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Color Jam on State Street is Chicago's largest public artwork

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Color Jam during, er, taping

Color Jam during, er, taping

Aundre Larrow

For ten hours each night over ten days, 12 people constructed Chicago's largest public artwork to date—Jessica Stockholder's Color Jam.

What makes up your record collection—and, if you're of a certain age, encases your couch—now covers four buildings and splashes the pavement of State and Adams streets. According to Chicago Loop Alliance outgoing executive director Ty Tabing, the vinyl project—Art Loop's newest public piece, officially unveiled Tuesday, June 5—is even bigger than the Chicago Picasso sculpture and the recently removed Marilyn Monroe statue.

The neon-colored vinyl that crawls up buildings and slices the streets totals up to 76,000 square feet, making it the largest contiguous vinyl project in America, according to the Alliance. That's 1.75 acres, over 24,000 records, or more than 1,000 couch covers. It cost six figures to create, according to Tabing.

There are two types of vinyl in the project. Glass buildings use a variety similar to the advertisements that are wrapped around CTA buses. The other type is a nylonlike mesh webbing, which makes Color Jam weather resistant and durable through September, when the work comes down.

Stockholder's tessellated style was also displayed in her 2009 work Flooded Chambers Maid, which embedded colored circles, rectangles, and triangles in the footpaths of New York's Madison Square Park. This is the third piece in the Art Loop series, following Kay Rosen's bright yellow Go Do Good mural campaign on State Street in 2011 and Tony Tasset's 2010 Eye and Cardinal, which featured a 30-foot eyeball planted in the Loop's Pritzker Park, brashly gazing at passersby.

Have a particular observation or favorite oddity about a neighborhood? E-mail it to zoomin@chicagoreader.com.

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