Category Archives: Chicago Cultural Center

Exploring Chicago’s Sculptures

Is there anything more majestic than a sculpture? Many people would agree that sculptures have the perfect combination of beauty, balance, stateliness, and solidity. Rich in art and culture, Chicago has one of the most impressive arrays of sculptures of any location on earth. Let’s explore Chicago’s sumptuous offering of sculpture art.

Located in Chicago’s Jackson Park, the Statue of the Republic was created in 1918 by Daniel Chester French. The 24 feet high sculpture was crafted of gilded bronze and made in celebration of the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition’s 25th anniversary. Funded by Benjamin Ferguson, the Statue of the Republic is fondly known by most Chicagoans as “The Golden Lady.”

Fountain of Time, a sculpture nestled in Washington Park, was created by Lorado Taft and dedicated to Chicago in 1922. Molded of concrete reinforced by steel, Fountain of Time features various figures being hovered over by Father Time. The celebratory sculpture was created after Great Britain and the United States had experienced 100 years of peace.

The Bowman and the Spearman, sculpted by Ivan Mestrovic, are located in Grant Park. Two separate sculptures, The Bowman and the Spearman have been watching over Congress Plaza since 1928. The pieces of art were designed to honor Native Americans and their unique struggles. The Bowman and the Spearman were cast in Yugoslavia and later brought to the United States to be settled in Chicago.

Ceres, the mythical Roman goddess of grain, was crafted of aluminum by John Storrs and has been a permanent fixture atop Chicago’s Board of Trade Building since 1930. Ceres clutches a sack of corn in her right hand and a sheaf of wheat in her left. Storrs masterpiece weighs 6,500 pounds and signifies the commodities market.

The Picasso, a sculpture created by Pablo Picasso himself, was settled in Chicago’s Daley Plaza in 1967. Surprisingly, the Picasso is not a hands-off piece of artwork. Chicagoans often use it as a slide or something to climb on. The Picasso weighs an astounding 162 tons.

While Chicago boasts numerous exquisite pieces of priceless artwork, its presentation of sculpture art is perhaps the most grand of all its attractions, drawing in visitors from all over the world. Have you explored Chicago’s sculptures lately?

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Chicago Landmarks Before the Lens

Old Stock Exchange Building, Cornell University

The Chicago Cultural Center has an ongoing exhibition called “Chicago Landmarks Before the Lens”. Presented by the Commission on Chicago this gallery features 72 large black and white photographs of 24 buildings in a very small exhibit. Best part of this is the Admission is FREE.

If you like good photography and history of Chicago landmarks this is something you should visit when in Chicago.

The photographs are of the 24 landmarks and historic districts photographs from 1956 to 1987 by the late Richard Nickel, Barbara Crane, Bob Thall, and Stephen Beal. The neat thing about this exhibit is many of these buildings the ones that we might not recognize as being famous but are in the process of being dedicated as famous Chicago landmarks. Such photographs displayed are the old North Western Station and the McCarthy Building.

Richard Nickel is known for his documentation of the many of the architectural landmarks of Chicago. He was the first photographer involved with the Commission on Chicago Historical and Architectural Landmarks in 1969. Sadly, Nickel was killed in 2010 while documenting the demolition of Adler & Sullivan’s work in a stairwell in the Chicago Stock Exchange when the building collapsed. It took four weeks to find his body.

Barbara Crane is known for her prints in many areas with a range exploring sequential imagery, platinum prints to large Polaroid’s, silver gelatin prints, and digital pieces. One of the areas she is known for is her work for the Chicago Landmarks Commission from 1972-1979.

Bob Thall is known for his photography on street scenes and has been a major figure in documentary for some time. He is known for his work in architecture and urban landscape photography with the Chicago Landmarks Commission since 1979.

Stephen Beal has done many exhibitions of his professional photography work and studied with photographer Harold Allen. Stephen Beal is known for his photo of the Delaware Building at 36 W. Randolph Street, Chicago, Illinois, Wheelock and Thomas, architects 1872, 1982.

Wouldn’t it be nice if these Chicago landmarks could be saved rather than being destroyed and forgotten. Sometimes buildings are torn down way before they need to be and should be preserved.

The Chicago Cultural Center is located at 78 E. Washington Street, Chicago, IL. Viewing hours for exhibitions are Mondays through Thursdays, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Fridays, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Saturdays 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Chicago Cultural Center is closed on holidays. Admission to Chicago Cultural Center exhibitions is free.

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