'Color Jam' invades the Loop

June 5, 2012 (CHICAGO)

Once again, a giant piece of public art has invaded the Loop.

"It's like a party at an intersection." That's how Chicagoan Michael Popel describes the corner of State and Adams after the installation of something called "Color Jam". It's 76,000-square-feet of colored vinyl, vinyl crosswalks and vinyl colored buildings.

This painting and sculpture catches passersby off guard, according to project artist Jessica Stockholder.

"It's a little bit like when a movie shifts from black to white to color, I think," said Stockholder. "Or when a movie moves from an animated section to real photography. It just gives you a little different sense of where you are."

The city's Department of Cultural Affairs, The Chicago Loop Alliance and The State Street Commission are behind the project.

They say it's the largest public piece of artwork in the city's history, and it's not something you just look at, you are part of it. You are in it.

It's one of those works that's difficult to interpret. You stand here, and you look around and you wonder, What is it?

"Color Jam" will be up for the next four months, and with cars and pedestrians, it will take quite a beating. But that's OK for Jessica Stockholder.

"This isn't a precious object piece of art," Stockholder said. "This thing will be here through September, and it's to be lived in and with...And walked on."

It's the art show that never closes. And it's free.

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