Exquisite City opens at Chicago Tourism Center

January 21, 2009 3:33:53 PM PST
There's an old song about a paper moon sailing over a cardboard sea ... and a canvas sky hanging over a muslin tree. In the song, that world is only make-believe. But, in the Loop, there's a very real cardboard Chicago. The exhibition, called "Exquisite City," is open at the Chicago Tourism Center, 72 East Randolph. It is not your average look at our toddlin' town; Steel girders, glass and wood have all turned into cardboard.

"We have about 30 blocks ... city blocks in this space. They are four by four. They're on moving pallets. Ah, most of the work is out of cardboard or other recycled materials," said Nathan Mason, curator Special Projects Dept. Cultural Affairs.

The show was produced by the Viaduct Theatre, but now the city's office of tourism is offering it up-- free of charge -- As part of the Explore Chicago program. There are a variety of styles because more 70 different Chicago artists took x-acto knives to cardboard to create the exhibit.

"There are some, some you can look at and almost identify what building it actually is. Others are sort of loose interpretations of the city," said Mason.

The cityscapes are Chicago as the artists see it. It's not really about the magnificent mile. It's about the not so magnificent miles.

I'll be honest with you. When i walked in here i wasn't too impressed. I thought what the heck is going on here. But then the more i walked around the more interesting it became. So that's what you gotta do. Just keep walking.

"You can talk amongst yourselves about what you think is interesting ... why this artist is wacky. Why you don't think that particular thing works at all," said Nathan Mason.

The free show runs through March 15th. And, yes everything is for sale.


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