For the Love of Art

For the Love of Art

When we think about what SAM is—What makes us stand out? Why do people want to spend time here?—the first thing that came to mind is you.

Without all the people walking through our doors every day, bringing great energy, insight, and passion to the art, SAM wouldn’t be the same. Without your voices and active eyes and ears, our events wouldn’t be anything at all.

And when we drilled a little deeper, to ask why you come here, we decided that instead of guessing, we should go straight to the source, and ask our members.

Everyone had fascinating things to say. Everyone has a story to tell.

We were overwhelmed with great responses about how people feel about museums, about SAM in general, with memories of people’s creative childhoods, and explanations of what their favorite piece of art is and why.

There was a common thread—when you get right down to it, people come to SAM because they love art. They live creative lives because they love art. They come to events and connect with others because they love art.

Everything we do, too—the exhibitions we bring, the events and programs we organize, the efforts we make to bring Seattle together as a community—it’s all for the love of art.

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We had such an amazing time talking to our members! Your feedback fuels our work, and makes us want to do even more to connect art to life.

Keep an eye out for these member stories over the coming year. We’ll feature the interviews on the blog once a month. (Pssst: Sign up for our enewsletter so you know when the interviews go up!) You’ll also start to see “For the Love of Art” pop up in the museum and in SAM magazine, our print newsletter for members that goes out three times a year.

And—we’re going to want to hear your story, too. Keep an eye out—we’ll be asking you why you love art and what you do to show that love.

Want in on the fun? A great way to start building your art community is to join SAM as a member and get to know all these other amazing people.

Photos: Scott Areman.
Photo: Justin Gollmer

From Arts to Zoos: How You Can Make a Difference

Did you know that communities with vibrant cultural organizations are more competitive for high paying jobs and high quality workers, and enjoy greater economic prosperity?

Studies show that students who are engaged in cultural activities excel in school and are more comfortable working in diverse communities. Science, heritage, and arts experiences advance education, enhance the economy, and enrich our quality of life.

SAM is part of the Cultural Access Washington (CAWA) coalition, an alliance of business, nonprofit, education, labor, and government leaders across the state who are proposing legislation to support cultural organizations in our communities.

Our goal is to increase access to cultural experiences (from performing arts organizations to science centers, museums, and zoos) for children and adults across Washington. CAWA legislation will be proposed in Olympia in early 2015 and if passed, counties will have the right to allocate locally collected sales taxes to support community access to cultural organizations.

If successful, sustainable funding will make cultural education programs widely available to students and residents, and school transportation will be provided to these experiences. Everyone will be able to experience and feel the positive benefits of cultural assets.

This will have a tremendous impact.

If you are in favor of allowing counties to control their own funding in regards to cultural organizations, please contact your local legislator and ask him or her to support CAWA.

Let’s give communities the ability to fund the creation and expansion of access to cultural organizations— from arts to zoos.

Not sure who your legislators are? Use the Washington State Legislator Finder!

Photo: Justin Gollmer

SAM Art: SAM <3 YOU!

Elizabeth, Paris, 1931, Andre Kertesz, American, born Hungary, 1894–1985, gelatin silver photograph, 9 11/16 x 7 1/2 in. (24.6 x 19.1 cm), Gift of Jerome D. Whalen, 86.232, © Estate of Andre Kertesz. Not currently on view.

Elizabeth, Paris, 1931, Andre Kertesz, American, born Hungary, 1894–1985, gelatin silver photograph, 9 11/16 x 7 1/2 in. (24.6 x 19.1 cm), Gift of Jerome D. Whalen, 86.232, © Estate of Andre Kertesz. Not currently on view.

Happy Valentine’s Day

from your friends at SAM

 Celebrate the people you love at SAM this weekend, with great art and activities. You can even extend your celebration, and stop by the downtown Seattle Art Museum on Monday—we are open downtown on Presidents Day!

#MuseumBowl

SAM SO CONFIDENT IN THE SEAHAWKS THAT THEY CHALLENGE EVERY MUSEUM IN NEW ENGLAND TO A WAGER

Ok, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but we are challenging TWO different New England museums to wagers on the Super Bowl!

We challenge the Clark Art Institute in Williamstown, MA

Terms:
The loser funds an all-expenses paid vacation to SAM for one of their major artworks. Oh, sorry, that assumes the Clark Art Institute will lose. Well, that seems about right.

