Monday, September 30, 2013

Forecast


Forecast, 1982
John Henry
University of Chicago campus
5801 South Ellis Avenue

            This piece was donated to the University of Chicago through the Irving Schweiger Memorial Fund, in honor of Schweiger (1919-1982), a professor of business. Constructed of black painted aluminum, it is a small but typical example of John Henry’s work, characterized by the use of metal beams joined into fanciful constructions. Along with Henry’s Arris, the 47-foot long yellow composition that greets drivers entering the Loop from the south on Cermak Road near McCormick Place, the 1984 work Bridgeport welcomes visitors to the Thompson Center in downtown Chicago.
            One of the most controversial works by Henry in the Chicago area was located on private property and generated much discussion. In 2011, homeowner John Novak of Novak Construction Company installed a 40-foot tall work by Henry entitled Chevron, formerly housed at the Orlando Museum of Art, in a walled courtyard at his house on Burling Street and Armitage Avenue. A blue sculpture that had been described as “windmill like,” brought forth a range of responses from its Lincoln Park neighbors, including surprise, anger and delight. 
          In 2013, attorneys for the city of Chicago filed a public nuisance lawsuit against Novak on behalf of neighbors who were concerned about the impact of the statue on the character of the neighborhood. Novak agreed to move the work to another location, possibly a satellite campus of Northeastern Illinois University. It was reported that Novak later backed out of that deal. By July 2013, the work was removed. 

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