Public art exhibit: Museum of Modern Ice

January 9, 2008 3:57:00 PM PST
The weather outside has been delightful, but inside one Near West Side building it has been frightful-- because artist Gordon Halloran is busy creating "Paintings Below Zero". As a rule artists don't set up their studios in cold storage buildings, but then again there's only one Galloran. The Canadian, is in Chicago as part of Millennium Park's exhibition "Museum Of Modern Ice". The centerpiece is a giant ice sculpture titled "Paintings Below Zero".

"This is an ice painting. It's a work, ah, that we use as kind of like a, ah, a giant water color piece that ends up frozen. So we're thinking very much of the work as painting rather than sculpture," said Gordon Halloran, "Paintings Below Zero" artist and creator.

Thick pieces of ice painted with bright, vibrant colors will -- for the month of February-- be filling Millennium Park with an ice sculpture 95- feet long and 12-feet high. It will stand just east of "The Bean" as a combination of ice, paint and light.

"Some of the light will be effecting the front of it and then you'll see back lit coming through this. A bit of a stain glass effect," said Halloran.

Considering the warm weather Chicago's had the last few days, it makes sense for Halloran to do his work in an old meat locker just west of The Loop. The temperature? Zero.

That means none of these frozen puzzle pieces will melt there. The finished outdoor sculpture won't melt either because it will be refrigerated until March, when it will be allowed to melt away.

"It points out that things come and go. We have precious things in our lives we can't always keep control over," said Halloran.

The construction of "Paintings Below Zero" begins in about two weeks. The public is invited to watch.