Giant Eye Coming to Chicago

Chicago Loop Alliance

A giant, 30-foot eye is about to invade the streets of Chicago. And no, it's not a science fiction scenario but rather a sculpture created by Tony Tasset, an internationally known contemporary artist.

The Chicago Loop Alliance (CLA) commissioned Tasset to come up with a new icon for the Windy City, and he came up with (excuse the pun) something truly eye-catching.

The artwork is being installed at Pritzker Park (State Street and Van Buren), and will debut July 7th. It will be up through Halloween -- because after all, the lifelike EYE is a little creepy. Chicago is no stranger to big works of public art, of course -- "the Bean" at Millennium Park, for one, being a major visitor attraction.

The EYE debut is part of CLA's Inaugural Art Loop, a celebration of public art. Chicago-based Tasset has also created a companion piece called CARDINAL, also debuting July 7, which involves the installation of 156 street banners with the image of a red cardinal -- the Illinois state bird -- which viewers can explore like a "flip book."

Tasset said the EYE and CARDINAL go together, linked by their red, white and blue pallet, as well as the repetition of the eye in the bird banners.

CLA officials say this year's celebration is the first of what they hope will be a yearly event with an important artist commissioned to create a public art piece.

"We expect Tony Tasset's EYE at Pritzker Park will become a destination for those living, working and visiting the Loop, and we hope this temporary art installation encourages the public to tour the area and discover all of the incredible public art on display year round," said CLA Executive Director Ty Tabing.

The three-story-tall EYE has a blue iris, because that's the color of the artist's own eyes. The structure is made of steel reinforced fiberglass.

Tasset said he would define these works as "surreal" and "in the spirit of Magritte and Dali." And he wants the EYE and CARDINAL "to change the everyday experience for pedestrians and drivers along State Street."

He told CNN he also hopes people will think the work is "cool."

Watch Tasset explain his eye-catching creation here:
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