Sunday, July 28, 2013

Three Figures

Three Figures I was walking near Lloyd Center the other day, and noticed this collection of large metal figures at NE 13th & Holladay, across the MAX tracks from the Lloyd Center cinemas. I'd never noticed them before, so I snapped a few quick phone photos to see if I could figure out what they were. Turns out the three figures are called, collectively, Three Figures, and RACC has this to say about them:
Mark Bulwinkle’s figures were a gift to Portland from AVIA. Originally sited at AVIA’s Corporate Headquarters, they were re-sited at their current location to appear to be enjoying the green space. Bulwinkle lives in Oakland, CA and is known for his whimsical welded sculptures.
Three Figures

The photos on the RACC page -- as well as the ones at Public Art Archive & CultureNow -- are probably from just after the figures were relocated. The surrounding trees are a lot bigger now, and the figures don't so much enjoy the green space as lurk within it. It doesn't help that the site is a little wedge of land between MAX tracks and an I-84 freeway ramp, with a vast empty parking lot on the other side of the tracks. There are probably other sites around town where the figures would be even more obscure than they are now, but locating them would take a bit of research.

If you started with a copy of the Travel Portland public art map as your guide, you'd be out of luck too. The 2007 edition puts Three Figures in the wrong place, a few blocks west at 11th & Lloyd, while the current map just drops it entirely, along with a number of other artworks around the Lloyd District area. Beats me why they'd do that. Maybe to save space on the print version, I dunno.

Three Figures

As for why the relocation happened, I imagine it's because there's no Avia headquarters in Portland anymore. The company was founded here in 1979, but was absorbed by the Reebok empire in 1987. Which I remember because I ran HS cross country at the time, and I think I wore Avias exclusively. I should point out that I wasn't actually very fast, although I can't really blame the shoes for that. In recent years the brand's bounced around among successive owners, changing hands again just a few months ago. A recent Portland Business Journal article notes that it's become a low-priced shoe brand featured at Walmart. Alas, how the mighty have fallen...

Three Figures

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