Monday, January 29, 2007

AndrewsDad Reviews The Olympic Sculpture Park, Part I

I recently visited the brand spanking new Olympic Sculpture Park for the first time. Well maybe not the first time, I have kind of visited it every workday morning and every workday evening for the last year or so. To be honest, the negative effect on my commute has been fairly minimal. Unfortunately the positive effect of driving by an 85 million dollar outdoor sculpture park twice a day has also been fairly minimal.

Now I realize that art is in the eye of the beholder and some may say I might not have the keenest eye for art although I actually own some originals from the greatest artist ever, MC Escher. That being said, I have a simple set of rules to answer the question, "Is it Art?" Rule 1) Could I make that? If the answer is yes, it is not art. Rule 2) Would I want to look at that on a regular basis? If the answer is no, it is not art.

So with those rules in mind, I can now properly review the Olympic Sculpture Park and answer the question, "Is It Art?".

The first piece we will look at is "Split" by Roxie Paine.
"the most alluringly disturbing version of artificial nature since Blade Runner".
For those of us without an art degree, it is a 5,000 pound 50 foot tall stainless steel tree. I have no idea why anyone would make a steel tree. The real ones seem fine to me.
Verdict: Not art.

Next is "Persephone Unbound" by Beverly Pepper
"Like so much of her early work, "Persephone Unbound" is devoid of merit, but the earlier piece is kind of fun as an eccentricity. Hers is a career that went nowhere..."
Void of merit, a career that went nowhere, no kidding?
Verdict: Not art.

Next is "Wake" by Richard Serra
"a nuanced yet powerful meditation on the perceptual changes that movement brings to the geometry of matter. Moving between these sculptural slabs, each swelling as if it had an organic root, the audience's consciousness of weight recedes, and the entire piece appears to float. Fluid in its meanings, the sculpture conveys the artist's radical intent: to own its ground with rigor and purity, and to fill the air around it with the sensations it inspires."
Not sure what all that means but if it means a 300 ton $5 million dollar metal chalkboard where kids are going to scrawl graffiti then the artist has succeeded.
Verdict: Not art

That leads us to "Subliminal Pentagram", artist unknownI can not find an official description of this but it appears that the artist, like most represented in the park, may not have had any formal training.
Verdict: Not art

Next is "Touch", artist unknown
A companion piece to Subliminal Pentagram. It is hard to see but at the top in the middle, the artist has show how a simple touch, through the use of the word touch, conveys the message on the accompanying sign. Brilliant in its simplicity.
Verdict: Undecided

Finally, the unfinished "Father and Son" by Louise BourgeoisYou really do not want to know, trust me, and I really do not want to tell.
Verdict: Not even going to bother

In AndrewsDad Reviews The Olympic Sculpture Park, Part II, more examples of really expensive stuff that will one day be defaced by drunks, drug addicts and gang members and a few examples of things that may actually qualify as art, honest.

All official descriptions from the Seattle PI January 18, 2007 Olympic Sculpture Park section.

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