Monday, October 27, 2008

Ding Dong, Orisha's Dead!

Bobcat S250 Skid-Steer Loader with HB1180 Hydraulic Breaker in action.

Some residents along 55th Street near Harper Ave. were awakened at 7:26 AM on Saturday morning by the sound of heavy machinery. But this cacophony was welcome, because it heralded the long-awaited end of a neighborhood eyesore.

Straddling the border between the 4th and 5th wards, Orisha Wall was erected in 1986 by artist Muneer Bahauddeen, via funds from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development for "Community Development Block Grant activities." Not a handsome piece to begin with, Orisha was built with unsuitable materials for the outdoors (concrete covered with glazed ceramic tiles), and quickly began to crack, chip, and crumble. Despite pleas from residents, neither alderman seemed willing or able to remove the sculpture. To read all about how Hyde Park Progress inspired Irene Sherr to doggedly seek the sculpture's removal (at a ridiculous DOT price tag of $18,600), read this post.

Ah, progress! Break out the bubbly.


Peter Rossi said...

fantastic pic. Three cheers

however, as beth has pointed out. There is real problem here. the only reason we got rid of this eyesore was that it wasn't well-maintained. No one considered that fact that is was hideous to begin with.

The idea that public funds are used to erect ugly art that takes 10+ years to remove is real frightening.

autumnmist said...

Yeah that was a pretty ugly sculpture. Question: Are you going to do a little election summary of the Alder(wo)men we can vote for in this coming election? I'd hate to vote for a NIMBY accidentally.

LPB said...

Ah, some progress at last. Glad to see the sculpture has been removed. Now I've got to get on over to newly-opened Zaleski & Horvath to celebrate with some gourmet munchies.

chicago pop said...

Must have been one of the more bizarre demolition jobs that Bobcat operator has ever had.

Awesome pic, and a good omen.

Anonymous said...

I hope they don't replace it with more ugly, junky public art. A tree would be nice, or maybe a flower planter.

chicago pop said...

I think the site of the departed Orisha Wall should be left a pile of rubble, a somber monument to the accomplishments of the local Preservationist-Obstructionist Combine.

We can call it Monument to the Unknown NIMBY.

edj said...

Now that I think of it, the Aldermen could have had a fundraiser where people get the chance to take a sledgehammer to the sculpture for $10 a swing. I would have put a ten spot in for me and my six year old son.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the folks who are so determined to preserve this stuff would be willing to offer their front yards as new staging areas? Orisha Wall would have looked lovely in front of Casa de Spicer.

Zig and Lou said...

Wow, there is some insightful reporting from an arm of the Tribune. Very in-depth.