Chicago’s Public Art: Joan Miró’s Chicago

Our reverence for sculpture and for the cities in which we operate collide to create a deep appreciation for the public art of Chicago. And as we explore the craft in the city we love, we’re doing deep dives into famous public works from downtown to vibrant neighborhood pockets. This week, it’s all about Joan Miro’s Chicago.

History of Miro’s Chicago

This iconic sculpture by iconic artist Joan Miro was first titled The Sun, The Moon and One Star but is known now as Miro’s Chicago. Originally, Miro was commissioned by Brunswick Corporation in 1969 to design a sculpture, but the project halted when Brunswick withdrew funding. In 1979, Chicago’s first female mayor Jane Byrne reinvigorated the project, promising to fund the first half of the project if others would commit to funding the second half. Together, foundations, institutions and individuals rallied to commit that final stretch of funding, and Miro himself reduced the cost of construction by completely donating his design to the city. It’s only appropriate, then, that Miro’s Chicago is an iconic fixture in the city, as it was brought to fruition by collaborative and impassioned locals.

Visiting Miro’s Chicago

The sculpture is tucked modestly away in a narrow plaza between the Cook County Administration Building and the Chicago Temple Building in Chicago’s downtown financial district. The plaza, known as Brunswick Plaza, is directly south of the Daley Center and nearly directly south of another iconic Chicago public art piece, the Chicago Picasso

Miro’s Chicago, in its modest and peaceful crevice downtown, makes for a serene location for local workers to have lunch outside. The concrete, bronze and ceramic tile façade towers to almost 40 feet tall, and its curving figure has earned the nickname “Miss Chicago.” The large pedestal beneath the sculpture invites passerby to sit and marvel either at the statue above, or the striking Chicago architecture even farther above. As a piece of public art, it does exactly what we at Optima know and love sculpture for: it elicits an emotional experience from its viewer, while activating the incredible architectural space around it.

The Work of Joan Miró

It’s no secret that we love color. We believe that color, like art, brings a new dimension to the beautiful spaces that we design. That’s why the colorful and surrealist work of the Spanish painter, Joan Miró, is a natural fit to enliven the walls of our communities.

Portrait of Joan Miró
Portrait of Joan Miró

The Life of Joan Miró

Miró was born in 1893 in the seaside town of Barcelona. He grew up influenced by the beauty and culture of his city, and surrounded by the arts with a watchmaker father and goldsmith mother. His began drawing as a young child, though he diverted from his true calling when he went to business school for college. After school, Miró worked as a clerk, but quickly found his way back to art, evolving through several styles and artists’ circles and leaving an influential mark in his wake. 

The Art of Joan Miró

Miró’s early work was inspired by Vincent van Goh and Paul Cezanne. By 1919 and his first trip to Paris, Miró began to dabble in geometric, patterned art inspired by the Cubists. In the early 1920s, Miró began to draw inspiration from Sigmund Freud and the Marxists, joining the ranks of the groundbreaking surrealists with work marked by lines, organic shapes and color. Miró himself once said, “I try to apply colors like words that shape poems, like notes that shape music.”

The Red Sun, 1950, Joan Miró at Optima Sonoran Village
The Red Sun, 1950, Joan Miró at Optima Sonoran Village

We are proud to enliven our interior spaces with the art of Joan Miró, and are deeply moved by the power of his works and words. Miró’s work adorns the walls of a handful of units at Optima Sonoran Village, playing off the lively interiors and lush outside landscape. Like Miró, we too, try to apply colors, and art, to shape the beautiful spaces that we design.

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