Rehabbed Millennium Park fountain reopens with new screens

Saturday, 22 April 2017, 01:13:55 AM. Iconic public artwork Crown Fountain at Millennium Park to unveil new video screens on Saturday
For 13 years, the twin, glass-block towers of Crown Fountain have been a public face of Chicago in its most popular park, its colorful full-mug videos spitting water onto delighted waders below. But 13 years is an eternity for video-screen technology, and it's an endurance challenge in materials-science terms, too. So the interactive Millennium Park artwork, over the winter, has undergone a $3.7 million restoration. When the water gets turned on for the season Saturday, visitors will see new, brighter, more energy efficient LED screens depicting the work's signature imagery: faces of Chicagoans from across the city's cultural span who stare, then purse their lips to "spit" a jet of water, then smile. What will be less apparent are the new pavers on the surface of the pool below or the hundreds of new glass bricks that have been installed to replace ones that have "crazed," a term of art signifying the devleopment of hairline fissures and a fogginess, like in an aged plastic car headlamp. Crown Fountain, along with Anish Kapoor's "Cloud Gate" sculpture, popularly known as "The Bean," is an iconic art installation in Millennium Park. The park itself has recently seen its annual visitor figures revised way upwards, thanks to new counting technology employed by the city Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Once thought to be 5 million annually, attendiance is actually somewhere north of 13 million, the department said, At various points in recent months, park...Read more
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