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Sculpture Park

January 29, 2007

Two weeks ago, The City of Seattle opened the newest addition to the SAM (Seattle Art Museum). A nine acre, $85 million dollar Sculpture Park on the shores of Elliot Bay. I haven’t visited yet, mainly because there have been over 70,000 people there over the past two weeks, but from what I hear, it’s an impressive addition to the Emerald City. The natural beauty of Puget Sound along with the landscaping and of course, the art itself, have apparently come together to create an amazing park.

The SAM was able to cover over 75% of the costs with the public on the hook for less than $21 million. That’s a lot of cash but it seems like a good deal by today’s standards. It’s a pittance compared to the $300 million the Sonics want for a new stadium.

While I’m sure the park is outstanding, I have to chuckle at the disconnect between the Museum staff and the ROTW (The Rest of the World. One of my favorite acronyms so you’ll see it a lot. That is, if you keep reading). On Saturday, the Seattle PI quoted (and I paraphrase) a Museum Spokesperson complaining that people won’t keep their hands off of the sculptures, particularly, Richard Sierra’s 300-Ton behemoth, Wake.

You know, I am not an expert on outdoor art but if you put a set of five, massive, 14-foot tall, rusty steel sculptures in the middle of a wide open Seattle park, people are going to touch them. They’re going to touch them, scratch them, tag them, kick them, do heroin behind them, and who knows what else. This is Seattle for God’s sake. Our weirdo per-capita ratio is abnormally high. Remember Enumclaw?

Check out the ‘Bean‘ in Chicago. The reflective surface is integral to the sculpture, it’s the beauty of the piece. And they let people put their paws all over that thing. It’s part of the experience.

There’s also an oversized Typewrite Eraser that you’re not supposed to take pictures of. Yeah, right.

All that said, I’m excited to get over to the park soon. I’ll let you know what I think.

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