Pretty isn’t enough

I first noticed “Color Jam” on my walk to work one day. I saw strips of color take form and start to crawl up street lights and building windows.

Day after day the intersection started to grow with color and I kept waiting and waiting for the final product. I thought it was going to be the center of some guerrilla marketing scheme. But the clever ad never came.

Out of curiosity and frustration, I instagramed the intersection in an attempt to figure out what the heck it was. I got a response from a friend who informed me, that this colorful creation was the third installment in Chicago Loop Alliance’s annual Art Loop public art initiative. You might remember the other two…the big yellow “Go Do Good” sign and the ginormous “I’m watching you” eye ball.

Art for what?

When I heard that, I was extremely interested and I patiently waited day after day to see it take form. But that day never came. The “unveiling” came and passed and I couldn’t help but feel a sense of disappointment.

Sure, the intersection was pretty but what else was it?

It might lead the viewer’s eye to look upward or maybe to even appreciate the building’s form. But, does it do anything to enhance that which was already there?

If anything, the bright colors and abstract patterns in the middle of the intersection just distract drivers and pedestrians alike.

Art for who?

I like to think I’m open to things like this, where my imagination can take flight and lead me to something or someplace other than where I currently stand. But, I just could not let my imagination wander on this one.

It might have been the fact that I was there from the start and in my imagination I built it up to be this crazy, awesome thing. So when it didn’t meet my imagination’s expectations, it disappointed me instead of delighting me.

Something IS missing

It might have been that it was actually so short lived. The bright colors lasted a few days and began to fade and peel. A rainy day actually “washed” some of it up and it had to be reapplied.

It now looks like some forgotten tribute to some person, event or thing long past. It’s faded, dirty, peeling and a metallic material bleeds through the color.

And I just keep thinking, what is that material, how do they clean it up, how much money was spent on this, what is its purpose?

Where’s the idea?

I walk by it every day but instead of appreciating the color or whatever the artist’s intent was; I look at the people around the “art” and how they interact with it or rather how they don’t interact with it and I wonder if they feel the same disappointment that I do. Or if they even care.

I walked past one day watching people not see the fading color surrounding them. I noticed a homeless girl, curled up sleeping underneath the building’s overhang, her body covered in dark tattered clothes. There she was surrounded in bright color…a dark spot in a mass of “creativity.”

No one took notice of her either.

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