Saturday, February 02, 2013

untitled (6th & washington)

Untitled, 6th & Washington

Today's adventure in Portland Transit Mall art takes us to 6th & Washington, home to a piece I repeatedly failed to see and walked right past while taking photos of other sculptures on 5th & 6th. This is Untitled, a chunk of stainless steel wall created by Bruce West (the same guy who created Sculpture Stage, & Land Form), and apparently it's graced the Transit Mall since the 1970s without me ever noticing it. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with it; it's a perfectly pleasant decorative object, and failing to notice something this big has to be at least partly my fault. But you have to admit it doesn't draw the eye the way, say, Kvinneakt does, or for that matter the also-untitled (but colorful) 1970s bus mall sculptures at 5th & Oak and 5th & Ankeny. A snarky Portland Public Art post about Mr. West's works around town has this to say about Untitled:

Transit Mall thing politely titled, untitled. Part of the 1976 or 77 splurge on low-maintenance art for the Mall startup.

Can we get exchange this untitled thing for a picnic table?

Untitled, 6th & Washington

Knowing this city as I do, the answer to that rhetorical question is that if you put a picnic table on the transit mall, sooner or later a homeless person would sleep under it, on some cold rainy winter's night. Local businessmen would be outraged, and the city would remove the table posthaste. And even if they could keep people from sheltering under the table, we only have three, maybe four months of picnic table weather each year anyway.

In any case, in addition to the West pieces in the Portland Public Art post, Cafe Unknown tracked down yet another piece of his, half-forgotten and cleverly hidden in a subterranean parking garage downtown. As you might imagine, it's been added to my todo list.

Untitled, 6th & Washington Untitled, 6th & Washington Untitled, 6th & Washington Untitled, 6th & Washington Untitled, 6th & Washington

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