al gore came to town
October 5, 2000 6:30 PM   Subscribe

al gore came to town today and spoke on the plaza beneath my office window. unfortunately i wasn't able to hear much of what he said, since the secret service wouln't let us onto the lobby level. and you actually needed tickets to get onto the plaza. (here in conservative west michigan, where they were lucky anybody showed up at all!) those of us in the building had to settle for shooting a few pictures out the window. pretty much sucked.
posted by quonsar (7 comments total)
BZZZZT! No self-blogging, please. Try again.
posted by solistrato at 7:30 PM on October 5, 2000

Those are great photos -- there's nothing worse than giant solid color abstract metal sculptures in urban settings.
posted by rcade at 9:49 PM on October 5, 2000

Hey, quonsar, thanks for self blogging. Really. Seems to me that since this is relevant to an ongoing topic, and certainly a unique perspective on same, then certain rules can be bent a bit. This is a forum, after all, not a religion.
posted by Optamystic at 2:40 AM on October 6, 2000

While the giant solid-color abstract metal scuplture may not be the prettiest thing in the world, it certainly beats, say, a parking lot. Or a Wal-Mart. Or a CostCo. Besides, are you saying that giant solid-color abstract metal sculptures would look better in suburban settings?

Speaking of urban art, the coolest I've seen is in Kansas City: at the local art museum there's a big lawn on either side of the building, so the artist they hired to add some sculptures pictured the museum as the net on a giant badminton court and put randomly place huge shuttlecocks around the lawn. Lots of people in KC hate it, but I think it's great. Check it out here or here. Apparently, the museum's site is down.
posted by daveadams at 6:54 AM on October 6, 2000

"placed" that is.
posted by daveadams at 6:55 AM on October 6, 2000

Personally, I think the choice between a parking lot and a giant solid color abstract metal structure is too close to call. Fort Worth has a few of those ugly rusting hulks, too, and I think they cross the fine line between clever and stupid.
posted by rcade at 9:23 AM on October 6, 2000

since the sculpture seems to have taken center in the discussion, some history: when the building was planned in the late 60's, there was to be a huge fountain on the plaza. a local 'patron of the arts' (translation: rich housewife without enough to do) rallied enough support that the city decided to commission the Calder sculpture instead. problem is, it was too expensive. to make up the difference, they altered the inside of the building plan - originally escalators would bring people from the lower level to the plaza level, into a large, open to below "landing zone" where they could catch elevators to upper floors. they eliminated the escalators and open design, opting instead for a single, low capacity hydraulic (slow) elevator to move people to the plaza level. result: people must take two elevators to get anywhere, and the plaza level is just one big empty wasted space where you catch the elevators that go where you need to be. the sculpture meanwhile, has become the city's logo, appearing on all correspondence and on every street sign. they do take care of it at least - it gets painted annually just before the big arts festival each june. the red paint is a unique shade specified by Calder that must be specially ordered and produced. we also have some other examples of this sort, a "DiSuvero" sculpture, which is basically a lopsided 40-50 foot steel tripod from which is suspended a tire from an earthmover - i kid you not - the worlds most expensive tire swing. they are always chasing people off it because it is also a huge liability...
posted by quonsar at 12:13 PM on October 6, 2000

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