Thursday, October 25, 2007

Celebrating Picasso's Gift

Pablo Picasso was born on this date in 1881, and we residents of Chicago are lucky enough to have received a very special gift of public sculpture from one of the last century's most famous visual artists.

He was a towering figure in popular culture — known the world over for his bold, innovative work, over-sized personality and leftist political leanings — and Chicago's Picasso is a perfect reminder of that legacy.

The gloriously ambiguous 50-foot steel structure still graces Daley Plaza downtown, and is one of our city's most famous landmarks. The artist generously refused payment for the work, which was unveiled in 1967 amid some controversy locally. It's become the focal point of many a political rally, as the plaza is a traditional gathering place for protests of all varieties.

I took the photo above during Chicago's participation in the March 15, 2003 worldwide day of protest against the impending war in Iraq. I think the image is a fitting 126th anniversary tribute to Picasso who painted one of the most powerful statements against war: Guernica.
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