Brian Goldbloom's Chinese Dragon, 3rd & NW DavisAmboy Washington artist Brian Goldbloom has installed two more pieces to his Chinese Dragons artwork, now ragged on by every pundit in Portland.

PPA first wrote about this dustup as “Chinese” Dragons – bad job all around and again in Chasing the Meaning of Public Artwork, where the more meaningful meaning of the artworks was defined. The daily paper, local shoppers, and art + pop culture blogs have underlined the limited capacity of the work.

The first two, in red granite on NW Fourth Avenue at Davis, depict a stainless steel structure atop an off-white stone dais. Caught in the tight grip of one structure is the neck of a small, wacked dragon; on the opposite, only a severed neck protrudes. Below is various “Asian” debris, both patronizing and ignorant, a duck head, a chicken head, a pocket calculator arrayed with an abacus. Other stuff.

Brian Goldbloom's Chinese Dragon, 3rd & NW Davis, close upDuds happen, but it must be additionally painful for the bureaucrats and “advisory panel” to know more of Goldbloom’s “Chinese Lanterns” are due to be installed, with it’s bad taste carved in weatherproof stone. These are complicated artworks to install and take time, but time with a mixed or mangled message works against the vision – if there is one.

Two more Chinese Dragons have recently appeared and two more Chinese Dragons are due from Goldbloom’s studio. These two are both of the severed neck variety, and in gray granite. One is on NW Third and Flanders, outside the Royal Palm Hotel, the other at NW Third and Davis. Both will have opposing artworks installed soonish, and a final set looks to be installed at NW Fourth and Flanders.

Brian Goldbloom's Chinese Dragon, 3rd & NW Flanders(Years ago Chinese business leaders gave Eric Sten serious grief for giving the Royal Palm Hotel to a community mental health center, figuring crazy people were bad luck and would jinx their cockroach-ridden tourist-trap restaurants and firetrap hotels. Since then, thousands of people have moved off the streets thanks to Sten and the Royal Palm.)

The gray granite set are completely unremarkable artworks aside from the clusters of content, as with the red granite set, under the dragon’s severed neck.

Brian Goldbloom's Chinese Dragon, 3rd & NW Flanders, close up of palm pilotUnder 3rd & Flanders gray granite severed neck is a set of dog tags and a 1942 internment order for Japanese citizens, which together cover a baseball bat. A single slipper. An overturned rice bowl – definitely bad luck and definitely kitsch.

Did Japanese internees wear dog tags? I have no idea. But the folks I connect who wore dog tags were GIs. A baseball bat? Why a baseball bat? Japanese = baseball?

Under 3rd & Davis is a real mystery – it appears to be a streetcar rail set in a ballast stone street, with a Palm Pilot. Is that what it is?

A Palm Pilot? As Matt Davis would write, “WTF?”

Anyway, more Chinese Dragons are coming so stay tuned.

Advertisements