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Museum review: Museum of Modern Ice

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While calling it the Museum of Modern Ice may be something of a misnomer, this vibrant exhibition in the heart of Chicago’s Millennium Park is nevertheless quite delightful. Canadian artist Gordon Halloran installed what is the centerpiece of this “museum,” a spectacular ninety-five-foot-long ice wall that has been wonderfully colored using the artist’s own special technique. The ice wall serves as the perfect contrast to the other landmarks situated in the park, specifically the Pritzker Pavilion and the Cloud Gate sculpture which are directly behind and in front of the ice wall, respectively. Halloran also added his personal touch to the ice-skating rink, which now contains an abstract painting that he designed, adding some flair to an already popular destination for tourists and locals alike. In addition, guided tours are available every Saturday at 11:30am and 2pm, and there’s also a mind-numbing array of family activities happening every weekend as well. Examples of such are having ice portraits done by a professional sculptor and also an interactive building blocks game with ice. Later on in the day on the weekends, there will be a “Winter Dancing in Millennium Park” series where folks can work the dance floor and learn Salsa, Tango and also—for the really old school—there’s a Chicago-style steppers set. Last, but certainly not least, there will be live electronic and acoustic music just about every Saturday, complete with an ice bar serving spirit-free cocktails and a frozen video wall displaying accompanying visuals. Needless to say, there’s a lot going on at Millennium Park this month for the Museum of Modern Ice—which certainly feels more like a party than a hushed museum. (Thomas Barbee)
“Museum of Modern Ice” runs through February 29 at Millennium Park, 55 North Michigan, (312)742-5222. All events are free.

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