SOM in the Press

The Story Behind the Controversial Picasso Sculpture That Became a Symbol of Chicago

The original unveiling of Picasso's sculpture took place in 1967. Photo © SOM

Source: The Art Newspaper

Pablo Picasso was 85 when he gave the monumental untitled sculpture now famously known as The Chicago Picasso to the city in 1967. The work precipitated an aesthetic shift in civic and urban planning, broadening the idea of public art beyond the commemorative. In honor of the 50th anniversary of the work’s unveiling, the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events is hosting the event Everyone’s Picasso at Daley Plaza on Tuesday, 8 August, at noon.


To prepare for the anniversary, Durica researched the archive at Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), one of the architectural firms that designed the plaza and civic centre, which was later renamed after Mayor Daley. The architect William Hartmann first started the conversation with Picasso and guided the project. Durica was able to study Hartmann’s notes and read a collection of letters responding to the idea for the commission.

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