Friday, November 8, 2013

Stored Away

My job can take me into some rather unusual places. This past week, I was inside a storage facility in Chicago. One of the guys who works there said, "This is the place things go to be forgotten." If that is the attitude, it's quite sad because there are some very unusual pieces here which should find a place to be displayed.

For instance, here are all the pieces of an archway.

Everything's bundled together and it would take someone who likes to assemble puzzles to put the arch back together. Someone felt it should be kept. I wondered how old it was and where it had been prior to being removed.

What about this piece?

This is the capital off the top of a column. The interesting thing about this is that it's hollow and the only complete walls of this cube are the one with the decorations and the back. The sides are a couple of braces. That front wall is about 3 inches thick. When I first saw this, I marveled at the carving. Then, when I saw that the sides were a couple of braces between the front and the back, I wondered if the concrete was poured into a mold, allowed to dry and then the mold broken off the finished piece. However it was done, this is a stunning block.

There were two of these.

The angle I had to take this  is poor so it's not completely clear what this is. It's a mosaic of a fish set in concrete. I'm wondering if this was at the bottom of a concrete wading pool or maybe affixed to the side of a building where a public pool was located. When saved, it was lovingly cut from the surrounding material and sent here to rest. The mosaic itself was in very good condition.

Finally, there is this piece.

Is this not amazing? I want this for my backyard. It's been in this location for 15 years. The guys working here had no idea where it had come from. I'm wondering if it's all that remains of a public fountain. I wonder who carved or created it. Why was it removed? You can't see the base, but it's on an oval that's about 5 inches thick. We couldn't begin to figure out how much it weighs. It's about 4 feet tall. Is this a lamentation? Was she being bathed in water? The look on her face could be so many things.

Chicago had a long, long history of public art. Drive anywhere in the city and you'll find architectural wonders, statues, mosaics and paintings. Art enhances our lives in ways we don't expect. I wonder about the history of these pieces. They were important enough to be put into storage. Couldn't they find another spot to be viewed by more than just the guys in the building?

Beverage:  Irish Breakfast tea


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