Archive for “March, 2012”

Teen Night Out at the Seattle Art Museum April 13, 2012

From Shy Teen to Arts Leader

Here’s a guest post by Maddie Thomas, of SAM’s Teen Advisory Group!

Three years ago I was strolling through SAM’s Olympic Sculpture Park and saw a poster for an event called “Art Attack – Teen Night Out.” The title of the event seemed appealing, but the poster design is what really caught my attention: an abstract, romantic depiction of a teenage Rapunzel-esque girl with billowy swirls of hair. Fascinated by the uniqueness of the occasion’s advertisement, I marked my calendar with the date and time and was excited to attend. I had only been to the SAM a handful of times before and loved it, so going to a teen focused event there seemed great.

There was only one problem. Three years ago also marked my first year of high school. As a freshman I was fairly timid. I’d grown up loving art but none of my friends at the time were artistic. I couldn’t think of anyone to invite who would appreciate the event. The evening Teen Night Out rolled around, I didn’t end up going. I was too scared attend an event of that scale on my own and never found anyone to go with me.

Filled with regret, the following summer I checked SAM’s website to see if there were any other upcoming teen events. I realized Teen Night Out only happens twice a year, once in fall and once in the spring. But while browsing the website I discovered a teen program at the museum called the Teen Advisory Group (TAG). The website described TAG as a group of teen leaders who were “highly opinionated, creative, visionary, loud, committed, etc.” It also revealed that TAG did the planning for Teen Night Out! Mystified, I immediately filled out an application for the program online. A few months later as a sophomore, I got an email informing me about an approaching meeting for teens who were interested in the program. I attended the meeting, and a few other interviews, then received a confirmation email saying I’d been accepted into the program. I was ecstatic!

At the very first meeting, I felt an energy and common ground with the other teens in TAG I had never experienced before. Everyone seemed united. Even though there were over 20 of us, we all had mutual creative interests and a strong appreciation for art. Additional meetings and various “ice-breaker” games revealed that we shared even more collective interests. I was finally making up for the lack of artistic friends that I had freshman year.

Making new friends was a definite bonus of TAG, but it wasn’t why we were there. Members of TAG get to interact with the community through volunteering at local events, be creative with art activities and occasional lessons from SAM Teaching Artists, and are granted opportunities to meet and interview artists. While the Nick Cave: Meet me at the Center of the Earth exhibition was at the SAM, TAG members got a preview of the exhibit. Three days before it was open to the public, Nick Cave himself came to the museum and gave us a personal tour of his work. The tour with Nick was stunningly intimate; wet paint signs covered the walls, various sculptures still needed to be unpackaged and assembled. The raw version of the exhibit was the most fascinating time I viewed that show (I probably saw it over 20 times): I never had been part of something so exclusive. SAM provides amazing opportunities for teens, that moment in the galleries with Nick being a fine example. Though volunteering and special opportunities are wonderful, the major focus of the group is curating Teen Night Out.

I’m a junior this year. I have returned for a second year to be part of TAG, and I’m currently in the process of helping to plan our next Teen Night Out on Friday, April 13. The event is being organized to show off the museum’s special exhibition: the fabulous Gauguin & Polynesia, as well as showcase local musicians, dance groups and artists. The focus of the event will be to bring teens into the museum and prove that SAM breaks traditional museum stereotypes: the notion of museums being boring places with stuffy security guards telling you not to touch things. That image doesn’t fit SAM in any way. SAM is a friendly, modern, energetic museum full of diversity, which will be showcased at Teen Night Out.

As an efficient way to plan for Teen Night Out, we’ve divided our TAG group into specific committees to focus on individual elements of the event. These committees include: promotion, tours & event operation, interactive activities, and performance. I am on the performance committee and will be stage managing the event with my fellow TAG member Chris Cosby. Stage managing will give me the chance to interact with the performers by helping them load in, make them comfortable in their green room spaces, make sure all goes well with sound checks and set up, as well as load out. I stage managed during last year’s Nick Cave focused Teen Night Out; it can be rather stressful, but I know everything will go smoothly this year with help from Chris.

