Jim Bachor (previously) has been filling potholes with mosaics in Chicago and beyond for the last five years, combining his art practice with public service to create popsicles, flowers, and the Chicago city flag. The cheeky creations are one part beautification, one part nudge to city infrastructure, and are meant to exist in situ as both solution and artwork.
Bachor just returned from a trip to New York City where he installed five new mosaics as a part of his series Vermin of New York. All of the pieces—a dead rat, pigeon, cockroach, portrait of Donald Trump, and a bouquet of flowers—were installed in Brooklyn or Manhattan. “A lot of my work is pretty upbeat, so I try and be a little unpredictable to keep people of balance—hence the vermin,” Bachor tells Colossal.
Just days after installation his cockroach, portrait of Donald Trump, and bouquet were removed by the transportation department, something that has never happened to previous 67 installs. You can see the works that have managed to stay in the ground on his Instagram.
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For the third year in a row Chicago artist Jim Bachor (previously here and here) has taken it upon himself to preemptively fix city potholes by filling them with themed mosaics. This year Bachor decided on a series of 10 pothole mosaics called Treats in the Streets featuring different kinds of ice cream. At the latest count, four artworks have appeared in locations around Chicago, and he traveled all the way to Jyväskylä, Finland last week to do three more mosaics including a local popsicle-like dessert called Amppari-mehujaa. Bachor says to keep an eye out for three more pieces back home in Chicago sometime before spring is out.
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After one of the most brutal winters in over 30 years, Chicago’s streets are pockmarked with an estimated 600,000 gaping potholes, making some streets almost impassable and raising the ire of residents citywide. The issue is so prevalent that the city even created a dedicated Pothole Tracker that shows potholes patched by the Department of Transportation over the last seven days. But some Chicagoans are more proactive and aren’t content to wait for help. One such person is artist Jim Bachor who has taken to filling potholes with original tile mosaics.
Inspired in part by trips to view ancient art in Italy during the 1990’s, Bachor has been creating mosaic work for several years, though of a much more whimsical nature. Think mosaics of coffee cups, twinkies, and boxes of cereal. For his pothole project Bachor has filled about 7 potholes with his original artwork that borrows from the design of the Chicago flag. While some of the mosaics simply read POTHOLE others are given unique ID numbers or include the phone number to nearby auto repair shops (the city has received 1,100 claims of car damage due to potholes this season). Bachor says the tongue-in-cheek approach is meant more as a sense of civic pride than a form of complaint against the city, as the potholes are an inevitable part of living in Chicago.
Bachor hopes to do a few more pieces in the near future, though each mosaic costs around $50 to make and takes a considerable amount of time to prepare and install. Also, the resulting patch is temporary; these aren’t meant as a permanent fix. You can read more about the project over on Hyperallergic, and you can see more of Jim’s work at the Thorndale Red Line stop in a few months. (via Hyperallergic)
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