by Art Chantry:
celebrating the 50th anniversary of the seattle work’s fair – and also celebrating the sensitive way that seattle preserves it’s cultural heritage….
if any of you remember the infamous “ball and chain” that was attached to the “hammering man” in front of the seattle art museum? it’s now incorporated into a really bad broken down sculpture in parkland, washington (right behind ‘frugal’s burgers’ on pacific avenue.) so proud!! the very first “1% for the arts” piece anyway (a mural) was in seattle! it’s been painted over by that awful crispanel “orca” mural you see from the viaduct as you pass the waterfront. don’t think anybody even noticed it’s obliteration. it was painted over without a peep from anybody. a few years later the city paid to have that awful orca plastered there instead….
…and while we’re at it, let’s tear off that second ‘restaurant’ on the space needle. we should also remover that two story glass ‘building’ from around the base – and re-install the gas flame on top. it looked so cool back then…. and just because he ‘saved’ the bubbleator from extinction, doesn’t mean he ‘saved’ it when he made it a greenhouse. seems to me he destroyed it just as effectively as a scrap yard would have….
…well, the same goes for most of my work. posters (of course) are obviously disposable and ephemeral. but, so are record covers and letterheads and even logos. basically, everything i do is landfill. even my “original” artwork went into dumpsters behind the print shops after they were done with it. so, it’s hard to shed a tear over most old movie props. actual architectural items? seems different when it’s “brick and mortar”. but, it isn’t, really. our land fills are not filling up with plastic bottles and newspapers, they’re 95% filled with demolition debris – thown-away old buildings. think about that….
in contrast, this is how tacoma handles these things. this WW1 howitzer was given to an american legion post by the military back in the earlier part for last century. in time, that particular american legion post disbanded and the building sold off (leaving the cannons behind). it’s now the home of “karpeles manuscript museum” next to wright park. for years and years, i wondered what those cannons (two of them – the other a MUCH larger cannon) were doing there at all.
suddenly one day, this smaller cannon was GONE! with all the illegal metal scrapping going on down here in t-town, i just assumed it was stolen and sold for scrap. but, it turns out that it was (instead) stolen by the PARKLAND post of the amercian legion! seems they wanted a cannon for their building, too, and came and TOOK IT in the middle of the night. their claim was that it was on loan from the government to the american legion and therefore still belonged to the legion. they simply claimed ownership (in the middle of the night without warning.)
a fight ensued over the rights to the cannon and the karpeles museum won – a
e ordered the parkland amercian legion post to put it back. they begrudgingly obliged and it was re-installed in it’s original location. if you look closely, you can see there is now a piece of re-bar anchoring it down – set into concrete.
the big cannon was apparently too big to steal, so there was no argument over that one, i guess…
that’s how we preserve our heritage in tacoma – we steal it fair and square!