Eyesores among us
Four pieces we despise
Monument with Standing Beast, Jean Dubuffet, 1984 In front of the James R. Thompson Center, 100 W Randolph St at Clark St. "Beast" is right, and we wish it weren't still standing. A Cubist igloo by Picasso would've been preferable to this late French pop artist's 29-foot-tall, 10-ton white fiberglass elephant, which resembles a snowplowed mound of dirty snow.
Harry Caray memorial, Omri Amrany and Julie Rotblatt, 1999 In front of Wrigley Field, Clark St at Addison St. The Highland Park–based husband-wife sculpting team of Amrany-Rotblatt is responsible for this gaudy bronze homage to the late Bud-swilling broadcaster, in which half-formed, crazed fans appear to be dragging him down to hell. Didn't the poor guy endure enough curses in his earthly days?
The Windy Whales, Wyland, 1997 On the east facade of the InterContinental Chicago hotel, 505 N Michigan Ave at Illinois St. Eco-activist Wyland is closing in on his goal of painting 100 marine-life murals on buildings around the world—"whaling walls," he calls them. Eesh. The 32-story hack job on the back of the InterContinental (no. 73) aptly heralds the annual migration of humpback whales up the St. Lawrence Seaway and through the Great Lakes to spawn on Chicago's shoreline. But that breaching whale in it looks like an amputee, with its lower body cut off below the waterline. Here's hoping the condo tower going up next door ends her public shame.
Episodic, Josh Garber, 2000 At 2400 W Grand Ave at Western Ave. If it'd been painted brown and sprinkled with salt, we'd find this giant, blue, steel pretzel thing more appetizing. Made from discarded lampposts, clumsily welded together, and rising 24 feet above a triangular median, Episodic is meant to evoke an atomic shape and the movement of time, says its Chicago-based creator. (His smaller, biomorphic metal sculptures are infinitely more appealing.) We say, time's up, pal—bring on the bulldozer.—Craig Keller