It is possible to be overwhelmed by Louis Sullivan's ornament at the Schlesinger and Meyer Department Store on Chicago's State Street. Or to overlook it entirely. Two stories of black metal spanning enormnous sheets of plate glass on a gray day can camouflage Sullivan's highest art. Afternoon sun, in late summer, can make this remarkable Sullivan masterpiece ... unforgettable.
Symmetrical patterns contrasted with pure flights of fancy. Incised geometries in opposition with three dimensional sculpture. Heavy geometries. Organic metal ... sprung to life. Hidden in the consistency of this black facade, Sullivan (etal) has created a highly complex and contradictory fantasy. One that changes - unpredictably - with the light and season.