Located in the School of Social Service Administration
969 E 60th St
Commissioned in honor of Alton L. Linford, former Dean of the School of Social Service Administration
Hanging on a beige white brick wall in the Mies van der Rohe–designed Social Service Administration building, Abbott Pattison’s welded bronze sculpture Processional is a set of seven abstracted human figures, five adults and two children, lined up horizontally in a procession, as the name suggests. Pattison used a Cubist language, welding together broad, bronze planes and abstracting organic human figures into geometric, multi-faceted ones. The contours of Pattison’s bronze figures, though abstract, stand out from Mies van der Rohe’s architecture, which consists mostly of orthogonal glass, steel, and bricks. As if dancing on the strictly rectangular brick wall, the figures add movement and a lively tone to the immaculate Modernist building.
Processional was dedicated in 1973, in honor of the former Dean of the School of Social Service Administration, Alton L. Linford. Linford is credited with being the main driving force in in commissioning the new Mies building for the SSA in 1965. After his retirement in 1969, his colleagues decided to commission this sculpture dedicated to him. The seven figures in the sculpture stand in a procession as if moving from left to right, which is said to symbolize social workers dedicating themselves to walking into the community and joining hands with children, the elderly, and others in need.