Sunday, May 25, 2014

Untitled, NE 72nd & Fremont

Today's adventure in local art takes us to yet another obscure, rusty Lee Kelly sculpture from the early 1970s. Today's example (which I found in the Smithsonian art inventory database, and nowhere else on the internet) is simply called Untitled, and it sits outside a US Bank branch at NE 72nd & Fremont, just south of Sandy Boulevard. The location is quite a busy area, but the sculpture is surprisingly hard to see. It's set back from the street, near the bank drive-thru window; it's really quite small, by Kelly's usual standards; and the rust color makes it blend in with the surrounding landscaping. On closer examination, it's obviously a smaller sibling (and as it turns out, a predecessor) to Leland One, a big Kelly sculpture in my neighborhood that I've snarked about here a few times, by which I mean more than a few times.

As with Leland One, the highlight here is the set of orange enamel panels on the front, which were created by Bonnie Bronson, Kelly's wife. The catalog for a 2011 PNCA retrospective of her work mentions this Untitled briefly in passing, but doesn't include a photo. The only solo work of hers I've covered here (so far) is Nepali Window near SW 4th & Alder downtown, which I was quite a fan of.

I keep pointing out I'm not a huge fan of Kelly's work, yet for some reason I keep tracking these things down anyway. It's totally fair to wonder why I keep doing this. I suppose the sheer snark value is a big reason, but I think it's also that most of these sculptures have lapsed into utter obscurity over the last few decades (perhaps rightly so) and there aren't any photos of them on the net, and they don't appear on the usual walking maps and tourist guides and public art brochures. So the odds are pretty good that I'll have yet another top Google ranking for something nobody on earth will ever search for. That's kind of been a staple of this humble blog since way back in 2005. I've never claimed to be a hipster, but you could say I've been into stuff you probably haven't heard of since before it was cool. Locally sourced, too.

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