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IMG_4824We Will

By sculptor Richard Hunt, 2005, welded stainless steel

As people know, I love public art of all kinds and Chicago is famous for its outdoor public art. So, whenever we are in the city I try to find a few more pieces. This sculpture is on Randolph Street, very close to the Culture Center. The form is interesting, both angular and rounded, with the suggestion of reaching up to the sky. The name is a teaser: “We Will” makes one wonder what it is we will do.

Richard Howard Hunt (born 1925) in Chicago has over 125 sculptures on display in the USA, some in Chicago. He studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and still lives and works in Chicago. He has received many awards.

 

 

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“Forward” outside Madison State Capitol. Note “Wisconsin” statue on top of the Capitol dome

Earlier, I mentioned the statue “Wisconsin” on top of the dome of the Wisconsin State Capitol on Madison. Another important statue linked to the Capitol is called “Forward”.

The woman on top of the Capitol dome is named “Wisconsin”, although she’s often misidentified as “Miss Forward”. Perhaps that’s because she was placed on the Capitol dome as a symbol of the state’s motto, ‘Forward’ and to represent ‘the spirit of Wisconsin progress’.

The statue at the State Street corner of the Capitol Square is also often misidentified as “Miss Forward”, but “Forward” would be more accurate. However, actually this is a replica of the original “Forward”, which is now in the Wisconsin Historical Society’s HQ. Originally placed at the entrance of the Capitol in 1895, the original was moved to North Hamilton Street in 1916, where it stayed until 1995, when it was moved because of damage by the elements. So, a bronze replica was made and installed at the State Street entrance to the Capitol.

The 7-foot-tall original “Forward” was created by Wisconsin sculptress Jean Pond Miner. She made it for the 1893 Columbian Exposition in Chicago, when she fulfilled a plaquecommission to create art representative of her native state. She felt that “Forward” was a symbol of devotion and progress, special qualities of Wisconsin.

Miner was born in Menasha, Wisconsin in 1865 and grew up in Madison. She graduated from Downer College in Fox Lake and continued her studies at the Art Institute of Chicago. She planned to become a portrait painter, but her classes with famous sculptor Lorado Taft convinced her to change her major. In 1893, Taft and the Janesville Ladies Afternoon Club recommended her for an artist-in-residence position at the Columbian Exposition. Hence this lovely statue.

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Alumni Park, between Red Gym and the Memorial Union

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Badger Pride Wall

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Badger Pride Wall, night

Alumni Park is on campus, between the Memorial Union and the Red Gym. This spot was chosen for the park, as it’s the most popular entryway into campus.

The idea of a park-like promenade in this spot was included in the 1908 Campus masters plan, a dream that was finally realized in 2017. In 2009 Alumni Association president Paula Bonner decided to work on this idea again (it was then a parking lot) and worked very hard to get donations, find artists etc. I’m told that this is the first such Alumni Park in the USA.

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harleyThis pretty spot tells stories of the university and its graduates and the ways they changed the world. It is just 1.3 acres but has many plants and shrubs, and on the edge is the 80-foot Badger Pride Wall, designed by Nate Koehler. It’s lovely by day, but really striking at night when it is specially lit up.

Alumni Way winding through the center of the park has various exhibit panels telling about ideas and achievements of UWM alumni, such as William Harley (1880-1943) of Harley-Davidson fame, who got a degree in mechanical engineering here in 1907. He and Arthur Davidson founded the company in 1903.

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WellredOn the lake side of the park, a big Bucky sculpture welcomes visitors to the park. Called “Well Red”, this 8-foot-high glass and bronze sculpture was created by sculptor Douwe Blumberg, with glass artist Dan Neil Barnes. Clever name, as the idea of reading is the link to a university, and red to the main color of the university mascot, Bucky the Badger.

 

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Corner butterfly—mural story on either side

Public art and murals have been a big part of life in Chicago for many years. This was furthered even more in 2013 when Columbia College Chicago started the Wabash Arts Corridor (WAC) to help creative students use urban spaces and reclaimable resources to revitalize the South Loop’s business district. As we saw from the few murals that we found, they definitely succeeded.

Then, in 2017, the mayor of Chicago and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events designated 2017 as “The Year of Public Art”, which encouraged even more community art projects. I did mention the Year of Public Art earlier (see here https://viviennemackie.wordpress.com/2017/04/19/chicago-creativity-on-the-streets/).

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Butterflies behind a fence that is beginning to break open

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Shaking off the chains

We were really impressed with a beautiful mural just opposite our hotel (the Best Western Grant Park, corner of Michigan and 11th), painted on two walls. Where the walls join was a very large butterflyand on either side a butterfly story. It started with chains behind which the butterflies appeared to be trapped. But, then the chains started to break and the butterflies were flying out free. It seems to be very symbolic and have a positive meaning, maybe related to the plight of the butterflies but also to that of humankind perhaps. A

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Flying free

symbol of hope. What do you think?

Since I wrote the previous post about Chicago  and this one I have found a couple of good lists of other murals in Chicago. So hopefully next year, when the weather starts warming up, we can go on a mural quest to find some of these.

https://chicago.curbed.com/maps/a-guide-to-44-neighborhood-murals-you-must-see-right-now

https://blogs.colum.edu/intheloop/2017/10/16/murals-around-campus-wac-crawl/

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stories“If Statues Could Talk, What Stories Would They Tell?”

