Photo: Eric Craig Studios


“Thought Vortex” Now on Exhibit at Lincoln and Halsted

Internationally heralded artist and Chicago native Richard Hunt, artist Gwen Yen Chiu and
Chicago Sculpture Exhibit (CSE) officials today celebrated the installation of “Thought Vortex,”
Yen Chiu’s brand-new large-scale sculpture, at the intersection of Lincoln Avenue and Halsted
Street. Yen Chiu is this year’s recipient of the CSE Richard Hunt Award, a $10,000 prize given
to emerging and/or mid-career sculptors for production of new work. CSE established the award
in partnership with Hunt to help bring new perspectives and added diversity to the large-scale
public art world.

“I’m very pleased to support Chicago Sculpture Exhibit’s ongoing efforts to broaden the
perspectives of public art, and then bring those perspectives directly into Chicago
neighborhoods,” Hunt said. “The human experience in general is enriched through
diversification, but this is particularly true in art, which inspires and elevates us in ways unique
to each medium—and unique to each of us as individuals.”

“Thought Vortex” is a 12-foot-tall aluminum sculpture that visually depicts a tornado (or vortex)
in its center. Yen Chiu said that it is “very much a reaction and exploration to my experiences
and feelings towards recent events in the world, including political strife and the pandemic.” The
sculpture will be exhibited for one year beginning this summer as part of CSE’s 20 th anniversary

Gwen Yen Chiu was chosen by a special CSE jury of three art experts: Jordan Carter, Associate
Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at Art Institute of Chicago; Laura-Caroline de Lara,
Interim Director of DePaul Art Museum; and Kate Lorenz, Executive Director of the Hyde Park
Art Center. Her work explores and critiques the ephemeral nature of human history, social
practices, and emotion through abstracted imagery. Yen Chiu attended the Rhode Island School
of Design and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago for Sculpture, receiving her BFA from
SAIC in 2018.

“It’s an honor to be chosen as the recipient of the Richard Hunt Award, and I’m excited to
exhibit my new sculpture for this year’s Chicago Sculpture Exhibit show,” Yen Chiu said. “Most
importantly, I want to thank CSE for its ongoing commitment to public art in Chicago, and for
establishing this prize, which will be immensely helpful to emerging sculpture artists.”

(Here is a brief video clip of Yen Chiu at work.)

Richard Howard Hunt is an American sculptor with more than 125 sculptures for public display
in the United States. His abstract, contemporary sculpture work is notable for its presence in
public displays as early as the 1960s, despite social pressures for the obstruction of African-
American art at the time. Hunt has received dozens of awards and honorary degrees from institutions around the world and has served on several boards, including the Smithsonian Institution, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, the International Sculpture Center and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

“We are forever grateful to the world-renowned Chicago artist and sculptor, Richard Hunt, for
his support and for allowing us to add his name to this award,” said Pamela Cullerton, President
of the Chicago Sculpture Exhibit board. “And we are thrilled to exhibit ‘Thought Vortex’ by the
promising and talented Gwen Yen Chiu as the recipient of our CSE Richard Hunt Award.”

Founded in 2001 by former Chicago 43 rd Ward Alderman Vi Daley, Chicago Sculpture Exhibit
began as a small program to bring a handful of public sculptures to the city’s Lincoln Park
neighborhood. Today, CSE acquires and places about 50 sculptures in neighborhoods throughout
Chicago–from artists both locally and around the country. An entirely independent not-for-
profit, CSE is fully funded through a variety of donations and sponsors, and partners with local
community groups and chambers of commerce and public officials. Every year the sculptures are
rotated out, with new work installed beginning in May. It is the only such program in the city.
For more information on CSE or the Richard Hunt Award, please visit