BUCKTOWN — A 11-foot-tall long and curvy sculpture made of recycled rubber tires and stainless steel named "Brick House" has landed on a rest plaza along the elevated Bloomingdale Trail in Bucktown and is The 606's first major art installation.
Around 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, workers used a crane to hoist the four separate pieces of Chakaia Booker's sculpture from a flatbed truck, as Booker, a nationally recognized artist known for her large outdoor creations built to withstand tough climates, looked on.
The three-ton, 34-foot-long, 13-foot-wide "Brick House" is expected to take up to two days to assemble and will require the closure of the Damen Arts Plaza, likely to reopen on Friday, said a spokeswoman for the Trust for Public Land, the city's public private partner that is managing the project.
Based in New York City, Booker was commissioned by the city's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) to create the piece exclusively for The 606, a new system of parks united by an elevated trail that opened in June.
"Regarding the selection of Chakaia's work, DCASE staff have been talking to [Booker] for a while about doing a project in Chicago. Because of the large scale nature of her work and her dynamic use of recycled materials, this project on The 606 felt like a good fit, and she was invited to submit a proposal," said Nathan Mason, Curator of Exhibitions and Public Art for DCASE.
A spokeswoman from DCASE declined to say how much money the sculpture cost but said it was paid for with private funding raised by the Trust for Public Land with support from the Joyce Foundation.
Brick House will remain at the plaza for at least one year, with the option to renew it for an additional two years, Mason said.
Booker's work "fuses ecological concerns with explorations of racial and economic difference, globalization, and gender by recycling discarded tires into complex assemblages," according to a National Museum of Women in the Arts profile.
Onsite at the installation on Wednesday, Booker said she had previously visited the trail over the winter to begin working on the piece when the elevated path was still under construction.
"It looks beautiful," Booker said of the trail.
Art fans interested in meeting Booker and learning more about her work are encouraged to attend an informal gathering from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Saturday at the Damen Arts Plaza, located atop the trail at the intersection of Damen and Bloomingdale avenues. Coffee and free doughnuts will be available.
Booker is also scheduled to talk with the public from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Monique Meloche Gallery, 2154 W. Division St., at an informal gathering hosted by DCASE. That event is not listed on the city's website but a curator at Meloche's gallery confirmed the event is happening.
A sketch of what Chakaia's Brick House 2015 will look like after being reassembled, by Booker [Provided]