Gwendolyn Brooks thought it looked stupid. Chicago’s Pulitzer Prize-winning poet hadn’t yet set eyes on the new sculpture the city had asked her to laud. The 50-foot-high, 162-ton monument was being installed behind screens at the Civic Center, out of sheets of COR-TEN, the same steel used in the building behind it. She had only seen photographs. “The pictures looked very foolish, ” the future poet laureate of Illinois later said, “with those two little eyes and that long nose.” But a gig’s a gig, though her foray into occasional verse reflected her unease. “Man visits Art, but squirms,” she read at the unveiling on Aug. 15, 1967, a grand, public ceremony where 50,000 Chicagoans — at least according to police estimates — were serenaded by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra while waiting to meet the sculpture that some predicted might replace the Art Institute’s lions as a symbol of the city.  Gallery The city had certainly seen the sculpture before it was unveiled. The previous September, the 42-inch model that Pablo Picasso had donated to the city went on display at the Art Institute. The work had no title, and Chicagoans debated what it might be. A woman’s head? An Afghan hound? A seahorse? A baboon? The Tribune called it a “predatory grasshopper.” Mayor Richard J. Daley said he saw “the wings of justice” in the sculpture, and his was the opinion that really mattered. People catching a glimpse through the holes in the canvas surrounding the Picasso before its unveiling in 1967. | Sun-Times files Ald. John Hoellen thought it looked like a vulture and introduced a resolution in the Chicago City Council to replace the sculpture with one honoring Cubs first baseman Ernie Banks. Animosity was stoked by the background of the Spanish-born artist, who in 1962 had accepted the Soviet Union’s Lenin Prize. “I can’t for the life of me understand how the people of Chicago can sit idle while this so-called statue donated by the card-carrying Communist Picasso is unveiled right in our heartland,” M.A. Thoiona wrote to the Tribune two days before the unveiling. “To think that our children and grandchildren will have to look at this monstrosity for years to come!” “It is said