A one-hour artwork in the new Olympic Sculpture Park

A mysterious installation appears. It's a swing that don't mean a thing.
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A new work is briefly installed at the Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle. (Greg Lundgren)

A mysterious installation appears. It's a swing that don't mean a thing.

Editor's clarification, May 6, 2007: The author of this article was involved in planning the event. What a lovely day it was Sunday! There was no better place to be on that day, and the view from the Olympic Sculpture Park was just amazing. And then, right around 1 p.m., the most extraordinary thing happened. A team of five walked into the park from the south entrance wearing white coveralls, white gloves, and hard hats. In their hands were an assortment of metal objects and signs. Everything was white. Without a word, they marched single file through the park and defined a work area in the grass. Within minutes they had assembled a perfectly white swing set – well, that was until the title sign went in the ground. The title was in French: Ceci n'est pas une swing set. "This is not a swing set." Well, it sure looked like a swing set. They also set up a-frame signs around the piece, which bore an uncanny resemblance to those employed by the park. The signs asked the audience not to touch the "art." My four-year-old nephew wanted to swing. It was a very confusing moment. Was this swing set sculpture or did this sculpture just look a heck of a lot like a swing? The "art/swing set/thing" is no longer there. The park staff came and said that it had to leave because it was a liability. I didn't understand why it would have been a liability any more than Anthony Caro's "Riviera," but it was a beautiful day and my mind quickly returned to leisure. Within the hour the park returned to normal, and new visitors would never have guessed what had just unfolded. But my nephew is still asking why he was not allowed to play on the swing. Why do kids have so many questions!


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