Monday, May 06, 2013

The Knowledge

The Knowledge The Knowledge

Ok, time for another episode in obscure stuff near the Portland State campus. The Knowledge is a bit easier to find than most entries in this series; it's the large, brightly colored mural of books that takes up much of the block of 5th Avenue between Hall & College streets. I'm not entirely sure mural is the right word here; it's a photo or photos printed on vinyl, applied to one of PSU's infinite collection of hideous 1960s parking structures.

CultureNOW describes it:

This mural by Harrell Fletcher, with assistance from Avalon Kalin, depicts a series of stacked books from the Portland State University Library, showing the spines with titles. Titles include references to the adjacent educational community and local sustainability efforts, as well as topics of interest to the diverse student body, the campus community in general, and neighboring businesses that support the University District area. Students, faculty, and staff participated in a poll to choose the book titles.

The Knowledge

As a PSU alumnus, the only surprising thing about the poll results is that there's only one Raymond Carver book pictured. Maybe there was a quota or something, or maybe his star's fallen a bit in the last mumble-mumble years. Dunno. Anyway, The Knowledge was named one of the nation's best public artworks of 2010, at something called the "Americans for the Arts Public Art Preconference", in June 2011. A Portland State news release about this win says:

Harrell Fletcher’s mural, The Knowledge, at Portland State University’s Ondine Building on the 5th Street side, was partially funded by RACC’s public art mural program, with additional funding from Portland Development Commission, TriMet and Portland State University. The 127’x20’ mural has improved the aesthetics of the surrounding area – which is dotted with residential apartments, , University residence halls, small businesses, cafes and restaurants – by adding vibrant color and graphics that promote learning in a university setting. As a side benefit, the mural also discourages graffiti in the area. More online at Estimated cost of the project is $35,000.

The Knowledge

Other items of interest from across the interwebs:

  • Interviews with the artist by Shambhala SunSpace, Allan McCollum & Greater Good.
  • A blog post at Noticing Southwest Portland.
  • A few Flickr photos. A comment at the latter photo suggests "somebody should do VHS version". Which is actually not a terrible idea, considering that PSU's Fifth Avenue Cinema is right around the corner. So it would be sort of appropriate. Although today's college students may have no idea what a VHS tape is.

The Knowledge The Knowledge The Knowledge The Knowledge

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