When Oregon State University rebuilt the east (approximately) side of Reser Stadium, they were required, as with many government building projects, to incorporate a sculpture of some sort in the design. When the commissioned piece was initially erected, I liked it. It was a minimalist representation of a giant football, constructed of metal tubing – like the skeleton of a football, if you will.
But wait, the fine, esthetically pleasing work wasn’t complete! Oh no! The “artist” had plans for more, to make the piece better! Attached to the framework, ALL over it, were a hodgepodge of curving arrows, Xs and triangles. There were so many things wrong with what was done, that I will have to take them methodically:
1) Xs and triangles? What? Obviously the “artist” had very little knowledge of football, had seen at some time, some where, a play diagram…but he didn’t pay very close attention to it. Xs and Os (that’s what is meant by the phrase, Xs and Os). Play diagrams use Xs and Os – the Xs indicate defensive players, the Os represent…wait for it…offensive players! What a concept! Sometimes coaches will use Vs as kind of a shorthand X. The V has the advantage of being pointed in different directions to indicate the defensive players stance in relation to the rest of the field – if the defensive end takes a position on the edge, pointed toward the quarterback, the point of the V can be aimed at the quarterback O. Still with me here? The V could also be depicted as a triangle, that wouldn’t raise my hackles the tiniest bit – as long as the artist used Os and either Xs or triangles (not both). But using Xs and triangles and no Os – well, that is just ignorant. The triangles should be replaced with Os – and right away. Every day we leave it as is, the Beavers look like they don’t know their Xs from their Os!
2) The arrows seem to all have the same length and curvature – which is NOT how a play diagram looks, at all. Different lengths, different curvature, some straight – that makes more sense.
3) Color – when first “completed” the figures consisted of a metal frame filled by some sort of shiny material of indeterminate color…that sometimes looked green and sometimes looked yellow and sometimes looked like maybe some poor hint of orange. What’s wrong with ORANGE and BLACK? The orangeness and the blackness are much more important than any shinyness. After pressure from Bob DeCarolis, the colors were changed, but not enough. They still tended more toward green than orange. Now the some sort of shiny material has been replaced with colored LED lights behind clear plastic (I assume it’s plastic). BUT now the colors are red and blue and whatnot. The LEDs make it show up at night – but it looks like something that belongs in Reno. C’mon, make them orange and black, put a few LEDs to jazz it up just a little – like a lady you’re taking to a fancy dinner, not like the town strumpet (that is a fine, underused word) – not too much.
4) Speaking of too much! There are so many arrows and Xs and triangles (!!!!!) on the sculpture that they overwhelm the football shape – and that shape is more important in the larger scheme of things than arrows or figures or colors or lights. Take about 2/3 of them down, let the football look like a football with a few Xs and Os (Os NOT triangles, mind you) to give it just a little bit of an “Oh, cool” look.
The “artist” didn’t have the requisite knowledge for the project – he should have studied their subject matter just a TEENY bit more. Read his own description of the work by following the link in the neon football picture above – it confirms my opinion.
The “artist” sacrificed fidelity to the Oregon State color scheme for some undecipherable artistic vision – one that I think is artistically faulty, which is why I use quotes to bracket the word “artist”. Frankly, I think the unadorned framework looks better on Parker Plaza than the traveling carnival ride we have now.