The Wall of Death

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The Wall of Death
Artist
Completion date c. 1993
Type Sculpture
Medium Concrete, steel and aluminum[1]
Subject Vehicles as recreation
Dimensions 490 cm × 2,000 cm × 910 cm (16 ft × 65 ft × 30 ft); 3,658 m2[1][2]
Location Seattle, Washington, United States
Coordinates 47°39′19″N 122°19′07″W / 47.6552°N 122.3185°W / 47.6552; -122.3185Coordinates: 47°39′19″N 122°19′07″W / 47.6552°N 122.3185°W / 47.6552; -122.3185
Owner Seattle Department of Transportation

The Wall of Death is a permanently sited public art installation[3] located under the University Bridge (Seattle) alongside the Burke-Gilman Trail and NE 40th Street in the University District, Seattle. It was designed and built by Mowry Baden and his son, Colin, in 1993.

The installation is a representation of the structure used to perform the motorcycle and miniature automobile stunt, the wall of death. It includes the cylinder itself on the south side of the Burke-Gilman Trail, as well as a concrete ramp to the north of the trail, which includes a "series of stylized metal chairs mounted to the existing concrete bridge columns[3]" and serves as the stands from which the stunts were viewed. The ramp provided a spot for skateboarders to ride, but after seven complaints and a head-on collision between a skateboarder and a cyclist in 2008,[4] The Seattle Department of Transportation installed a rock barrier to deter skateboarders from interacting with the art.[5][6] Although Mowry Baden had intended the installation to be used by skateboarders, he agreed that public safety was more important and met with the city in December 2008, to discuss updating it.[7] Twenty-five concrete parking stops were then added to the sculpture, making it impossible to skate on.

Reception[edit]

The location was said by Seattle Weekly to tie with the Fremont Troll for the worst site for public art in Seattle.[8]

Citizens have called the piece "sinister, whimsical, and tacky".[9] The piece was listed by Portland's daily newspaper, The Oregonian, as a must-see Seattle landmark.[10]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Mowry Baden, "The Wall of Death", Official website, retrieved September 29, 2015 
  2. ^ Public art data, City of Seattle, retrieved September 29, 2015 
  3. ^ a b "Office of Arts & Culture - Seattle - Public Art - Other". seattle.gov. Retrieved July 28, 2015. 
  4. ^ "Who Killed The Wall of Death? - Slog - The Stranger - Seattle's Only Newspaper". thestranger.com. Retrieved July 28, 2015. 
  5. ^ "City Destroys Famous Skate Spot - Slog - The Stranger - Seattle's Only Newspaper". thestranger.com. Retrieved July 28, 2015. 
  6. ^ "RIP Wall of Death - Slog - The Stranger - Seattle's Only Newspaper". thestranger.com. Retrieved July 28, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Wall of Death Artist Says Sculpture Was Designed With Skaters In Mind". The Stranger. Retrieved July 28, 2015. 
  8. ^ "The Wall of Death", Seattle Weekly, September 19, 2008 
  9. ^ Macdonald, Sally (November 13, 1993), "Business - Beholders See No Beauty In This Art -- Unamused Critics Hit 'The Wall' As Public Menace", The Seattle Times, retrieved September 29, 2015 
  10. ^ Terry Richard (December 3, 2013), "Seattle features many see-it-only-here sights around the city", The Oregonian, Portland 

External links[edit]