Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Oregon Landscape

Oregon Country

Today's adventure in obscure stuff takes us to the Portland State campus, where Oregon Landscape adorns the Park Blocks side of Neuberger Hall. It's a series of bronze sculptural panels attached to the first floor windows, depicting various Oregon landscapes from seashore to high desert. It dates back to 1960-1962, around the same time Neuberger Hall was constructed.

I had trouble finding any info about this one at first because the big Travel Portland art map calls it Oregon Country for some reason, and searching on that name yields very little useful information. The Smithsonian art inventory, PSU's historic resource survey, & the city archives all call it Oregon Landscape, so I assume that's the actual name. We'll have to go with that in terms of what's canonical, since Tom Hardy (the sculptor) retired last year at age 90, sold off the contents of his studio, stopped tweeting, and even took down his website. Hardy, incidentally, also created a couple of other pieces that have shown up here before: Running Horses on the transit mall (formerly in Pioneer Courthouse Square), & the Herons sculpture at the Bybee-Howell House up on sauvie island, etc. This one is by far my favorite of the three. Bonus points are hereby awarded for the octopus.

Oregon Country

Speaking of the city archives, which I was a moment ago, they have an old photo of Oregon Landscape dated 1970, before the Park Blocks were closed to vehicle traffic. It's quite strange to see a regular city street and traffic in that location.

Oregon Country

I was curious about Oregon Landscape when I was a student at Portland State, mumble-mumble years ago, but it was tough to get a good look at it back then. Either it was considered unfashionable, or the groundskeeping budget had been zeroed out during the years I was there; either way, the sculpture was barely visible behind a thicket of bushes. So it was sort of interesting to finally get a good look at it for the first time. If there are any signs around explaining what it is, I haven't come across them; a 2010 class blog post included a photo of the piece & wondered what the deal was with it. So if there's a sign somewhere, clearly I'm not the only person who hasn't noticed it. Which is always a relief.

Oregon Country Oregon Country Oregon Country Oregon Country Oregon Country Oregon Country Oregon Country Oregon Country Oregon Country Oregon Country Oregon Country Oregon Country Oregon Country

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