Even if you’ve never set foot in Chicago I wouldn’t be surprised if you’re familiar with Daley Plaza. If nothing else, you know it from the 1980s film, the Blue Brothers. (See the video below).
But since the 1960s, Daley Plaza has been home to a Picasso sculpture.
It’s interesting that Picasso was offered a fee of $100,000 for his work – an incredibly huge sum in those days – but he turned it down. The sculpture was his gift to the people of Chicago.
Picasso said at the time that he liked the idea of being involved in creating works for ‘two gangster cities’. The other, of course, was Marseilles.
The people though, despite the fact that the sculpture was a gift from such an eminent artist, were unsure. Previously public statues in the city had been historical and they weren’t quite sure what to make of this ‘modern art’. When it was unveiled in 1967, one journalist wrote:
Interesting design, I’m sure. But the fact is, it has a long stupid face and looks like some giant insect that is about to eat a smaller, weaker insect.
He probably feels a bit silly now.
He went on to say:
Its eyes are like the eyes of every slum owner who made a buck off the small and weak. And of every building inspector who took a wad from a slum owner to make it all possible… You’d think he’d been riding the L all his life.
The sculpture can be seen in the Blue Brothers clip below – it’s at about 1,58. It can be seen in other movies set in Chicago too.
Over the years, the Picasso has become a landmark in Chicago and, of course, is no longer viewed as something strange and modern. Locals use it as a meeting point and throughout the year concerts, markets and events take place with the sculpture as its hub.
WHERE IS THE CHICAGO PICASSO?
W Washington St,
JJ is originally from the UK and has lived in South Florida since 1994. She is the founder and editor of JAQUO Magazine. You can connect with her using the social media icons below.