Following 'The Chicago Public Art Guide'

Chicago Travel Blog

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Pablo Picasso, 'The Picasso', 1967


“Downtown Chicago is home to more than 100 sculptures, mosaics and paintings in plazas, lobbies and on the riverwalk. The dedication of the ‘Chicago Picasso’ in 1967 confirmed that Chicago was a city for the arts…an open-air museum”

[The Chicago Public Art Guide]


I picked up this guide whilst strolling around the parks on Saturday, and so on Sunday I got up bright and early, slapped on a load of factor 30 and headed to the loop to check out some of the 100 monuments mentioned in the guide.



The first of these was “The Picasso”: an unpainted, three-dimensional, cubist sculpture situated outside the Daley centre.

Jean Dubuffet, 'Monument with Standing Beast, 1984
Picasso did this project free of charge, donating both his design and 42-inch model to the people of Chicago as a gift. The popular notion is that the figure is that of a woman with flowing hair. However, I personally saw it as a horse.


I then headed over to “Monument with Standing Beast” which I personally thought was very weird • looks like a 3-D graffiti monument. I kind of walked around inside for a bit, and then got bored.


So, it was off a couple of blocks to the “Flamingo”. You couldn’t miss this flamingo • bright red arcs in the midst of black skyscrapers. A variation of the symbolic McDonalds Arcs. I contemplated this for a while (enjoying the shade from the sun), but in the end I could draw no meaning from it. Why would someone erect a flamingo in the middle of the city?


Strange what people call art these days?



The next cool thing I saw was “Miro’s Chicago, which looks like it’s been transported straight from Spain.

Marc Chagall, 'The Four Seasons', 1974
Apparently this monument symbolizes the female form with earth. The sphere at the centre represents the moon and the fork projecting from the top of the head is symbolic of a star, with individual tines representing rays of light. Eh? It’s quite funky though, so I liked it.


Then I finally found something I thought was truly beautiful. Marc Chagall’s “The Four Seasons” portrays six scenes of Chicago and is composed of inlaid chips in over 250 colours. It’s truly lovely; I especially liked the images of the couples.


My final stop on my short but sweet monument tour was to “Large Interior Form”, which is meant to represent the human figure. It’s pretty cool and the small park where it’s situated is a nice haven a short distance from all the hustle and bustle going on in Millennium Park.



I’m sorry to all art buffs out there who must despair at my lack of appreciation for such things! However, it was an enjoyable stroll, and I look forward to bumping into more of these fascinating sights as I discover more of Chicago.  

Vikram says:
Whilst you're in Chicago, you might consider a trip to Evanston which is a suburb there. It's a lovely neighbourhood!
Posted on: Jun 19, 2006
ophirh says:
wow! thanks for this review! now i'm feeling a bit sorry for giving up on working in Chicago a couple of years ago :( but great review!
Posted on: May 30, 2006
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Pablo Picasso, The Picasso, 1967
Pablo Picasso, 'The Picasso', 1967
Jean Dubuffet, Monument with Stan…
Jean Dubuffet, 'Monument with Sta…
Marc Chagall, The Four Seasons, …
Marc Chagall, 'The Four Seasons',…
Alexander Calder, Flamingo 1974
Alexander Calder, 'Flamingo' 1974
Joan Miro, Miros Chicago, 1981
Joan Miro, 'Miro's Chicago', 1981
Sir Henry Moore, Large Interior F…
Sir Henry Moore, 'Large Interior …
Me inside the Beast!
Me inside the Beast!
Marc Chagall, The Four Seasons, …
Marc Chagall, 'The Four Seasons',…
photo by: mahoney