What We're Reading: 5/10

Architect Helmut Jahn, seen here in 2011, in his office in the Jewelers Building. (Nancy Stone/Chicago Tribune 2011) 

Helmut Jahn, Chicago’s ‘star-chitect’ to the world, was the visionary behind United’s O’Hare terminal and Thompson Center

Before the architect Helmut Jahn designed United Airlines Terminal 1 at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport in the late 1980s, travelers coming or going from one of the world’s greatest architectural cities made a quotidian trudge through a boring portal. Jahn replaced that grim trajectory with a sensually thrilling explosion of light, sound and excitement, designing a rhapsodic experience that emulated the great railroad hubs that once defined Chicago. He put the romance back in travel, even for the humblest traveler, signaled Chicago’s cultural centrality toward of the dawn of the 21st century and created a much-copied model for new airports all over the world.

Jahn, who was 81 and died Saturday from injuries suffered in a cycling accident outside west suburban St. Charles, would become its preeminent designer of high-profile public spaces and a full-throttle Chicago celebrity replete with the Porsche Carreras, big yachts, bespoke tailoring and all the other accessories of youthful 20th century fame.

Via Chicago Tribune


Karl Wirsum, visionary, ‘utterly original’ artist, dies at 81

Karl Wirsum first began drawing when he was 5 and stuck for weeks in a hospital room, recovering from a fractured skull.

And he never stopped — not even after he’d had several strokes and could barely move his hand.

“Even if it was just wiggly marks and circles and little angles on paper,” said his wife of 53 years, Lorri Gunn Wirsum. “He did it every day. He looked out our back window at an apple tree, and all through the winter with the tree skeletal, he just would draw the branches – his version of it.”

Via Chicago Sun Times


Turner Prize 2021 Shortlists Five Artist Collectives

For the first time since the award’s inception in 1984, the organizers of the Turner Prize have announced that the five finalists under consideration are all artist collectives, with no individual artist being nominated. The prize, considered one of the world’s most prestigious, is named for nineteenth-century painter British J. M. W. Turner and awarded annually to a UK visual artist. This year’s prize has been eagerly anticipated, as last year’s was canceled owing to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Via Artforum


Developer thinks outside the box for potential museum site on Fulton Market

Developer R2 Companies is marketing an opportunity to build a structure on a site that runs over the Kennedy Expressway near Fulton Market. Conceptual renderings in a marketing brochure depict a glass box surrounded by landscaped outdoor space at 708 W. Wayman Street.

Currently, the site, which was one piece of a larger Fulton Market portfolio that R2 Companies purchased a few years ago, is being used as a parking lot. Because it’s a challenging and unique site, Zach Cupkovic of R2 Cos says that it’s an opportunity to think outside the box. He suggests that it could be a great fit for retail or maybe even a museum.

Via RE Journals