LOGAN SQUARE — The “boob painting” that was stolen from a Logan Square park earlier this week is back home with its owner.
A neighbor who thought the artwork was inappropriate took the painting, but arranged to give it back through the Unity Park Advisory Council after a Block Club story about the theft, according to park advisory council member Joel Monarch.
Monarch and another member of the park group returned the painting — and the easel and notebook — to artist Elizabeth Shen Thursday, a couple days after it went missing.
“A neighbor, a former member of the council who lives near the park, saw the painting sitting at the entrance at Kimball and called us outraged because she knows we’re still involved,” Monarch said. “She said it should not be up there. I said, ‘Why don’t you just take it in, safeguard it, and we’ll look around for the owner.'”
The painting is of women’s breasts and has text that reads “You are cordially invited to look.” Shen put the artwork in Logan Square’s Unity Park Monday with a notebook so neighbors could share their thoughts, hoping to spark a dialogue among neighbors.
The 22-year-old University of Chicago graduate was disheartened when the painting and the notebook disappeared the next day, and put up a sign asking whoever took it to return it.
“It’s making me think if I should evaluate my own expectations of my neighborhood, my community,” Shen previously said.
While she’s relieved to have the painting back, Shen said she’s disappointed that the neighbor found the painting so offensive that they removed it from the park and prevented others from engaging with it.
“I don’t find it offensive. I find it thought-provoking. I find it beautiful. I find it to be an expression of my agency as a woman,” she said. “I think they could’ve handled the situation more respectfully and done more to hear me out.”
Monarch, however, said a public park is “probably not the best place” for a painting of women’s breasts.
Despite the kerfuffle, Shen isn’t giving up on using public spaces as her art gallery. She said she’d put another painting in a public park if it meant more people could view and interact with her artwork.
“It’s been a conversation starter and it’s helped me learn more about the world,” Shen said.
The “boob painting” is going up for sale at local shop Wolfbait & B-Girls at 3131 W. Logan Blvd., the shop’s owner confirmed.
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