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What's Up With The Massive Red Tree Near The History Museum?

By Mina Bloom | June 3, 2016 6:23am
 Crews on Thursday installing
Crews on Thursday installing "Red Tree," a sculpture by artist Ruth Aizuss Migdal.
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DNAinfo/Mina Bloom

OLD TOWN — Crews on Thursday spent more than four hours installing a massive 28-foot-tall sculpture of a red tree at LaSalle Drive near the Chicago History Museum parking lot as part of this year's Chicago Sculpture Exhibit. 

Artist Ruth Aizuss Migdal designed the "Red Tree" sculpture — part of her "Maquette" collection — to evoke women's strength.

"I saw a picture of a tree, and I thought, 'My God, the trunk is a female," said Migdal, who used fabricated stainless steel to create the sculpture, which is the largest she's ever created in her decades-long career.

A closer look at the sculpture. [DNAinfo/Mina Bloom]

Migdal said she poured more than $100,000 of her own money into creating the sculpture, which took about a year to make. She was only able to afford it because she sold her longtime Lincoln Park home, she said.

She hopes passersby simply feel happy when they see it.

"I want them to just be free and happy and feel how good it is to be a woman," she said.

This isn't the first time Migdal has participated in the Chicago Sculpture Exhibit. Migdal's previous work — also designed to celebrate women's independence and strength — have appeared in Lakeview and Lincoln Park and at the Merchandise Mart, to name a few.

Originally from the city's West Side, Migdal made abstract paintings and sculptures until 1971, when she started focusing on the female figure. In addition to fabricated stainless steel sculptures, Migdal also works with bronze and steel, sometimes adding gold leaf.

The Old Town Triangle Association, 1763 N. North Park Ave., helped sponsor the sculpture in the park.

Proceeds from the group's annual Old Town Art Fair, which kicks off in June, go toward public art like Migdal's sculpture.

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