Color Jam

My work neighborhood has shifted to the Loop this summer and one of the things I noticed in my wanderings, because it was hard not to, was the largest public artwork in city history: Color Jam, an art installation that transformed the intersection of State and Adams. Huge colored sheets were hung on the corner buildings. The road and sidewalk were covered with bright colors as well, and vinyl stickers covered pillars and lamposts. It was quite an arresting sight.

In the last month, I've started working just a block away from that corner and so I've been seeing Color Jam upclose nearly every day. And now I've been noticing that it's looking pretty rough. I'm wondering if this whole thing was a giant subversive piece with the secret subtitle: "the city will tear you down and wear you out".

Below are a few photos by Felix Jung, who took some great photos on May 31, just as the piece was being installed (postered here with his kind permission), contrasted with some ones I took yesterday and today:

Color Jam at State and Adams, photo by Felix Jung
Photo by Felix Jung

Color Jam, 3 Months Along

The flowers have come in, at least. But there's lots of tears and even missing segments.

Color Jam at State and Adams, photo by Felix Jung
Photo by Felix Jung

Color Jam, 3 Months Along

You can see just how worn the street sections are.

Color Jam at State and Adams, photo by Felix Jung
Photo by Felix Jung

Color Jam, 3 Months Along

The vinyl coatings on poles have probably held up the best of anything at street level, where they haven't just been torn away:

Color Jam, 3 Months Along

Color Jam, 3 Months Along

Color Jam, 3 Months Along

I'm one of those people who is fascinated by a good decay, so the way the city has taken its toll on this lighthearted and whimsical artwork is, to me, a bonus. The piece is only up for a few more weeks and I'm sure the de-installation will be fascinating as well.