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Chicago Gains a New Eye-Con this Summer with Three-Story Eye
The eye being built.

CHICAGO, IL.- Move over Millennium Park “bean”….there’s a new icon in town, and passersby on State Street won’t believe their eyes!

Just in time for the influx of summer and fall visitors, the Chicago Loop Alliance (CLA) will present EYE, an incredibly lifelike three-story (30-foot-tall) eyeball sculpture by internationally-renowned, Chicago-based contemporary artist Tony Tasset, to be mounted at Pritzker Park at the corner of State Street and Van Buren. EYE will be officially unveiled Wednesday morning, July 7, and remain on public display through the month of October.

Also being revealed that day will be a companion piece by Tasset entitled CARDINAL, a dramatic installation of 156 street banners revealing a bold red cardinal – the state bird - in flight against a bright blue sky, unfolding like a “flip book” on State Street lamp posts north from Congress Parkway to Wacker Drive. This compelling pair of artworks is the centerpiece of CLA’s inaugural Art Loop 2010, expected to be an annual celebration of public art in the Loop in which a new work by an important artist is commissioned each summer, along with free related educational and cultural programs, and promotions and discounts from CLA member partners.

“We expect Tony Tasset’s EYE at Pritzker Park will become a destination for those living, working and visiting the Loop, and we hope this temporary art installation encourages the public to tour the area and discover all of the incredible public art on display year round,” said CLA Executive Director Ty Tabing. “Tony is an artist who excels in multiple art forms – from the visual art of CARDINAL to the sculptural EYE – and we’re proud to showcase this Chicago talent in our first Art Loop season.”

EYE is a 30-foot-tall, three-dimensional recreation of an eyeball, with a blue iris (similar to the artist’s). The massive spherical sculpture, of steel reinforced fiberglass, is currently being fabricated by F.A.S.T. Corp. of Sparta, Wisconsin. The installation process in Pritzker Park will take place “under wraps” beginning in late June.

According to Tasset, “I hope both EYE and CARDINAL change the everyday experience for pedestrians and drivers along State Street. The image of the flying bird is quieting and humble in contrast to the commercial bustle surrounding it, while the enormous scale of the EYE serves to miniaturize its surroundings. Although EYE and CARDINAL are unique works and do not depend on each other, the two works are linked formally; by the red, white and blue color pallet as well as the repetition of the eye in the bird close up. The juxtaposition of these two archetypal images with the city of Chicago as a backdrop should create a grand surreal picture, in the spirit of Magritte and Dali.”

Internationally renowned contemporary artist Tony Tasset is known for his tongue-in-cheek humor and stylistic variation. Trained as a painter, his work has expanded to include many mediums including video, photography, bronze, wax, fiberglass, film and even taxidermy. Tasset's work is in the permanent collections of prestigious museums across the U.S., including The Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, the Museum Fur Moderne Kunst (Frankfurt, Germany) and the San Francisco Museum of Art, in addition to being featured in numerous solo and guest exhibitions around the world at major galleries and institutions in London, Italy, Germany, Ecuador and Canada. In the last several years, Tasset has included in his repertoire several ambitious public commissions including works in downtown Pittsburgh and St. Louis. Among awards received are the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Award, an Artists Fellowship from the Illinois Arts Council, and the John Quincy Adams Traveling Fellowship from the School of The Art Institute of Chicago.

Tasset was born in Cincinnati in 1960 and pursued his education in the Midwest. He received his B.F.A. at the Art Academy of Cincinnati (1983) and his M.F.A. at The School of the Art Institute in Chicago (1985). He resides in Oak Park, Illinois, and is currently a professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He is featured in the MCA exhibition, Rewind: 1970s to 1990s, Works from the MCA Collection. In addition, Tasset is the subject of a one-person show at the Kavi Gupta Gallery, Chicago.

Chicago | Chicago Loop Alliance | "EYE" | Tony Tasset |

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