Evanston’s Parking Committee Wednesday night approved plans for a new public art installation atop the Maple Avenue Garage downtown.

The project, proposed by artist Hubertus von der Goltz of Berlin, Germany, will cost the city $105,000, and officials are in a bit of a rush to complete it before the end of the year, when the tax increment financing district that’s providing the funds is scheduled to go out of existence.

The design, recommended by the city’s Public Art Committee, calls for two dark-painted aluminum figures in silouette to perch on a steel beam overhanging the garage roof.

Parking Committee members conditioned their approval on assurances from staff that they’d figure out how to secure the rooftop so that nobody tried to join the characters on the beam or drape objects from the work.

As far as we know, no name has yet been proposed for the sculpture, so we think it’s the right moment to have a little contest in the comments section of this story to come up with ideas.

If you don’t like “Two Guys Who Forgot Where They Parked” — what would you suggest instead?

You can see more of von der Goltz’s work on his website and on Wikimedia Commons. The art project still requires approval of the full City Council.

(Above: A rendering of how the sculpture would look atop the garage that was part of the packet presented to the Parking Committee.)

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

Join the Conversation


  1. No, no, no!!
    Please, please to the City Council: Do not approve this project. No matter how secure the rooftop, this ‘art’ would be an open invitation to young partiers and bitter pranksters to put themselves in danger. In addition, such an expenditure has no place in this tightened economy, in a community that constantly cries poor. And, significantly, if this is part of the attempt to ‘brand’ Evanston, it would fall badly short of the mark. Give that $105,000 to the schools, to Streets and San, to the panhandlers . . . anywhere it would go to better use.

  2. More Council Waste
    Doesn’t the city have enough other things to waste money on or good projects to spend on than this junk !!!
    ‘Two Guys Who Forgot Where They Parked’ art ???
    “will cost the city $105,000”
    Remember the junk “art” constructed on Evanston Plaza or fancy bricks downtown sidewalks that keep breaking up and swelling so they cause pedestrians to stumble ? Get the city out of the ‘art’ business.

    The Council might have heard Evanston has financial problems. Maybe those issues should be address.
    Maybe the Council should bear the burden of the 1 cent Cook County Sales Tax increase so as to boost business instead of boon-doggles like this or picking winners like the Asbury grocery or fences for the resturant at Church and Maple and instead make Evanston more competitive.

    Or maybe they could spend it on the 151 homeless students in Evanston—but then what use would that be to the ‘Cultured Class’, liberal in name only, who want their art, neighborhood libraries [they still drive to] and on and on.

  3. I thought this was an April Fool’s joke from Bill in May…
    Are you KIDDING me?


    Can I please pave Sheridan Road and dub it a public art installation entitled “Road to Somewhere”.

  4. It’s hideous and dangerous and a waste of money
    So that’s art? It’s looks like two cut-out figures on a pole spray-painted black.

    What happens when the wind blows hard enough to knock it off the roof and pieces of it land on 5 people walking on the sidewalks below. That will bring multi-million dollar lawsuits. Secure it all you like — a strong wind will be able to bring it down.

    It will also be an attractive nuisance for every drunk and goofball to try to get out on the pole. Another lawsuit when the drunk and/or goofball falls to his or her death or paralyzing injury.

    Waste of money:
    $105,000 for two cut-out figures on a pole? I can do that at home with my welder friend for the low cost to the City of $10,000 and, as “artists”, we’d still be making money as the materials must cost no more than $1,000.

    And in these economic times, we’re going to spend our money on this thing? Look at the skyrocketing number of homeless children in Evanston, as well as the huge number of home foreclosures. To even suggest such a sizeable expenditure on this hunk of nothing is an insult to everyone in this town, especially those who have already lost their homes or are in danger of becoming homeless.

    Surely, the City Council will see the folly in this piece of hideous, dangerous, overpriced junk. We can only hope.