Looking forward to the upcoming event has also caused me to reflect on my entire experience with TAG so far and how much I’ve changed. Being a member of TAG has boosted my self-confidence tremendously. I’m now a better leader and more efficient when working with a team. At our weekly meetings I’m exposed to a wide range of perspectives, which has helped me grow as a person and look outside of myself. Though I get the added bonus of service learning hours for school through TAG, my main motive for being a member is to participate in new experiences. I especially valued being a summer counselor at SAM Camp, and speaking at an Art Education Forum this past March with Mayor McGinn and other passionate youth. Being a TAG member has further increased my interest in the art world. I would love to be on a public relations or marketing team for an art museum someday. Most importantly, thanks to SAM I’m no longer that timid little freshman who felt like she had no artsy friends and was afraid to speak up for herself. I am now a powerful junior with a bright and creative future ahead, and enough confidence to inspire other teens to get involved.

-Maddie Thomas, Teen Advisory Group Member


TASTE-ing Gauguin & Polynesia

TASTE Restaurant at SAM has translated the vibrancy of Gauguin & Polynesia: An Elusive Paradise into flavors!  The modern, fresh and artistic restaurant is furthering the experience of the exhibition with their new exhibition-inspired menu.

In designing the menu, Executive Chef Craig Hetherington sought to evoke bold, individual flavors while upholding TASTE’s mission of using the best local ingredients.  With no more than five or six ingredients per dish, each choice reflects the vivid yet simplistic character of Gauguin’s work.  Instead of simply serving Hawaiian food, Hetherington added Polynesian flair to fine local ingredients for a refined interpretation of island cuisine.

The Gauguin-inspired dinner experience begins with a selection of small plates.  The St. Jude Albacore Poke is a traditional Tahitian dish highlighting flavors of soy, vinegar and ginger.  Another excellent choice is the House Made Spam, crafted from locally raised pork loin and shoulder.  The plate offers a sophisticated twist on musubi, a traditional island treat.

The Seared Qualicum Beach Scallops is the perfect entrée to complement the exhibition.  In designing this dish, Hetherington drew inspiration from Gauguin’s French roots as well as his travels in Polynesia.  A distinctly European chevre potato purée meets the tropical taste of pickled ginger on the plate.  TASTE offers special menu choices based on seasonal offerings.  Hetherington creates flavors with fresh market fare; a recent special was Mahi Mahi with Spicy Pineapple and Browned Butter.

The Rum Cake is the perfect sweet ending to a Gauguin-inspired dinner.  Made with fresh pineapple, mango, kiwi and papaya, and topped with mascarpone cream, this dessert is tantalizing and tropical.  Bring your GO! Gauguin coupon to get a free Rum Cake!

If you can’t make it to TASTE for dinner, stop by for lunch or happy hour!  The Lunch menu offers Grilled St. Jude Albacore.  Like the scallops, this selection combines French and Polynesian fare with a soy and truffle reduction.  Kahlua Pork Sliders are featured for happy hour and are served with a green papaya slaw.

At the TASTE bar, Lead Bartender Duncan Chase works for hints of Gauguin in his exhibition-inspired cocktails.  Chase explained that Gauguin would have been drinking absinthe in Paris during his life.  However, serving absinthe would have resulted in “a lot of very drunk guests” he points out with a smile.  Instead, TASTE hand crafted a double-infused pepper vodka for their Special Exhibit Gauguin & Polynesia drink “Hiva Oa.”

“Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good,” said Chase, admitting that the special vodka was simply a delicious experiment.  He mixes the liquor with mango puree and basil.  The cooling effects of the fresh ingredients make the cocktail drinkable for people who don’t necessarily like heat in their drinks.  The initial spice of the pepper vodka dissipates with the sweet mango and crisp basil.  Chase calls the cocktail “the fire and the extinguisher all in one glass!”

