Monday, February 11, 2013



Today's stop on the ongoing tour of Portland Transit Mall art is Continuation, a group of pieces on SW 6th between Clay & Columbia, in front of the swanky Hotel Modera. TriMet's public art guide describes it:

With the five sculptures that make up Continuation, Michihiro Kosuge reused red granite from an earlier sculpture and fountain installation on the Portland Mall. To create relationships between the sculptures while allowing each one to stand on its own, the artist sculpted pieces with interconnecting visual elements that include repetition, tension and stability.

Without that description, it's not at all obvious that the sculptures are basically made from construction debris. I'm not entirely sure what the previous piece was, but I think they may have been part of the rim of the late, lamented "Bathtub Fountain", another piece of which reappeared briefly a few blocks north of here before vanishing again. If I recall correctly, TriMet had originally promised to rebuild the fountain in a new location, but you can only claim this happened if you have a very flexible definition of "rebuild".


I don't know whether the nickname "Bathtub Fountain" had anything to do with it being used as a literal bathtub by the homeless, but I witnessed that happen more than once. Call me a cynic if you like, but that sort of thing pretty much guaranteed the city wouldn't rebuild the fountain in its original form, much less provide a more dignified bathing option for the city's homeless. It's possible I've lived here too long. Although it's not like other US cities are famous for their kindness and generosity toward the homeless either.

Continuation Continuation Continuation Continuation

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