Monday, April 07, 2014

Untitled, Pettygrove St.

So here's a fun lost & found story. I was rummaging through the Smithsonian's art inventory database and saw a mention of an Untitled sculpture by the prominent Portland artist Michele Russo, dated 1957, at an apartment complex at 2745 NW Pettygrove. That was the only mention I could find of it, but I made a note to see if it still existed the next time I was in the area. So here it is, slightly worse for almost 60 years of wear. Ok, a bit more than slightly worse. It needs serious help. I wonder if the building's management even knows what it is?

A May 1957 Oregonian story mentions Russo winning a design contest for this piece:

Sculptors have the spotlight this week with Frederic Littman elected as president of the Northwest Institute of Sculpture and Michele Russo named as winner of Portland's first competition for an architectural sculpture.

Serving as vice president will be Portland sculptor Manuel Izquierdo. Institute membership draws from Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia, with Oregon having 14 members. At the exhibition arranged to coincide with the recent annual meeting of the group in Seattle 14 members had entries. At the meeting Littman spoke on architectural sculpture and related problems and James Hansen, Vancouver sculptor, demonstrated his lost wax method of bronze casting. Plans are under way for a meeting in Portland next year and an all-sculpture show.

Portland's first competition for architectural sculpture was offered by Mr. and Mrs. Daniel W. Creary who were searching for a suitable accent for their modern apartment house going up at 27th and Pettygrove. The problem was submitted to William Fletcher, architect in charge, and to Don Blair and John Reese, associated with Fletcher on the project. It was decided by the architects to open the competition to members of Artists Equity of Oregon. Six entered the competition and Russo won with an abstract design of metal tubes and highly colored metal plates fashioned in open arrangement which will allow for a play of shadows on the surface of the building, enriching the pattern provided by the sculpture. The design as a whole suggests a pattern of giant leaves and stems intertwined.

1 comment :

Barry Cochran said...

I recognized this location and sent your blog entry to a friend who lives in that building. She is going to contact her landlord about the history of this sculpture.