Chicago gets a little bovine intervention
Chicago residents have welcomed 300 “udderly” surprising additions to the downtown area with the “Cows on Parade” public art exhibition. It may seem odd, but cows have played a significant role in the Windy City’s history. Chicago, after all, once was home to some of the nation’s largest stockyards, and it was Mrs. O’Leary’s cow that was charged, wrongly it turns out, with the Great Chicago Fire.
The exhibition, which runs until Oct. 31, was developed by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and the Department of Tourism. (It was modeled after a similar art exhibit in Zurich, Switzerland.) Chicago art patrons commissioned local artists to paint or decorate fiberglass cows and paid from $3,000 to $11,000, depending on the renown of the artist. Cows on display include “Chi-Cow-Go,” by Nancy Albrecht, which features the city’s skyline on her body; and “Moo-n Light,” by Philip Kotulski, complete with electric lights.
Although some patrons have been criticized for using their cows to advertise their businesses, the cows have been a big hit. In fact, tourism cow-ordinator Nathan Mason had to dedicate a voicemail box to handle questions about the cows, while the department created a “cattle-log” and map of all the cows around the city.
“Cows on Parade proves that art doesn’t always have to be serious,” says Mayor Richard Daley. “Art can be light-hearted, witty and clever. Most of all, art can be fun.”