Larner Plays Nicely at AIC this Summer

A Review:

Liz Larner

Art Institute of Chicago

Bluhm Family Terrace

April 24, 2015 – September 27, 2015

X; stainless steel; 2013

6: stainless steel; 2010-11

This summer, two of Larner’s sculptures reside on the Art Institute of Chicago’s modern wing terrace. The Bluhm Family Terrace faces Millennium Park with direct views of Frank Gehry’s theater and Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate, two landmark architectural elements that define the park, as well as play with Larner’s stainless steel sculptures X and 6. Larner’s forms appear as a continuation of the contours prompted by its backdrop.

6’s tube-like forms are each color blocked with lavender, white, and brown. They are not straight lines, as the contours writhe between points, excavating a synergetic energy that transpires within the form as well as among and beyond the open terrace. The abstracted form encourages movement from the viewer, where one can view the work from all angles.

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Diagonally positioned across the platform, X reflects, formally and perhaps conceptually, the steel of Gehry and Cloud Gate. X is an open form, where the viewer can crawl beneath the contour lines. The highly reflective finish, especially on a rainy day, exudes an energy for the viewer in which to play. The final seams of X’s tangential lines that grace the platform are not evenly cut, referencing the lines of 6 as well as teasingly differentiating from the manicured architectural elements of Millennium Park.

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Notably, Larner’s two sculptures are installed on a shared wooden platform, spanning almost the entirety of the terrace. The wooden base brings organic, earthy material into a viewer’s sight, which is mostly comprised of steel and glass. Furthermore, the platform encourages investigation between and among the objects where, on a rainy day, one can practically skate between the sculptures.

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The spirit of Larner’s work arouses its installation location. Perhaps lovingly, the artist’s objects investigate the spirit of the summer months in Chicago- an ode to dissipating from rigid structure and reflecting the playful forms that place us within a conscious moment of humor. Liz Larner’s installation is not to be missed.

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