Liz Larner at the Art Institute of Chicago
Chameleon-like in quality, the latest sculptural installation on display at the Art Institute of Chicago’s Bluhm Family Terrace, Liz Larner’s works X (2013) and 6 (2010-11) emanate the bustling and metropolitan, yet approachable state-of-mind, that is, the city of Chicago. Parked on top of a wooden platform, the works assume a position that is at once intentional and happenstance, as visitors are encouraged to step closer for a more in-depth view. A ten-year resident of Chicago, I immediately begin to draw parallels between the curvy, metallic and reflective qualities of Larner’s X to that of Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate and Frank Gehry’s Jay Pritzker Pavilion situated in the near distance. However, in contrast to these latter mentioned works, viewers of Larner’s works are able to enjoy a position of superiority, looking down and over the works as one circles the perimeter specific to each. The viewer’s experience seems rather predetermined, the artist presumably asking us to position the works within the vast skyline seen directly behind. Quickly bypassing any feelings of wonder or curiosity in relation to the works, the viewer races to recalculate the new skyline with these works as the latest addition. Larner succeeds in this regard, though, the malleable nature of the works showcased by their ability to adapt to the grid lines and shiny exteriors of the skyscrapers. The open, yet site-specific nature of Larner’s works, as described in the nearby placard, rings true as one turns a critical yet fanciful eye toward the architectural and natural feats that define the Chicago’s skyline.
Liz Larner’s X (2013) and 6 (2010-11) Bluhm Family Terrace at the Art Institute of Chicago (2015)