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Enjoy new public art in Millennium Park this summer

Posted  8 days ago  in  Trending, free, public art, millennium park

7 MIN READ – Mayor Brandon Johnson, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) and the Millennium Park Foundation announced today new temporary public art installations coming to Millennium Park during its milestone 20th Anniversary season, including physical works by one of the world’s most recognized sculptors, Franz West, and innovative augmented reality works by Chicago-based artists Claire Ashley, Faheem Majeed, Yvette Mayorga and Carlos Rolón. The augmented reality works are on view throughout Millennium Park now through November 2025. West’s sculptures will be on view in the South Boeing Gallery starting the week of July 22 through November 2025.


Millennium Park is a world leader of art and architecture in a public, outdoor, urban setting—home to two of Chicago’s most iconic artworks: Cloud Gate a.k.a. “The Bean” by Anish Kapoor, which reopened to the public on June 23, and Crown Fountain by Jaume Plensa.

Located on both the north and south ends of Millennium Park, the Boeing Galleries house temporary modern and contemporary art exhibitions where visitors can directly experience the work and expressions of current artists. In the 20 years since the Park’s opening, the Boeing Galleries have featured artworks by Chakaia Booker, Yvonne Domenge, Jun Kaneko, Edra Soto, and Christine Tarkowski, among others. The cost of exhibition curation and management is underwritten by Millennium Park Foundation using funds from private donors.

“Millions of people visit Millennium Park every year to enjoy our free cultural events and interact with our world-famous art and architecture—including Cloud Gate and Crown Fountain,” said Mayor Brandon Johnson. “Since the Park opened 20 years ago, a variety of special exhibitions have also been a major draw. On behalf of the entire City, we thank these artists for sharing their talents with us, the Millennium Park Foundation, and the many Chicagoans and visitors who will visit the Park this summer and beyond.” 

“Since Millennium Park opened 20 years ago, the Park has been a unique showcase for Chicago’s flourishing public art scene, attracting visitors from across the globe to see works that celebrate the soul of Chicago and its people,” said DCASE Commissioner Clinée Hedspeth. “Art can inspire, challenge and bring joy, and these new temporary installations, including for the first time works viewed via augmented reality, will give everyone visiting Millennium Park this summer an unforgettable experience.”

“For the first time our curated Boeing exhibition will span both space and time,” said Donna LaPietra, Chair and President of the Millennium Park Foundation Board of Directors. “In celebration of the Park’s 20th anniversary, we wanted to showcase both large-scale public art works alongside pioneering augmented reality works of Chicago-based artists, creating a dynamic fusion of traditional and innovative public art experiences throughout the Park. These exhibitions highlight Millennium Park’s commitment to making art accessible and interactive, offering visitors a unique and immersive cultural experience. We invite everyone to join us in this remarkable journey and witness a year of firsts for the 20th Anniversary season.”

Viewers of the augmented reality works will need to use the free Hoverlay app, available in the Apple AppStore or Google PlayStore, as well as an augmented reality-capable device running iOS 14 or later or Android 8.0 or later.

For information about Millennium Park exhibitions, art and architecture, the 20th Anniversary Celebration and more, visit millenniumpark.org.

Exhibition support to the Millennium Park Foundation is made possible by the Boeing and Richard Driehaus Endowment and the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.

The new installations are:

Franz West: Millennium Park (on view starting the week of July 22nd)

Franz West: Millennium Park features three monumental installations by West: Stonehenge (2011), Kugeln (Balls) (2002), and Dorit (2002), set against the iconic backdrop of Millennium Park.

Stonehenge, with its playful, abstract forms, invites viewers to engage physically and imaginatively, while Kugeln (Balls) presents three individual brightly hued spherical sculptures that disrupt conventional expectations of balance and form. Dorit, characterized by its organic shapes and vibrant colors, further exemplifies West's unique approach to sculpture, blending humor and a sense of the surreal with profound artistic statements.

Emerging in the early 1970s, Austrian artist West (1947-2012) developed a unique aesthetic that engaged equally high and low reference points and often privileged social interaction as an intrinsic component of his work. While he was known primarily as a sculptor, his body of work incorporated drawing, collage, video, and installation, using papier-mâché, furniture, cardboard, plaster, found imagery, and other diverse materials. West is celebrated for his ability to merge sculpture with everyday life, transforming public spaces into interactive art environments. His work challenges traditional perceptions of art, emphasizing the importance of viewer interaction and the integration of art into daily experience.

More information about West at archivfranzwest.org.

Augmented Chicago: Inaugural Realities 

(on view now through November 2025)

Augmented Chicago: Inaugural Realities showcases the innovative works of four internationally celebrated Chicago-based artists, Claire Ashley, Faheem Majeed, Yvette Mayorga and Carlos Rolón, pioneering the use of Augmented Reality (AR) for the first time in the vibrant setting of Millennium Park. This exhibition invites visitors to experience a groundbreaking fusion of technology and artistry, transforming the Park's landscape into a dynamic canvas of digital creativity. By highlighting AR as a new tool and medium in the world of public art, these artists explore new dimensions of interaction, engagement, and expression, offering a fresh perspective on the urban environment.

