Here's "Brotherhood", the first Egon Weiner statue I ever saw in Chicago
It was encouraging to find positive, figurative public sculpture in the "Where's mine?" city.
But it's not really great - and that's a problem with sculpture dedicated to an important theme.
Weakness is less annoying when the subject is merely personal. By the way - the sculpture in the rotunda of the nearby Elks Memorial is also dedicated to similar lofty ideals - and it's even more disappointing.
This "Sower" belongs in Dr. Grohmann's Working Man's Museum in Milwaukee.
It's the same theme done decades earlier by his boss, Albin Polasek, head of the sculpture department at the School of the Art Institute. But reflecting a less inhibited cultural era, Polasek's sower has his pants off.
Here's another piece that I liked. He was reportedly a very spiritual man. His father was Jewish, his mother was Roman Catholic, and he chose to be Lutheran.
But as you can see from this, and the other photos I took at the exhibition, the show was poorly lit.
though it may serve as Weiner's application
to the "Monster Roster" school of Chicago figuration.
Here's another depiction of fire -- this time it's the Burning Bush of Moses.
His flame-like abstract sculpture seems to have had a strong effect on his two most successful students at the Art Institute, Richard Hunt and Joseph Burlini, both of whom appear in a video that honors their teacher.
I doubt that kind of student-teacher relationship is often found in the theory-based MFA programs of today..
The exhibit included the above photo of his relief sculpture for a synagogue.
It's better lit than anything else in the gallery - but it's rather stiff, dull, and awkward compared to the liturgical reliefs of his Chicago contemporary, Milton Horn.
It's hard to be too critical of any American sculptor whose career straddled the great Post-war divide that replaced figurative idealism with abstract expression.
Weiner's abstract idealism seems like a good adjustment - even if the only non-figurative sculpture that has ever entertained me are ceramic bowls, pots, and cups. (with the lone exception of Hans Arp)
What I really like are the things he did for Lutheran churches - comparable to this prolific Lutheran sculptor who was more naturalistic and did not have that inner glow that Weiner took from Medieval Christian sculpture.