Saturday, February 01, 2014

Silver Dawn

I may have mentioned once or twice that I'm rather fond of The Dreamer, the shiny bronze whatzit in Pettygrove Park. I recently found out it has a silvery sibling in NW Portland's Wallace Park, so obviously I had to go check it out. Silver Dawn is at the NE corner of the park, near the fenced off-leash dog area. The blurb from its RACC page is more artist bio than description:

“Silver Dawn” is an excellent example of the large biomorphic abstract sculptures that Manuel Izquierdo was known for. Izquierdo, a central figure in the mid-century Portland art scene, was born in Spain and came to Portland as a refugee who fled after the Spanish Civil War. He studied at the Museum Art School (now PNCA) and taught there for 46 years after graduating.

Silver Dawn makes a cameo in a blog post about the author's ongoing project to track down Izquierdo sculptures around the city. It mentions that Silver Dawn had once been in the middle of the off-leash area, and had also received dents and dings over the years, possibly thanks to balls from the nearby baseball/softball field.

The June 28th, 1980 Oregonian had a photo of Silver Dawn being installed, and the July 22nd paper mentioned it had just been dedicated as part of a repair and improvement effort at Wallace Park: "A sea-form sculpture by Manuel Izquierdo, selected in a national competition coordinated by the Northwest District Association, was dedicated during a neighborhood potluck." Silver Dawn was mentioned in passing in a 1982 article; this being the era before the internet and publicly accessible databases, the then-Metropolitan Arts Commission decided to put together a book cataloging the city's public art, fountains, murals and so forth, and they asked the public for suggestions to try to make the book as complete as possible. Which suggests they themselves didn't already have a master list to work from. Now, thirty-odd years later, they do at least have a public database of things they administer; works belonging to other government agencies or private owners are generally not listed, though. The Smithsonian art database is a bit more comprehensive, but isn't updated on an ongoing basis, so anything new in the last few years won't be listed. Still, the combination of these various sources is enough to keep this humble blog humming along, so I can't complain too much.

Incidentally, to go off on a mostly-unrelated tangent, I know exactly where I was on July 22nd, 1980. It was a hot day, and we were at our suburban neighborhood swimming pool. All of a sudden, people looked up and noticed a big grey mushroom cloud in the sky: Mt. St. Helens was erupting again. The famous destructive eruption had occurred back on May 18th, but the July eruption came on a clear sunny day and I think it may have been the only eruption I actually witnessed (at least until the volcano woke up again in 2004.) I even got out the family Kodamatic instant camera and took at least one photo of it, which I think I still have around somewhere. (If I ever find it again, I'll probably scan it and post it here.) The eruption was naturally the big lead story in the next day's paper.

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