A walking (almost) ad for Rene Magritte exhibit at Art Institute of Chicago


The Red Model feet sculpture on Oak Street Beach in Chicago promotes the exhibit of surrealist René Magritte’s works at the Art Institute. (Art Institute of Chicago)
August 9

The 7-foot-tall sculpture of two feet at Chicago’s Oak Street Beach has legs.

That is, it’s expected to move to other locations around the city as long as the Art Institute of Chicago is hosting an exhibit inspired by René Magritte, the Belgian surrealist artist. The beach installation is a larger-than-life marketing campaign to bring attention to the Magritte exhibit at the Art Institute.

The feet, each of which is 800 pounds and made of plywood and carved foam with a urethane hard coat, were installed at Oak Street Beach. The Magritte exhibit, “The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926-1938,” opened in late June.

The sculpture, created by Ravenswood Studio in Lincolnwood, Ill., was inspired by Magritte’s painting “The Red Model.” As they do in the painting, the feet in the sculpture “morph into unlaced boots — Magritte’s way of calling attention to the fact that we often cover our own flesh with dead animal flesh,” according to a release from the Art Institute.

Beach visitors seem to be embracing the hooves — in some cases, literally. A museum spokeswoman said she’s noticed many photos of people standing near or playing on the feet popping up on social media this week.

“People get to touch the art and play around with it and climb on it, which obviously they can’t do in the museum,” said Rebecca Baldwin, the spokeswoman.

The feet, designed by Leo Burnett Chicago which is working with the museum to market the exhibit, are expected to stay at the beach until mid-August, and there’s no set itinerary for where they will appear next, Baldwin said. They are expected to be positioned somewhere along Michigan Avenue the weekend of Aug. 23-24, she said.

Another element of the institute’s Magritte marketing campaign — dubbed “Unthink” — includes a poster installed on the museum’s roof visible only to people peering down from high-rises along Michigan Avenue,

— Chicago Tribune

The Magritte exhibit is scheduled to be at the Art Institute until Oct. 13.

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