Saturday, January 23, 2016

Scribner II

For the past year and change, new posts here have been about Portland murals to the near-exclusion of everything else. I think it's gotten a little monotonous, frankly, so I think I'm going to switch gears and work through some of the non-mural stuff I've had lying around for a while. I'd been planning on doing those after I got to zero mural posts in Drafts, but I think I could use a little variety right about now.

The previous big project here (if you remember back that far) involved tracking down public art around the Portland area (specifically excluding murals, at first, on the grounds that there are a whole lot of them around, and more all the time). As part of that project, I made a trip up to the OHSU campus on Marquam Hill, since the state's medical school has a ginormous art collection, including a few outdoor sculptures scattered around here and there.

The example we're looking at this time is Scribner II, a rusty Lee Kelly whatzit from the 70s in his usual chunky style, at a bus stop across the street from the Nursing School. This one reminds me of Kelly's Arlie outside the Portland Art Museum, which looks kind of like Scribner II up on stilts. I couldn't find a lot on the interwebs about this one; it only merited a brief mention in an old Portland Public Art post about OHSU art: "There’s an old rusty Lee Kelly in front of the nursing school, and another shiny one in front of the VA. Both hideous." (The one at the VA Hospital is Aeolian Columns, seen here last April.) That mention wasn't much of a clue, but I eventually located it in Street View, and later tracked it down in person. And here it is, in all its semi-groovy 70s glory. On the plus side, if you're waiting for a bus here and happen to cut or scrape yourself on Scribner II, you can just pop across the street for your tetanus shot. I dunno, maybe the whole reason it's here is to help drive demand for tetanus shots.

The only other mention of this sculpture I've seen anywhere on the net is a vintage photo from the Pacific Northwest College of Art, with Scribner II squatting in a snowy field, and that page contains no further information about the thing. So I can't explain the title, I'm afraid. I imagine it either refers to Charles Scribner II, the 19th Century publishing magnate, or there's a Scribner I lurking out there somewhere.

No comments :