The Bronze Cow

The Bronze Cow, 2001
Peter Hanig
Chicago Cultural Center
78 East Washington Street

While in Zurich, Switzerland in 1998,  Chicago shoe retailer Peter Hanig saw a public art display of cows called "Land in Sicht." The following year, Hanig, along with Commissioner of Cultural Affairs Lois Weisberg, organized Chicago’s “Cows on Parade.” The popular exhibit drew national attention and tourists flocked to the city to view more than 320 life-size cows placed throughout the city. Each was decorated differently and even the locals began hunting for their favorites.
While the event was temporary, the success inspired many other U.S. cities to host similar fundraising projects. Hanig said, "A lot of people have come to me and said they wish we had kept the cows out." In 2001, Hanig unveiled an 8-foot-long, 4 1/2-foot-tall bronze cow he donated as a gift to the city with the hope that it would conjure up fond memories of the original exhibit. Visitors typically pose near and on the permanent piece, often not noticing the most interesting details: eyes that are etched with images of the Water Tower and Picasso’s Untitled sculpture.

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