In the previous post…

…I showed images of Exelon Plaza just south of what is now named the Chase Bank Tower, at the corner of Madison and Dearborn Streets.

At 60 stories and 850 feet in height, it’s the tallest building inside the tracks of the Chicago Loop–and its architecture is astounding at first glance.

Impressive, isn't it?

Impressive, isn’t it?

 

Even its reflection in the glass of 1 South Dearborn is impressive!

Even its reflection in the glass of 1 South Dearborn is impressive!

But I was there to see something much more of interest to me as an artist, The Four Seasons mosaic, designed by Marc Chagall and presented as a gift to the City of Chicago by Frederick H. Prince via the Prince Charitable Trusts in 1974.

First, the eastern facade:

Four Seasons-1

The north facade:

Four Seasons-2

The west facade:

Four Seasons-3

The south facade:

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The Four Seasons is, according to Wikipedia, 70 feet (21 m) long, 14 feet (4.3 m) high, 10 feet (3.0 m) wide rectangular box, and was dedicated on September 27, 1974.

It was renovated in 1994 and a protective glass canopy was installed.

The City of Chicago website presents a bit more information:

Composed of thousands of inlaid chips in over 250 colors, Marc Chagall’s mosaic artwork The Four Seasons portrays six scenes of Chicago. It features a vocabulary of images informed by the artist’s Russian-Jewish heritage and found in his Surrealist paintings such as birds, fish, flowers, suns and pairs of lovers. Chagall maintained, “the seasons represent human life, both physical and spiritual, at its different ages.” The design for this mosaic was created in Chagall’s studio in France, transferred onto full-scale panels and installed in Chicago with the help of a skilled mosaicist.

Chagall continued to modify his design after its arrival in Chicago, bringing up-to-date the areas containing the city’s skyline (last seen by the artist 30 years before installation) and adding pieces of native Chicago brick.

In Chagall’s words:

“I chose the theme of the four seasons because I believe there will be many people going through this plaza in the heart of the city of Chicago. In my mind, the four seasons represent human life, both physical and spiritual, at its different stages. I hope that the people of Chicago will feel the same emotion that I felt when doing this work.”

Here are closer-up images of Chagall’s enchanting oeuvre, which was executed in France by the mosaicist Michel Tharin–ENJOY!

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Four Seasons-16

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If you’re interested, there is a video of the creation of The Four Seasons by Chuck Olin called The Monumental Art of Marc Chagall here.

It’s well-worth watching the full 30 minutes to see and hear Chagall at work, correcting and making additions to Michel Tharin’s hand-cut tiles!

Marc Chagall-Still Frame-1

Marc Chagall-Still Frame-2

These two still frames really don’t do justice to the mastery of Chagall, so if you can, watch the video.

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It was very exciting to work on and present Chagall’s masterpiece as I saw it, mesmerized by the placement of each subtly(and not-so-subtly)-colored tile, viewing this huge work in smaller images on a computer some 39 years after its construction.

I just wish I knew what the top looked like, as in the video, it was said that there are also mosaic panels which are no longer viewable due to the plastic canopy!

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Some may be wondering…

…what a former Holiday Designer might use to decorate her own space…so I took a few shots.  As you approach my apartment door, you’ll find this spray, which is new this year:

I've incorporated a few of the 'faux' leaves I created.

I’ve incorporated a few of the ‘faux’ leaves I created.  Silver, ivory, and champagne-color, with three red jingle bells!

On the inside of the door, I’ve placed a copper and silver spray which I put together in 2007:

Those little things at center are not pine cones, but some sort of seed pod, which I gilded with copper leaf.

Those little things at center are not pine cones, but some sort of seed pod, which I gilded with copper leaf.

I really have no room for a tree, but I do have two large, 36″ wreaths, which I change every few years…next year, I’ll tear them apart, wash them down, and design something new and different!

This is the Blue and Silver, with some large silver leaf-gilded pears and silver balls (from the Dollar Store, no less!).

This is the Blue and Silver, with some large silver leaf-gilded pears and silver balls (from the Dollar Store, no less!).

And...here's the Red and Green on another wall.

And…here’s the Red and Green on another wall.

