To be honest, I don't like it when a suburb claims a famous Chicago area architect or artist as their own. I am far more comfortable with the pervasive idea that all historical artisans have a Chicago--preferably a South Loop--connection. Like a studio at the Fine Arts Building at Congress and Michigan (Frank Lloyd Wright had one there despite owning a studio and residence in Oak Park) or an office back in the day in the Donahue Building or something.
The Adler Planetarium
has at least 13 plaques designed by Iannelli
--the 12 that go around the original building, affixed to its 12 corners, depicting the signs of the zodiac--some of which are now "inside" the building since the Adler expansion many years ago that enclosed part of the original structure. But they are still nicely visible. And there is also an Iannelli dediciation plaque in the lobby depicting the eight planets that were identified at the time the building opened in 1930. This plaque got under the skin of Adler people when Pluto
was imminently discovered. But when Pluto was cast out as a planet in 2006, the plaque became accurate again. So up-to-the minute science reigns again at Adler--and Iannelli looks sound in his artistry and in his grasp of astronomy.
But one of the most interesting stories that McClendon told on the tour having to do with Iannelli was about the 1933 Century of Progress
, which took place on Northerly Island. There was a children's area at the fair called the Enchanted Island
--which was symbolized at the fair, according to Dennis, by a peculiar looking, perverse, creepy sort of little boy. But Dennis said that there is a more wholesome way to set the artistic record straight, regarding such a characterization.
"He was a 'Cubist
' boy," he said. It was that simple, artistically speaking.
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