Jean Dubuffet’s ten-ton sculpture from Chicago will be moved after Google buys a building where it has long stood

8 meter tall sculpture by Jean Dubuffet Monument with Standing Beast (1984), a fixture outside Chicago’s James R. Thompson Center since before architect Helmut Jahn’s famous postmodern building was even completed in 1985, will soon be found elsewhere.

After the State of Illinois sold the Thompson Center to Google – through a consortium of developers who will upgrade the iconic building to the tech giant’s specifications – it will move the ten-ton Dubuffet sculpture about three blocks south of 115 South LaSalle Street, a former building bank that the state recently purchased to replace office space it is losing at the Thompson Center.

Monument with Standing Beast is perhaps the best known of the three major public sculptures of the French avant-garde in the United States (the others are in New York and Houston). Consisting of four forms representing an animal, a tree, an architectural form and a portal, it is inspired by the will of the artist Hourloupe series of drawings from the 1960s. Ruth Horwich, art collector and co-founder of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago, donated the imposing fiberglass sculpture in honor of her late husband Leonard Horwich.

The James R. Thompson Center in Chicago’s central Loop, with the Jean Dubuffet sculpture Monument with Standing Beast (1984) foreground Photo by Ken Lund, via Flickr

A spokesperson for the Illinois Department of Central Management Services did not give the Chicago Sun-Times no details as to when the sculpture was moved. The pedestrian plaza outside her new home on LaSalle Street is certainly less grand than the dramatically curving expanse she occupied for the better part of four decades outside the Thompson Center. As Rolf Achilles, a professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, said, Sun-Times“The Dubuffet deserves better than to stay in the shade.”

Still, given his unofficial nickname — “Snoopy in a Blender” — some Chicagoans might be happy to see the sculpture moved to a less prominent site.

Comments are closed.