Sunday, July 6, 2014

Mosaics in Seattle

She's back!

Two weeks away in the great Northwest, and what do I have to show for it? Besides a big grin and about five extra pounds, courtesy of tastings and flights? Pictures of mosaics!

In fact, the Fremont area of Seattle, which I'm assured is trendy and bohemian, is awash in mosaics. Well, it rains even in July there, so it's awash in just about everything.

I found Pique Assiette mosaics there, if you can believe that. The proof is in this picture.

No idea what artists were involved or if it was a community effort (I suspect yes) but the ground of this patio or plaza is covered in widely spaced tiles, with the grout being filled with things like bottle caps, screwdrivers, keys--lots of keys--and broken toys. And this pair of scissors.

The little square or plaza where these mosaics reside is most notable for an 8-ton bronze statue of Vladimir Lenin, which was cast in Soviet Czechoslovakia just a year before the communist government fell. Must have been aggravating for the artist, Emil Venkov, because he had worked on it for ten years. He portrayed Lenin against a background of flames and violence, most unusual, but the statue was thrown down.

How did it end up in Seattle? An American teacher in Poland, Lewis Carpenter, came across it in a scrap metal yard. With the help of a few others, he managed to buy the statue and have it shipped to Washington, but he had to mortgage his home to do so. He felt it should be preserved as a work of art.

Mr. Anderson died in a car crash before the statue was installed, and his family is willing to sell--but for upwards of a quarter million dollars.

The pique assiette mosaics are in the low walls and ground behind Lenin.

Have not found any mention of Lenin's red hands, and in fact they don't look red in other pictures of the statue, so I assume their color is due to local vandals or vandalizing activists, rather than the artist Venkov.

Just a couple of blocks away from Lenin and the pique assiette mosaics is this work of art by Jo Braun and Kate Jessup, installed last year. It was pouring rain when I took this photo, but it came out well.

The piece is called "Invasion of the FoundFacians." You can scroll through pictures of the artwork's elements and the planning stages on Jo Braun's website. Close up, you can see that some of the landscape is iridescent.

There was more public art and sculpture in the area, and I missed most of it because, being an Angeleno, I wimp out in rain. But I do have more pictures from both Seattle and Half Moon Bay in California, which I'll share over the next few Mosaic Mondays.

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