Chagall's Four Seasons covered due to NATO summit fears
From the earliest mentions of Chicago playing host to the NATO summit, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and host committee director Lori Healey have deflected criticism by framing the event as an opportunity to showcase the best of the city to the world. That argument is holding less water every day.
Last week, three major tourist attractions—the Adler Planetarium, the Art Institute, and the Shedd Aquarium—announced they'll be closed for the summit.
Today, NATO summit protest fears led to the coverup of an emblematic work of public art: Marc Chagall's Four Seasons, in which the Russo-French master depicted six Chicago scenes. The bright, large-scale mosaic dedicated in 1974 was boarded up by a crew at its site in Exelon Plaza south of Chase Tower. A worker there this evening explained to me that the wood boards were installed to protect the work during the NATO summit. This was confirmed, with a smile, by a desk attendant inside the Chase building, who said the covering will be removed at some point next week.
It's a shame for visitors to the city, and a misguided strategy by the plaza's management; do they really think anti-NATO activists hate beautiful pieces of art as much as they despise war? The Michigan Avenue monstrosity Forever Marilyn (thankfully) left town earlier this month before all the NATO summit drama. But I can't help but wonder which piece of public art will be concealed next: the Picasso in Daley Plaza?
If the whole world will indeed be watching Chicago during the NATO summit, as Emanuel and Healey hope, the whole world should keep in mind that this city looks much prettier any other time of year.