For the past several months, handfuls of onlookers have been privy to an unlikely, yet fascinating art experience. As demolition workers complete the allotted task of urban renewal, they have unknowingly become performance artists and sculptors. In a slowly evolving orchestration, piles of rebar and concrete are shuffled around in front of a towering smoke stack and building remnants surfaced with peeling paint and rusted plumbing.
The result is a unique industrial landscape filled with forms mimicking junk art and surfaces that seem linked to Rauschenberg paintings; it not only provokes a consideration of the once-famed Henry Weinhard's Brewery, but also illuminates the evolving Pearl District. As a clever political comment, someone altered one of the signs at the site: Originally it read, "Brewery Blocks Redevelopment." A quick hand produced "R Devel Pment." Payment to the devil? Could be. At one time the area was characterized by an interesting industrial aesthetic. Now, the downtown area is getting the ultimate scrub down--the scheduled arrival of more "luxury living" condominiums and high-profile boutiques will polish the new face of the area.
Whether this is progression or degression continues to be a debated issue. For now, however, the show is still going on, wall by wall, brick, by brick.