• Courtesy Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs

It's called Equality: a grid of little houses that look like board game pieces made in granite, juxtaposed against a big old bronze house on a hill. But where there's equality here, it looks more like deadening sameness. And the overaching picture—of the big house overlooking all the rest—is of inequality.

The artists, Rolon Bert Garner and Ken Leback, added to the obdurate objects a bunch of words—a plaque with text from de Tocqueville's Democracy in America:

Providence has not created mankind entirely independent or entirely free. It is true that around every man a fatal circle is traced beyond which he cannot pass; but within the wide verge of that circle he is powerful and free; as it is with man, so with communities. The nations of our time cannot prevent the conditions of men from becoming equal, but it depends upon themselves whether the principle of equality is to lead them to servitude or freedom, to knowledge or barbarism, to prosperity or wretchedness.

It's a curious work of art, rock-hard and toy-like but open to many interpretations, perched right there on the tip of Beacon Hill, in Sturgus Park. It went up in 1996 and, this past fall, was the site of a performance called Medium Brown by Jose Bold. Did anybody catch it? I saw Medium Brown from afar but don't know what actually happened. Also, Paul Komada's nearby installation How to Fold an American Flag (scroll down) felt related to Equality, too.

Full interview with the Seattle art veteran Garner, now showing at Virginia Inn, here.

Jose Bold performing Medium Brown at Equality in September.
  • Jose Bold
  • Jose Bold performing Medium Brown at Equality in September.