Saturday, March 24, 2012

Talos No. 2



The occasional tour of Transit Mall art continues, with a visit to Talos No. 2, a 1977 sculpture by James Lee Hansen, now located at SW 6th & Stark. This abstract figure has always reminded me of a being you might see on the cover of a 1950s or 1960s science fiction paperback. (Here are a few classic examples.) And I mean that in a good way. I think.

The Talos of Greek mythology was a giant bronze robo-man who patrolled the island of Crete, protecting it from invaders. You may be familiar with Ray Harryhausen's scary Talos in his classic film "Jason and the Argonauts".

In case you were wondering about the "No. 2" in the name of Portland's Talos, the mythological one isn't counted as "No. 1". Hansen's original Talos (1961) isn't in Crete, but in Fresno of all places. It once graced the downtown Fulton Mall, before being seriously vandalized a few years ago. It looks, or looked, a lot like ours, and you wouldn't suspect they were created 16 years apart. In any case, the public radio station at Cal State Fresno has an interesting interview with the sculptor that touches on their local Talos among other things.

2 comments :

Gordon said...

The main function of this sculpture may be with the ego of the artist. I see shapes like this in barkdust surrounding the sculpture or in the bark of an adjacent tree. It seems to me that humans design much more appealing forms when they are functional such as the hull of a ship or the form of an aircraft, or the shape of a fork. Perhaps if I were a pigeon I'd feel more drawn to this sculpture.

Gordon said...

The main function of this sculpture may be with the ego of the artist. I see shapes like this in barkdust surrounding the sculpture or in the bark of an adjacent tree. It seems to me that humans design much more appealing forms when they are functional such as the hull of a ship or the form of an aircraft, or the shape of a fork. Perhaps if I were a pigeon I'd feel more drawn to this sculpture.