Archive for the ‘The Arts’ Category



February 28, 2007

Stacking Rocks

February 1, 2007

I drove down to Fremont last night to get a haircut.

I found a parking space down by the Ship Canal, just south of Brouwers. I walked up to the 7-11 to get some cash, crossed back across 36th and headed towards Rudy’s Barbershop.

I crossed Phinney and headed down the sidewalk. Suddenly I realized where I was.

“Damn. I hope he’s not here.”

I had stumbled into the realm of the Rock Stacker.

Almost everytime I’m down in that part of Fremont, he’s there. Usually, he’s diligently stacking up rocks in the strip of grass/dirt between the sidewalk and the street. It’s ‘art’ I suppose. I certainly couldn’t do it. He’s definitely a master at coaxing rocks to sit on top of each other in ways that seem to defy physics.

This time, I couldn’t see him anywhere, but that didn’t mean anything. He’s an expert at blending in with the shadows. There were a lot of rocks lying about but I didn’t see any ‘sculptures’. Maybe he wasn’t around?

I made it about halfway to Rudy’s when I saw him. He was sitting on the steps in an alcove just off the sidewalk. He had a harmonica in his mouth (no hands) and was staring at me. As I walked by him, I nodded my head, ‘hello’. He took a few quick breaths through the harmonica.

“Wheeze, whaaze, wheeze, whaaze.”

Once I passed by, he took the harmonica out of his mouth and shouted at me unintelligibly for a few seconds. He then retreated back into the alcove.

I never really know what to think of the guy. I appreciate the street art but for the most part, he comes across as a real ass. You get the idea he really doesn’t like you walking down his section of the sidewalk.

Oh, and contrary to article I linked to above, he’s still stacking rocks.


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.


Ron Mueck

January 22, 2007

At some point in my surfing adventures, I stumbled across a sculpture of a big naked fat guy. It’s an amazingly expressive, realistic sculpture, three times normal size.

Big Man

It’s by an Australian Artist named Ron Mueck. Here’s a gallery of a recent exhibit in Washington DC.