Chicago's Iconic Picasso Turns 50

Chicago's Iconic Picasso Turns 50

Celebrating Five Decades of Public Art

The Chicago Picasso Turns 50

What are Picasso's connections to the city?

Pablo Picasso's untitled sculpture of 1967, often regarded as Picasso's Chicago, was the artist's first monumental sculpture in the United States. Though he never set foot in the city of Chicago, it is speculated that Chicago held a special place in Picasso's heart because The Art Institute of Chicago was the first museum in the United States to show his work. Though his sculpture was commissioned in 1963, Picasso refused payment and gave his sculpture to the city of Chicago as a gift.

The sculpture was originally commissioned by the architects of the Richard J. Daley Center in 1963 through the architecture firm of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (though the artist would refuse payment, insisting that his sculpture be a gift to the city). Picasso created a maquette of the sculpture in 1956, and approved a final model by 1966. Picasso never visited the city of Chicago. The sculpture was fabricated by the American Bridge Company of the United States Steel Corporation in Gary Indiana. The sculpture was jarring at the time of its unveil in 1967, mainly due to the fact that most of Chicago's sculptures were representational pieces depicting historical figures at the time of its conception. The Picasso was cubist in appearance, abstract to the point where no clear understanding of subject matter could be easily determined. The avant-garde work challenged viewers to open their minds and can be credited to opening opportunities for more exciting art pieces to erect in Chicago in the decades since. Today, the Chicago Picasso is a beloved landmark of the city and a popular meeting spot for Chicagoans in front of Daley Plaza.

Commemorating A Masterpiece

On Tuesday, August 8th Chicago marked the sculpture's 50th anniversary by re-staging the unveiling of the Chicago Picasso on Daley Plaza in 1967. Mark Kelley, the Commissioner of DCASE (Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events) opened the ceremony with some comments on the iconic 1976 Chicago Picasso. His statement shed light on Chicago's world-class public art collection largely marked by the arrival of Chicago's famed Picasso sculpture. August of 1976 was a seminal moment in our city's history for re-imaging our public spaces. The Chicago Picasso inspired the city and started a public art renaissance that laid the foundation for Millennium Park and all of its interactive public art pieces that reshape our urban environment. Interest and support of public art was made possible today by Picasso's contribution in 1967.

The Chicago re-dedication ceremony included youth performances by the After School Matters Orchestra and Chicago's Children's Choir. The Chicago's Children's Choir had also performed 50 years ago during the original dedication in 1967. A re-dedication was given in the form of poem by writer, performer and educator Avery R. Young.

The symbolic unveiling of the Chicago Picasso was designed and led by Chicago artist Edra Soto. Soto designed a fan to be raised above each crowd participant's face. The crowd was asked to veil their eyes with this fan and reflect on a city without public art, then removed the fan to see the sculptural monument that ingrained public art as part of Chicago's history. A jazz trio led by Orbert Davis closed the ceremony with an ensemble titled Pablo's Perspective

If you missed the re-dedication on the 8th, fear not, for there are more Public Picasso events scheduled to take place throughout the week at the Chicago Cultural Center and Harold Washington Library center.

More Public Picasso Events!

50 Years Later: Reflections on Chicago's Picasso

August 15, 2017, 12:15pm

Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St.

Cultural historian Paul Durica will moderate a conversation among Chicago artists, YouMedia teens and representatives from the Studs Terkel Radio Archive in a discussion examining the impact of this iconic artwork on the public art landscape since its dedication on August 15, 1967.

The Chicago Picasso: A Point of Departure

August 15, 2017, 6pm

Harold Washington Library, 400 S. State St.

Art historian Patricia Balton Stratton, along with an esteemed group of panelists will discuss her new book The Chicago Picasso: A Point of Departure.

Film: Public Art Film Series

August 15, 2017, 6:30pm

Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St.

As part of the Public Art Film Series, the Chicago Cultural Center will screen films related to the Picasso's 1967 dedication.

Learn more about this iconic sculpture by hitting up these free events on Tuesday, August 15th!

Cover Image Credit: The "Chicago Picasso"

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A Playlist From The iPod Of A Middle Schooler In 2007

I will always love you, Akon.

Something happened today that I never thought in a million years would happen. I opened up a drawer at my parents' house and I found my pink, 4th generation iPod Nano. I had not seen this thing since I graduated from the 8th grade, and the headphones have not left my ears since I pulled it out of that drawer. It's funny to me how music can take you back. You listen to a song and suddenly you're wearing a pair of gauchos, sitting on the bleachers in a gym somewhere, avoiding boys at all cost at your seventh grade dance. So if you were around in 2007 and feel like reminiscing, here is a playlist straight from the iPod of a middle schooler in 2007.

