Giant Eyeball in Chicago Loop: Media Hype or a Worthwhile Tourist Attraction?

eyeball chicago.jpg

Is it in the “eye” of the beholder?

After recently covering the Matisse: Radical Invention exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Alexander Calder and Seven Contemporary Sculptures exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, I felt compelled to take a look at Tony Tasset’s EYE.

Although still in the installation stage, Eye, is up in the air, three stories high, and easy to see.  It seems to be a relatively accurate reproduction of the human eyeball featuring a blue iris surrounded by some dominate red veins that might reveal some late night indulgences. 

Some are comparing the EYE to the BEAN. I don’t SEE it. 


The Bean is a permanent installation reflecting Chicago’s magnificent skyline and viewed by many as the city’s crowning glory.

The Eye is a temporary installation (through Halloween) that stands on the land-locked corner of State and Van Buren saying “look at me” and in many instances “creeping people out.”


Eye, commissioned by the Chicago Loop Alliance, is an attempt to bring tourists and locals into this somewhat less trafficked area of the South Loop and hope they will stay, shop and grab a bite.  In addition to Eye, a simultaneous  installation of visual art, Cardinal, will consist of 156 street banners featuring a “bold red cardinal flag, (the state bird), on lamp posts along State Street from Congress Parkway to Wacker Drive. 

It is the hope of both the artist Tasset, and the Chicago Loop Alliance (CLA) that EYE and CARDINAL will change the everyday experience for pedestrians and drivers along State Street.   It has been suggested that “the juxtaposition of Eye and Cardinal with Chicago as a backdrop will create a grand surreal picture in the spirit of Magritte and Dali.”  Take a look and see what you think.


Eyeball is not Tony Tasset’s first outdoor sculpture.  In the past few years, Tasset has created several large-scale permanent outdoor sculptures.  Neither is Eye the artist’s first eyeball.  A very similar smaller scale eyeball, created in 2007, can be viewed in Laumeier Sculpture Park in St. Louis, Mo.  Tasset received his MFA from The School of the Art Institute and his BFA from The Art Academy of Cincinnati.  He has won many prestigious awards including the Louis Comfort Tiffany Award.  Keep an eye out for his future work.



The CLA has been working hard to transform Chicago’s Loop into a movable feast of public art.  Its Art Loop 2010 highlights a new Pop-Up Art Loop initiative that has transformed empty storefronts in the Loop–showcasing galleries, exhibits and studios.  To date, the CLA has created 12 temporary galleries featuring photography, sculpture, 2-D art, video and new media.

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Leave a comment
  • GROSS !!!!

  • Interesting background on the I. Eye'm looking forward to seeing it. As to its appearance, perhaps it's all in the I of the beholder.

  • a huge gigantic eye? that's hella's cool. just another thing to make our city more unique :).

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