Saturday, March 21, 2015

Mie's New Friends: Ju Ming sculpture lands at IBM Plaza

click images for larger view
No wonder those businessmen look a bit tired.  It's taken the better part of two years for them to get to their destination.
It was in July of 2013 that the Langham Hotel Chicago, owners of the sculpture, opened in Mies van der Rohe's last skyscraper, the iconic IBM Building (now officially renamed AMA Plaza.)  And it's been 15 months since the Commission on Chicago Landmarks reversed its initial decision to ban the metallic travelers for being too close to the building.  The move followed an agreement to move the sculpture from its original position beneath the Landham's gilded canopy on Wabash to a spot on the adjacent riverfront plaza.
The pedestal for the work by Taiwanese sculptor Ju Ming was installed last December, but stood empty as late as last Saturday, when it was used as a stepping stone for photographers snapping shots of the annual St. Patrick's Day dyeing of the Chicago River green.
Then, sometime this past week, without fanfare, the travelers took up their station.  As with other of the sculptor's works, visitors are already enjoying sharing space with the frozen figures.
Ju Ming, born in 1938 and trained as a woodcarver, has gone on to an international career creating works in a wide variety of materials.  In 1999, he spent most of his life savings to create the Juming Museum near Taipei to showcase both his own work and that of other contemporary masters.  It is Taiwan's largest sculpture garden.  His subjects range from generic everymen, women and children, to paratroopers and even Albert Einstein.
If the businessmen had been placed under the hotel's canopy, they would have looked like they were waiting for their rides, cousins to J. Seward Johnson's Allow Me hailing a cab outside the Four Seasons on East Delaware.  Standing isolated on the plaza, however, they begin to look a bit dazed and confused, 1960's Man-Men-era executives teleported in an instant from an unknown place to a place unknown.

Read More about Mies van Der Rohe's IBM Building and the Langham Hotel Chicago:

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