Just Play It Cool Boy...

Chicago is a truly great city for public art, whether it be permanent additions to the cityscape such as Cloud Gate (better known as "The Bean") in Millennium Park or the Picasso sculpture in Daley Plaza, or temporary installations like "Cows on Parade" in 1999. The latest of these temporary exhibits can be found on the Mag Mile, and is entitled, "Fine Art Fridges," and is sponsored by Com-Ed. It consists of nine re-purposed refrigerators from the company's appliance recycling program, turned into works of art to promote environmental issues. After passing by these artworks dozens upon dozens of times, I finally took the time to capture the installation on film before it is dismantled later this week.

"Running Down, Out to Pasture," Mike Helbing

"The Power of Flowers," Beth Kamhi

"Peas And Quiet," Victoria Fuller

"The Last Tree Exhibit," Tyrue "Slang" Jones

"Calming, Calling, Cooling," Ginny Sykes

"Coldspot: A Gulf Story," Nicole Beck

"Green Lifestyles," Kate Trumbull Fimreite

"In the Land of Love, There is No Garbage," Lucy Slivinski

"Recycled VooDoo Retro Rod," VooDoo Larry

In all honesty, I felt that "Fine Art Fridges" was fairly mediocre. I thought the concept of taking several like objects and decorating them differently was clever in 1999 with "Cows on Parade," but it was already played out by 2001 when "Suite Home Chicago" filled the sidewalks with decorated furniture. I think it's time to develop a new concept for public art. Furthermore, I thought that the only truly clever piece in the exhibition was the refrigerator-cum-hotrod, which was the only work in which the appliance transcended its original purpose and became something else. As a mosaic afficianado, I did enjoy the two tiled pieces, "The Power of Flowers," and "Coldspot: A Gulf Story," but aside from being attractive, they weren't really inspiring. I'm glad that Com Ed got their message across, and increased awareness about green issues and their recycling program, but I'm not sure that the end of this installation poses any great loss to the Chicago art scene.

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