  5. The idiots could not even finish the project, now art work?
    I would suggest all the readers go down to the Maple ave garage and look at the vacant retail space the city has not rented. The city did not even finish out the shell space so it could rent it. The concrete floor was not even poured and there is no electrical. Very interesting.

    The council members clearly do not have the public interest in mind.

    Bottomline the taxpayers have lost several hundred thousand dollars in rental income if not more!

  6. Let the deadline pass and
    Let the deadline pass and walk away from approving this complete waste of funds or buy something classy from a up and coming art student or community artist. Possibly a real permanent art structure. I love art and I do not get this installation. It dosen’t feel like art to me.

  7. No offence to the people who
    No offense to the people who want to support the homeless panhandlers, but giving them the money is dumber than spending it on art. Ask your local police officer if they known those “homeless” panhandlers. After the sun goes down I bet you can find most of them on the citys west side purchasing crack cocaine with the money you all handed them.
    As far as the 100k. Doesn’t the city owe 120 MILLION to its city employees pension fund??
    How much were those hideous chairs on Chicago and Grove? Should have made them bunk beds for the homeless there.

  8. For arts sake
    come on people, if you do the research you will see that even if we wanted to we could not spend this money on anything other than art. at this point we stand to loose this money by the end of the year to cook county…those are the only pockets this money will land in, if not an artists!!

    personally, i think its a great piece filled with whimsy and grace. if those students or the like are stupid enough to play such a prank (w/their lives) so be it. one would think at least NU students are brighter than that. meanwhile, the public art selection com. looked good and hard at 200 artist nationwide; there is something to be said for that. i welcome von der Goltz and his sculpture, i hope that others can do the same.

    1. tightrope act
      I agree.

      Before the naysayers get themselves all in a dither, I would suggest the very simple task of visiting the artist’s website. There you will see a multitude of current OUTDOOR installations that are faring quite well in their environments.

      Sometimes art doesn’t have to be so serious in serious times. In fact I would argue that in troubled times a bit of light-hearted artistic vision does us all some good.

      As for the argument of spending the money, as stated before this money can be used only for public art. No pension funds, no street repairs, no Meals On Wheels. Public.Art.Projects.Only.

      Save your complaints for the multitude of other problems facing the City. Public art is surely not one of them.

  9. ‘For arts sake’ – your anti-Northwestern prejudice is showing.
    Nobody said anything about fears of NU students climbing up on the thing. Far more likely, it would be ETHS, New Trier and Loyola Academy kids, out at all hours getting into trouble. The same careless mindset that overturns pots, uproots plants and posts graffiti on lovely summer evenings. And when one of them falls to the street from the art installation, oh the parental outcry we’ll suffer.

  10. “Two Guys Who Forgot Where They Parked”
    Wow! I see there are a lot of smart folks writing in, thank goodness. My only comment is that I thought that only California would come up with something this silly. Re-read the many comments about how BEST to use the money. If you need some art somewhere, why not open the contest to students and locals?
    This would be funny if it wasn’t meant to be serious.

  11. fiscal accountability?
    Empty storefront businesses, the highest residential tax rates on the north shore, social service agencies cutting funding and staff and not even a local artist? When folks complain about funding for the arts, this is a prime example. The funding isn’t going to Evanston’s local artists, art in the schools or cultural art events. Time for a change!

  12. New public art in Evanston
    Just remember the outcry about “Cloudgate” at Millennium Park: extravagant artist fees, cost overruns, necessary structural reinforcements to the underground garage to hold the weight, endless hand-polishing by highly-paid union labor…but the result–an instant icon, “The Bean”! Everybody loves it, it makes the park a destination, it opens peoples’ eyes to something magical and unique. Art is sometimes complicated, sometimes obscure, sometimes sublime. It challenges us to see differently. The idea that you could pay lots of students with this commission just means that we would end up with a bunch of student-quality art. Let’s dream big dreams here. Art is for the ages. I think the sculpture looks great.

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