Thursday, April 05, 2012

Austin Gardens Park, Oak Park

Austin Gardens Park in west suburban Oak Park is a pleasant green interlude. This was one of the entrances to the park's wildflower area late last month, when it shouldn't have been so green.

The park also includes, per square foot, the most memorial plaques I've seen in any non-cemetery green space: plaques near trees, on benches, on stones here and there. Mostly, as you'd expect, they're remembrances to individuals who have preceded the rest of us into the great beyond. Such as:

Dedicated on May 17, 2009
In Memory of a Wonderful
Friend and Fellow Artist
By the
West Suburban Artists Guild

In Loving Memory of
Susan L. Walsh, RN
She Loved the Outdoors

1st Sgt. JAMES
Korea 1952 – 1954
1928 – 2001

There are many others. One large item standing in the park, a work of sculpture, did not have an informational plaque nearby that I could see.

Interesting piece, but it would be nice to know who the artist is. I see that I'm not the only person to notice the essential anonymousness of the sculpture. Someone at the Oak Park Park District knows, probably. But no one's paying me to find out, so I'll let it lie. Besides, it's not a terrible thing to run across mysterious public art now and then.

This piece of sculpture, just outside the park's fence, is not so mysterious. It's Oak Park's favorite local man made good in architecture after he ran off with a client's wife, Frank Lloyd Wright. It's in the head-stuck-on-rock style of memorial.

A plaque says that it's the work of Egon Weiner, who also did "Pillar of Fire," the piece on the spot that the Chicago Fire started (I'm going to have to go see that one of these days). I've absorbed too much bad science fiction in my life, so I can't help thinking that FLW's going to shoot some kind of rays out of those sinister eye sockets, maybe mind-control beams that will change people's taste in design to match the Master's own.

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