In Arts & Entertainment

Radcliffe Bailey's "Pensive" is now in its permanent home on Water Street.

Radcliffe Bailey's "Pensive" sculpture installed in front of BMO Tower

On a chilly Wednesday, artist Radcliffe Bailey's sculpture, "Pensive," returned to Milwaukee for installation in the plaza in front of the new BMO Tower, 790 N. Water St.

The 2013 work in bronze and wood by the Atlanta-based artist first appeared in Milwaukee as part of Sculpture Milwaukee last year.

In December, Milwaukee-based Irgens, developer of the BMO Tower, announced that Sue and Mark Irgens had purchased "Pensive" and would have it installed where it could be enjoyed by all.

Now, it sits facing the plaza, allowing savvy photographers to get interesting angles of "Pensive" contemplating City Hall, the BMO Tower ... or both.

"At Irgens, we prioritize public art with our projects," said Irgens CEO Mark Irgens. "Public art benefits the community at large, attracts talent and is a valuable amenity that sets apart our building and city.

"We couldn't be more proud to not only add aesthetic beauty to our cityscape, but to also tell the story of '‚Ä

"Pensive" – which harks back to Auguste Rodin's classic "The Thinker" – depicts landmark African-American writer, historian, journalist/editor, activist and sociologist W.E.B. Du Bois, who visited Milwaukee on at least one occasion – in January 1922 – to speak at Conservatory Hall in the Stephenson Building, which still stands at 756 N. Milwaukee St. (While here, Du Bois also attended a dinner in his honor at the Shorewood home of William Polacheck and his wife, activist and writer Hilda Satt Polacheck.)

The sculpture came back to Milwaukee on Wednesday after having been sent to Chicago for the addition of a new base. It arrived here in the back of a small box truck owned by Methods & Materials, Inc., the Chicago fine art installation firm that transported and installed "Pensive."

Here are some images from the installation:


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