Chase invites you to come try the drink; he is very proud of the creation.  “Of all the bartenders in this city, I have the biggest license to be pretentious,” he jests, “after all, this is an art museum.”

Visit TASTE to extend your Gauguin & Polynesia experience and taste the flavors of the exhibition.  Visit for more information.


Open Tuesday – Sunday

Tuesday | 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. – Lunch & Happy Hour

Wednesday – Saturday | 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. – Lunch, Happy Hour & Dinner

Sunday | 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. – Brunch

Closed Monday

Located at 1300 1st Avenue, Seattle, WA 98101
Reservations | 206.903.5291 | GIFT CERTIFICATES AVAILABLE!

– Sean C. Fraser, Public Relations Intern


SAMart: A focus on ceramics

Through much of Greek art history—from the abstract grave or cult carvings of the Cyclades to the generalized portraits of the Hellenistic period—the Greeks often depicted women as ideals of beauty and grace. For both men and women, in fact, Greek beliefs held that external appearance was the manifestation of internal character. As a result, the artistry lavished on appearance and personal adornment rivals that given to public monuments.

This small ceramic figure was created in a world where Greek culture was dominant, and on the move. Following the path of Alexander the Great’s conquests across Europe and West Asia, Greek art and culture spread across the Mediterranean world. Ceramic sculptures already had a long history in these areas, but arguably reached an apex in the Greek region of Boeotia during this period. Produced in multiples in workshops, their compact size and relative inexpense allowed them to be exported to major Hellenistic markets. Tanagra figurines—these finely modeled figures of seated, standing and dancing women—exemplified the Greek ideals of femininity, celebrating the perfection inherent to beauty.

Seated tanagra figurine, 4th–3rd century B.C., Greek, Boeotia, Hellenistic period (ca. 323-31 B.C.), terracotta, pigment, 6 1/2 x 3 5/8 x 4 1/2 in., Norman and Amelia Davis Classical Collection, 66.101. Currently on view in the Ancient Mediterranean and Islamic art gallery, fourth floor, SAM downtown.


Inopportune: Stage One, 2004, Cai Guo-Qiang, Chinese, (works in America), born 1957, cars and sequenced multi-channel light tubes each car: 16’ x 6’, Seattle Art Museum, Gift of Robert M. Arnold, in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Seattle Art Museum, © Cai Guo-Qiang, Photo by Eduardo Calderón

Art Going Dark: SAM’s Participation in Earth Hour

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard about global warming and the issues facing the world due to climate change. What you might not have heard about is a little event called Earth Hour. Earth Hour is a worldwide event that was started in Sydney, Australia in 2007 by the World Wildlife Federation and over the last 5 years has exponentially grown to include135 countries and more than 5,200 cities and towns around the world. It occurs on the last Saturday of March, from 8:30–9:30 pm. The goal of the event is to encourage environmental action and change on a grassroots level. So on March 31st at 8:30 pm people, businesses and cities around the world are encouraged to shut off non-essential lights in their homes, offices and facilities with the hope that people will commit to ongoing environmental change. And SAM will be among the multitude participating! Continue Reading…


Vinyl Records: A “Comeback” Reinterpreted

I’ve had many conversations about the supposed “comeback” of vinyl records throughout my time interning at the Theaster Gates: The Listening Room installation and the Seattle Art Museum Record Store project that was located in Pioneer Square from December 13, 2011 to January 31, 2012 . Being from a younger generation who came of age in the last decade or so, it’s interesting to be engaged in these conversations with people of all generations.  It’s as if a reawakening to the objects of records has struck contemporary culture into a jolt of nostalgia and remembrance. People of older generations have expressed sudden excitement to get all their friends to go down into their basements or open closets and shuffle through boxes of old records.  This is exactly what we interns did to relocate the 2,000 or so records owned by Bernie Hall to our Record Store; his collection makes up over half of the records included in the Record Store project. It’s as though these objects are buried treasures from long ago, or perhaps tokens of a forgotten past among old metal keys, old photographs, or old newspaper clippings. These records are time capsules of cultural history and each record collection reflects the owner’s personal relationship to this past, their own path through history.

