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Walking Tour of Olympic Sculpture Park III

 Walking Tour of Olympic Sculpture Park III

This time I'll show you the last section of our walking tour of Olympic Sculpture Park. We start this section where the second one left off, at Love & Loss. 

1.   Love & Loss Rendering by Roy McMakin
Courtesy of Seattle Art Museum. Artist Rendering by Roy McMakin.

Love & Loss Rendering by Roy McMakinRoy McMakin
Love & Loss, 2005
Installation with benches, tables, live tree, pathways and illuminated rotating element
40' x 24'

The rotating ampersand certainly appears to be a tribute to, or at least inspired by, the rotating globe atop the nearby Seattle P.I. building. When standing in front of Love & Loss, the globe can be seen off to the left.

The artist rendering (shown above) clearly illustrates the spelling out of Love & Loss. It is somewhat difficult to capture the entire display in a single image with a camera because you are backed up to the water, and people are often blocking some of the letters. The ampersand is also much further away from the "o" table than it appears in McMakin's rendering.

From Love & Loss, it is time to move south (toward downtown Seattle) along the water to Schubert Sonata, another rotating sculpture and the next stop on our tour.




2.   Schubert Sonata by Mark di Suvero
© 2007 William Watson licensed to, Inc.

Schubert Sonata by Mark di SuveroMark di Suvero
Schubert Sonata, 1992
Painted and unpainted steel
22' tall, 10' diameter of rotating element

Schubert Sonata is the second of two sculptures in Olympic Sculpture Park by Mark di Suvero on our tour. The first was Bunyon's Chess, which we visited earlier.

If it is windy, the top piece (which somewhat resembles a weather vane) will rotate. It takes rather windy conditions to push the huge steel piece. Schubert Sonata is a reflection of di Suvero's interest of motion in sculpture.

The sculpture is part of a series dedicated to composers, and it was initially on display at Benaroya Hall, home of the Seattle Symphony Orchestra – across the street from the Seattle Art Museum.

Mark di Suvero was born in Shanghai, China, where his parents were Italian diplomats. He moved to San Francisco with his family at the onset of World War II. He studied sculpture and philosophy at UC-Berkley, graduating in 1957. His work has been in major museum exhibitions since the mid-1970s.

From Schubert Sonata, continue along the waterfront until you reach the first of three sets of Eye Benches, the next stop on our tour.










3.   Eye Benches by Louise Borgeois
Courtesy of Seattle Art Museum. Photo: C.E. Mitchell.

Eye Benches by Louise BorgeoisLouise Bourgeois
Eye Benches I, II, and III, 1996-1997

Black Zimbabwe granite
4'1" x 4'5" x 3'9" Eye Benches I, each
4' x 6'5" x 3'10" Eye Benches II, each
4'3" x 8' x 4'7" Eye Benches III, each

These Eye Benches were not installed in Olympic Sculpture Park until Friday, April 6, 2007, so some visitors may not recall seeing them. The photo above was taken when the benches were on display at the Agnes R. Katz Plaza in Pittsburgh (also around a fountain designed by Bourgeois).

The benches are all located in the vicinity of the Father and Son fountain, another creation by Louise Bourgeois. When the Seattle Art Museum commissioned Bourgeois to build the fountain, she provided the Eye Benches as her gift to the park. The benches were designed by Bourgeois, but carved by Italian stone masons.

Like all eyes, the benches come in sets of two. While much of the art in the park has signs directing visitors not to touch, these benches are meant to serve as both sculpture and seating. The Eye Benches provide a great place to rest and look out at Elliot Bay or our next stop, Father and Son.




4.  Father and Son by Louise Borgeois
© 2007 William Watson licensed to, Inc.

Father and Son by Louise BorgeoisLouise Bourgeois
Father and Son, 2004-2005
Stainless steel, aluminum, water and bronze bell
36' x 26' fountain basin, 6'5" father, 4'9" son

In the second section of our tour we viewed Father and Son from the elevated "shelf" seen in the background of the photo above. We now take time to examine the fountain from up close.

The fountain was commissioned by the Seattle Art Museum for Olympic Sculpture Park. However, the money comes by way of the estate of former Safeco Executive Stu Smailes. Upon his death, Smailes left the city $1 million to build a fountain featuring one or more realistic nude male figures.

The City of Seattle parlayed the funds from the odd request into Father and Son, by giving the money to the Seattle Art Museum to commission the piece for Olympic Sculpture Park.

The water of the fountain goes through different stages, but it takes quite awhile to move from stage to stage. Grab a seat on one of the Eye Benches and be patient if you want to see it. The first stage is with both father and son visible. The water then rises, completely engulfing the father. It then reverses with the father becoming visible and the son completely out of view.

Father and Son is located at the corner of Broad Street and Alaskan Way. Head up Broad Street across the train tracks to Stinger, the next stop on our tour.



5.  Stinger by Tony Smith with Neukom Vivarium and PACCAR Pavilion in the background
© 2007 William Watson licensed to, Inc.

Stinger by Tony Smith with Neukom Vivarium and PACCAR Pavilion in the backgroundTony Smith
Stinger, 1967-1968 & 1999

6'6" x 33'4" x 33'4-1/4"

This sculpture has been the topic of some debate because it was constructed almost 20 years after Tony Smith's death. The design certainly belongs to Smith, but the Seattle Art Museum has been less than upfront about the origin of the piece causing some criticism.

Tony Smith designed Stinger from 1967 to 1968. Smith displayed a painted plywood version, but it was his widow, Jane Smith (the subject of Jackson Pollock's black-and-white painting No. 7) that took on the task of having the work fabricated in steel in 1999 – reportedly the original desire of Tony Smith.

Jane Smith donated the steel piece to the Seattle Art Museum in 2004 before she passed away in 2005. The signs and literature at Olympic Sculpture Park do not mention the history of this steel sculpture, except giving the dates of creation as 1967-1968, 1999, and crediting Tony Smith as its creator.

The Seattle Art Museum calls Stinger, "one of his most monumental works." The sculpture is certainly large, taking up over 1,000 square feet. The piece was originally titled One Gate, but Smith named it Stinger after the Brandy and Creme de Menthe cocktail, once popular in the 1960s.



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