Volume 51, No.1 - Spring 2005
Editor of this issue: Stasys Goštautas
ISSN 0024-5089
Copyright © 2005 LITUANUS Foundation, Inc.

text and photographs


Jay Pritzker Music Pavilion

The idea was to commemorate the arrival of the new Millennium. The City of Chicago and its mayor, Richard M. Daley, with his team worked out a plan to greet the new age with a grandiose undertaking.

The decision: to transform * An almost abandoned * Dusty pit of junk yard * Into a "jewel of the metropolis" * Four years later * Some of the finest works of architecture and sculpture * Arose in the former "pit of junk" * MILLENNIUM PARK was born * Timeless and unprecedented structures * Combining the old and the new * Bold untried elements * Hopefully, they will stand the test of time * The finest talents * By invitation only: * Los Angeles architect Frank Gehry = the eye-popping Jay Pritzker Pavilion and the BP Bridge * London Sculptor Anish Kapoor = the shiny and elegant sculpture Cloud Gate * Barcelona artist Jaume Plensa = the black granite plaza and its twin-towered Crown Fountain * Seattle-based designer Kathryn Gustafson and her team = the elaborate, luscious, and colorful Lurie Garden * Bank One = the Promenade * Chicago's OWP & P Architects = the Millennium Monument at Wrigley Square * Extravaganza of unique visionaries * Public art * Colorful landscape * Gracefully enhancing the city * With flare * Arousing enthusiasm * As it enters the age * Of the new Millennium.

Millennium Monument

Two rows of Doric columns at the north-west comer of Millennium Park arranged in a semi-circle on a cement base are modeled on the previous but larger monument built in 1917. It was designed by Edward Bennett, who created the Buckingham Fountain in Chicago.

Graceful architectural place * With the names of donors * Inscribed on its base * A set of columns * Partially encircling a fountain * Exquisite monumentality * Strategic site * At the corner of a major intersection * Serving many visitors * As a symbolic front gate * to the Park.

Jay Pritzker Music Pavilion

Architect Frank Gehry's glittering Jay Pritzker Music Pavilion has a time-honored, traditionally built stage enthroned by a huge corona of overlapping, crisscrossing architectural designs.

Enveloped in post-modernist designs * Of freely flying metal curls * Like some elaborate * Medieval headdress * Considered the Park's centerpiece * Pompous and daring * No ordinary house or habitat * Houses only the stage * The rest of its "walls" * Fantasy-like creations * Glistening with silvery reflections* A squad of airborne shapes * Bulging with convulsions * But bound by earthly weight * Solidly entrenched in the ground * Visible from a distance * But humbled* By the nearby high-rises * Still seeking its place * Among the giants * Self-conscious newcomer * But proud and eloquent * Boldly vying * With the surrounding * Earlier masterpieces.

Jay Pritzker Music Pavilion (fragment)

Jay Pritzker Music Pavilion

Not a building * A building-size sculpture * No windows * No clearly delineated doors * Looks like an amorphous * Billowing creature * Whose bio-morphous shapes * Ripple in the wind * As if dancing in a gust of air * At full sail * Architecture transformed * Expressing a liberating sense * Of freedom and joy.


A spider-like trellis hangs over the seating area imitating a traditional dome over an enclosed space and enveloping it with its outstretched "arms" creating an open-air auditorium.

Unique structural shapes * Creating a cathedral-like ceiling * Speakers placed unobtrusively * On the "spines" * Producing near-perfect sound * Without help from elaborate * Solid-brick acoustics * Even the faintest pianissimos of the violins * Do not evaporate * In the cloudless blue skies * They reach * Music lovers' ears * In perfect pitch * Modern technology * Helping nature * In an unobtrusive way.

Stage (fragment)

Open space performances date from times immemorial. The Greeks, the Romans, the pre- and post-medieval performers spoke, played, sang to their audiences with natural, un-amplified voices. More modern composers have written serenades for aristocratic, open-air dinner parties.

