Batcolumn (or Bat Column) is a 101-foot-tall (31 m) outdoor
sculpture in Chicago. Designed by Claes Oldenburg, it takes the shape
of a baseball bat standing on its knob. It consists of gray-painted
Corten steel arranged into an open latticework structure.
Batcolumn stands outside the Harold Washington Social Security
Administration Building at 600 West Madison Street near downtown
Chicago. The United States General Services Administration
commissioned the sculpture, which was dedicated in 1977. Oldenburg
originally designed the sculpture to be painted red, but he abandoned
that idea to distinguish it from Chicago's Flamingo sculpture by
Alexander Calder. Oldenburg instead had
Batcolumn painted gray, which
he also hoped would make the sculpture easier to see against the
sky. A plaque on the sculpture reads, "Oldenburg selected the
baseball bat as an emblem of Chicago's ambition and vigor. The
sculpture's verticality echoes the city's dramatic skyline, while its
form and scale cleverly allude to more traditional civic monuments,
such as obelisks and memorial columns."
The sculpture has been a source of controversy. On the day of its
dedication, a number of people came to protest, holding signs saying
"Tear it down" and "Expensive joke". However,
Batcolumn has also
had its defenders. A 2005
Chicago Tribune article named it one of the
Chicago sculptures (along with Standing Lincoln
and the lions outside the Art Institute of
List of public art in Chicago
List of works by Oldenburg and van Bruggen
^ Alan G. Artner. "'Simple, pure, suggestive object'". Chicago
Tribune. April 14, 1977. A1.
^ Josh Pahigian. 101 Baseball Places to See Before You Strike Out.
Globe Pequot, 2008. 67.
^ Michael Hirsley. "Some strike out at the Batcolumn". Chicago
Tribune. April 15, 1977. 1.
^ Rick Kogan (March 6, 2005). "Three treats to view at the outdoor
Chicago Tribune. Chicagotribune.com. p. 5. Retrieved
Claes Oldenburg (Batcolumn)
Coordinates: 41°52′55″N 87°38′35″W / 41.88200°N
87.64314°W / 4