|"Good Cents" as presented to Council back in August|
|Podium for Good Cents along Mill Race north of SAIF parking lot|
|A zooming bicyclist for the Bike Bill, a little Futurist|
via BikePortland and PSU School of Architecture
|"Framian" celebrating Land Use law SB 100|
via OEC on FB at Sokol Blosser
|OEC graphic: Bike Bill, Bottle Bill, Land Use SB 100|
In the late 1960s & early 1970s, three innovative, bipartisan state laws launched Oregon Environmental Council’s decades-long work to protect the water, air and land we all share and love.These are celebratory public monuments. We might even consider them as benign propaganda. They should be rousing and inspiring!
Senate Bill 100 (land use planning), the Bike Bill and the Bottle Bill now provide Oregonians with a legacy of vibrant cities, fertile farms and scenic landscapes. As we celebrate 50 years of loving Oregon in 2018, we are proud to recognize these legislative accomplishments with three public art installations.
Alas, the pieces are underwhelming and seem strange choices for commemorative public art, too modest as monuments. If we're supposed to get fired up contemplating the terrificness and wisdom of these landmark laws, they elicit more of a polite golf clap. Maybe they will rouse your spirit more.
Apart from the artworks themselves, mostly I get the sites. PSU for Sam Oakland and Portland, and the winery for land use are both logical places (though the winery's piece isn't in public space).
But I'm less sure about the Mill Race here. Since the Bottle Drop storefronts and reverse vending machines, together key parts of the latest iteration of the Bottle Bill, feature so prominently in the OEC materials promoting "Loving Oregon," it remains puzzling why the Bottle Bill art wasn't something modular or editioned so it could be installed in every Bottle Drop statewide. That's where the public art belongs! Even with chain standardization, the Bottle Drops are sticky and smell of yeast and stale beer, and a jolt of art might be welcome to counter the morning-after mood. Those storefronts, anyway, are where the public most intensely works with the law and the institutions it created. What does the Mill Race have to do with the law?
|70s vintage urban renewal concrete (on the map, and on history)|
|Do we remember this?|
|Good public space has lively edges from adjacent land use|
there are lots of people in it, and they interact with the art.
|We celebrate the ornamental emptiness too much|
(from earlier this fall, and the City's FB header right now)
* I'm not 100% positive about the spot, but, you know, 99% sure. The report presented to Council showed two different sites and was not consistent. The plan view in the report did locate the sculpture on that bank immediately north of the SAIF parking lot and at that spot. It's also hard to imagine that kind of concrete base being done this time of year for anything else.
Update, December 13th
Yeah, that was the spot!
|The face is translucent|
|But this is not a very lively public space|
|They cast nickels in resin to represent a nickel|
Addendum, December 14th
There are some cranky art naysayers out there; people for whom art is just something that collects dust or a patina. But there is intrinsic community beauty and value in public art, not the least of which is it helps drive tourism and attract visitors.Until our art collection becomes world historical in stature, I think they vastly overstate the effect of public art "driving tourism" and "attracting visitors." This has it backwards: Well-placed public art is the serendipitous grace note on a trip fundamentally planned around other aims. It is accent and garnish, not main dish.