Lunchtime Tourist

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June 7, 2004 // UPDATED 1:53 pm - April 25, 2007
By: Linda Koutsky
Linda Koutsky

'Circus Flyers'

Butler Square, west atrium,

100 N. 6th St.

Butler Square is truly one of the great adaptive reuse projects in this country. Transforming a massive dark warehouse into a light-filled office and retail space was visionary.

The first atrium opened in 1973. When the west atrium was renovated in 1981, the building owners hired one of America's premier sculptors to create a piece for the space. George Segal's plaster cast figures were already well known in the area and seen in collections at the Walker Art Center, 725 Vineland Place, and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 2400 3rd Ave. S.

Born in 1924 to Eastern European immigrants, Segal balanced working in the family's poultry farm with making art. After earning undergraduate and graduate degrees in art, Segal taught to earn a living. A student brought in a couple rolls of plaster bandages, and Segal's art was forever changed.

The human casts reflected his humble roots. He portrayed factory workers, bus riders, gas station clerks and ordinary people doing ordinary things. He is considered one of the founding members of Pop Art and one of the most important figurative sculptors of the 20th century. Check out the shifting view of "Circus Flyers" from one of the glass elevators.


Last week's column should have led the adventurous to the Foshay Tower, 821 Marquette Ave. As a boy, Wilbur Foshay visited the obelisk-shaped Washington Monument and vowed to honor his childhood hero when he made his fortune. Designed by Minneapolis architects Magney & Tusler, this 1929 landmark was the tallest building in town until IDS Center went up in 1971.

The Foshay Tower remains a revered monument, but Foshay's own legacy collapsed with the stock market crash and he never lived in the lavish two-story home on the 27th and 28th floors (look for the balconies).

LUNCH TIP: Spring for a chicken Caesar wrap in Butler Square's own Champps restaurant.

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