Visual Art Jul 13, 2011 at 4:00 am

The Stranger Spends an Afternoon at the Olympic Sculpture Park

Alexander Calder’s ‘Eagle,’ 1971, and Carolina Silva’s ‘Air Below Ground,’ ongoing. Courtesy of Seattle Art Museum


"Everywhere in the modern world there is neglect, the need to be recognized, which is not satisfied. Art is a way of recognizing oneself, which is why it will always be modern." Louise Bourgeois
I have an obscenely extensive art background and I've got to admit that Lindy West's write-up of "Eagle" has got to be one of the best art reviews I have read in my entire life.

I’ve been walking my dog in the Olympic Sculpture Park constantly since I arrived in May. It’s Belltown’s answer to Cal Anderson Park! I liked the emphasis on the “do not touch” of Richard Serra’s piece, especially after visiting Western Washington University in Bellingham. I saw his piece in their sculpture park/campus scrawled with university-sanctioned chalk. I can think of no more interesting piece of art than a steel monolith corroded with the oils of 100,000 fingers fifty years from now. Mr. Serra would probably agree. As for the recent additions by Carolina Silva and Nichols Nyland: thank goodness they are temporary. Part of what makes simple pieces genius is the meticulousness. Look at a Starn Twins frame or Damien Hurst’s cabinets and you know the success has everything to do with the execution. By contrast these artists’ works look like they were sourced by Archie Mcphee, Walgreens, and Home Depot. I could go on, or I could mention the nurse log I saw outside the convention center in Portland installed TWENTY years ago. It’s out in the open, free to drink beer on - or piss on. You know, Portland is like what your parents thought they would turn out to be twenty years ago – until they ended up like the stiff-lipped, full-of-compromise OSP, and, by extension, Seattle. Still, I and my dog love the paths through the grassy hills, anything by Beverly Pepper (she has two at WWU too!), the open air, the people meet n’ greet, and, by extension, Seattle. Oh, and stuff written by Dan Savage who makes us look at things in ways we never thought. He’s right about that fountain.
Remember when we had a trolly?
I love that fucking fountain sculpture. It made me weep the first time I saw it, and I have to limit my exposure to it still lest I become a blubbering idiot. It expresses such longing and isolation, and I don't give a shit if that means I'm not cool enough to scorn a piece of art that was created without an iota of ironic reserve.

Fucking Philistines.

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