Monday, August 19, 2013

Arlie

Arlie

Today's public art thingamajig is Arlie, yet another whatzit by Lee Kelly, the same guy behind (deep breath) Leland One, the Kelly Fountain, Memory 99, Friendship Circle, Nash, Howard's Way, and a bunch of others. This one's on the grounds of the Portland Art Museum. I don't think I'm going to do posts about every single sculpture outside the art museum, just due to the sheer number of them, but I never pass up a chance to sigh melodramatically and roll my eyes at yet another Kelly creation.

Arlie

If this post seems snarkier than usual, it's not that Arlie is particularly worse than the others, but that I've already looked at a few too many giant rusty sculptures of his, and this is another one on top of them. This may be sort of unfair in a way, since this one was created back in 1978, and by all rights I should be more exasperated by mid-2000s ones done in basically the same style. It's also reasonable for the reader to go, hey, he's going out of his way to track these down and be annoyed by them. And the reader would be correct. I like to think this occasional quest is at least mildly entertaining. It is to me anyway. And I'll readily admit these things aren't actually a public menace, unless maybe you're standing next to one when an earthquake happens. It's just that, if there's still such a thing as an art historian a few centuries from now, they'll realize how many of these things there are around town and wonder what the hell we were thinking. Assuming post-apocalyptic metal-scavenging mutants don't get to them first.

Arlie

So, a few links about Arlie, because I care about fairness, and I imagine you might be interested in some less-biased and more informative sources:

So on one hand Arlie looks like one of the monstrous alien machines from the Tripods trilogy (a young-adult SF series from the late 1960s), which is not a plus in my book. But one of the legs forms a sort of bench, and I've actually seen people using it occasionally. So it's not beautiful, but it's at least a little useful, so I suppose it has that going for it.

Arlie Arlie Arlie Arlie

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