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Seattle’s Steelhenge

Seattle's Olympic Sculpture Park, Richard Serra's Wake, image
Photo caption
Richard Serra's Wake is on display at the Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle.


What do you call a collection of monolithic objects that weigh several tons, were constructed by enigmatic people, and attract visitors from around the world to a stunning outdoor setting? Seattle has a new answer: the Olympic Sculpture Park, a nine-acre green space featuring innovative installations by mythic names in sculpture.

Opening January 20, on a dramatic stretch of downtown waterfront, the $85 million Seattle Art Museum venue showcases Alexander Calder’s sky-piercing, industrial red Eagle and Richard Serra’s distinctly nautical Wake. Other highlights include a 50-foot-tall stainless steel tree by Roxy Paine, Tony Smith’s fortresslike Stinger, and Mark di Suvero’s Schubert Sonata, which rotates in the breezes off Elliott Bay.

While steel dominates the collection, visitors strolling the park’s meadows and aspen groves will also discover works in bronze and granite, a shape-shifting fountain, artfully suspended logs, and a glass bridge—as well as a café, an outdoor amphitheater, and an 8,000-square-foot pavilion housing temporary exhibitions. Fortunately, the finest exhibit is permanent: the view across the bay to the perfectly sculpted Olympic Mountains. Admission is free. (206) 654-3100,

Photography courtesy Seattle Art Museum/Paul Macapia


This article was first published in January 2007. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.