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Monday, April 30, 2007

Ceci n’est pas une swing set

posted by on April 30 at 10:28 AM

The first sentence of Wikipedia’s entry on swing set: “A swing is a hanging seat, usually found in a playground for children, a circus for acrobats, or on a porch for relaxing.”

Yesterday a swing set was found in the Olympic Sculpture Park. From an email:

And then, right around 1:00 pm, the most extraordinary thing happened. A team of five walked into the park from the south entrance wearing white coveralls, white gloves, and hard hats. In their hands were an assortment of metal objects and signs. Everything was white. Without a word, they marched single file through the park and defined a work area in the grass. Within minutes they had assembled a perfectly white swing set—well, that was until the title sign went in the ground. The title was in French… The sign read, “This is not a swing set.”

Evidence:

pdlswing1.jpg

pdlswing2.jpg

pdlswing3.jpg

The email continues:

Well it sure looked like a swing set. But then again, they did set up a-frame signs around the piece, that bore an uncanny resemblance to those employed by the park. The signs asked the audience not to touch the “art.” My four year old nephew wanted to swing. It was a very confusing moment. Was this swing set sculpture or did this sculpture just look a heck of a lot like a swing? And who is this PDL anyways?

What happened:

I thought you might enjoy these pictures I took of the event, as the “art/swing set/thing” is no longer there. The park staff came and said that it had to leave because it was a liability. I didn’t understand why it would have been a liability any more that Anthony Caro’s “Riviera,” but it was a beautiful day and my mind quickly returned to leisure.

The email, by the way, came from PDL. (According to that link: “This new artist trio, known as PDL, will spend the next twelve months aggressively creating new works, challenging perceptions of contemporary art, and causing general mayhem in the great Pacific Northwest.”)

It was a beautiful weekend. In France, too.

RSS icon Comments

1

Go PDL!! That is precisely what Seattl needs.

Posted by jkjk | April 30, 2007 10:31 AM
2

The strange thing is that it doesn't even mean the same thing as Magritte did.

Athough, I guess the pipe wasn't a pipe because it was paint on a canvas, but the swingset isn't a swingset because it's a sculpture.
It's both deep and shallow like a crappy above ground pool.

Posted by Leeerker | April 30, 2007 10:53 AM
3

I wonder if a reference was intended to Roy McMakin's "Set/Seat," which until recently graced the UW campus (the link is to its installation in West Hollywood during his LA MoCA show).

http://www.publicartinla.com/sculptures/set_seat.jpeg

Posted by Eric F | April 30, 2007 10:55 AM
4

i heard about this on thursday, but didn't make it down for it. glad to see pdl torturing the new sculpture park people with this stuff!

Posted by terry miller | April 30, 2007 11:15 AM
5

i heard about this on thursday, but didn't make it down for it. glad to see pdl torturing the new sculpture park people with this stuff!

Posted by terry miller | April 30, 2007 11:16 AM
6

I love mimes. Especially ones with those poufy white hats.

Posted by Will in Seattle | April 30, 2007 11:25 AM
7

I'll bet this turns into a regular thing: people erecting their own sculpture there. It'll be hilarious the first few times, fun for another couple of years, and then in a decade or so it'll be another one of those tiresome rituals, taken over by hippies, that Seattleites love so much.

Posted by fnarf | April 30, 2007 11:26 AM
8

Are those the Safeco Field dancing groundskeepers?

Posted by DOUG. | April 30, 2007 11:29 AM
9

Itís just a matter of time before the nude cyclists ride through the sculpture park.

It will become a tourist attraction.

Posted by Sid Vicious | April 30, 2007 11:44 AM
10

it already IS a tourist attraction.

this challenges the "do not touch the indestructable giant hunk of metal" idiocy that infects all museums, all of america in general, and specifically the admonitions not to touch Serra's Wake - which NEEDS to be touched. just not tagged.

Posted by maxsolomon | April 30, 2007 11:49 AM
11

"Art".

Posted by Mr. Poe | April 30, 2007 1:18 PM
12

art is dead.

Posted by jameyb | April 30, 2007 1:30 PM
13

you're forgetting something.

people with kids go through that park everyday. kids see a swingset, they wanna play on it, and make a beeline for it. kid gets on the all-white swingset, falls off, gets injured, parents slap lawsuit on SAM for a kajillion dollars for negligence. so don't put it down to philistinism, just safety.

it IS a liability, folks, and i do not want it in the sculpture park.

Posted by scarey tyler moore | April 30, 2007 6:33 PM
14

Swing sets are a liability? Well it looks like we better jump on this fast and pull a million swing sets out of all the schools and public parks. There are plenty of liabilities in that park. Falling off a kids swing set (into the grass) hardly seems threatening. I think it's a LAME excuse, especially since the thing had signs on either side that specifically tell people not to touch it, let alone swing on it. Since when are childrens swing sets considered a formidable threat?

Posted by Oscar | April 30, 2007 6:54 PM
15

since when do children obey signs? as a museum volunteer, i have to tell kids all the time not to touch the statues on the big staircase, which are clearly marked DO NOT TOUCH. if PDL wants to do their masturbatory look-at-me-i'm-so-hip art, they can do it somewhere else, like maybe the park next to the courthouse. the bums will love it.

Posted by scarey tyler moore | April 30, 2007 7:58 PM
16

PDL? ... waaaaaaah waaaaaaaaaaaaaahh. boring. i sure do wish "progressive hipster kids" would stop thinking they were artists.

Posted by thatteacherfromcharliebrown | May 1, 2007 10:59 AM
17

your right scary. this kid of art is absolutely much to dangerous to be within public reach. actually it's a good thing SAM officials had it removed 30 mins after it was erected cuz they realize the danger art poses to the masses, hence the DO NOT TOUCH signs.

Posted by concerned student l | May 1, 2007 11:03 AM
18

your right scary. this kid of art is absolutely much to dangerous to be within public reach. actually it's a good thing SAM officials had it removed 30 mins after it was erected cuz they realize the danger art poses to the masses, hence the DO NOT TOUCH signs.

Posted by concerned student l | May 1, 2007 11:03 AM
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