Portland Dispatch March 2: The Evolution of Apple

The Apple store in downtown Portland has partially reopened after eight months. Customers can now pick up items ordered online, after passing through a barrier of heavy steel fencing and concrete blocks.

The store came under attack on the first night of rioting, May 29, or, as the Oregonian story linked above characterizes it, ” raucous protests spurred by the Minneapolis police killing of George Floyd”.

Boards went up the next day and the store was closed.

Surveying it the day after it appeared they never managed to break through the thick glass or breach the doors to get at the showroom full of goodies. The plywood became a graffiti canvas along with everything else downtown.

Apple painted the boards black after it became apparent the rioting wasn’t going to let up.

By the sixth of June it was a shrine to Floyd, shrouded in the ugly aesthetic of Black Lives Matter:

The artist who drew the first George Floyd head around which the rest of the art formed enjoyed fifteen minutes of social justice fame and the store drew onlookers like pilgrims. The longer the work stood the more perilous would be any attempt by Apple to remove it.

By the end of the year off-narrative graffiti began appearing, and even the original George Floyd head was desecrated

This may have spurred Apple finally to act. In January they put plywood over the art, which they announced they would donate to local BLM subsidiary Don’t Shoot PDX:

“Artists in the Portland community reimagined the blank canvas surrounding our Pioneer Place Apple Store and created a monumental art piece honoring the ongoing fight for justice and the lives of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery. Apple stands in support of the artists and all who are fighting for social and racial justice. We are honored to have hosted the murals and are very happy to entrust the artwork to Don’t Shoot Portland in support of their advocacy for social change.”

They then barricaded the area around the store and set to work extricating it. Now it resembles the entrance to a prison, where customers pass through a checkpoint and show ID to enter.

The original store:

What’s beauty when “black lives” are at stake?

3 thoughts on “Portland Dispatch March 2: The Evolution of Apple

  1. Like most Apple stores, the Portland store was designed by the architectural firm of Bohlin Cywinksi Jackson. It so happens that Peter Bohlin’s very first project in 1965 was for the home of a close friend of my wife’s family in rural Pennsylvania (the firm was founded in Wilkes Barre and still has their main office there). The house, like the Pioneer Plaza Apple store, makes great use of glass and streamlined design, with much emphasis on fitting into its environment. It truly is a thing of beauty.

    Fortunately, thanks to it’s relative unimportance and remote location, it will likely never be subject to ‘improvement’ by BLM or its adherents. I wish I could say the same for the rest of the US.

    Liked by 1 person

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