1. "Bad Day" — Daniel Powter

2. "Hips Don't Lie" — Shakira ft. Wyclef Jean

SEE ALSO: 23 Iconic Disney Channel Moments We Will Never Forget

3. "Unwritten" — Natasha Bedingfield

4. "Run It!" — Chris Brown

5. "Girlfriend" — Avril Lavigne

6. "Move Along" — All-American Rejects

7. "Fergalicious" — Fergie

8. "Every Time We Touch" — Cascada

9. "Ms. New Booty" — Bubba Sparxxx

10. "Chain Hang Low" — Jibbs

11. "Smack That" — Akon ft. Eminem

12. "Waiting on the World to Change" — John Mayer

13. "Stupid Girls" — Pink

14. "Irreplaceable" — Beyonce

15. "Umbrella" — Rihanna ft. Jay-Z

16. "Don't Matter" — Akon

17. "Party Like A Rockstar" — Shop Boyz

18. "This Is Why I'm Hot" — Mims

19. "Beautiful Girls" — Sean Kingston

20. "Bartender" — T-Pain

21. "Pop, Lock and Drop It" — Huey

22. "Wait For You" — Elliot Yamin

23. "Lips Of An Angel" — Hinder

24. "Face Down" — Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

25. "Chasing Cars" — Snow Patrol

26. "No One" — Alicia Keys

27. "Cyclone" — Baby Bash ft. T-Pain

28. "Crank That" — Soulja Boy

29. "Kiss Kiss" — Chris Brown

SEE ALSO: 20 Of The Best 2000's Tunes We Still Know Every Word To

30. "Lip Gloss" — Lil' Mama

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My AP Environmental Science Class' Cookie Mining Experiment Shows Why Capitalism Is Destroying The Planet

Who cares about the environment with profits this high?


With the AP exams in May approaching quickly, my AP Environmental Science class has wasted no time in jumping right into labs. To demonstrate the damage to the environment done by strip mining, we were instructed to remove the chocolate chips from cookies.

The experiment in itself was rather simple. We profited from fully or partially extracted chips ($8 for a full piece and $4 for a partial) and lost from buying tools, using time and area and incurring fines.

This might seem simplistic, but it showcased the nature of disastrous fossil fuel companies.

We were fined a $1 per minute we spent mining. It cost $4 per tool we bought (either tweezers or paper clips) and 50 cents for every square centimeter of cookie we mined.

Despite the seemingly overbearing charges compared to the sole way to profit, it was actually really easy to profit.

If we found even a partial chocolate chip per minute, that's $3 profit or utilization elsewhere. Tools were an investment that could be made up each with a partial chip, and clearly we were able to find much, much more than just one partial chip per tool.

Perhaps the most disproportionally easiest thing to get around were the fines. We were liable to be fined for habitat destruction, dangerous mining conditions with faulty tools, clutter, mess and noise level. No one in the class got fined for noise level nor faulty tools, but we got hit with habitat destruction and clutter, both of which added up to a mere $6.

We managed to avoid higher fines by deceiving our teacher by pushing together the broken cookie landscapes and swiping away the majority of our mess before being examined for fining purposes. This was amidst all of our cookies being broken into at least three portions.

After finding many, many chips, despite the costs of mining, we profited over $100. We earned a Franklin for destroying our sugary environment.

We weren't even the worst group.

It was kind of funny the situations other groups simulated to their cookies. We were meant to represent strip mining, but one group decided to represent mountaintop removal. Mountaintop removal is where companies go to extract resources from the tops of mountains via explosions to literally blow the tops off. This group did this by literally pulverizing their cookies to bits and pieces with their fists.

They incurred the maximum fine of $45. They didn't profit $100, however.

They profited over $500 dollars.

In the context of our environmental science class, these situations were anywhere from funny to satisfying. In the context of the real world, however, the consequences are devastating our environment.

Without even mentioning the current trajectory we're on approaching a near irreversible global temperature increase even if we took drastic measures this moment, mining and fracking is literally destroying ecosystems.

We think of earthquakes as creating mass amounts of sudden movement and unholy deep trenches as they fracture our crust. With dangerous mining habits, we do this ourselves.

Bigger companies not even related to mining end up destroying the planet and even hundreds of thousands of lives. ExxonMobil, BP? Still thriving in business after serial oil spills over the course of their operation. Purdue Pharma, the company who has misled the medical community for decades about the effects of OxyContin and its potential for abuse, is still running and ruining multitudes more lives every single day.

Did these companies receive fines? Yes.

But their business model is too profitable to make the fines have just about any effect upon their operation.

In our cookie mining simulation, we found that completely obliterating the landscape was much more profitable than being careful and walking on eggshells around the laws. Large, too-big-to-fail companies have held the future of our planet in their greedy paws and have likewise pulverized our environment, soon enough to be unable to return from.

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