Sunday, February 02, 2014

Black Hole No. 4

In today's thrilling adventure, we're off to inner SE Portland to look for Black Hole No. 4, which the Smithsonian art survey says is at the Plaid Pantry convenience store at SE 20th & Ankeny. Seriously. I went there and took the above photos; it's just that I don't know what the actual art is supposed to look like, so I don't know whether this is it, or whether it's missing and this is just the pedestal it used to be on. The survey describes it as:

  Hess, Robert, sculptor.
  Sculpture: bronze(?); 
  Base: concrete.
  Sculpture: approx. 20 x 25 x 25 in.; 
  Base: approx. H. 32 in. x Diam. 14 in.; 
  Pedestal: approx. Circum. 50 in.
  Surveyed 1993 November. Treatment urgent.

...which sort of suggests we're maybe just looking at the pedestal here. Sigh. The sculptor is apparently a professor emeritus at Willamette University in Salem, and photos from a Portland gallery representing him suggest that the missing sculpture was probably kind of cool. The only mention of it I've found in the Oregonian database is a brief community calendar item, from June 1985, stating the next meeting of the local neighborhood association would "Discuss a new crime prevention committee, goals for the community development plan, plans for the Buckman Flea Festival, and art for a Plaid Pantry store at Southeast 20th Avenue and East Burnside Street.". So that's all I really know. I did find a 1982 article about the same neighborhood association teaming up with Plaid Pantry to create a mural (which still exists) on another store at 12th & Morrison. So they'd worked together before Black Hole No. 4

If I was truly dedicated to this blogging thing, this would be the point where I'd start making phone calls and doing legwork and trying to figure out where the art went. Except that I hate making phone calls, and really I think this is a job for someone who lives a little closer and has more of a stake in the outcome. Is it in storage now, maybe in a vast warehouse like the one in Raiders of the Lost Ark? Or maybe it sits forgotten in a neighborhood volunteer's attic, and we won't see it again until it pops up on Antiques Road Show? Or maybe meth-crazed metal thieves stole it? Or professional art thieves, perhaps in the employ of an anonymous Swiss collector? Who knows?

No comments :