Many in my generation started by discovering records from someone else’s collection before we got into buying our own. In growing up shuffling through our parents’ records, we established a new kind of relationship with these vinyl objects. This younger generational relationship to records is about learning our cultural history through listening to these material recordings of the past, but this is a past we haven’t experienced ourselves. We discovered record albums’ significance to past and present culture through not only listening to their innovative sounds but through the storytelling and literature glorifying the weight these iconic albums hold. From our engagement with these time capsules, our own creation and collection of musical taste developed into the colorful complexity that is contemporary music and culture.

I’ve grown up during the era of post-modern reflection and recycling of past pop-culture. Every decade in the 20th century has its own style and culture and the music of each decade sets the tone of attitude behind the decade’s style of pop-culture. Ordinary objects are stylized by colors, patterns, typefaces, and graphics. I grew up loving the adventure in discovering objects that embody the style of particular decades.  I established a permanent love for ‘thrifting’, or object-seeking. I always search for records because they are objects with more than just style; the music narrates ideas and moods of a cultural era and the album cover, through visual design, embodies a link to cultural ideas and moods of a period.

Often “thrifters” of my generation have an interest in the era our parents grew up in, and in the exchange of styles from decades before and after. Though records have been reinterpreted as an aesthetic phenomenon, they never lost their historical relevance; their quality and influence continue to inform contemporary culture.

Both collecting the material object and the activity of playing records on a record player are seen as an aesthetic art.  In owning physical records, you accumulate a collection that expresses a certain knowledge of aesthetic taste and historical knowledge.

Though not every kid I knew had their own record player, they most likely had someone in their family, if not their parents, who had an appreciation and insight to the timeless quality of vinyl sound and of the quality in the activity of playing a record. There is an art to slowing down and appreciating the music and design of a record, both in exploring the cover and sleeve design, and in setting up the stylus and sitting back to soak up the highest quality analog sound to come from a piece of physical material. It takes patience and agility to gently set up the record player and continuously attend to the player to keep the music playing.  My generation grew up defining this experience as cool, sophisticated and well-cultured.

So why the noise about a reawakening and resurgence of an object never really lost of appreciation, let alone lost from sight? Maybe it has something to do with our day and age of uncontrolled digital information exchange and virtual experience of media and culture. The preciousness of a physical material object which holds memories and creativity on record, a vinyl record….this is a treasure that younger generations have rediscovered and desire to collect for their own study of our historical past. Studying these objects allows new generations to impact their own creative intentions by reflecting on and overtly referencing iconographic records. This isn’t a ‘comeback,’ it’s a reinterpretation of these iconic objects that embody music which will always be relevant to future creative culture.

 -Paige Smith, Curatorial + Community Engagement Intern

Last photo: Joe Lencioni,



SAMart – A model, a saga, a lecture

The small-scale totem pole is an indigenous genre that pre-dates contact: Captain James Cook personally collected one at Nootka Sound in 1778. Some model poles are diminutive, specific versions of the forty- to sixty-foot poles erected to honor the lineages of deceased chiefs and nobles. Small-scale examples of Native longhouses with totem poles erected in front were commissioned by anthropologists for World’s Fair and museum displays. By the mid-19th century, these easily portable and compelling sculptures were in steady demand by outside buyers, as they are today.

A master carver of ceremonial arts, nearly all of Hemasilakw’s life was shadowed by the potlatch ban. He pushed the traditional origins of his art style toward distinctively modern refinements, evidenced in the bold sculptural forms and exuberant painting of his full-size poles. Even his model poles powerfully convey the personalities of each mythic figure.

