Saturday, December 1, 2012


From this picture you wouldn't think that Domo is in Seattle. Look at that perfectly blue sky! Not a cloud in sight. He and Pipkin have been very lucky this trip.

You also wouldn't think Domo is only 4" tall, because he appears to dominate the picture. But he is small in stature (but big of heart) and he's standing in front of a huge sculpture nestled in amongst Seattle's 9 acre outdoor Olympic Sculpture Park.

This is Wake, a large steel sculpture by Richard Serra. Domo and Pipkin liked the curved silhouette, the industrial material, the title, Wake, and its placement along the gravel waterfront path. Its undulating form suggests it is gliding by, but it is very quiet and still.

You can get great views of this sculpture by walking through the pieces, or standing far away and seeing it against the backdrop of the city or Puget Sound. But as close as you can walk amongst this sculpture, be careful not to touch it, or any of the other sculptures in the park.

All of the sculptures in the park are contemporary pieces of various outdoor-safe materials and many are tucked in amongst plants in the sculpture garden and along a tall, concrete wall. It seems like a serene walk in a garden until you get too close and a loud, disembodied voice booms overhead, "DO NOT TOUCH THE ART! STEP BACK FROM THE ART!"

Frankly, Pipkin and Domo were put off by the unseen, scolding voice. Why have a hardy, outdoor,  weatherproof sculpture park if you can't touch anything?

Above is Perre's Ventaglio III by Beverly Pepper, and if Pipkin could climb all over it he might make more sense of what a "Ventaglio" is. Sure is shiny, isn't it? If you can't engage more with the sculptures, you might as well stick them in a museum behind a velvet rope. 

Even the berries in the park are off limits, but that makes sense. You can't be too sure they aren't poisonous.

This large metal sculpture by Alexander Calder is called The Eagle, and like Serra's sculpture Wave, its placement in the park allows people in the park to walk all around it and the art has so much more presence in its space.

Pipkin and Domo made their way fairly quickly through the sculpture garden and headed to the bottom of the park where it met Myrtle Edwards Park and Puget Sound.

Being a very clear day in Seattle, they could see across the Sound and the southern peaks of the Olympic mountains.

It was also here in the park that Pipkin finally found a sculpture he could touch, these very cool eyeball seats! This one is entitled Eye Benches III (I and II are nearby) by Louise Bourgeois. Carved from Zimbabwean granite, its pupil seems to follow you around the park, but it won't glare at you for taking a seat.

If you're into contemporary sculptures that you can't touch, you may enjoy Olympic Sculpture Park. It's free, there's plenty of lawn space to stroll across or have a picnic on. Just don't touch the art...unless you want to get a rise out of the sculpture gods.

Here are some links to places in Seattle that Domo and Pipkin visited without the pretentious velvet rope attitude:

Susan Robb's Parking Squid in Seattle Center
Gloria Bornstein's Neototems Children's Garden in Seattle Center, by the Children's Museum
Gasworks Park, south end of Wallingford
The Fremont Troll, Fremont
Isamu Noguchi's Black Sun, Volunteer Park


  1. When Dr. Duck and I were there in June they were having some sort of wedding event/showcase, and so along with the sculptures, we got to wander around and look at fantastical table settings.

    1. ...fantastical table settings that you probably weren't allowed to touch!


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