Chicago Reflected: A Skyline Drawing from the Chicago River (Hardcover)

Chicago Reflected: A Skyline Drawing from the Chicago River By Ryan Chester, Thomas Dyja (Memoir by) Cover Image
By Ryan Chester, Thomas Dyja (Memoir by)
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A unique and playful hand-drawn exploration of the Chicago River’s landscape, documented on an eleven-foot-long foldout.
  In March 2020, architect Ryan Chester began drawing the Chicago River for at least one hour every day. Using only a pen, he moved methodically along a single massive roll of paper. As each chaotic, isolating day of the COVID-19 pandemic passed, he stayed connected with his adopted city by carefully documenting by hand the beautiful intricacies of Chicago’s riverfront architecture, boats, and bridges.
As completed, Chester’s two-foot-high, fifty-five-foot-long drawing is a unique vision. In addition to dozens of accurately depicted buildings, Chester included pieces of Chicago’s past, including the Union Station Concourse Building that was demolished in 1969 and the immense SS Eastland, which sank in the river in 1915, killing hundreds of people. Recent architecture is featured as well, including Studio Gang’s St. Regis Chicago tower and the Bank of America Tower by Goettsch Partners.
An essay by acclaimed writer Thomas Dyja accompanies the accordion-fold presentation of Chester’s drawing, enhancing this remarkable volume that will delight any fan of Chicago, architecture, or art. Chicago Reflected opens up fresh vistas of the stunning, ever-evolving architectural landscape that can be found only in Chicago.

About the Author

Ryan Chester is a practicing architect in Chicago. He teaches at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee.

Praise For…

"Intricate and obsessive. . . . Dyja places Chester’s remarkably detailed gray-and-white sketching into a lineage of artists who unveiled the scope of the city, from Jules Guerin’s dream of a future Chicago for Daniel Burnham to Franklin McMahon’s sketches of Chicago courtrooms and street scenes for magazines and Chicago newspapers."
— Chicago Tribune

"An extraordinary continuous drawing of the skyline from the Chicago River, realistic in some ways but a fantasy in others. . . [A] one-of-a-kind work of art, an eleven-foot continuous foldout drawing that slides into a handsome cardboard sheath."
— Newcity

“Chester’s meticulous eye and precise hand lure viewers irresistibly to the tiniest of details, right down to the rivets in the steel bridges. Somehow the fact that the landscape is hand drawn makes it more compelling than any photograph could be. With delightful Easter eggs and perspectives no camera could capture in real life, Chicago Reflected is a magnificent time capsule of the Chicago River.”
— Geoffrey Baer, WTTW

“Inspired by the city itself and created during the coronavirus pandemic, Chicago Reflected is a uniquely personal journey-like city view that explores what exists, what has been lost, and what is under construction, all ingeniously juxtaposed along only recently reclaimed banks of the Chicago River. Accompanied by Thomas Dyja’s insightfully contextual essay, this remarkable work of art unleashes our curiosity, imagination, and personal recollections.”
— Vladimir Belogolovsky, curator, critic, and author of Architectural Guide Chicago

“Chester’s precise, inventive, remarkable drawing of the Chicago River is monumental in both scale and ambition. It slices through the city, through infrastructure, and through time itself to capture America’s greatest architectural ensemble in a way that viewers cannot have experienced. It is a delightful tour de force that will tickle experts and amateurs alike.”
— Reed Kroloff, Illinois Institute of Technology School of Architecture

“Chester’s passion for architecture and Chicago need not be explained with words—it can be seen in his art. I’m certain he was transported to us from the era of Piranesi and hope this generation will fully appreciate his gifts. We should collectively thank him for keeping the art form of hand drawing alive and well.”
— Juan Moreno, founder and president of JGMA
Product Details
ISBN: 9780226828541
ISBN-10: 0226828549
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publication Date: November 28th, 2023
Pages: 16
Language: English