Monday, December 24, 2012

Ya - Wa

Ya - Wa

Some photos of Ya-Wa, the sculpture at the entrance to the ODS Tower in downtown Portland. It's the pair of dead trees shackled to the building on both sides of the front door. Looks inspiring, huh?

I mentioned this one briefly, without photos, in a post wayyy back in January 2006, on a day I was feeling a bit snarky. This was apparently before the thing had been given a name, or at least before I knew what the name was:

  • "Untitled", at the ODS Tower, in which Judy Pfaff went all Abu Ghraib on a poor innocent tree. This is the best pic I could find. Most pics of the ODS Tower don't show the tree, and for good reason. Depressing and authoritarian as anything you've ever seen. Manages to surpass the "best" works of the most hardcore 60's brutalists, and gets extra brutalism points for incorporating an actual dead organism, instead of just working in grey concrete and rusting steel like in the old days. Someone should convince Dick Cheney to buy this thing and take it off our hands. It's right up his alley. On top of everything else, the artist couldn't even think of a name for the thing.
  • The name now is just an indian phrase for "there it is", which is barely a name if you ask me. Anyway, I'm not sure I'd be quite that harsh about it today; it's just art, and it's not even publicly-funded art, and I'm also not an ODS customer. So the only real stake I have in the matter is that my office is nearby, and I have to look at Ya-Wa a lot, and it depresses me. A brief mention of the piece in a post at Portland Public Art seems to blame the site rather than the art itself. I can see a reasonable argument there; the ODS Tower (sometimes nicknamed the "Odious Tower") is a seriously unimpressive chunk of architecture. And the other works featured on the artist's website aren't bad. So sure, I'm willing to spread the blame around a bit. Still don't like it though, regardless of whose fault it is.

    Ya - Wa Ya - Wa Ya - Wa

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