Ok, ok. The winner gets the privilege of displaying a major work of art from the other museum for three months. The wagered masterpieces respectively showcase the beautiful landscapes of the Northwest and the Northeast.

The Artwork:

At stake is SAM’s majestic Puget Sound on the Pacific Coast from 1870 by Albert Bierstadt from SAM’s American Art collection, which is wagered by Kimerly Rorschach, SAM’s Illsley Ball Nordstrom Director and CEO.

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Puget Sound on the Pacific Coast, 1870, Albert Bierstadt, oil on canvas, Seattle Art Museum, Gift of the Friends of American Art at the Seattle Art Museum, with additional funds from the General Acquisition Fund, 2000.70.

In 1870, Albert  painted one of the most stunning subjects of his career: a vision of a stormy Puget Sound. This spectacular, eight-foot-wide view of Puget Sound was the result of the Eastern Seaboard’s newly awakened interest in this faraway region that the artist had visited only briefly seven years before. It’s more than just a landscape painting—it is also a historical work, a narrative of an ancient maritime people, and a rumination on the ages-old mountains, basaltic rocks, dense woods, glacial rivers, and surf-pounded shores that have given the Northwest its look and also shaped its culture.

Conversely, the New England’s West Point, Prout’s Neck (1900), one of the Clark’s greatest works by Winslow Homer, is wagered by Michael Conforti, Director of the Clark Art Institute.

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Winslow Homer (American, 1836–1910), West Point, Prout’s Neck, 1900. Oil on canvas, 30 1/16 x 48 1/8 in. (76.4 x 122.2 cm). Clark Art Institute, Williamstown, Massachusetts, 1955.7.

Rorschach says, “I am sure that this beautiful Homer painting will be coming to Seattle after the Seahawks defeat the Patriots for another win. We are already making plans to host this incredible work of American art in our galleries so that the 12s can enjoy it.”

Can’t wait to see how good it looks on our walls. Think we saw some staff down there measuring where the nail should go earlier.

We challenge the Clark Art Institute AND the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, to a TWITTER THROW DOWN

Follow hashtag #museumbowl this Friday, January 30, at 10:30 am (PST) to join in and support our team! On Monday morning, following the game, the losing team’s museum will post a collage honoring five major works from SAM’s the champion’s collection.

Don’t miss the action as we take on basically everyone two museums in this epic Art Bowl XLIX!

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#SAMSpeakUp: RACE, SOCIAL JUSTICE & MUSEUMS

When it comes to conversations surrounding race and social justice, museums aren’t readily thought of as spaces that would play much a role. However, I believe that museums can in fact be powerful and unique in facilitating these discussions.

The next time you come to SAM, you may notice that our Think Tank walls have questions that await your response: “How do you define race and social justice?” “How can art mobilize social change?” “How can museums be spaces of social justice?”

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(The Think Tank is located between the Mezzanine Level and the second floor, towards the back of the building! Just walk up the Grand Staircase until you hit the room with the chalkboard walls.)

As our MLK Spotlight Tours last week highlighted, we don’t have to look too far to see that there are works and artists in our collection who are already having these conversations with you—what are ways we can delve deeper?

I see that museums can play a unique role in these conversations for these reasons:

  • Museums serve as portals and connectors—connecting us to cultures and ideas, connecting us to others and our community, and connecting us with ourselves.
  • Museums are engrained within communities—it is the community who interacts with the museum and thus these spaces exist not only to share stories about art but also to serve the community (local and beyond).

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When race and social justice issues arise on a local, national, or even an international level, how can museums leverage their unique positions in order to help? And how can museums strive to become more inclusive spaces and to better reflect the communities they serve?

One recent issue that has been on my mind and on many others’ is the non-indictment rulings in the deaths of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Eric Garner in New York, and countless other similar situations. I feel conversations surrounding race relations—and the injustices and inequities that communities of color face—have reached a new height. These situations have been fostered by historical legacies and systems in the United States. This means historical institutions like museums can be a critical part of this conversation, particularly in bridging gaps in racial and cultural understanding.

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In December, a few museum bloggers and colleagues also saw the need for museums to step in and thus issued a joint statement asking the question, “What should be our roles?” This sparked conversations across the country, and museums shared how they’ve responded—from hosting community conversations to collecting Ferguson-related media artifacts.

