I can't honestly say I miss the Saturday Fun Activity—for any newcomers, a perennial contest where I try to stump readers with a photo of an enigmatic location, inevitably fail and then have to send somebody a prize. But when I saw this enormous painting my first thought was: Wow, that would be a fun Fun Activity.
Except of course for the Internet, where plugging "Big Chicago moose blowing bubble painting" into Google leads you, immediately, to discover that this is Moose Bubblegum Bubble, a work from the "We Are Animals" series by Chicago photo-illustrator Jacob Watts. The image won an artistic competition last year, and is on display on a wall at Columbia College, 33 E. Congress.
At which point I was going to shrug and do something else. But then I realized that the gigantic moose is in itself interesting, if you haven't seen it before, which I hadn't. No contest necessary. It is an example of the rare piece of public art that I actually like, which sets Jacob Watts apart from such artists as Jean Dubuffet and Alexander Calder. The thing has whimsy, and there just isn't enough whimsy to go around, particularly not of late. Self-importance we've got up the ying-yang, and the aforementioned Dubuffet and Calder have cornered the market on twee lumpish pointlessness. But surprise, charm, and I suppose a certain placidity? That deserves note. The moose is not an especially placid animal compared to, say, a cow. Perhaps that's a result of the big pink bubble. Anyway, if you haven't seen it before, now you have.