by Ben Sachs
Palazzolo will introduce his short The Bride Stripped Bare, a wry portrait of the sculpture's unveiling ceremony. He'll also take part in a conversation with Annie Morse, a museum educator at the Art Institute, about the circumstances ("somewhat ridiculous but mostly factual," per the Co-Prosperity Sphere press release) leading up to creation of the work. Rounding out the bill is an hour-long work produced for public television simply titled The Chicago Picasso, which further explains the history of the sculpture.
Expect to meet a large cast of characters in this history. Those people and institutions instrumental in the statue's creation include: architects Richard Bennett, who first pitched Picasso the idea, and William Hartmann, who oversaw the project for the firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill; the American Bridge Company, a division of U.S. Steel based in Gary, Indiana, which was responsible for its construction; Sylvette David, the French woman who may have inspired its design (though we'll never know for sure, since Picasso never divulged what it's supposed to be); the philanthropic organizations the Woods Charitable Fund, the McCormick Foundation, and the Field Foundation of Illinois, who footed most of the costs, which came to over $350,000; Mike Royko, whose reports on the unveiling contain some great one-liners. ("If it was [supposed to be] a woman," Royko quipped in one of his columns, "then art students should put away their books and spend more time in girlie joints.") It seems fitting that a public artwork would require the participation of so many people.