7 Avenues for Public Art Appreciation

Hey, Chicago! It’s The Year of Public Art, so get outside, and behold.

1. State Street Banners

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Photo: Chicago Loop Alliance

Heavyweights of public art appear in a groovy, flattened fashion thanks to Chicago artist Bob Faust. Catch “Cloud Gate”, Daley Plaza’s Picasso, and more along one of the city’s favorite shop blocks. On display now through Jul 30. State St from Lake St to Congress Pkwy.

2. (speaking of Picasso) Everyone’s Picasso

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Photo: City of Chicago

Celebrate the city’s grandfather of public art at its 50th-anniversary event, a revival of the ’67 dedication. The untitled and once controversial piece grew from “I don’t know…” to iconic. 50 candles coming right up. Aug 8. Daley Plaza, 50 W Washington St.

3. Statue Stories

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Photo: Statue Stories Chicago

Fancy a chat with David Schwimmer, Bob Newhart, John C. Reilly, or Steve Carell? No VIP pass necessary. In fact, it’s free! Hear Chicago actors, writers, and theaters lend their voices to famous bronze and other figures across the city. Download a map, and pick up the phone. Runs until Aug.

4. Murals

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Photo: FGR

Chicago crawls with murals. Overwhelmed? Start with a pair of must-sees. The ConAgra Brands Mural colors Ipsento’s east-facing wall, right off the 606 Milwaukee stop and amidst plenty of foliage. Jeff Zimmermann knowingly created this beautiful enigma for city-goers to interpret, and nature seekers to absorb. Milwaukee and Bloomingdale, Bucktown.

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Photo: Muddy Waters Twitter

Last month, The Home of The Blues honored an unmissable portrait of Muddy WatersEduardo Korba rendered the legend over 9 stories of technicolor tall. “Hear” for yourself at the corner of State and Washington.

5. Mario.

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Photo: Replay Lakeview Instagram

The Nintendo-fueled installation might as well be “public art.” Grab a beer, stack your quarters, and revisit afternoons spent with Donkey Kong and company at Replay Arcade Bar, Lakeview, 3439 N Halsted St.

6. Deer crossing.

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Photo: TimeOut Chicago, Jaclyn Rivas

Tony Tasset disrupts perspective once again with lifelike, yet super-sized Deer. Spot this and other new public art offerings for yourself at the Riverwalk between Franklin and Lake Streets. Now through Oct.

7. Potholes.

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Photo: “Nutter Butter”, Bachor’s Kickstarter Page

Cursing potholes is like breathing for most Chicagoans. Jim Bachor has been transforming these street hazards into street art for the past five years. One of his latest, “Nutter Butter”, debuted earlier this month at Chicago Ave (just west of Oakley). Check out more of his “fillings” here.

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