Last Sunday, I attempted an “Emmanuel Viviano/ WPA Field Trip” all about Chicago—I wanted to scout out the Viviano public art in our city and report back to you. Sadly, I couldn’t locate any of his works… from the Carroll Playground in Oak Park (which once featured a statue and fountain of Alice), to the Nancy Hill School in Aurora (once the site of Viviano’s sculptures of a deer and hippopotamus), to the Medical Sciences Building at the University of Illinois (where, in the garden, once stood Viviano’s sensitive sculpture Girl with a Fish, which Muriel Scheinman had promised to be “reminiscent of a sixth-century BC Greek kore figure… facing front like a ritual votive object”)… to the since razed housing project Jane Addams House (not to be confused with Hull-House), which in the past showcased the playful and prolific Animal Court works, which Viviano artfully constructed with mentor Edgar Miller.
I found out that in 2007, the Animal Court sculptures had been placed in storage and awaited restoration. Yet, I know nothing of what has become of the sculptures since then.
And no one had any news about Viviano’s work Protection, which once graced City Hall.
And yet, my Sunday adventure was not a complete wash—I did enjoy a perfect lemon Italian ice from Gina’s Ice Cream Shop—and I did speak with a number of kindly midwesterners—an older gentleman in Carroll Park, a medical student who led me to a private courtyard at the University of Illinois to continue my search.
Although I did not locate Girl with a Fish, I did sense the echoes of WPA (Works Progress Administration from FDR's New Deal) works throughout the medical campus, and found two WPA sculptures in an overgrown, hidden garden—including this ode to Copernicus:
And to Hygeia:
I spoke with Teresa Silva, a very helpful curatorial assistant at the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, who gave me some promising leads—I will keep you updated on the uncovering of this Viviano Chicago mystery…
307 N. Michigan Avenue, Suite 308
Chicago, IL 60601
Phone: (312) 814-8510
MIR Gallery, an online division of MIR Appraisal Services, Inc., is proud to showcase two original, sculptural works by Emmanuel Viviano, a Chicago-born sculptor, painter and printmaker. To view original Emmanuel Viviano sculptures in the MIR Gallery, please do email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call (312) 814-8510.