Spiral Galaxy, 1994
John David Mooney
South of Adler Planetarium
1300 South Lake Shore Drive
Originally commissioned by the Vatican Observatory in 1994, this 14-foot stainless steel sculpture was first presented to Chicago and installed at Navy Pier in 1998. It was later displayed in Sarasota, Florida along the bay. In 2005, as part of the celebration of the Adler Planetarium’s 75th anniversary, it was installed in its current location on the lawn just southwest of the museum. Specifically placed, the shadow of this work marks the winter and summer solstices on the northern ground plane. During the equinoxes, the shadow is east and west. The piece was inspired by early photographs of some of the Earth’s closest galaxies as well as Galileo’s drawings.
Another of Mooney’s large-scale works can be found in the atrium of the John Crerar Library at the University of Chicago. The aluminum and Waterford crystal work, Crystara, is considered by the artist to be his most complex and ambitious project. Mooney is the founder and artistic director of the foundation bearing his name, an organization that provides, among other things, a training program and a postgraduate study program for international artists and architects.