Lake Shore Drive to The Loop

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Figures + Forms: Margot McMahon/Lake Shore Drive to The Loop
Margot McMahon
Written By Margot McMahon

Margot McMahon's sculptures tell a story of how living beings are all connected through nature.


Checkmate is carved from two tree trunks devastated by the emerald ash borer. The Knight is rearing up out of its chess piece, checking the Queen. Starting off as an active War Horse, the rearing equine took on a Guernica-like fierceness. The Queen, whose profile is derived from portraits of Queen Elizabeth Tudor, looks down from her 20-foot height, onto the 17-foot Knight, gesturing that she has the last move. She faces the opposing chess piece with a whimsical Queen of Hearts face. Two crowns are toppling above her regal poised glare.

Peace and Justice

Peace and Justice commemorates the 50-year effort of Daisaku Ikeda, who has led Sokka Gakkai, a Tokyo-based lay Buddhist worldwide organization. As he began his leadership he was encouraged to make racial equality a primary focus by an incident he witnessed in Lincoln Park. There, an African-American boy was not only excluded from playing a ball game, but ridiculed for accidentally laughing at another boy’s mistake. Two boys, one African-American and one white, are playing ball together in this sculpture. The boys who posed began their lives by going to school together and living on the same block. Lotus blossoms, symbols of new beginnings, are repeated shapes and spaces in the sculpture.  

Father Jack Egan

Monsignor Jack Egan was an activist priest who pioneered the community organizing movement in Chicago and nationally. His consistent effort for social justice was combined with his constant encouragement of others to fight for justice. Active and challenging, he steps forward in front of DePaul University’s Student Union to inspire students with an emphatic gesture of his hands pounding out a call for action to confront social injustice. A limestone circular bench creates a meeting place for conversation and potential action.

John D. MacArthur

John D. MacArthur is sculpted at the moment he chose to form the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. As described by then MacArthur Foundation Board President Bill Kirby, the goal was “to capture the moment after he had made his fortune and decided to give it away.“ Margot sculpted in clay Mr. MacArthur’s image as if seated in his Colonnades Hotel on Singer Island, Florida, that was his “office.” His gesture is as if he has a phone in one hand and a coffee cup in the other. The sculpture was commissioned by the Foundation for the John D. MacArthur State Park in North Palm Beach, Florida. A second casting is installed outside of the Chicago MacArthur Foundation’s Board Room.

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Figures + Forms: Margot McMahon

Lake Shore Drive to The Loop

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