OOSI Sculpture

Portal

1976 / Isamu Noguchi / Cleveland

portal.JPG

A 36 foot tall steel tubular sculpture outside the Justice Center on Ontario. This piece, designed by Isamu Noguchi, was a point of much contention upon its installation in 1976. It's high cost of $100,000 was eviscerated by the public who cried out that the city could have spent that sum of money in so many better ways than "an above ground sewer line." Which leads to the second point of conflict with regards to Portal: the sculpture itself. It was hounded by many as being an atrocity with many an invective viewer (or reviewer) who had much to say.

However, the piece was acclaimed by folk such as the Curator of modern art at the CMA during the 70's, Edward B. Henning, and the Museum director, Sherman E. Lee. Now, after over 40 years of installation and outlasting many of its critics, Portal stands as one of the most iconic and recognizable pieces in the city of Cleveland.

The deceptively simple elements are fascinating from every angle. Try to draw Portal; it looks like it should be easy, but Portal's brilliant complexity is most apparent under close scrutiny. From every angle, Portal offers a completely different form. At some points. like when viewing from the North side looking South, the piece intersects itself and zig zags in every direction, but on the opposite side, the piece is wide open and inviting.

Luckily, the piece has remained in place despite efforts to have it removed, destroyed, or in one bizarre case, turned into a waterpark-like feature. The public attitude, however, has changed, and the piece has become warmly embraced by the city.

Though designed by Noguchi, the installation of Portal was overseen by David E. Davis, who at the time stated that even if Portal was not generally considered to be a masterwork of art, it was certainly a masterwork of fabrication. This massive 36 foot sculpture needed to rest on top of the hollow parking garage below, and still be solid, sturdy, and stable enough to withstand Lakefront winds and other inclement weather. It is accordingly built from massive hollow steel tubes, all made in Cleveland by Clevelanders, which actually put some of the $100,000 of private money from George Gund into the city's economy.

Location: entrance, 1200 Ontario Street

County

: Cuyahoga

Tags

:

Citation

: Isamu Noguchi, “Portal,” Ohio Outdoor Sculpture Inventory, accessed December 15, 2017, http://oosi.sculpturecenter.org/items/show/158.

Dublin Core

Title

Portal

Description

A 36 foot tall steel tubular sculpture outside the Justice Center on Ontario. This piece, designed by Isamu Noguchi, was a point of much contention upon its installation in 1976. It's high cost of $100,000 was eviscerated by the public who cried out that the city could have spent that sum of money in so many better ways than "an above ground sewer line." Which leads to the second point of conflict with regards to Portal: the sculpture itself. It was hounded by many as being an atrocity with many an invective viewer (or reviewer) who had much to say.

However, the piece was acclaimed by folk such as the Curator of modern art at the CMA during the 70's, Edward B. Henning, and the Museum director, Sherman E. Lee. Now, after over 40 years of installation and outlasting many of its critics, Portal stands as one of the most iconic and recognizable pieces in the city of Cleveland.

The deceptively simple elements are fascinating from every angle. Try to draw Portal; it looks like it should be easy, but Portal's brilliant complexity is most apparent under close scrutiny. From every angle, Portal offers a completely different form. At some points. like when viewing from the North side looking South, the piece intersects itself and zig zags in every direction, but on the opposite side, the piece is wide open and inviting.

Luckily, the piece has remained in place despite efforts to have it removed, destroyed, or in one bizarre case, turned into a waterpark-like feature. The public attitude, however, has changed, and the piece has become warmly embraced by the city.

Though designed by Noguchi, the installation of Portal was overseen by David E. Davis, who at the time stated that even if Portal was not generally considered to be a masterwork of art, it was certainly a masterwork of fabrication. This massive 36 foot sculpture needed to rest on top of the hollow parking garage below, and still be solid, sturdy, and stable enough to withstand Lakefront winds and other inclement weather. It is accordingly built from massive hollow steel tubes, all made in Cleveland by Clevelanders, which actually put some of the $100,000 of private money from George Gund into the city's economy.

Creator

Date

1976

Sculpture Item Type Metadata

Location City

Location County

Location Site

entrance

Location Street

1200 Ontario Street

Creation Date

01/01/1976