Big Blue Sculpture Raises Eyebrows in Lincoln Park

Neighbors wonder if large structure at Burling & Armitage is a safety hazard and if proper permits were obtained

It came out of the blue, they say.

A huge, blue sculpture recently installed on Burling Street in Lincoln Park has drawn the ire of some neighbors who say they weren't consulted and fear the massive structure is a safety hazard.

Adding to the frustration of some residents -- one neighbor took to the EveryBlock Chicago website and deemed the structure "hideous" -- are questions as to whether the proper permits were issued.

Work on the large metal piece of art by sculptor John Henry reportedly began last week and immediately drew questions from neighbors.

Among their comments: 

"I understand that the sculpture was installed on private property, but it is so large that it hangs over the sidewalk."

"It's overpowering. It needs to be someplace else where there's more space."

"I saw this monstrosity yesterday while leaving Oz and was shocked on how out-of-place it looks! Its so random, it definitely doesn't fit in with the neighborhood."

The sculpture is being erected in the front yard of a newly-built building owned by a member of the Novak Construction family.

"My dad is a big supporter of the arts, and this is a piece of art that he really liked," said Mimi Novak. "I don't think he thought it would have such a big impact."

Novak said the sculpture came from a museum in Orlando, Fla., and said she hopes people will ultimately enjoy the piece of art.
Ald. Michelle Smith (43rd) said she believes the work was approved under the previous alderwoman, Vi Daley. Her office has contacted Chicago's Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection and the Department of Housing and Economic Development to determine whether all the proper procedures were followed and necessary permits were pulled to approve the sculpture.

Henry has other works of art in Chicago.

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