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University of Chicago Sculpture Will Spin Again After Restoration

By Sam Cholke | September 9, 2013 7:54am
 One of six Pomodoro "Grande Disco" sculptures will be restored starting Monday.
One of six Pomodoro "Grande Disco" sculptures will be restored starting Monday.
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DNAinfo/Sam Cholke

HYDE PARK — A 10,000-pound futuristic sculpture will spin again over Ellis Avenue on Monday as it’s trucked off for some much-needed repairs.

“The cast bronze was beginning to corrode as the protective finish had long ago worn away,” said Jeremy Manier, a University of Chicago spokesman, of the “Grande Disco” sculpture at 5812 S. Ellis Ave. “Arnoldo Pomodoro, the sculptor, envisioned it as a rotating sculpture and it is set up on a pin to allow that movement, but the pin has corroded to the point that it can no longer move.”

The sculpture may look familiar to frequent travelers. “Grande Disco” is one of six identical Pomodoro sculptures at the Bank of America Plaza in Charlotte, N.C., the sculpture garden at the PepsiCo headquarters in New York and several in Milan, Italy.

Pomodoro is best known for a fiberglass crucifix over the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Milwaukee, Wisc., featuring a 14-foot crown of thorns over the figure of Jesus and a broken sphere in front of the United Nations in New York.

Crews were out on Friday jackhammering around the base of the “Grande Disco” sculpture.

“What we’re doing now is removing all the pavers so when the crane comes in it can lift it onto a flatbed truck,” said Judith Simon of Methods and Materials, a company that moves large pieces of art around Chicago and provides space for restoration.

Jane Foley of Evanston-based Liparini Art Restoration will start restoration in November.

Manier said repairing the sculpure will take four to six months.

Then the “Grand Disco” will spin again when it is reinstalled next spring.