Art doubles as downtown picnic spot

April 13, 2010 10:00:00 PM PDT
Sandwiched between two of the Loop's most popular pieces of public art lies a smaller installation most Chicagoan's don't know about.

It's not the Pritzker Pavilion or the "Bean."

It's a table.

"The children at lunch time and just the regular Chicagoan's at lunch time, they crowd the table all day long," said Frank Deloach, a local artist.

The 100-foot long picnic table is made entirely of recycled plastic, which is the equivalent of 2 million recycled milk bottles. Chicago artist Dan Peterman made this to remind visitors of communal social purpose.

Many people think the table is made of concrete.

"They try to figure it out while they are sitting here because they want to know what it's made of. You can tell pretty quick it's not concrete or wood, so the next thing is what is it made of?" said Deloach.

It is simultaneously a product of consumption and an invitation to consume as visitors are invited to sit down, relax, read, and enjoy their time off.

The "Running Table" does share something in common with the "Bean." It doesn't have a sign or plaque.

"I think it would be nice to let people know that this was actually something made from something that was thrown away and that was re-used. Now we are sitting at it and enjoying lunch," said Mack Pulliam, a Chicago resident.

Peterman's "Running Table" was originally installed in 1997 in Grant Park. It will be in Millennium Park until August 31, 2010.


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