Saturday, April 10, 2010
So I recently ran across yet another Lee Kelly sculpture here in Portland. Kelly, you may recall, is the guy behind "Rusting Chunks #5", as well as the Kelly Fountain on the transit mall, and the art around "Howard's Way" next to PGE Park, and probably a bunch of others that don't spring to mind immediately.
It's gotten so I can recognize his work immediately, despite generally not being a huge fan of it. This one's called "Nash", and sits in front of the National Builders Hardware store on SE 10th between Yamhill & Taylor, in the Central Eastside industrial area. It's a surprising place to find a big piece of art sitting there, but when I saw it there was just no mistaking what it was. A Portland Tribune article about the store mentions "Nash" briefly: "Portland artist Lee Kelly’s massive steel sculpture of a latch and bolt sits in the front parking lot".
If there's a story behind the sculpture and why it's here, I haven't encountered it yet. But it seems the CEO's late wife was a local patron of the arts, and once served on the board of the Bonnie Bronson Foundation, honoring Kelly's late wife (and co-sculptor of the aforementioned Rusting Chunks). I don't know if that's related, or just illustrates that the Portland art scene is basically a very small town within the city and everyone knows each other. Or at least that was true before hipsters started moving here fresh out of art school. I'm not sure hipsters really count, though, at least not until they've had at least one proper gallery show (i.e. excluding coffee shops, even indie ones).