What Household Object Best Represents Chicago?

The Batcolumn outside the Harold Washington Social Security Building

One day in the 1970’s, Swedish artist Claes Oldenburg picked an object to represent Chicago.  He chose a baseball bat.

That’s how the “Batcolumn” came to be.  The federal government commissioned the work of art (your tax dollars at work) to be placed outside the Harold Washington Social Security Center (600 West Madison Street) in the West Loop.

As a person of enhanced girth, I would have chosen a pizza cutter as emblematic of Chicago.  But I supposed baseball bats are pretty common in homes around the city, too.  To quote from the monument at the base of this monument:

“The sculpture’s verticality echoes the city’s dramatic skyline, while its form and scale cleverly allude to more traditional civic monuments, such as obelisks and memorial columns.  The pattern of the sculpture’s crisscrossing structural latticework forms an elegant silhouette against the open sky.”

Author: Editor

Editor founded the Chicago Architecture Blog in 2003, after a long career in journalism. He can be reached at chicagoarchitectureinfo@gmail.com.

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