(Photo: The former Millennium Park Martians go national. Credit: Looper.)
It’s official. I’m no longer the only half of this relationship who’s made it into the New York Times. Today, an article appears in the Times’ National section covering the Crown Fountain security camera debacle from earlier this month (A Tempest When Art Becomes Surveillance). Quoted in the article, mentioned (oh my) three times, and given props for getting the cameras down: my boyfriend, Devyn Caldwell, whom many of you know as Chicago’s tireless downtown photoblogger, Looper.
It was Devyn who shot photos of security cameras offensively installed atop Millennium Park‘s world-famous Crown Fountain video towers while we were out taking a Sunday walk in our downtown stomping grounds on December 17. I used Devyn’s photos to blog about the cameras, the next day, after a well-placed pitch to Chicago Tribune architecure critic Blair Kamin, we were both interviewed by the Chicago Tribune for an article that made the front page of the Metro section (Trib interview here), and the following morning the cameras were removed by the city, just as hastily as they were installed.
And then the New York Times contacted Devyn. Quoth the reluctant artist:
“I think you think this is a bigger deal than I do.”
Let’s review. You were interviewed by the New York Times–essentially the nation’s newspaper (apologies to USA Today)–because the paper decided your opinion on the sanctity of public art, as expressed in your ability to help get homeland security cameras removed from atop public artwork in a major American city, was of national significance in this era of heightened security and degraded expectations about life in the public realm.
It took three weeks for anyone to actually look up and notice the cameras. Then you took photos that, within 24 hours, moved City Hall and helped re-establish reverence for public art in Chicago.
And that’s about as cool as it gets.
Michael Thaddeus Doyle
I'm a NYC-native, Latino, Jew-by-choice, hardcore WDW fan in Chicago with an Irish last name. I believe in social justice, big cities, and public transit. I do nonprofit development. I've written this blog since 2005. Believe in the world you want to live in.