"Ecstatic" is the word * Describing the feeling * Aroused by the quality of sounds* Coming through the highly sensitive microphones * And up-to-date speakers * Towards the sloping Great Lawn * Of Millennium Park * Stretching almost * Across two city blocks * Over roofless virgin ground * From one end to the other* Both the barely audible * Gentle pianissimos * And the almost obnoxious fortes* Resounding * Natural, clear, and clean * Seamless sound * The dichotomy * Between natural and amplified * Is here eliminated * "Delicate" is another word * Describing the Park's * Orchestral experience.

Crown Fountain

Jaume Plensas's Crown Fountain's towers are made of steel and glass. They stand at each end of the black granite plaza.

Fountains have been built * From times immemorial * The Crown Fountain * Based on new-found technologies * Subverts and relegates previous concepts * To history books * A new way of thinking about materials * And their functions * The glossy concrete slabs * A unique presence in the Park * When not in action * They look static * Moribund * If not entirely lifeless * Severely enigmatic and morose * But wait! * In a moment or two * The cold gray front wall * Will spring into action.

Crown Fountain

Crown Fountain

Periodically, water cascades down from the tops of the towers.

Soundless video projections * Appear on the inner sides of the towers * Close-ups of giant faces * Smiling * Frowning * Meditating * In slow motion * When their lips tighten * A fast-flowing stream of cold water * Splashes suddenly from the towers * On unsuspecting visitors * Creating a thin layer of water * All over the black granite plaza * To the enjoyment of all * Including the adults * But especially the children * Even when their Sunday-best wardrobe * Gets dripping wet.

Crown Fountain

The wet surface of the plaza * A unique playground * For barefoot children * To frolic * To enjoy themselves * To bring the grown-ups into their play * The projected human faces * Mimic changing moods: * A sad face * Slowly becomes happy * An angry, moody face * Changes into a bemused one * An earnest facial communicator * Responding to * The changing situations in life * And when a strong stream of water * Splashes upon onlookers * The mouth on the screen * Starts smiling again.

Cloud Gate (fragment)

New technological discoveries have been boldly incorporated into another marvelous work of art - Anish Kapoor's "Cloud Gate."

Oval on top * Concave at the bottom * Its size is super * Its color is silver * Creating a field larger than itself * Commanding outer space * To be a part of it * The sheen of its surface * Unsurpassed * The reproductions of nearby scenery * Art-like * Both real and surreal * Reflections of tortured figures * Elongated and shrunken torsos * Funny faces * Intriguing shapes and surprises * Cloudless skies * With their richest blues * Rain-filled clouds * Hiding their foreboding presence * And when the sun comes back * One white cloud * Chases another white cloud * The procession is sacrament-like * A holy and angelic place.

Cloud Gate (fragment)


Cloud Gate (fragment)

A 110-ton * Kidney-shaped sculpture * Whimsical enough * To be people-friendly * A delight to stare at and think: * The solidity of this object * And the intangibility of space * The realism * Of the heavily entrenched steel * And the surreal * Feathery reflections * Superb artistry * The heavy and monumental * Light and playful * What is distant * Draws near * A familiar object on the street * And its mystifying counterpart * Intermingle happily * On the shiny surface * of the kidney-shaped "Bean."

Pedestrian Bridge

Frank Gehry's pedestrian bridge links Millennium Park to the Daley Bicentennial Plaza and closes the gap between the older site of Grant Park and the forward-looking, futuristic park.

Steel-clad * Serpentine * Shiny * Curvy * Winding * Climbing * Descending * Spanning * The street below * To one visitor * It appeared like a river * That weaves thorough the Park * A construction worker * Thought * It was like a bridge * That bends the rules * It really looks * Like a snake * When viewed from above * And it emanates spiritual energy * That takes a person * On a spiritual journey * Toward a transformation * Of the soul.

Nijolė Beleška Gražulis - Editorial Assitance