The Fussy Eye: No Fenestration

Summer awnings at the Sculpture Park.

Most of the art in the Olympic Sculpture Park tends toward the metal, massive, and permanent. So we're glad to see SAM's bringing in five West Coast artists, two of them local, to seed the lawns and ramps with small, eccentric creations. But if you can find them, the results aren't so successful. Canadian Andrew Dadson paints some of the grass black? Eh. Whatever, dude. Most eye-catching is the striped green-and-white window awning by Jenny Heishman (one component of three in her piece Summer in the Park). It's fastened to one of the gray slab walls facing Elliott Bay, just above the main waterfront path. Before there was air conditioning, there were window awnings. They now seem like an historical artifact, especially in the Northwest, where it generally doesn't get that hot. Stuck onto the blank concrete, Seattleite Heishman's playfully absurd awning casts a shadow without a view. Pedestrians on the gravel diagonal walkway beneath aren't likely to stop and enjoy the fleeting shade. No one will ever look out, or in, from the west-facing wall; there is no fenestration. Given that the OSP sits on an old fuel-tank farm, the awning is like a fictive remnant from a nonexistent neighborhood, a homey touch for a home that never was. (Through October.)

 
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