Thursday, June 28, 2012

Seattle - Fremont

We only had just over an hour to visit the "artist republic" of  Fremont before heading out of Seattle, but in that brief time of exploring the few main streets of interest, we saw so many awesome pieces of street art.  The best was the sculpture of the troll under the freeway bridge with only one good eye and his left hand clamped onto a Volkswagon Beetle.  The integration of public art to liven up urban spaces is brilliant in Seattle.  I scampered up the sandy slope to sit on the troll's shoulder and noticed the traces of homeless people's sleeping bags scattered  in the space behind him.  It was creepy back there so I urged Rich to hurry up and take the picture so I could scurry back down to safety.

The next cool sculpture that we were advised to look out for on our Seattle walking tour was just a few blocks away.  It was a huge bronze cast of Lenin in full stride amidst flames and guns, said to be the only sculpture to depict the Russian revolutionary in this violent, oppressive state.  The sculpture was originally created in Poprad, Slovakia and was found toppled over and face down by an American after the Revolutions of 1989.  It seems contradictory to have this symbol of Communism in the middle of democratic USA, in an area that sounds like "Free"mont.  An accompanying plaque indicates that the location is intentional and meant to make the statement that "art outlives politics".

The final large-scale sculpture that we saw in this area is called  "People Waiting for the Interurban", depicting a bunch of bored people and a dog waiting by a transit stop for their electric railcar (interurban) to come by.  It is of note that the dog has a human face that is said to spoof a local politicial of the time.  The transit shelter is reminiscent of a smaller scale version of the Pergola that stands in Pioneer Square.

 A very helpful sign post at the heart of the Fremont artist district, itself an art piece called "The Center of the Universe", conveniently indicated the direction and distance to major attractions to see, including the Troll and Lenin, as well as a huge rocket attached to the corner of a building.  There was no indication as to why the rocket was there, but an entry in Wikipedia indicates that it is "a Fairchild C-119  tail boom modified to resemble a missile".  Another sign pointed to "Rapunzel" but we could not find her.  We spotted a funky looking building with some metal work on it and after staring at it long enough, we convinced ourselves that this could be an abstract interpretation of spiraling hair.  But then, as we were driving over the Fremont bridge, we spotted her.  She was made of neon lights and was peering out of the window of the west tower with her golden locks hanging down.  She would have been more apparent if it were dark since she lights up at night.

Fremont ended up being one of my favourite areas in Seattle and I'm glad we took the time to stop by before heading home.

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