Monday, January 22, 2007

MY Sculpture Park!

This weekend saw the grand opening of Seattle's (yet unfinished) Olympic Sculpture Park. And I have to say, I don't like the sight of people walking all over it. The building I work in is directly adjacent to the new park, and I've watched it grow from infancy to the gangly adolescence it finds itself in today (parts of it being much more mature - or "finished," if you will - than others). I used to park my car daily in the series of parking lots it overtook. I was there for the groundbreaking ceremonies. I've put up with all of the construction noise and traffic. I've watched enormous pieces of art be flown in for installation. And I'll be damned if I don't feel a little bit of ownership of the thing. That said, I've yet to officially visit now that it's finally open. However, there are a number of pieces that have been visible for quite a while, particularly given my vantage point. And on those, I'm happy to give you my preliminary opinions.

My favorite from afar is probably "Split," the forlorn, eternally winterized tree. Or perhaps "Love & Loss." The only part I've really experienced thus far is the neon red ampersand, its soft red glow the only sign of light outside the office once the sun goes down. It's just red and scripty enough to recall the Rainier R, which makes it feel homey to me. And it twirls, which I find strangely comforting.

And I love "Typewriter Eraser" simply because everyone's talking about it... loudly. Some people deny that it's art. Some people have no idea what a typewriter eraser is and can not understand why someone outfitted a bulls eye with such spiky blue hair. I have to admit to being one of the people who didn't know what it was because, hello? What the hell's a typewriter?

I love "Eagle" from every angle except from my building. Defenders of the piece have told me that, clearly, the sculpture was not meant to be viewed from this side. Apparently, we're looking at the back and I should just lay off. But seriously? The back? There IS NO BACK in outdoor sculpture. Outdoor composition requires that all sides are the front. That's the first thing that was drilled into me in my many choreography classes (and yes, we had an entire section dedicated to environmental composition). Painted steele, clay, oil paint, musical notes, moving bodies: I dare say it's all the same damn thing and the same concepts apply. So I refuse to grant Calder any leeway (without, of course, denying that the sculpture in still utterly magnificent) and won't concede that perhaps I'm looking at the "back" of this piece. I prefer to call it the forgotten front.

Of the pieces I've only seen from very, very afar, I'm most looking forward experiencing "Wake." It's very tall and wavy, much like the boyfriend I don't have. And I'm curious to see the final installation of the "Father and Son" fountain, which is causing all sorts of controversy as it features a nude father and son reaching for each other through ever-changing surges of water. I find it bittersweet. Some find it pervy.

As for the pieces I've actually seen up close and personal? Those would all be in the pavilion. I'm not crazy about most of it, though there is some very lovely photography of the homeless folks displaced by the park's construction. But I'm DYING to try out the weird rubbery, bouncy, cage things suspended from the ceiling. You can actually GET IN THEM. And BOUNCE! I'll have my chance soon enough, given that I will be there in a few weeks for a party. Given the dress I'll be wearing, the bouncing should ensure that a few of my fellow guests will catch a glimpse of my hoo hoo. Because, given the very open bar, I expect the panties will have come off by then and will be wrapped decoratively around my head.

Art at its finest.

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