Monday, September 02, 2013

Contact II

Contact II

A few photos of Contact II, the red-orange abstract sculpture in the southeast corner of Jamison Square, due south of Rico Pasado. Public art in Portland is usually funded by the city, and commissions tend to go to regional Northwest artists. Contact II is different; Alexander Liberman, its creator, was "a Russian-American magazine editor, publisher, painter, photographer, and sculptor.", with long stints as art director for Vogue and editorial director for Condé Nast. Voguepedia (which exists) has an interesting bio of him. When he passed away in 1999, obituaries ran in papers around the globe, including the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Guardian, and The Independent, as well as in various trade publications.

As you might imagine, the city didn't commission or buy this one. Rather, it was donated by the late Ed Cauduro, a prominent local art collector, in memory of his parents. In general I prefer the publicly funded route, rather than relying on the whims of rich collectors, but indulging the occasional rich collector does seem to add a little variety that we wouldn't have otherwise. Unfortunately, by 2007 Contact II was visibly suffering from weathering and vandalism and was temporarily removed for restoration. It hasn't required similar attention since then, as far as I know, so the restoration work seems to have been a success so far.

Contact II

If you search for other Liberman sculptures around the net, you'll quickly realize this is an extremely tiny sculpture by his usual standards. A few more typical examples of his work include Argo at the Milwaukee Art Museum; Gate of Hope at the University of Hawaii - Manoa; and The Way, in Laumeier Sculpture Park in St. Louis. The Way is built from recycled oil tanks, measures 65' high by 102' wide by 100' deep, and weighs around 55 tons. Our puny example of his work could probably fit inside one of those oil drums, but it still bears a family resemblance to its huge siblings, with cylindrical forms and bright cadmium red tones. Ours is nice, I guess, but I'd really rather have one of the huge ones.

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