Giant Foot Sculpture At Oak Street Beach: What Are They Thinking or Unthinking?

Giant Foot Sculpture At Oak Street Beach: What Are They Thinking or Unthinking?
Surreal Shoes at Oak Street Beach Photo credit: (Antonio Perez, Chicago Tribune / July 27, 2014)

A giant foot sculpture at Oak Street Beach--with accompanying text urging people to "Unthink Long Walks"-- is creating quite a stir in Chicago.

What are they thinking? Actually, they are NOT thinking, they are unthinking.

If you are wondering what this is all about, you are not alone. That is the intent of the "Unthink" campaign.

The massive seven-foot-tall, nearly one-ton shoe sculpture, based on René Magritte's painting, "The Red Model", is just one step in the "Unthink Magritte" marketing campaign.  The campaign draws its inspiration from the Surrealist artist's iconic paintings and his desire to "challenge the real world."

The purpose of the campaign, created by Leo Burnett Chicago in collaboration with the AIC, is to create buzz for Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926-1938 exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago (through October 13, 2014).

In addition to the Surreal shoes, you'll see other popular Magritte subjects including: black bowler hats, open umbrellas and blue skies with white clouds popping up around town.  

From billboards to train stations and even at Chicago's Pride Parade the campaign challenges people to "Unthink the Ordinary" and think outside of the box.

Unthink Love.

Unthink Love.

At June's Pride Parade, a tour bus covered with an image of Magritte's "The Lovers" (a couple kissing through the shroud over their heads) elicited cheers from the crowd----when it asked them to "Unthink Love."

On the evening of Thursday, July 24, a line snaking along for nearly a block outside the AIC netted nearly 500 surreal items created by visitors seeking free admission to the exhibition.

What's next? According the AIC press release we can expect more surprises.

For now, if you want to catch the surreal shoes at Oak Street Beach you have until mid-August.

After that  the sculpture will be moved to other, yet to be named, locations.  Each location will have its own custom unthink message.

Word has it that one of the locations will be at the Magnificent Mile Shopping Festival with a "shoe shopping" message on August 23 and 24.

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