Saturday, July 30, 2016

July 30, 1967 -- Picasso Reactions Mixed as Dedication Draws Near



July 30, 1967:  As the dedication ceremonies draw near for Chicago’s Picasso statue, the Chicago Tribune prints comments about the artist’s gift from a variety of sources.  William E. Hartmann, an architect for Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, the man most responsible for bringing the sculpture to Chicago, says, “Chicago Picasso has an excellent sound.  The two words have the same number of syllables, and they represent an affinity for two strong spirits.  Bud Holland, an art gallery owner, states, “I refuse to comment on a work I haven’t seen, but even if I hate it, I’m going to love it.  I think the idea of a major work by someone of Picasso’s stature standing in such a public position is so exciting that it’s going to raise the level of public sculpture not only in Chicago but in the entire nation.”   James Brown, IV, a trustee of one of the group’s underwriting the cost of the Picasso, says, “There will come a time when we can’t imagine anything else being in the plaza except the Chicago Picasso because it is so appropriate to the site and backdrop.”   Alderman John J. Hoellen, pretty clearly not a big fan, says, “The statue represents the power of city hall, stark, ugly, overpowering, frightening . . . They could take this monster to Lincoln park, where it would be in close proximity to the Chicago zoo.  Incidentally, the rib cage on the thing offers a very fine roosting place for pigeons.”

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