Liz Larner at play

The Art Institute of Chicago recently unveiled two sculptures by Liz Larner, X (2013) and 6 (2010-2011) on the Bluhm Family Terrace. X is a claw-like sculpture, reminiscent of those in a claw vending machine in an arcade, made of glorious, polished chrome. 6 is more linear in structure and form, painted white, tan, and lavender. Both sculptures sit atop a wooden platform, which not only establishes a ground for the work, but also creates a visual break from the surrounding grey architecture.

With these pieces in such close proximity to Millenium Park, it is difficult to ignore X’s relationship to Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate. The relationship is brought closer with X’s rounded shape and chrome material, as well as the way in which the viewer can experience the piece. One can contemplate and engage with this piece’s negative space and appreciate it’s material quality. 6’s liner quality is reminiscent of playground apparatus, but here is slightly slumped and not functional. Again, Larner’s sculptures suggest an engagement with the body, specifically that of an evoked curiosity and play.

As the Chicago skyline and Millenium Park as the backdrop to Larner’s pieces, the audience can experience the work from a number of different vantage points. The sculptures demand a physical engagement, which can be interpreted as play or dance in this viewing experience. The exhibition comes at a great time, to activate the terrace and engage audiences in warmer weather

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