I worked for a subsidiary of the gas and electric utility in San Francisco that for some reason had to move away from the mother ship and so decided on a move to Portland OR. In due time a beautiful building was designed and built on the Willamette River. To commemorate this move and a recent pipeline project, a sculpture was commissioned at apparently great expense. As soon as the conceptual renderings for the piece were passed around this thing was dubbed the ‘Iron Artichoke’. After the Iron Artichoke was completed but before it could be sited in front of he new building in downtown Portland, the local planning commission found out that this would be the ‘art’ adorning the building and quickly decided it didn’t meet zoning requirements…or so the story goes. The Iron Artichoke was relegated to the hinterlands and ended up in front of the Spokane office building where it really did look like crap; eventually kind of fell apart, and finally disappeared.
One day we sort of got lost in the basement of the Portland building and walked into a room with hundreds of Iron Artichoke facsimiles (they look far better than the original) in rotting boxes that had never been handed out to those worthy enough. We all grabbed one and I’ve still got mine…why…I don’t know.