Saturday, January 23, 2016

The Bearer

Our next art stop is on the OHSU campus again: This time we're looking at The Bearer, a small James Lee Hansen sculpture lurking in the shrubbery outside Baird Hall. The Maryhill Museum did a retrospective of his work in 2014, including a study for The Bearer dated 1974. Which I imagine gives us a rough date for the final product too.

I've probably said this before, but Hansen's style somehow always reminds me of a 1960s science fiction paperback cover. It's not fashionable contemporary art in 2016, by any stretch of the imagination, but I've sort of warmed up to this look over time. In any case, I think we can all agree the location's doing it no favors. An old Portland Public Art post noted it and assumed it was somebody's little vanity project:

This little thing peeks out of the bushes in front of Baird. No tag, no nothing. I bet a dollar it’s a Arts & Crafts Society project a beloved Dean or Director made while in mid-life crisis. Prove me wrong. About two and a half feet high, bronze, late 1970’s by the style. Hmm. A cubist mother pushing a futurist baby stroller.

A commenter took the bet and explained that it was actually by a (locally) famous artist. No word on whether the promised dollar actually changed hands.

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