I have several glass vases filled with glass gemstones...this one also contains gilded glass rocks.  Iadded some miniature gold gilded fruit, and a few pine boughs I found after the Christmas Tree Lot people shut down.

I have several glass vases filled with glass gemstones…this one also contains gilded glass rocks. I added some miniature gold gilded fruit, large partially-gilded seed pods, and a few pine branches I found after the Christmas Tree Lot people shut down.

Here’s the other vase:

Glass gemstones, gilded river rock, and a pear ornament I gilded Christmas Day morning with blue variegated leaf...plus a few small pine branches.

Glass gemstones, gilded river rock, and a pear ornament I gilded Christmas Day morning with blue variegated leaf…plus a few small pine branches.

Here’s what the pear ornament really looks like, as I had to ‘play’ to get some color in the image above:

I bought about two and a half dozen of these six years ago at Renaissance Works for a dollar a piece...some silver/gilded and most gold/gilded!  I got tired of the 'commercial' gilding, and covered this one with blue variegated leaf.  The little leaf at the top has also been painted with a metallic pale, soft light green.

I bought about two and a half-dozen of these six years ago at Renaissance Works for a dollar a piece…some silver/gilded and most gold/gilded! I got tired of the ‘commercial’ gilding, and covered this one with blue variegated leaf. The little leaf at the top has also been painted with a metallic pale, soft light green.

I think I’ve had to make ‘Christmas’ every month of the year in the past…whether it was decorating hotels and restaurants, painting and designing store and mall displays, or designing television commercials (in March!)…it’s normal for me to celebrate with decorations all year ’round (and to be forever vacuuming up little pieces of glitter!)!

A li’l bit more Evanston

While walking up Chicago Avenue in Evanston the other day, I found this delightful sculpture in a tiny park at the corner of Grove Street.

 

 

 

 

 

All images copyright 2012  http://www.anotherthousandwords.wordpress.com

Then…

604 W. Davis, Evanston IL  Image courtesy:  Google Maps

…and Now:

604 W. Davis, Evanston IL-NOW  Copyright 2012  http://www.anotherthousandwords.wordpress.com

 

“What is progress and what is not?

I wish we could go back to the old closeness of the community.”

–Indira Freitas Johnson–2009

Variations

I was going to go downtown today to shoot some architecture for a project I was asked to do by the new owner of my building.  It’s cool and dull (mostly cloudy), not the best type of day for chiaroscuro.

So…I played a bit with a shot I took in August of 2008.  Here’s the original, with contrast only adjusted:

‘Cloud Gate’ reflection  Copyright 2012  http://www.anotherthousandwords.wordpress.com

Next, in black and white:

In sepiatone:

I did this last one a few years ago while playing with ‘Curves’ in Photoshop (TM), and used it as the header for awhile when I was blogging at Blogspot:

All photos copyright 2012  http://www.anotherthousandwords.wordpress.com

‘Cloud Gate’ is the official name of this sculpture in Chicago Millennium Park created by the British artist Anish Kapoor, who says the inspiration for this 66 ft. long by 33 ft. high piece came from his fascination with liquid mercury.  It is more widely known as ‘The Bean’.

I usually hate photos of myself…

Me, onstage (as if I hadn’t been there before, at 15 years old)!  Copyright 1979 Mark Mollick

…but this was taken by  a partner 33 years ago (that’s HALF my life ago) this month…as he posed me on the stage of the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, where my fellow artists and I had completed over 5 weeks of difficult work to present Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew”, set in war-torn Italy after WWII.  I want to say Marge Kellogg designed it, but perhaps my memory has gone, or not?

What is peculiar are the columns, right and left.  I worked so hard to get them to look that old…considering they were made of soft foam glued on Sona tubes, then carved with matte knives and razor blades.  They were then coated with a Joint compound/flexible glue mix, and let to dry for days.  Then we could finally paint and distress, via color, even more.

I look at my hands, and see the ravages of producing Scenic Art–they actually look younger today!  The lovely boots I wore became, eventually, ‘painting boots’–hey, they were very comfortable to work in!).  The shirt I made myself…and I still prefer to wear jeans (mostly black, these days).  The hair is now mostly white, the wrinkles considerably deeper…the eye make-up is the same I’ve done for over 35 years.

Pretty boring is this artist…except when it comes to re-creating the beauty we were all given!