50 Years of Picasso in Chicago

On Tuesday, August 8, 2017, the City of Chicago held a nice celebration for the Pablo Picasso sculpture located in Richard J. Daley Center (in the old days, it was called 'Plaza' and I think it sounds better, whatev). I read that it was going to be a reenactment of the 1967 unveiling of the sculpture and I was really disappointed when I arrived on the site and didn't see the sculpture under a tarp. Ok, STRIKE ONE. Even though I got there 30 minutes early, I didn't get a seat ... the plaza was PACKED! It was super cool to see how many people love this Picasso sculpture. I stood next to a guy who was talking about how he was present for the 1967 unveiling - everyone was chatting with him. Commissioner Mark Kelly announced a couple who were at City Hall back in 1967 to get a marriage license and then crossed the street for the Picasso dedication ... and they were actually in attendance, ALIVE AND STILL MARRIED! Amazing! Ok, so I didn't get a seat, STRIKE TWO. Finally, they started the program 10 minutes late, even though Mayor Emanuel was present, signing autographs and taking pictures with people. There was a student orchestra there that played Gershwin's, "An American in Paris" and The Children's Choir sang the National Anthem and it made me feel proud to be from this city ... I had not sang that song in a while; it's like the Lord's Prayer - you never forget it, even if 100 years pass. The STRIKE THREE came when the audio cut out in the middle of Avery R. Young's invocation ... the poor man had to scream to be heard over the noise of the city. People started complaining around me, because REALLY ... the "City That Works" can't even get a public event right? Ay, give me a break. I stuck around a bit longer, but honestly, no one could hear the speakers ... I left, along with a whole bunch of other people. However, the event was respectful and full of gratitude to have this amazing public artwork be so synonymous with Chicago. This sculpture helps people have a knowledge & connection of/to art on a daily basis - even if most don't understand it. If the general public is going to know the name of at least ONE artist, I'm so glad that it's Picasso ... he's representing this city well.

Even though I live in Chicago, I always try to go see the Picasso sculpture whenever I'm downtown ... it's a 'thing' that I have & I'm not apologizing. I had, HAD, a friend that criticized me for taking him out of his way, because I wanted to see the Picasso. He said, "It hasn't changed, you know?" I DON'T CARE ... I WANT TO SEE IT AGAIN BECAUSE IT MAKES ME HAPPY. Uh, needless to say, I'm no longer friends with that individual. And no, it wasn't because he dismissed my desire to see the sculpture, but because friends should support friends healthy obsessions. If something makes a friend happy, then INDULGE THEM, no? This particular friend was a 'wet blanket', so he didn't understand the concept of JOY. Anyway, I looked through my photos of the Daley Plaza Picasso and found these right off the bat, however, I know I have many more photos on my older laptops and in my sketchbooks. Anyway, this is a special gift to the City of Chicago and I appreciate it ... it's having a piece of El Maestro for inspiration. Thanks Pablo!

Photograph/copyright by Irving Penn.

Photograph/copyright by Irving Penn.