Art or eyesore in Chicago?

April 11, 2013



Some homeowners opt to enhance their garden with a pretty flower bed, a pond or some wooden decking.  Others go for an enormous, 40-foot sculpture on the front lawn.

During a recent visit to Chicago, I was wandering by (and drooling at) lavish mansions in one of the city’s most coveted neighborhoods, Lincoln Park. Suddenly I stopped, pointed at someone’s house and asked: “What is that gigantic blue thing?”

That gigantic blue thing in question turned out to be a windmill-shaped metal art installation called Chevron, created by the Tennessee-based sculptor John Henry and said to be worth millions. The owner of the house, John Novak (the President of a successful construction company in the city) had the sculpture transported all the way from the Orlando Museum of Art in 2011.

And it didn’t go unnoticed. Some fellow neighbours called it a ‘monstrosity,’ ‘overpowering’ and ‘random’. They also questioned its safety and legality, as it overhangs the pavement – eek, icicles could even form on it during winter and cause injuries!

But the owner remained defiant, believing the sculpture to be a strong asset for the community. He said at the time: “Whenever a piece of art evokes emotion, I think it’s a great thing, regardless of what that emotion is. Maybe ‘love it’ is too strong a term, but I think they’ll come to appreciate it.

Well, I certainly appreciated its uniqueness.  And if you’re worried about death by icicle, you could just cross the road…

If you want to see this modern masterpiece for yourself, you’ll find it on the corner of Armitage Avenue & Burling Street.

UPDATE: In the latest twist to the saga described above, John Novak has apparently agreed to remove Chevron, and that will happen any day now.  Lincoln Park Patch has more.