Joseph Hillaire and the Saga of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair Totems with Barbara Brotherton
Members Art History Lecture Series: New Perspectives
March 21, 2012
7:00–9:00 pm
Plestcheeff Auditorium, SAM downtown

Model Totem Pole, early 20th century, Arthur Shaughnessy (Hemasilakw) (Kwakwaka’wakw, Dzawada’enuxw, Kingcome Inlet, 1884–1945), wood and pigment, 36 ¾ x 10 ¼ x 5 ¾ in., Gift of June Bedford in honor of Steve Brown, 2000.51. Currently on view in the Native American Art galleries, third floor, SAM downtown.



Copacino + Fujikado – Creative Minds Surrounded By Art

We asked our dear friends at Copacino + Fujikado (a local brand and marketing communications agency) to blog about how they use the SAM Gallery to bring art into their creative work environment. Here’s what they have to say.

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

                  — Pablo Picasso

Our company uses the tools of art to do the work of commerce.  We tell stories about the brands we represent through design, photography, illustration and creative writing.

 Our product is innovation. So, naturally, we want our work environment to inspire original thought and expression. Provocative visual art on our walls is important as it reminds us that our job is to look at familiar things in fresh, new ways.

That’s why, every three months, we take a happy, three-block trek from our office building to the Seattle Art Museum Gallery at the corner of Third Avenue and University Street. There, we browse through hundreds of original works from Northwest artists—available for rent at very reasonable prices.

We’ve displayed several pieces since we moved to our new office space eighteen months ago. Some notables include:

  • “The Jacks”—a Warholian portrait by Troy Gua that’s a mash-up of Jack Kennedy and Jack Kerouac
  • “Jove”—a playful abstract collage by Richard Hutter
  • “Ascending” by Kentree Speirs”—a celebration of nature using dramatic colors and forms

The last piece was so admired by a visiting client (and avid collector) that she sought out this Portland artist and purchased two of his works.

Thanks to the SAM Gallery, we have an impressive rotating art collection that that inspires our staff and guests. At prices that please our CFO.

-Jim Copacino, Co-Founder and Creative Director, Copacino + Fujikado

For more information, visit SAM Gallery.

 Future of the Past, Todd J. Horton, oil on panel, 2009, 36”x36”




Tumba Francesca Album Cover

Faith In Analog

Until recently my attachment to records has been more or less superficial, but when I started buying ethnographic records a couple years ago I began to see how they are loaded with cultural significance for both the listener and the cultures producing them. On one such recording, entitled Afro-Cuban Music from the Roots: Tumba Francesca la Caridad de Oriente (subtitled “percussion and voices traditional and experimental”), I heard how a musical performance can be hugely influential to both the tangible and spiritual elements of a culture’s identity. Now, after being a part of the Record Store project and meeting luminaries such as Seattle’s own DJ Riz, known for his role in the independent radio station KEXP, I can firmly say, and I don’t think I’m alone here, Records are my religion.

Afro-Cuba – Tumba Francesca. 2006. Soul Jazz Records. Personal photograph by author. JPEG file.

Records are an audio phenomenon in a vinyl medium. Vinyl is a medium formatted to articulate a musical vision and in exchange the music acts as the idea-force behind the record. The idea of the neighborhood record store, now often a rare survivor of a former era, is a space with the power to put these receptacles of music’s most essential qualities into the world.

Records are indeed objects of beauty, and I would go further to say they are objects with allure and seduction. We are drawn to the music and what it evokes in us when we put a record on a turntable. Through the attraction we are able to relive familiar moments from the past or become familiar with new musics of the world. Part of this draw is how records allow us to derive pleasure from a listening experience and the recognition of our own “place” in that moment in time.

