2012.

Jessica Stockholder, rendering of Color Jam (detail), 2012. Photograph: Courtesy of the Chicago Loop Alliance

Jessica Stockholder (b. 1959) will create this year's Art Loop installation, the Chicago Loop Alliance announced today. Her project Color Jam (pictured in a rendering) will be the third large-scale, outdoor public artwork commissioned by the CLA, which presented Kay Rosen's GO DO GOOD in 2011 and Tony Tasset's Eye in 2010. Stockholder, who became chair of the University of Chicago's Department of Visual Arts last summer, spoke to TOC about her proposal."I’m hoping to place a volume of color in a street corner at an intersection [in the Loop]," Stockholder tells me by phone. "That will mean coloring the ground and the buildings on the four corners so that those parts of the intersection all become kind of unified." The "volume" will be flat, the artist clarifies: The color will be applied to the buildings, sidewalks and street as sheets of vinyl. (The CLA has not yet confirmed the location or dates of the project, but the last two Art Loop works were unveiled in early summer.)

Asked what happens if Color Jam covers Loop workers' precious windows, Stockholder assures me the vinyl can be translucent or transparent. "It will depend on which windows we’re covering, and whose windows and how people feel," she explains. The installation's height on the buildings' facades will depend on its location and cost.

"I think it will provide a moment of happy surprise," the artist says. "That corner will be very altered, even though it’s very much the same. I think it’s a little bit like in an animated film, moving from black-and-white to color. It will have that sense of a shift in consciousness. Your eyes shift in relationship to color. If you’re walking on a red section, and you move out of it, things will look kind of green, because the cones and rods in your eyes respond to that."

Stockholder taught at Yale University from 1999 until last July, when she moved to Chicago. She sees a relationship between Color Jam and her previous projects, which "always intersect with architectural spaces in one way or another," and reflect her interest in surfaces. (When PBS's Art21 profiled Stockholder in 2005, it noted that her "site-specific interventions…have been described as 'paintings in space.'" She had a solo show at the Renaissance Society in 1991.) 

"I’m really happy to be doing it; I’m excited," she says. "Being new to the city, it’s a very nice way to say hello."

Update: View the CLA's video about Color Jam here.

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