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First let me say that as a maker of things, I have long understood that “things” have  lives of their own, separate from the life of the maker.  Furniture, dishes, and most especially, art work.   Thursday we spent the whole day listening to stories about art works and seeking some answers, and I can’t remember such an interesting day.

We began at the Keller Auditorium in Portland…

where R had arranged to meet Keith Lachowicz from RACC (Regional Arts and Culture Council)

to see a Manuel Izquierdo sculpture that is part of the city collection, of which RACC has oversight (tracking, moving, restoring and maintaining).  The Izquierdo piece in question is the 1965 “Monument” which is currently being crowded by a food prep booth…

and at the other end of the makeshift restaurant, also a bit squished in place,  is a nice little sculpture by Frederic Littman, Izquierdo’s mentor and teacher (and like Izquierdo, a European refugee from WWII)…(Izquierdo worked as an apprentice to Littman when Littman taught at Reed College, and later took classes from him when Littman moved to teach at the Museum School).

Keith spoke very interestingly of the problems of balancing the practical needs of a venue and changing tastes, with the actual works of art.  He told us the story of a Bruce West sculpture (“Sculpture #1”, 1963) which had been removed from the Keller lobby, taken apart and stored in a rehearsal hall, unbeknownst to RACC.  When this was discovered Keith made an effort to have the piece repaired and rehung in the large rehearsal hall where it really looks BREATHTAKING…

While we were there we noticed this Jack McLarty “altarpiece” and Keith closed it for us so we could see the painting on the wings…

Keith told us another story about the Izquierdo sculpture “Silver Dawn” of 1980, which had been sited in Wallace Park (NW 25th and Raleigh).  Once on a grassy lawn, the parks department had made a dog run area around the sculpture, and the sculpture was being dented from the many thrown balls… until RACC relocated the sculpture in the park OUT of the dog area…

currently dog run on left, sculpture on right…

dog run, former sculpture site…

current sculpture site…

We now moved down R’s list of possible locations for Izquierdo sculptures, and struck out three times (business or bank had moved, or was no longer existing, etc.), but did come upon this fascinating story…at the Pietro Belluschi landmark building of 1948, the Equitable Building, now called the Commonwealth Building…

The lobby did NOT house a sculpture, but does have this lovely and original mural painted by Belluschi…

and here’s the reason why:  Belluschi wanted the lobby to have an Alexander Calder mobile, but the building owner at the time did not like abstraction, OR the price tag….$4000…so Belluschi designed this Calder-like mural and, using house paint and hiring house painters, decorated the lobby for a mere $50.  (I suspect the current building owners wish they had a Calder mobile in their lobby at this point!)

Next stop another Belluschi building, the lovely St. Phillip Neri Catholic church in Ladd’s addition…

and though we couldn’t get in to see the sculpture, we did admire the beautiful brick work of the church…

but really, we needed a coffee…and a rest!