In most situations, glimpsing a 15-foot tall jet-black skeleton figure with hunched shoulders and holes for eyes would be cause for serious panic.
For Chicago residents taking a casual stroll, however, such an encounter is simply an opportunity for art appreciation, thanks to artist Thomas Houseago.
Houseago’s sculpture, titled “Striding Figure,” was installed near Chicago’s Edgewater neighborhood Lakefront Trail on April 25, bringing to life a haunting vision many only experience in lucid nightmares.
The work, which measures over 15 feet tall and six feet wide, looks like what might happen if the Babadook and Wicker Man ever reproduced. Houseago created the work in 2014, combining elements of mythology, African tribal art, cartoon imagery, Italian Mannerism, science fiction and robot culture to yield his 21st-century golem.
So far, the reactions to Houseago’s newly installed work have been mixed, but not very surprising. Amateur critics have described it as “spooky” and “creepy,” with one concerned party wondering whether the giant dark figure would “scare some kids.”
Seems like a definite possibility. After all, the hulking mass incorporates aspects of sculpture, painting and drawing to create a “transhistorical, transcultural” figure that’s meant to allude to past traumas and present anxieties.
Here’s to hoping the citizens of Chicago respond kindly to their new neighbor, regardless of whether or not he resembles an undead zombie.
And in case you were wondering: There’s no word yet on whether budding sculptor and Houseago apprentice Brad Pitt was involved in the work any way.