11 posts categorized "Street Art"

Seattle's Hammering Man is Back to Work!

In a great sign for the economy, Hammering Man's missing arm has been returned and he is back to work!

The video below taken last evening around 7 pm.

Hammering Man's Arm Has Come Off!

Just crossing University Street walking south on First Avenue, shocked to see that Hammering Man is not only not working, but has lost his working arm altogether! In the shop for repairs, a City of Seattle sign says. IMG_1410

Art for Architecture's Sake

One of the pleasures of driving west on Yessler in Seattle, down the hill to the Sound -- and it delights me every time -- is to pass a Carolina blue cacophony of steel beams and planes tossed up, like a giant, frozen-in-mid-explosion Calder, just under the overpass where Yessler crosses Fifth Avenue.


I took these pictures this morning. In the top photo, I tried to approximate the perspective one has from the road. The other photos show views from the sidewalk on Yessler.


Here is a good example of a sculpture that works because of where it sits. The piece is in a transitional space that would otherwise be lost to the arterial overpass. Unlike the Serra sculptures at LACMA, say, or the Miroslaw Balka at the Tate Modern, this piece would not be interesting in any museum space.

That's because the work is not conversing with itself or arguing with the logic of its own composition. Instead, the piece is a canny asterisk, referencing Fifth Avenue and pulling its buildings into a skyline.


I went down a flight of steps to Fifth Avenue, to try to find a plaque that might identify the names of the sculpture and its sculptor. Finding none, I tapped on the door at 300 Fifth, the property hosting the work, and asked the security guard what the piece is called. "We don't call it anything," he said.

That feels exactly right.

Belisha Beacons at Berkeley Square

I love Belisha beacons. Fanciful and functional, they delighted me everywhere I came across them in England.

Here's a link to a video of an initial encounter at Clapham Common. Above is a video of a grander performance, 1 minute 42 seconds long, taken Dec. 22, 2009 at the corner of Berkeley and Bruton Streets in London. (I tried uploading this newer video at the same Internet cafe in Balham from which I uploaded the earlier video, but it took too long.)

Corus Bi-Steel Barriers at Palace of Westminster

These security barriers are in place outside the Palace of Westminster in London.

IMG_4647 The picture above is looking south along Abingdon Street. The one below, north, looking toward Whitehall.

IMG_4656 The barriers are meant for security but I think they almost work as sculpture, too. A scaled back, topographical version of Richard Serra's Band (2006) (which I first saw with my brother at MoMA) permanently installed at LACMA?

The photos were taken on the afternoon of December 21, 2009. From searching on Google, I think I've determined that the barriers are commercialized by a company called Corus.

Walking to Work

Inspired by a friend who walks to work in Pioneer Square from his home in West Seattle, I set out this beautiful, late autumn morning, from my place in the U District, to walk to my office downtown.

Google Maps laid out a 4.4 mile course it told me would take an hour, 28 minutes to traverse. I didn't consult the app as I went - not for direction; I followed the terrain - though it occurs to me now that it mapped how I actually traveled: south on University Ave., west on Campus Parkway, over the University Bridge, along Lake Union via Eastlake, around the southeast tip of Lake Union, up Fairview, onto Virginia, past the new Federal Courthouse and then into downtown.

I knew this experiment in commuting would prove viable only if I could work on the way in. And it turns out that I could, easily. I was able even to drink a mocha while typing mail and sending tweets (via iPhone) and making calls (via real phone). The only things to keep walking from being a productive way to commute, I surmise, will be: rain; bitter cold; un-shovelled snow; or ice.

I got as much done during the walk as I might have from my chair at the office (factoring in 20 minutes for the drive and another 5 minutes for the walk from the garage).

Below is my tweet stream from the walk, reversed to follow chronological order. I've interspersed the stream with the pictures I tweeted along the way. I've also added some after-the-moment reflections on encountering the building at 8th and Virginia.

  1. Getting fortified to walk to work. (@ Herkimer Coffee - University Way in Seattle) http://bit.ly/dizah
  2. http://bit.ly/4uQuuT Exchange with Reed Atkin over how many angels might be knocked out of investing by a new accredited investor standard.
  3. @lavrusik I know it's easy to say, but, lacking conventional positions, couldn't folks band together and publish, stay active?
  4. @joewallin thanks, Joe!
  5. I've walked the length of Univ. Ave so far. http://bit.ly/j8kih http://yfrog.com/jak2xj
  6. Picture in last tweet was looking north up the Ave. Still gorgeous fall (red) color on the trees.
  7. Art under approach to Univ. drawbridge (Roosevelt & Campus Parkway). http://maps.google.com/?q=4...,-122.318 (cont) http://tl.gd/treh
  8. @lavrusik well said. It can be scary to not have a set of expectations and routines. And if you have to take other work to make ends meet...
  9. Seaplanes parked on S. Lake Union. http://bit.ly/3qtgKm http://yfrog.com/0kid8nj
  10. Mercer St. exit, from Fairview, looks very different as a pedestrian. http://bit.ly/15Lbl7 http://yfrog.com/9efs5kj
  11. Not to be missed. RT @henryartgallery: Gary Hill event tonight: http://henryart.org/events/...
  12. Fairview & Denny. http://bit.ly/331xIo http://yfrog.com/2pv5gj
  13. Virginia curving west of Boren. http://bit.ly/2bil6f http://yfrog.com/129zcvj
  14. http://bit.ly/rgTT5 "West 8th" @ 8th Ave & Virginia. Many new towers look the same. http://yfrog.com/0o2uutj [Post-script (self comment midday on yfrog): Kitcshy, like a wall clock from Ikea. "Modern" design with almost arbitrary contrasts. Hedges bets; as if the geometry, the play of proportions, of high modernism really cannot be enough. Or maybe it just borrows aspects or facades of that style as part of a shopping mall / eastside vocabulary.]
  15. I'm at Courthouse Cafe (700 Stewart St, In the new courthouse, Seattle). http://bit.ly/2uzaSl
  16. Approaching the office. http://yfrog.com/0lcywmj
  17. RT @Schwarzenegger: http://twitpic.com/p99uz - Signing bill to provide more reliable water supply & restore and enhance the Delta ecosystem.
  18. From my office, just saw a seaplane rise from Lake Union, veer west over Queen Anne & head to the Bay. Means more, having just walked there.

