Downtown Fun and Folks

Dear Liza,

Spring is coming, one step forward, one step back.

In the meantime, Wednesday was a cold and rainy day. So, naturally, I got Auntie Bridgett to go downtown with me.

The bus was crowded with folks headed off for rainy day fun. A neighbor and his son were off to play miniature golf in a basement somewhere. Other kids got off at the bowling alley on Belmont. We got off at 9th and Washington, and went into Woon Winkel for a while.

This is a cool shop we have passed many times. Woon is Dutch for ‘living’ and Winkle means ‘shop’. It is a housewares shop for dishes, coasters, coat hooks and such, all very modern nifty. But what caught my eye was this mosaic in the floor.

The lady explained that this building used to be an Owl Pharmacy, a chain here in Portland. I love it! I will be looking into this, you can be sure.

When we felt ready to go out into the rain, we headed up to the Portland Art Museum. On the way we noticed this:Portland Heritage Tree number 2! It is a huge Plane tree (sometimes called a sycamore) and is on the way from the bus stop to the museum…how have I missed it all these times?

The current show is called Modern American Realism, and it is very popular! I have never seen this many people in the museum. One of my reasons for coming was to have a quiet, inspirational space to think about my story….that wasn’t happening today. Once I got over that, I enjoyed myself.

The museum doesn’t let you take pictures in the featured galleries, but you may in the rest of the museum. We saw two really different types of art. Today I will tell you about the folks.

This fellow is a resin statue of a Dishwasher named Otto by Duane Hansen. It is so realistic that it creeped us out! Otto looked so tired, not just physically, but spiritually, as well.

Very close by Otto the Dishwasher was A Muse by Brancusi. It was not realistic, but smoothly serene and modern. It did not creep me out. But it didn’t capture much of the soul of the model, either.

One of my favorite paintings in this portrait called The Little Pastry Chef ( Le Petit Patissier ) by Chaim Soutine. It is so adorably cartoony that I just love looking at it. It was painted by Soutine, a poor Prussian Jew who left home in the 1920s to study art in Paris. He was successful, but when the Nazis invaded France, he hid in the woods and only returned after the war. He died soon after, but his works were saved.

In a different gallery is a very different piece, this larger than life bust of a man called Likunt Daniel Ailin by Kehinde Wiley. He looks so proud and also a little sad, like he would like to relax for a moment but is afraid of letting his guard down. I spent quite some time walking around and around him.

On our way back to the bus stop, we walked south a bit to pay our respects to Teddy Roosevelt. A statue of him, called The Rough Rider, by Alexander Proctor, stands between the Art Museum and the Historical Society.

Tomorrow I will tell you about some other weird and wonderful things at the Portland Art Museum.

Love, Grandma Judy

Author: Judy

I am a new transplant to Portland from Salinas, a small city in Central California. This is a blog about my new city.

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