Does the whole = the sum of it’s parts?

March 3, 2008 · Print This Article

Art Stolen Possibly For Scrap
Umanita (or humanity in Italian) is… or was six feet (1.8 meters) high and weighed over 170 pounds (77 kilograms). It stood outside the Newberry Library on the north side of the city of Chicago. That was until it was stolen late Feb. 16 and the afternoon of Feb. 18. Torn from its base and lugged away, Umanita is worth as much as $70,000, said Virginio Ferrari, who created Umanita in 1987 by cutting, shaping and welding stainless steel.

Sadly with steel prices near all time highs there is a real fear that the work is no more and has been melted down into a $300 cube easily sold on the open scrap market.

“The price of steel and metal is very high right now and historically when that happens people remove art,” said Elizabeth Kelly, director of Chicago’s Public Art Program. “Scrappers seize the opportunity.”

Police spokesman Marcel Bright said he can’t recall a work as big as Umanita getting snatched in the city, sometimes called the museum without walls because of its more than 700 pieces of outdoor art.

3 Responses to “Does the whole = the sum of it’s parts?”

  1. Also in Mini-News:

    CEO of the Chicago Children’s Museum Leaves
    From The Chicago Tribune

    Peter England, chief executive officer of the Chicago Children’s Museum for the last seven years, is retiring effective the end of April.

    England, 63, said Friday that his departure from the Navy Pier museum is the culmination of a succession plan, with his duties gradually transferred to Jennifer Farrington.

    Farrington, 39, who has worked at the museum since 1995, was named chief operating officer in 2006 and president last fall. She is to become chief executive officer upon England’s retirement.

    She said England would continue to assist the museum in efforts to move to Grant Park’s Bicentennial Plaza, but as a volunteer. The proposed move has been fought by Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd) and neighborhood groups.

  2. This has been happening to bronzes for awhile, there was a story a year or so ago where a Henry Moore was taken from a sculpture garden and was presumed chopped up and melted down.

    In Oak Park, the police blotter is full of people getting their copper gutters stolen.

  3. This has been happening to many metal sculptures in Europe for some time. Many of the culprits turn out to be from the “formerly” eastern bloc. WHo can resell them as scrap easily there, for not much, but it is a lot to people who have very little, I can’t imagine whom is melting and selling and buying such stuff in the US with no questions asked. While it is terrible, that has a long history. Especially bronzes.

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