This summer, Chicago started a new venture to make the already-wonderful public art even more interesting. They are having some of the statues “tell stories”.

The City of Chicago and the Chicago Park District worked together with Statues Stories Chicago and arts producers Sing London to animate 30 statues dotted across the city. Some of Chicago’s actors, writers, and theaters are giving voice to these statues, each statue telling an appropriate story or making comments.

How it works: the statues that are involved have a plaque nearby that people can swipe with a smart phone.  They then get a “call back” from the statue at no cost, except normal network charges.

The project will run until August 2020.

The idea began in Britain. Chicago is the first US city to get “Statue Stories”.  The press

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Cloud Gate, aka The Bean, is one of the “talking statues”

has been impressed and has run many stories about the statue stories. See here: http://www.statuestorieschicago.com/press.php

We didn’t see many of the statues this time, as we only found out about the project towards the end of our weekend in the city. But, hopefully we will be back a couple of times before the project ends.  Here’s a list of the “talking” statues:

http://www.statuestorieschicago.com/statues.php

You can click on each one and get a photo of the statue, a map of where to find it, and information about the actor and writer.

Here are photos of seven of the statues in the Loop—we took these over a couple of visits.

Miro’s Chicago, Brunswick Plaza

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Cloud Gate, Millennium Park

The Picasso, Richard J. Daley Plaza

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Spirit of Music, Grant Park

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Brachiosaurus, outside Field Museum

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Lake Ontario, Spirit of the Great Lakes, Art Institute South Garden

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Bronze Cow, Chicago Cultural Center

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Embadger

A Bucky statue at the Henry Vilas Zoo, Madison, where there are real badgers

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One of the Buckys on Parade, looking rather fierce

pieces signWe’ve recently returned from a 10-day trip to Madison, and Spring Green, Wisconsin. Partly for a conference for my husband and partly a short family break with some of our family from St Louis.

Wisconsin is known as the Badger State and the university mascot is a badger called Bucky. This year, from May 7-September 12, Madison and Dane Country are hosting a large public art display called Bucky on Parade.  Many life-sized Bucky badger fiber-glass statues, all individually designed and painted, are dotted around the city, and people (including us) are having fun tracking them down (more on the Bucky on Parade soon).

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Pieces of Wisconsin Bucky at the Zoo

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The State Capitol in Madison—note the gold statue atop the dome

Why badgers, and why Bucky?

The state’s nickname originally referred to lead miners who settled here in the early 1800s. The miners built temporary homes by digging caves into nearby hillsides. These caves came to be called “badger dens” and the miners were called “badgers”. Because the miners lived in these dens, they could work through the winters when others could not.

The nickname spread to include the people of Wisconsin, and then to the state itself. In 1957 the badger was adopted as the official state animal, partly because they admired its ferocity. The badger is also on the state coat-of-arms, and tops the helmet of Wisconsin, the name of the golden female figure on top of the dome of the State Capitol building in Madison.

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Wisconsin, the statue (try to see the badger on her helmet)

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1st and 10 Bucky on State Street

The Story of Bucky

Bucky’s real name is Buckingham U. Badger. His story starts in the 1890s when the University of Wisconsin-Madison football team began using a live badger as their mascot. But the animal was too fierce to be used on the sidelines, so it was sent to the Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison.

In 1940, artist Art Evans drew a new mascot, but at that time it was variously called Benny, Buddy, Bernie, Bobby and Bouncey. Then in 1949 the Pep Committee had a contest to name the badger, and “Bucky”, or Buckingham U. Badger, was chosen. The winner was a student, Bill Sachse. That same year the first papier-mache head of a badger was created, another student wore the outfit, and an icon was born.

It’s a fun story, and the Bucky on Parade was a lot of fun for us too.

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The town of Garachico on Tenerife Island. On the end of the spit of land, center left, you can see 2 white shapes. Those are the Yasuda sculpture

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Garachico from the other side. Now you see the arches more clearly

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The arches at the end of the spit

gatesKan Yasuda on the Canary Islands

We saw an exhibition of outdoor sculptures by Kan Yasuda in Sapporo, Japan a few years ago (see here https://ourvisitstojapan.wordpress.com/2018/03/07/talented-sculptor-kan-yasuda/ ), plus he has a permanent imposing piece in the JR Tower Complex in Sapporo.

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Looked at from this angle, one can easily imagine the symbolism of one gate leading to another world/life

So, imagine our surprise when we saw an unusual outdoor installation in Garachico on Tenerife Island (Canary Islands) and discovered that it’s one by Kan Yasuda. It is two large white square arches/gateways, spaced apart and facing the sea pounding on the black volcanic rocks. One is open and the other divided, perhaps like a double doorway. This type of arch/gateway is frequently used by Yasuda and perhaps represents a key to another world/life.

These arches in Garachico are on a spit of land off the main public car park along the seafront, and we guess that they are strategically placed (as Yasuda always does) but I couldn’t find much information. The name is Monument Tensei Tenmoku (which apparently translates loosely as “door handles”). Garachico acquired them in 1999.

At night the town lights up the arches with changing colored lights, which gives a whole different atmosphere to them than during the day.

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purpleVery interesting and we enjoyed walking up to the arches, and looking at them as a frame for the tiny black rocky island just in the sea beyond.

Who would have thought to find these here on Tenerife? And yet, apparently Yasuda is very interested in Multiculturalism and bridging worlds, so then it is very fitting.

 

 

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