Category: Pioneer Plaza

Chicago Art Blog on WGN 720, Chicago Tonight

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With the attention around Forever Marilyn dying down, thank goodness, I’ve been sharing my opinion in a lot of places, not all of them on the web.  Here’s the links for those of you that missed the live broadcasts. On July 15th I talked with Mike McConnell on WGN 720 AM about my article and... Read more »

Why Write about Forever Marilyn?

Why Write about Forever Marilyn?
It’s uncomfortable to be informed of an unnoticed or unseen bias.  The first reaction could be resentment: There’s nothing wrong with me, there must be something wrong with you! Another reaction is dismissal: Lighten up, it’s not a big deal. It’s true. J. Seward Johnson’s Forever Marilyn is negligible, it’s a bulky piece of sculpture that... Read more »

Forget "Forever Marilyn"-Chicago has Better

In the hubbub surrounding the installation of J. Seward Johnson’s Forever Marilyn, it’s important to remember that Chicago is home to much better art and artists. If you are checking out (pun intended) Forever Marilyn, you must visit Millennium Park.  As I expressed last night on WTTW’s “Chicago Tonight,” Millennium Park has public art that is... Read more »

Before "Forever Marilyn," Sculptor Did Hardcore Porn

Before Forever Marilyn was plopped down in Chicago, in 2010 it came to light that J. Seward Johnson had six giant sculptures fabricated (supposedly) of the brother of the Sultan of Brunei in various explicit sexual positions, picked out from the Kama Sutra. (As a spokesperson for Johnson stated, the Kama Sutra sex positions are... Read more »

Giant Marilyn Monroe is Creepy, Sexist

Photo: E. Jason Wambsgans, Chicago Tribune / July 12, 2011
If the last two J. Seward Johnson sculptures have just been simply bad, Johnson’s latest kitsch-extravaganza to occupy Pioneer Plaza is downright creepy and sexist.  It’s a giant Marilyn Monroe holding down her dress from the famous subway scene in “The Seven Year Itch” (1955).  Move to the rear and you get a view of... Read more »

The Colonel Wants Your "God Bless America" Pics

Last week, J. Seward Johnson’s God Bless America was removed from its prominent location on North Michigan Avenue and the Chicago Tribune wants your pictures of J. Seward Johnson’s work. (Chris Sweda, Chicago Tribune) As James Jenga over at Trib Nation notes, “Everyone in the world has pictures in front of this thing.”  “Thing,” indeed.... Read more »

Thank God: "God Bless America" Gone

It looks like the “unknown date” of the departure for J. Seward Johnson’s God Bless America was yesterday, Thursday February 25th. (Chris Sweda, Chicago Tribune) I had to smile when I read James Janega’s description of the event: “Yes, artist J. Seward Johnson’s beloved statue remake of American Gothic on Michigan Avenue was taken down... Read more »

Sculpture Controversy, Pt. 2

Last entry, the Chicago Art Blog revisited the unexpected controversy surrounding a most traditional public sculpture in Chicago.  Chicago Tribune pop culture critic Steve Johnson wrote a feature article on J. Seward Johnson’s God Bless America, a sculpture that is, in his words, a “25-foot-tall knockoff of American Gothic,” that is, the painting by Grant... Read more »

Sculpture Controversy, Pt. 1

Besides Glenn Beck’s try at art criticism, another notable art controversy from last year was much closer to home.  A year ago, J. Seward Johnson’s God Bless America came to Chicago.  The sculpture itself is an enlargement and embellishment of the iconic Grant Wood painting American Gothic, which is in the collection of the Art... Read more »