SAM Sculpture Park…look but don’t touch!
February 1, 2007
I recently took my family on an outing to the new SAM Sculpture Park. I was a bit surreal but very cool. Where else but Seattle would you find the step-mother of the richest man in the world (Mimi Gates-Director of the SAM) walking around freely in a dress made out of crushed, aluminum cans?
We had been looking forward to this park opening and I must say that the performers were great, the volunteers were great, even the weather was great. Everyone seemed to be having a great time. But there was one more great thing about this park, the irony. As it turns out much of the art, which is located outside and accessible to any and all who pass by it, is rather vulnerable to touch.
In an indoor museum it is understood that you don’t touch the art in order to preserve it. But when you use the word “park” and erect gigantic, colorful, man-made structures you would assume that in addition to the weather, they might be able to stand up to some play.
I know my children assumed this. My son and daughter (6 & 4 years old) took immense pleasure in recreating “The Shining” by hiding from me inside the maze of gigantic, rusty walls located at the Northeast end of the park (I honestly lost sight of them a couple of times).
They enjoyed themselves down at the park’s new, man made beach too. The volunteers and staff had obviously worked very hard to pull all of the driftwood out of the watery cove in order to intentionally and evenly distribute it on the new beach. My children saw this as an opportunity to express their post-modern/deconstructionists sensibilities by heaving much of the well placed lumber back into the bay.
They did a heck of a job getting the park ready to open but it is still a little rough around the edges. And even though you’re not supposed to touch the art it is still a nice addition to the city. I’m sure SAM will maintain it well and add more to it as the years go by. I just hope we’re allowed to climb some of the future art… ahem, for my kids’ sake of coarse.