Chicago: Grant Park / Agora – by Magdalena Abakanowicz

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Agora – by Magdalena Abakanowicz

Unveiled: November 16, 2006.

106 cast iron figures / H 9 ft. each / weighing eleven hundred pounds each/ created in poland.

Location: Grant Park, intersection of S. Michigan Ave. and Roosevelt Road, Chicago.

Agora is a Greek word for “meeting place”.

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Agora - by Magdalena Abakanowicz

Agora – by Magdalena Abakanowicz

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“Agora,” a permanent installation in the Grant Park, by Polish artist Magdalena Abakanowicz. It consists of 106 headless armless cast iron figures, each about 9 feet tall, shell like, “frozen in walking movement.” The large sculptures are considered as one art work. They blend human and natural forms.

Agora is a Greek word for “meeting place”. Magdalena examining the postures of the controversial figures said “Every crowd is like a headless organism.”

The figures are similar in general shape, but different in details. Models for each figure were made by hand, by the artist and her three assistants. The surfaces of figures are like a tree bark or wrinkled face expressing a different individuality of each sculpture. The figures were cast during two years [2004-2006] in a huge industrial foundry in Srem near the city of Poznan [Poland], then transported to the USA. The installation took place in October–November 2006.

The sculpture honors the Sister City relationship between Chicago and Warsaw.

Agora has a $3 million price tag. Donors, including actor Robin Williams, working through the park district-affiliated Parkways Foundation, are contributing about $700,000, with the rest coming from the Polish Ministry of Culture and a Polish private foundation. No tax dollars was used.

 

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Agora - by Magdalena Abakanowicz

Agora – by Magdalena Abakanowicz

 

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About the artist :
Magdalena Abakanowicz was born into an aristocratic family just outside of Warsaw. She was deeply affected by World War II and the forty-five years of Soviet domination that followed. In her journals, she writes that she has lived, “in times which were extraordinary by their various forms of collective hate and collective adulation. Marches and parades worshipped leaders, great and good, who soon turned out to be mass murderers. I was obsessed by the image of the crowd. I suspected that under the human skull, instincts and emotions overpower the intellect without us being aware of it.”

The sculptor began creating large headless figures in the 1970s. Initially working in burlap and resin, she went on to use bronze, steel, and iron. Although Abakanowicz has frequently exhibited in museums and public spaces throughout the world— Agora is her largest permanent installation.

 

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Agora - by Magdalena Abakanowicz

Agora – by Magdalena Abakanowicz

 

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While unveiling the sculpture on November 16, 2006 in Mayor Richard Daley said, “Beautiful” and gave a thumbs-up to the crowd of rusty, giant-size figures. “I think she captured the whole idea of immigrants to the city and what it is today,” he said after walking through Chicago’s newest work of public art. “She captured the lake, the sidewalks. “You’ve got to go through it.”

 

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Agora - by Magdalena Abakanowicz

Agora – by Magdalena Abakanowicz

 

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Agora - by Magdalena Abakanowicz

Agora – by Magdalena Abakanowicz

 

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Agora - by Magdalena Abakanowicz

Agora – by Magdalena Abakanowicz

 

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Agora - by Magdalena Abakanowicz

Agora – by Magdalena Abakanowicz

 

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Agora - by Magdalena Abakanowicz

Agora – by Magdalena Abakanowicz

 

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Agora - by Magdalena Abakanowicz

Agora – by Magdalena Abakanowicz

 

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Agora - by Magdalena Abakanowicz

Agora – by Magdalena Abakanowicz

 

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Agora - by Magdalena Abakanowicz

Agora – by Magdalena Abakanowicz

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RELATED LINKS

Public Art in Grant Park.. click here..
Public Art in Loop.. click here..
Chicago Landmark Monuments.. click here..

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