Sunday, July 17, 2011

On the Road: (Pacific Northwest, 2011) Portland, Seattle

I spent most of the day yesterday in a drab hotel room, working. Today, with rain in the forecast, I decided on some indoor entertainment. I headed for the Portland Art Museum to see the current shows "The Allure of the Automobile"--18 fabulous cars--and "Auto Magic," the latter an arresting collection of photographs by Ray K. Metzker, many with automotive themes to go with the cars, but some of the prints were so beautiful--with highlights like polished silver glowing out from deep, light-absorbent blacks--that the subject matter seemed irrelevant. This is a photographer I knew nothing about, but I'm very glad to have been able to see these very seductive images.

Outside the museum, a group of enthusiasts were showing off their cars (a weekly event, it seems, not connected directly with the exhibit). Miss Oregon was present (both in the museum and outside), for no discernible reason--and no one had an explanation for her presence (I enquired). She just dropped in--tiara, "Miss Oregon" sash, pert bottom and all? Who knows?

The cars in the museum were breathtaking examples--in the true sense of the word "breathtaking." The love and care in their design and construction were palpable. Spoked wheels, ostrich leather interiors, ribbed chrome grills designed to gulp air in huge draughts, hand-tooled gas caps, door handles that seemed designed to throw sinuous, sexy shadows on silver doors. Every detail perfect. Names like Alfa Romeo, Bugatti, Ferrari, Hispano-Suiza. Why are cars so boringly designed today?

Afterwards I went to the 3D Center of Art and Photography (1928 NW Lovejoy St.)--a small, unassuming space, but a fascinating one with a staff that will show you around in person with great enthusiasm for the subject matter--which is just about every aspect of 3D photography. There are the familiar images with red and blue ghosts that come to life when you wear those paper glasses with one red lens, one blue lens, but also images that rely on a number of other phenomena to create 3D images, both still and moving. A small theatre at the back shows short 3D films and slide shows. I saw a moving (in the emotional sense) slide show about the 3D photographs of one Ben Bathurst, lovingly narrated with wit and enthusiasm by his grandson, Otto Bathurst--black and white 3D slides made in the 1920s, mostly of mountain-climbing scenes. Fascinating stuff. Well worth the visit here.

Grabbed a quick lunch at a sandwich shop called Emanon down the street, recommended by the people at the 3D Center (excellent sandwich--I can second the recommendation), and then headed north to Seattle for a 6:00PM appointment at the Zig Zag Café with Louis, my first college roommate, near the Pike Place Market. Had an excellent dinner at Lecosho over conversation about theater, writing, and art--mussels followed by a squid pasta. Yum.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails