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East Bank Club Installs New Naturalist Sculpture 'Watch Me Play'

By Lizzie Schiffman Tufano | April 19, 2013 8:52am | Updated on April 19, 2013 8:53am

RIVER NORTH — A new, one-ton sculpture was added to the East Bank Club this week the old fashioned way — using levers, pulleys and pure manpower.

The 7-foot-tall piece by Chicago toymaker-turned-sculptor Jeffrey Breslow, "Watch Me Play," is a delicate stack of natural materials including granite and steel. The artist's customary wood elements are noticeably absent to extend the outdoor sculpture's lifespan.

Breslow, a member of the fitness center at 500 N. Kingsbury St. for 35 years, insisted on replacing a wood and stone structure that the club's CEO, Dan Levin, bought from him four years ago. That structure had started to deteriorate.

Though the massive structure was custom-designed for the East Bank Club space, installation was a complicated process because the building's sun deck couldn't support heavy machinery.

"When I put the thing together myself, I do it with a forklift I have in my studio on the South Side," Breslow said. "We couldn't get my forklift on the deck, so I used a block and tackle with a hoist, and temporary scaffolding the club built for me."

The installation took about an hour and a half, and went "perfectly smoothly" following a test run in Breslow's studio, where he figured out the complex rigging system of levers and a pulley system to guide the 2,000 pound sculpture into place.

"Now, I've become not only a sculptor, but a rigger," Breslow joked.

The piece will be visible to club members when the deck opens in May.

"I hope when people look at it, they kind of smile...and appreciate the forces of nature that shaped these stones," Breslow said.