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It was partly this traction that inspired our latest iteration of the Think Tank. Rather than specifically tackling #MuseumsRespondtoFerguson, my colleagues and I want the Think Tank to be a space for a larger conversation about race, social justice, and museums. These conversations are best sustained and brought to the forefront when they are incorporated into our regular practice.

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And while I do believe museums can serve as catalysts, I don’t think they have all the answers, which is where our community comes in.

My hope for the Think Tank is that it can function as a free and open community dialogue space for all who interact with SAM. I want it to be a space for you to reflect on current topics and issues in social justice, examine your own experiences, share your stories, express your voice, and connect with others—and my hope is also that you will give us feedback for us to use as an institution to better serve you. I truly believe dialogue can spark change.

It is also my hope that we can continue to have these conversations together as an institution and community, and continue to strive to make the museum a more inclusive and accessible space to honor all stories, perspectives, and voices.

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We invite you to join the conversation.

Marcus Ramirez
Coordinator for Education & Public Programs

SAM Art: When is a urinal not just a urinal?

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Urinal, 1984, Robert Gober, American, born 1954, wood, wire, plaster and enamel paint, 30 x 20 x 20 in., Gift of the Virginia and Bagley Wright Collection, in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Seattle Art Museum, 2014.25.24, © Robert Gober. Currently on view in the modern and contemporary art galleries, third floor, Seattle Art Museum.

 

In 1917 Marcel Duchamp, using the fictitious name “R. Mutt,” submitted Fountain—a factory-made men’s urinal—to the first exhibition of the American Society of Independent Artists. After heated discussion, the work was rejected from the exhibition. But the event, with Duchamp’s brash challenge to basic assumptions about art, reverberated through the 20th century and beyond. At the most basic level, the artist asked what makes a work of art? Duchamp asserted that the artistic concept was more important than traditional notions of skill, craft or beauty.

As opposed to the found fixture of Fountain, Robert Gober’s Urinal is hand-made. With this action, he turns Duchamp’s object back into a sculpture, a psychologically suggestive form suggestive of a human body.

JOSHUA TRUJILLO/SEATTLEPI.COM

HAMMERING MAN BECOMES THE “12TH MAN” ON FRIDAY, JAN 16

Show your Seahawks support this Friday, and join Hammering Man as he transforms into the 12th Man! For the third year in a row, we’ll be honoring our hometown team by projecting the number 12 on Hammering Man by artist Jonathan Borofsky.

Wear your Seahawks gear to the museum tomorrow and get in for free!

At 6 pm, we’ll light up the 48-foot Hammering Man at 1st Ave and University St with the number 12.

GO HAWKS.

Image: Joshua Trujillo/seattlepi.com

SAM Art: Celebrate MLK with SAM

Martin Luther King, 2003, Ross Palmer Beecher, American, born 1957, mixed media, 21 ½ x 10 ½ x 3 ½ in., Mark Tobey Estate Fund, 2003.62, © Ross Palmer Beecher.

Martin Luther King, 2003, Ross Palmer Beecher, American, born 1957, mixed media, 21 ½ x 10 ½ x 3 ½ in., Mark Tobey Estate Fund, 2003.62, © Ross Palmer Beecher.

On Monday, we mark the 30th Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. We invite you to celebrate Dr. King’s legacy with SAM.

Visit our galleries every day through Monday—installations currently on view include works that explore what it means to fight for your rights, what it means to write your own history, what it means to dream, and what it means to be an American.

SAM staff members lead special tours on the theme of social justice every day through Monday. Please join us!

SAM Art for Paris

  Chez Mondrian, Paris, 1926, Andre Kertesz, American, 1894-1985, gelatin silver photograph, image 9 3/4 x 7 1/2 in., Gift of Dr. R. Joseph Monsen and Dr. Elaine R. Monsen, 81.99


Chez Mondrian, Paris, 1926, Andre Kertesz, American, 1894-1985, gelatin silver photograph, image 9 3/4 x 7 1/2 in., Gift of Dr. R. Joseph Monsen and Dr. Elaine R. Monsen, 81.99

Our thoughts are with the people of France and the great city of Paris

 #JeSuisCharlie