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Friday, September 11, 2009

Fancypants Architects Commemorate Pirate Town

Posted by Sarah Mirk on Fri, Sep 11, 2009 at 1:56 PM

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  • Bruce Forster
Back in the spring, University of Portland administrators considered the graffiti-covered former creosote factory turned punk landmark Pirate Town a liability and had the spooky concrete building bulldozed.

But now the American Institute of Architects, of all places, is hosting a photography show commemorating the astounding graffiti that covered almost every inch of the squalid structure. Bruce Forster, whose portfolio contains mostly documentation of much more mainstream places, is showing "Graffiti Funhouse: A Tribute to the Artists of Pirate Town" at the AIA building downtown this month.

"The graffiti writers are not what you'd expect. They are not pre-teens scribbling their names on bridges," says Forster on Portland Architecture. "The artists would come into the space with a huge variety of paint and a concept. Their work is beautiful."

I'm not sure what the grungy cyclists who hosted events like the Chariot Wars in Pirate Town or the graffiti artists who tagged the place would think of the site being commemorated in the halls of the AIA, but it's an interesting notch in the timeline of a building that has already experienced several lives.

The AIA gallery at 403 NW 11th Avenue and is open 9-5, Monday-Friday. via Portland Architecture

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