Thursday, December 11, 2008

Temporary Exhibit: Pioneer Court [God Bless America - by J. Seward Johnson]







God Bless America
Sculptor: J. Seward Johnson
Location: Pioneer Court
Installed: Dec, 2008..
The sculpture is based on one of the most famous paintings in the history of American Art. "American Gothic" [1930] by Grant Wood, which is displayed in the nearby Art Institute of Chicago.




American Gothic [1930] by Grant Wood..
at the Art Institute of Chicago..
The painting is said to be an example of Regionalism, an American art movement that aggressively opposed European abstract art. This painting was supposed to be a typical representation of Iowa. Wood wanted to depict the traditional roles of men and women, as the man is holding a pitchfork symbolizing hard labor. He asked his dentist [Dr. Byron McKeeby] and his sister Nan to pose as a farmer and his unmarried daughter. Interestingly, each element of the painting were painted seperately, in the sense that the models never posed with each other..





Installation..Here we see two workers, installing the 25-foot sculpture titled "God Bless America". The Chicago Tribune reports the workers are names Nick Valenza and Doug Roberts. These images were taken as the installation work was still in progress.





Personally, I prefer this much more than the earlier sculpture "King Lear" [click here] .. by the same artist J. Steward Johnson ...

9 comments:

Dubi Kaufmann said...

Where is pioneer court?

one summer Cedar Rapids, IA had many similar sculptures of that couple all over the city. Each sculpture was customized by a local artist, a like Chicago had the cows in 2000.

Dave Sandell said...

Amazing! Where is King Lear now?

Jyoti said...

Thanks Dubi for your comment ...

Pioneer Court is also called 401 N. Michigan Avenue Plaza [formerly known as the Equitable Building Plaza] ... It's adjacent to the Chicago Tribune Tower ...

if you are a Chicago resident, I'm pretty sure you would have seen it many times, without knowing it's name....


Dave - Thanks!!!
I have no idea where King Lear is now!

Anonymous said...

Too bad they got rid of King Lear...that sculpture was awesome and fit the scene much better than this one.
How about a statue for the man who first lived there, Jean Point Baptiste DuSable???

Jyoti said...

Hi Anon !
Thanks for taking time to write something ...
Though I find this "God Bless America" statue much more interesting than King Lear. I agree that King Lear statue was awesome, but I wondered it's relevance in the Pioneer's Court.

Now the present sculpture makes more sense to me ... The suitcase maybe interpreted as symbolism of people coming to this place ...

Yeah I agree, at least a bust of Jean Point Baptiste DuSable should find a place at the Pioneer Court ... But since many plaques and signages are already in place, I dont mind some fun or experimental sculpture at this very important site in the city!

Anonymous said...

Any idea when this is supposed to remain there?

Jyoti said...

I have no idea!

Anonymous said...

what's this sculpture made of? It's hard to tell....

John Eagan said...

Sorry folks this popular piece of art has been removed as of 2/26/10I spoke to the workers who removed this overnight and they stated that it was only supposed to be in place for 1 year, but due to popularity was extended another year. According to them it will be relocated but for now will be refurbished and not on public display. John Eagan www.hoosierhobbies.net