Monday, May 15, 2006

Heads of the Merchandise Mart

Since the Chicago Merchandise Mart will now be hosting both of the art shows that I visit each year (Art Chicago and the Antiques Fair) -- I guess I should pay special attention to their own permanent display: the colonnade of monumental portrait busts that lines the driveway between the mart and the Chicago River.

They all depict great heros (if such a word is appropriate) of mass merchandising.

Here's three of them -- suitable for comparison -- the foreground head is done by Milton Horn -- and I think the one in back was by Charles Umlauf.

This is the Horn head --- is it supposed to be Marshall Field ? -- and it exempifies his approach to sculpture in architecture.

The other heads certainly have their own, endearing qualities -- but they tend to relate to their columns as a cherry might to a toothpick -- while Horn has treated the column as part of the sculpture - and vice-versa -- and it seems to have that Baroque feeling of the life force -- seething within its masses.

(I'll come back another week to see how they photograph in the sun)


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