Letter to the Editor response: Campoli’s “Egg” sculpture in Nichols Park should have a plaque

To the Editor:

Recently I made a close-up inspection of Cosmo Campoli’s “Egg” sculpture, now situated next to and on the north side of the Murray Language Academyon 53d Street in Hyde Park.

To my dismay, I could not find a plaque or any other kind of identification in the vicinity of the piece, stating either its title or the artist’s name. This is a shame. Campoli was a famous Chicago artist in the ‘50s. He was one of only three Chicago artists who were included in the Museum of Modern Art’s exhibition titled New Images of Man. For many years he was also an important and much-loved instructor at IIT’s Institute of Design.

ADVICE PLEASE: Who, or what agency, institution, etc., should be informed of, or appealed to, to rectify this unfortunate situation?

Thank you for your consideration.
Richard G. Sessions

*****

Mr. Sessions:

The sculpture that Mr. Sessions refers to in the letter, Bird of Peace, is a bronze statue whose body is shaped like an egg, and whose claws stand atop two more eggs. Its artist, Cosmo Campoli, created it in 1970 and it was dedicated to Nichols Park on June 3 of that year. It is affectionately known as the Nichols Park mascot and underwent a $10,000 restoration in 2004.

Cosmo Campoli’s Bird of Peace sculpture in Nichols Park, 1355 E. 53rd St. - Spencer Bibbs
Cosmo Campoli’s Bird of Peace sculpture in Nichols Park, 1355 E. 53rd St.

-Spencer Bibbs

 

Campoli, who specialized in egg-related art, built the sculpture that stands at the 53rd Street entrance to Nichols Park near Murray Elementary School. The Nichols Park egg sculpture is one of many around the country. The most famous is “The Bird of Death” from the New York Museum of Modern Art’s 1959 exhibit, the “Images of Man.”

A Hyde Park native, Campoli taught at the Institute of Design at the Illinois Institute of Technology. His work was exhibited at the Hyde Park art center. He was particularly interested in conveying bird’s spirits in his works, most of which now belong to private collections.

Campoli is beloved in Hyde Park. A local Thai restaurant once named one of their dishes “Pasta Campoli” in his honor. In 2005, a group of Hyde Parkers assembled outside the sculpture to sing happy birthday to him.

While the sculpture does not have a plaque, it does have a nameplate that lies directly in front of the base of the sculpture and reads Bird of Peace, Cosmo Campoli, 1922-1997. Because the sculpture is located in the park, the Chicago Park District would be the city department to contact to request a plaque. The Chicago Park District’s Park Enhancement Committee would review the proposal, primarily considering issues of funding and the historical importance of the artwork before determining whether to grant the request.

A plaque in front of the statue that reads “Bird of Peace, Cosmo Campoli, 1922 - 1996.” - Spencer Bibbs
A plaque in front of the statue that reads “Bird of Peace, Cosmo Campoli, 1922 – 1996.”

-Spencer Bibbs

 

Hyde Park Herald