In the same vein architectural space may be viewed as “a setting into work of truth through recognition and orientation.” To quote the architectural historian Alberto Pérez-Gómez, “the space of architecture, always elusive and mysterious, is the space in which we may perceive ourselves, if only for a moment, as whole.”[1] In his Timaeus Plato names this space the “chora,” or the third element of reality in which we encounter our “other half.” I saw this happen in the Record Store all the time, especially when a slow jam like Bobby Womack’s T.K.O. made its way onto the speakers.

 1983. The Listening Room, Seattle, WA. 2 March 2012. Personal photograph by author. JPEG file. 

Love Wars by the R&B duo Womack & Womack. 1983. The Listening Room, Seattle, WA. 2 March 2012. Personal photograph by author. JPEG file.

What I see as the real beauty of SAM’s Record Store project is its freedom from monetary distinctions and ability to fully create a Platonic “chora” for anybody who walked through its door. In my own Platonic view – record stores give form to this third dimension of reality in which time becomes endless and determined only by a continuous rotation of sound waves.  The neighborhood record store allowed its patrons this perception of completeness through music. I saw this potential realized by one patron of the Record Store who visited almost every day during extended “breaks” away from his job cleaning the streets in Pioneer Square. For him and the rest of us the Record Store became, in the words of Alberto Pérez-Gómez, “a site of resistance against the collapse of desire that drives Modernist technological utopias.”[2]

Reflecting on my time at the Record Store there is no place I could have better pictured myself after coming out of the ethers of academic life. Although the storefront Record Store is in the process of transformation the idea, like the song, remains the same. In fact you will be able to see the Record Store “popping up” again in the future so stay tuned in to the music.

-Ryan R. Peterson, Curatorial + Community Engagement Intern 

[1] Holl, Steven. 1996. Intertwining. pp. 9-10

[2] Ibid.


A Night Out with GO! Gauguin

The exotic flavors and colors associated with Gauguin & Polynesia: An Elusive Paradise have inspired bartenders around town to create special exhibition drinks.  This Friday night, enjoy a Polynesian-influenced libation with your GO! Gauguin coupon!

SAM is hiding two Gauguin & Polynesia tickets at one of these partner locations.  At noon today on Facebook and Twitter, we will reveal a clue for the location of this hidden pair of tickets.  The first person to reach the location and say, “Go Gauguin!” wins the tickets.

The following restaurants all have special Gauguin & Polynesia cocktails.  Tweet a picture of your cocktail tonight to @iheartSAM!

TASTE Restaurant
At SAM Downtown, 1300 First Ave. 

If you’re already at the museum, present your GO! Gauguin coupon while dining at TASTE to receive a complimentary exhibit inspired dessert. Cannot be combined with other offers or discounts.

89 University

Come on down to Lecosho – just a stroll away from SAM on the Harbor Steps – and receive 15% off your bill with your GO! Gauguin coupon. You may also enjoy The Gauguin, a special Polynesian-inspired cocktail, for only $5. Not valid with other offers, discounts or during happy hour.

Library Bistro and Bookstore Bar
92 Madison Street

Present your GO! Gauguin coupon during happy hour from 4–7 pm for a Polynesian-inspired cocktail at the Bookstore Bar or take 10% off your food bill in the Library Bistro Monday–Friday, 11:30 am–2:00 pm. Cannot be combined with other offers or discounts.

86 Pine Street

Dine at Marché located in Pike Place Market and delight in their special Gauguin-inspired menu items. Enjoy the Pousee au Crime cocktail, which means “the drink made me do it,” an intoxicating blend of French agricole rhum shot with cane sugar and lime juice for $8. Or try the Tahitian vanilla bean pot de crème with huckleberry conserve for $7.

Wild Ginger Asian Restaurant & Satay Bar
1401 Third Avenue

Satisfy your taste palette with a discounted, special Polynesian-themed appetizer and cocktail when you present your GO! Gauguin coupon at Wild Ginger Asian Restaurant & Satay Bar. Cannot be combined with other offers or discounts. No substitutions.

– Sean C. Fraser, Public Relations Intern