Light Show at Site for Future Capitol Hill Sound Transit Light Rail Station

MI6 and I walked north on Broadway last night and came across an art installation behind the chain link fence at the corner of East Denny. This is part of the construction site for the future Sound Transit light rail station for Capitol Hill.

Thanks to a post on the Capitol Hill Seattle blog, I learned that the field is the work of Don Corson, and that the installation has been sponsored by Sound Transit.

Apparently, the rods are made of fiberglass. In an interview within a brief, smartly edited video by David Albright, Corson explains that the manufacturer of the rods mistakenly shipped 4-foot-long rods, whereas the piece, called "Oscillating Fields," was designed to have 8-foot-long rods. But the show is going on with the rods in place, in time for Halloween.

Three Sides of Hammering Man #3277164

IMG_5718 Joseph Borofsky's Hammering Man #3277164 (1991), at the northeast corner of First and University in Seattle, is not hammering at the moment, offering a rare day-lit opportunity for a photographer with a single camera to capture the same pose from three angles.
IMG_5735 A sign on the glass of the Seattle Art Museum at the same corner (no longer the featured entrance of the institution, which has moved north on First Ave. to be across from the new Four Seasons) says that the Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs is working with the Seattle Art Museum to make repairs on the statue and hopes to have it working again this summer.  I found a press release from the Seattle Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs dating from March that had said the City expected repairs would take "several weeks."

Bronze Reliefs on the Ban Roll On Building


Mounted quietly, just above eye-level, on the granite facades of the building at the southwest corner of Second and Seneca in Seattle, this and a dozen or so similar bronze reliefs are hidden in plain sight.


I've been walking past them for years without noticing them. The building went up about the same time I moved to Seattle, and there was quite a buzz about it, due to a green glass dome at the top of the cylindrical corner of the structure. A neighbor of mine actually won a contest to name the building. I recall him saying that, as a reward, he got a tour of the mechanical and utility space under the dome. I don't remember the name he gave the building, but it doesn't seem to have stuck:  it is a Tishman Speyer property, and their site calls it "Second & Seneca." My neighbor's name didn't even stick at the time; everyone called it the "Ban Roll On Building."

IMG_3582 But I digress. The site is exceptional for me now, because of these brass reliefs, most of which are mounted on the stylized columns of the building along the Second Avenue sidewalk. Other reliefs are mounted somewhat higher on the Seneca Street side of the building; this is because the sidewalk drops sharply with the descent of Seneca to First Ave.

IMG_3593 A plaque on the Seneca Street side of the building reads as follows:



For much of the 20th Century, this site was occupied by the Medical Arts Building, a six story brick and concrete building constructed in 1903. The original building was named the Lumber Exchange. In a 1950 renovation by its long time owners, the Albert S. Kerry family, the building was enriched with 19 bronze relief sculptures. These hand-crafted sculptures, based on Northwest motifs, were created by the renowned Northwest artist, Everett G. DuPen. The original reliefs were preserved from the Medical Arts Building and have been joined by additional castings here in a tribute to the rich history of this block and downtown Seattle.



IMG_3579 Many thanks to the secret operative who drew my attention to these works a week or two back. I've since taken my kids to see them!


Seattle Art Museum's Street Posters

Following a meeting this morning in the Pioneer Square area of Seattle, I came across two banks of posters at complementary sides of the same street corner.  The posters promote upcoming shows at the Seattle Art Museum.

IMG_3026The image above is from the Main Street flank of the southwest corner of Third Avenue and Main.  The exhibition promoted here, according to the Seattle Art Museum website, "shows how well-known artists like Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, as well as lesser-known peers around the globe, worked to undermine the supremacy and sanctity of painting."  That sounds exciting to me -- more interesting than the work "quoted" in the posters.

But I like the insistence of the posters, how they occupy the walls, the warping of the paper from the glue (wheatpaste?).  They have no competition in the vicinity, like a style newly imported from another city.

The installation of posters just around the corner from the above, on the Third Avenue side, promotes an upcoming show of Andrew Wyeth work.  This works better as street art, though I am more interested in seeing the survey show promising Johns and Lichtenstein.