January 17, 2014

1977: Claes Oldenburg @ Social Security Administration Building

Claes Oldenburg
1977, modeled on a piece shown in 1975
Steel and aluminum, painted with polyurethane enamel
Harold Washington Social Security Administration Building
600 W. Maidson Street
Chicago, IL

Standing roughly 30 meters tall, the painted steel sculpture "Batcolumn," by Claes Oldenburg (b. 1929, Stockholm, Sweden; raised in Chicago), has, as a result of its location, become more difficult to photograph since September 11, 2001. Emblematic of both sport and also violence, phallic, finally executed on a monumental scale by a central authority using public money, "Batcolumn" suggests that Oldenburg knew Chicago well. The "Batcolumn" maquette from 1975, presented to the General Services Administration, now held by the Smithsonian Institution, was painted blood red: http://collections.si.edu/search/direct/L3NlYXJjaC9yZXN1bHRzLmh0bT9xPXJlY29yZF9JRDpzaXJpc19hcmlfMjkwOTE2

Image (1) January 9, 2007;
Copyright Paul E. Germanos.

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