Pritzker Garden at the Art Institute

 
modern wing art institute of chicago, renzo piano, pritzker garden

Last week I headed to the Art Institute to check out the Gordon Parks exhibition – Invisible Man: Gordon Parks and Ralph Ellison in Harlem. The two collaborated on 2 projects within their lifetime, both striving to make visible the black experience in post WW2 America. It’s a powerful exhibition and one I highly recommend checking out.

While I was there I also stopped by the Aaron Siskind: Abstractions photography exhibition. I love abstract art, especially in photography. To me, it seems to be this study in details, which often results in an abstract perspective. So interesting to take something typically seen as mundane and see it in an entirely different way. If you’re like me, and enjoy this type of art, be sure to see this exhibition as well.
Since it hasn’t been too long since my last visit I spent most of my time at these two exhibits and then wandered around the Pritzker Garden for awhile since it was such a beautiful day. The Garden is off the main entrance of the modern wing and was designed by renowned architect, Renzo Piano. Lots of clean lines and minimalism. Certainly something I appreciate.
His design, as well as the materials used – glass and steel – are meant to pay tribute to one of Chicago’s most notable architects, Mies van der Rohe. Mies’ designs fill the Chicago skyline and Piano’s reference is not lost. At the same time, the limestone used for the facade and interior walls pay homage to the architecture of the original Art Institute building. Below you see the limestone facade as well as a sculpture by Ellsworth Kelly titled “White Curve”. This is the only commissioned piece of artwork in the Modern Wing.
modern wing art institute of chicago, renzo piano, pritzker garden
Here is another image of this massive sculpture, it weighs nearly 3000 pounds! The green chairs are also notable; they’re immediately reminiscent of the chairs you see in Paris’s Luxembourg Gardens. When researching for this post, I was happy to find out the chairs are, in fact, the exact ones designed for this world-famous garden. Frédéric Sofia is the designer and the chairs were made by French company Fermob. Not only do the chairs remind me of Luxembourg Gardens but the gravel on the ground feels just the same. Well done AI!
modern wing art institute of chicago, renzo piano, pritzker garden, ellsworth kelly, white curve
Here is a better view of the Mies influence and the serene, yet urban mood of the garden.
modern wing art institute of chicago, renzo piano, pritzker garden
The detail shot below is of the roof, which has been coined the “Flying Carpet” because it seems to float above the garden.
modern wing art institute of chicago, renzo piano, pritzker garden
One more of this space with this enormous and haunting sculpture that I can’t seem to find the name of or the artist who created it. Feel free to fill me in if you’re in the know.
modern wing art institute of chicago, renzo piano, pritzker garden
A little glimpse of Prudential Tower on the escalator up to the second floor where I was hoping to explore the Bluhm Family Terrace, which is typically filled with sculptures (unfortunately this area was closed due to a private event):
modern wing art institute of chicago, renzo piano, pritzker garden
For more images of this space as well as other areas of the AI from previous visits, head over here.

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