Visual Art Starbucks at the Olympic Sculpture Park
posted by August 5 at 10:00 AMon
This past weekend saw another performance by the group PDL (I Slogged about their last performance here.) Again, I missed it, but I have heard from some folks who were there.
Did you have the opportunity to see the installation by PDL this Sunday at the Olympic Sculpture Park? It was fantastic. If you did not, I would be happy to tell you more about it. If you did, I’d love to hear your thoughts, and wondered whether you planned to blog about it? It was deliciously over the top and well-executed. Provoked a heated debate in our little walking party about whether the “forthcoming installation” was real or not.
That was the first email I got. This was the second.
I was at the Sculpture Park this weekend and I noticed a newly fenced off area with a large sign next to Calder’s Eagle. The sign was advertising the imenent arrival of the new “art” sponsored by Starbucks entitled Wake (up). It depicted a few huge Starbucks coffee cups which were kinda wavey and some bullshit copy talking about how the new “art” was inspired by Serra’s Wake. While obviously an attempt at pop art, this crass intrusion of of corporate advertising into a respectable art venue is shocking and contemptable.
Well, here’s what happened. This time, the artists got permission from the museum (unlike in their This Is Not a Swingset installation, which was removed after a short time by security guards).
And no, there will be no Starbucks-sponsored sculpture at the park. Here’s what Greg Lundgren, one of the artists, has to say after the fact.
Thank you for joining us at the Olympic Sculpture Park yesterday for a beautiful, sun-filled afternoon of art appreciation. We set up our installation without a snag and had a wonderful breakfast at the Shanty. When we returned, our Wake(up)tm installation was in full effect with tourists and art enthusiasts alike all wondering and contemplating this new partnership between SAM and Starbucks Coffee. We sat with stretched ears and listened to the full range of responses, from “Isn’t anything sacred anymore?” to “This will be really nice for the tourists.” Some wondered how much Starbucks had to pay for such prime real estate while one fine lady exclaimed, “Finally sculpture is meaningful!” It was a little strange to hear an approval of WAKE (up)tm, and visitors explaining the idea to their family. …
PDL would like to thank Michael Darling and the SAM staff for allowing PDL to punk them. It says a lot about a large arts organization that is willing to be misrepresented, misunderstood and the subject of potentially misdirected criticism and disapproval- all in the name of artistic exploration, social experimentation and fun. It is rare and refreshing. We hope that an espresso stand is never embedded into a sculpture at OSP without great conceptual intent. Hey- maybe that is where all this leads… I think we are onto something… Maybe corporate sponsorship and utility IS the future of contemporary art. It would be a wonderful world indeed if sculpture really did have a purpose. We can dream.
Here’s what the installation looked like.
And here’s the sculpture the poster promised was coming, “based” on Richard Serra’s Wake.
Myself, I love these guys. They are truly public artists in that their medium is the public. They do it for nothing but experimentation—they have no gallery representation, they don’t get paid, they don’t even use their names. And the idea of a Starbucks-inspired sculpture isn’t so far off. Remember the Target-inspired opening of the sculpture park? How fine is the line between sponsoring a sculpture park and sponsoring a sculpture?