Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thor

Thor

The occasional tour of Transit Mall art continues with Thor, yet another of the original 1970s pieces, now located at SW 6th & Taylor. This is one of my favorites from the original crop, with an interesting and pleasant shape & texture to it. TriMet's Green Line Public Art Guide is, as usual, quite terse in its description of the thing:
Melvin Schuler, Thor, 1977, Copper on redwood
.

Thor

The redwood part is not obvious from looking a it, so I assume it's somewhere under the copper plating. I'm not sure why it's redwood, specifically, since nobody can see it. I'm inclined to blame it on the 70s, when everyone wanted to make everything out of redwood because it was "natural". Pencils, hot tubs, groovy rustic furniture, and apparently abstract sculptures too. Then the 80s came along and people (myself included) looked at all the stumps and went "oh crap", and there were protests and lawsuits and on and on. But I digress.

Thor

As is often the case with 70s Transit Mall art, there's almost nothing on the net about Thor. Portland, OR Daily Photo has a post about it, obviously with a couple of photos. A forum thread at AskART includes a couple of people saying how much they like Thor. And a couple of references show up in the library's Oregonian Historical Archives:

An article on the front page of the Metro section on September 20, 1977 includes a photo of Thor being installed at its original location between SW Washington & Alder. An October 9, 1977 editorial about the controversial crop of new Transit Mall art mentions it briefly:
Look at the copper-sheathed work by Melvin Schuler between Alder and Washington. See the curve and balance and accent, the melding of shape into shape? Or do you see an off-balance rock about to crash upon you?

Thor

And that's about all I've got on this one, I'm afraid. If you know any interesting stories or anecdotes about it -- even completely fictional ones you made up just now -- feel free to share 'em down in the comments.

Thx. Mgmt.

Thor

Thor

Thor

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