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Giant deer, ‘Real Fake’ sculptures installed along Chicago Riverwalk

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The two works are part of Chicago’s 2017 Year of Public Art city-wide initiative


Chicago’s popular river tour added a new point of interest yesterday as the City of Chicago installed a 12-foot-tall and 20-foot-long painted fiberglass deer at waters edge. Simply dubbed “Deer,” the piece from artist Tony Tasset occupies the so-called “Riverbank” segment located between Lake Street and Franklin/Orleans. Completed last fall, the sparsely landscaped block-long “room” is still the least complete looking portion of the 1.25-mile Riverwalk—even after the addition of its latest hoofed companion.

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A few blocks east at the corner of Wacker Drive and Wabash Avenue, the city also installed a far more politically provocative sculpture titled “Real Fake.” True to its namesake, the piece from Chicago-based artist Scott Reeder is comprised of the words ‘real’ and ‘fake’ rendered in gaudy gold block lettering.

While the sculpture was designed in 2013 for Art Basel Miami, its recent placement across from downtown’s Trump International Hotel & Tower is particularly poignant given the Trump administration’s rebranding of untruths as “alternative facts” and the President’s ongoing accusations that the mainstream media is “fake news.”

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City of Chicago spokeswoman Christine Carrino told the Tribune that any appearance of intentional trolling is simply in the eye of the beholder. “What's wonderful about art is that it is completely open to interpretation,” Carrino explained.

According to Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, additional public artwork including a graffiti painting by Sam Kirk, a multi-paneled painting by Tyrue “Slang” Jones, and seven decorative banners from Candida Alvarez will be displayed along the Riverwalk later this summer.