Chicago “Agora”

Agora Sculpture 3I have been a fan of the Polish sculptor Magdalena Abakanowicz from the first time I saw her massive sculptures of crouched figures, with their backs turned to the viewer, filling an entire room at a UCLA exhibit many years ago. They were riveting. Her work is large in size and powerful; full of movement, texture, and deeply evocative about important things.

This month, when I heard she had a piece in Grant Park in Chicago, just a few blocks from where I was going to be speaking at the Spertus Institute, I rushed over to have a look. I came upon a large group of massive, headless, walking figures, each about 8 feet tall. They were all “moving” in different directions, a left foot forward on one, a right foot forward on another. They each had textured  “clothes” on their hollowed out frames. I wandered among them, feeling dwarfed and enthralled and delighted. At the south end of the park, where the “crowd” ended, there was a  large stone and a plaque that said “Agora.” Of course, I thought. The perfect place for a sculpture that stands in the foreground of a magnificent view of the Chicago skyline. A sculpture about the urban man and woman,  indifferently hurrying by one another to get to wherever the city requires them to be but…a sculpture set in a place where people with heads can stop, and look, and  where I watched a little girl play hide and seek with her father. Magnificent!

Here are some other of Abakanowicz’s pieces, with Agora as the last entry. Have a look!