Public Art in the Loop

Some of the world’s most important artists have contributed works of art to the Chicago Loop area. Five in particular have caught the eye and imagination of passers-by for years, and not always in a positive way. Some have been instant favorites and others took time to grow on people, but all of these pieces have become an invaluable part of Chicago.

 

Monument with Standing Beast

Starting from the north and working my way south, the first piece I visited is titled Monument with Standing Beast. This 10 ton sculpture is located in front of the Thompson Center and was erected in 1984 by Jean Dubuffet. It’s made of fiberglass and looks like large pieces of a puzzle. Some people call it “Snoopy in a Blender”.

Monument with Standing Beast by Jean Dubuffet in Chicago, Illinois

Monument with Standing Beast by Jean Dubuffet

Monument with Standing Beast by Jean Dubuffet in Chicago, Illinois

Monument with Standing Beast by Jean Dubuffet

 

The Picasso

A block south at Daley Plaza is the untitled Picasso sculpture, which everyone refers to as “The Picasso”. The legendary artist never saw the finished product in person. It was made to specification at US Steel in Gary, Indiana, and erected in 1967. When the city of Chicago tried to pay him for it, he refused and said it was his gift to the city. Initially, the sculpture was met with criticism and controversy, but it has grown into one of the city’s most important symbols.

The Picasso at Daley Plaza in Chicago, Illinois

The Picasso

 

Miró’s Chicago

Across the street is Miró’s Chicago. In 1979, Joan Miró was commissioned to create a sculpture for the city. It was erected two years later in 1981, standing 40 feet high and made of concrete, different metals, and tile.

Miró's Chicago in Chicago, Illinois

Miró’s Chicago

 

Four Seasons

A couple blocks south at 10 S. Dearborn is a large, colorful mosaic, Four Seasons, by Marc Chagall. A lover of Chicago, he donated the mosaic the city in 1974. It’s got four sides and is wrapped around a box 70 feet long, 14 feet high, and 10 feet wide. He used thousands of pieces of glass and stone depicting six scenes of the city. After the work was installed, he continued to update it with details such as skyline changes.

Four Seasons by Marc Chagall in Chicago, Illinois

Four Seasons by Marc Chagall

Four Seasons by Marc Chagall in Chicago, Illinois

Detail of Four Seasons by Marc Chagall

Four Seasons by Marc Chagall in Chicago, Illinois

Four Seasons by Marc Chagall

Four Seasons by Marc Chagall in Chicago, Illinois

Marc Chagall’s signature on Four Seasons

 

Flamingo

Finally, further south at Federal Plaza, is Flamingo by Alexander Calder. It was unveiled in 1974. The sculpture weighs 50 tons and stands 53 feet high. The bright red color was chosen to offset the dull black and gray surroundings of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe’s Kluczynski Federal Building.

Flamingo by Alexander Calder at Federal Plaza in Chicago, Illinois

Flamingo by Alexander Calder

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