Carlos Rolón

Ni Aquí, Ni Allá (Neither Here, Nor There), 2024 

Chicago-born Rolón is celebrated for his multidisciplinary artistic approach, exploring themes such as craft, ritual, beauty, identity, and their intersections with art history. With roots in Puerto Rican heritage, Rolón's background fuels his exploration of personal concepts, blending self-examination with rich cultural symbolism. This synthesis fosters community engagement and blurs the boundaries between public and private spheres, providing viewers a bridge to connect with the broader cultural narrative.

Through Ni Aquí, Ni Allá (Neither Here, Nor There), viewers are invited to experience a transformative oasis inspired by the vibrant spirit of Puerto Rico. By blending both the digital art and physical elements within the park, Rolón creates a sanctuary amidst the urban landscape—a space where people can pause, rejuvenate, and connect with nature. Inspired by the vibrant landscape, atmosphere, and sounds of Puerto Rico, this installation features tiled benches, the gentle melodies of the coqui (small frog), a cascading waterfall, and botanical elements that collectively capture the essence of the island. Through the harmonious interplay of virtual and tangible elements, visitors are transported into a dynamic environment, inviting them to embark on a sensory journey of immersion and exploration.

More information about Rolón at carlosrolon.com.



Photo credit: Carlos Rolón Ni Aquí, Ni Allá (Neither Here, Nor There)_3_Photo by Carlos Rolón 

Yvette Mayorga

The Lovers Dance, 2024

Mayorga is a Chicago-based multidisciplinary artist known for her Rococo-inspired reliefs that merge confectionary labor with found images to explore themes of belonging. Dominated by the color pink, Mayorga celebrates femme power while questioning the allure of consumer culture and the American Dream as a first-generation Latinx.

The Lovers Dance is Mayorga’s first augmented reality public work. Drawing from the stories and shapes of her intricately piped paintings and public installations, Mayorga creates an immersive, interactive experience that reflects her signature feminine world-building. In The Lovers Dance, she explores themes of belonging and love by depicting two dancers emerging from the sky, set against a backdrop of piped frosted clouds reminiscent of a theatrical play.

More information about Mayorga can be found at yvettemayorga.com. 
Photo Credit: The Lovers Dance by Yvette Mayorga(2) courtesy of Millennium Park Foundation.

Claire Ashley with audioscape by Joshua Patterson 

N O M A D I C  F L U O R A T I C  P H Y L O S I A N  S P A W N, 2024 

Scottish born, Chicago-based artist Ashley mines the language of painterly abstraction, monumental sculpture, and slapstick humor to investigate inflatables as painting, sculpture, installation and performance costume. Currently a teacher at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, her works have been exhibited nationally and internationally in galleries, museums, site-specific installations, and performances events.

In N O M A D I C  F L U O R A T I C  P H Y L O S I A N  S P A W N, viewers encounter four apparitions, experienced here over one calendar year, responding to the shifting seasonal color palette of Millennium Park’s Lurie Gardens.

  • Spring: A single apparition grows. The mother form stretches and elongates, birthing its spawn, grumbling as it spits them out.
  • Summer: Multiple apparitions vibrate. The mother and spawn sway, float, shudder, vibrate, spin, roll, and feast, bubbling and boiling in a whirling dervish-like motion.
  • Fall: The apparitions slow down. The mother and spawn merge, clicking back together into a new lumpier formation.
  • Winter: A single apparition hibernates. It snores, snuggles, stretches, and yawns. Crystalline growths appear, beginning the regeneration process for spring.

More information about Ashley at clairehelenashley.com.


Photo Credit: NOMADIC FLUROATIC PHYLOSIAN SPAWN by Claire Ashly courtesy Millennium Park Foundation.

Faheem Majeed

Freedom’s Stand: Sentries Beacon, 2024

Faheem Majeed is a professor of art at the University of Illinois at Chicago, as well as an artist, curator, and community facilitator. He blends his unique experience as a non-profit administrator and artist to create works that focus on institutional critique and exhibitions that leverage collaboration to engage his immediate, and the broader community, in meaningful dialogue.

Freedom’s Stand: Sentries Beacon is an homage to the pioneering spirit of Black newspapers in the United States, drawing on the legacy of community-generated news and self-representation. Inspired by the historical impact of Freedom’s Journal, the first Black-owned newspaper founded in 1827, this augmented reality sculpture highlights the importance of Black voices in media. Combining elements from Chicago’s Wall of Respect, the Community Mural Movement, and traditional West African Dogon architecture, Freedom’s Stand creates a rich cultural tapestry.

Freedom’s Stand: Sentries Beacon features three dynamic augmented reality newspaper stand sculptures that grow into towering structures and shrink back into smaller stands, symbolizing the evolving nature of Black media. The design, reminiscent of traditional newsstands integrated with Dogon granary aesthetics, creates a living archive. These sculptures showcase a curated collection of headlines, articles, and advertisements from 209 Black newspapers, ensuring the work remains dynamic and ever-changing. This project underscores the importance of celebrating diverse voices in media, ensuring they inform and inspire future generations.

More information at faheemmajeed.com

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