Chicago Picasso

A gift from Pablo Picasso, Chicago dedicated the cubist sculpture to the public on August 15, 1967. Mayor Richard J. Daley proclaimed the day Picasso Day. Cloaked in canvas, the anticipation built while the 25,000 guests listened to a live concert by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. When they removed the cloak, the crowd responded by what Mike Royko described as a collective gasp and a smattering of applause. They described the fifty foot tall, 162 tons of steel as a bug, a bird, a jazz song, and an Afghan dog. Royko wrote that Picasso, who had never visited Chicago, understood the city’s soul. “Its eyes are like the eyes of every slum owner who made a buck off the small and weak. And of every building inspector who took a wad from a slum owner to make it all possible.You’d think he’d been riding the L all his life.” People saw what they wanted to see.