Chicago Loop Alliance

The city's largest public art project opened this week.

Upon seeing multimedia artist Jessica Stockholder’s new installation, “Color Jam," it isn’t difficult to detect the influence of graphic designer Saul Bass, in particular, his brilliant title sequence for Alfred Hitchcock’s “North by Northwest”. The collapse and fade from Bass’s bright green tableaux of criss-crossing lines into the gridded facade of the C.I.T. Building proves the conceptual spark for Stockholder’s “Color Jam," which covers 76,000 square feet of a downtown Chicago intersection in swaths of color.

The installation, deemed the city’s largest ever piece of public art, applies bold wedges of “three-dimensional painting” at the junction between State and Adams Streets, moving from from the street crosswalks, along the adjacent sidewalks, and up the facades of corner buildings.

According to the artist, the site’s diverse material palette–asphalt, concrete, glass, steel–is subsumed in the totalizing "potential of surface," that is, the homogenizing force of color. All distinguishing formal features, including the different profiles of each of the buildings and the logos of the corporations that inhabit them, are suspended in Stockholder’s swatches of orange, cyan, and lime green, transforming a mundane street corner into a bright landscape “spilling forth [with] imagined richness, full of emotional, subjective resonance, and wandering focus.”

All photos courtesy: Chicago Loop Alliance

About the Author

Most Popular

  1. A sign outside a storefront in Buffalo, New York.
    Environment

    Will Buffalo Become a Climate Change Haven?

    The Western New York city possesses a distinct mix of weather, geography, and infrastructure that could make it a potential climate haven. But for whom?

  2. photo: A vacant home in Oakland that is about to demolished for an apartment complex.
    Equity

    Fix California's Housing Crisis, Activists Say. But Which One?

    As a controversy over unoccupied homes in the Bay Area and Los Angeles reveals, advocates disagree about what kind of housing should be built, and where.

  3. photo: a high-speed train in Switzerland
    Transportation

    The Case for Portland-to-Vancouver High-Speed Rail

    At the Cascadia Rail Summit outside Seattle, a fledgling scheme to bring high-speed rail from Portland to Vancouver found an enthusiastic reception.

  4. A syringe sits on top of a car. Houses are behind it.
    Life

    The Changing Geography of the Opioid Crisis

    A new study shows that the country faces different opioid challenges in urban and rural areas.

  5. Environment

    The City Known for ‘Sewer Socialists’ Actually Has Great Sewers

    Milwaukee now averages a mere 2.4 combined sewer overflows a year, thanks to a massive underground tunnel, green infrastructure, and flood-control measures.

×