All posts in “Exhibitions”

Muse/News: Muholi’s gaze, disco photographs, and Space Age fashion

SAM News

Crosscut’s Brangien Davis reviews Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness, saying the self-portraits “stare right back at you—and, unlike you, they don’t blink.”

“Throughout it all Muholi looks straight at us with those unflinching, wide-open eyes. ‘Yes?’ they seem to say. And also: ‘I see what you see when you see me.’”

Rainy Julys mean MOVIES. Have you been to our new film series, Comedy Gold from the American Cinema? Check out films every Thursday night recommended by Seattle Magazine and The Stranger, now through August 15.

Local News

The Stranger’s Dave Segal on the Nordic Museum’s exhibition of photography by Hasse Persson, who captured some of the most important political and cultural moments in America from 1968-1980—including shenanigans at Studio 54.

The Seattle Times’ Moira Macdonald goes to camp, checking out the Met’s latest fashion exhibition—and finding some resonances in MOHAI’s current show of Northwest style.

Farewell to Marvin Oliver, artist and professor emeritus at the University of Washington, who died this week at the age of 73.

“’We have lost an amazing mentor and elder in our community and his legacy will live on,’ Olsen said. ‘And those of us who understand his vision and mission to support the Native students and enhance the visibility of Native art and culture will make him and keep him proud and forge on with his legacy.’”

Inter/National News

Pictures worth a thousand (and more) frames: here’s Artsy on six films inspired by famous photographs.

Farewell to Philip G. Freelon, who was “arguably the most significant African-American architect in recent history.” He died recently at the age of 66.

Space seems to be on everyone’s mind. Enter the Brooklyn Museum, with their new retrospective Pierre Cardin: Future Fashion, full of his “youth-fueled modernism” aesthetic.

“They were garments that projected utility but were irresistibly sleek and sexily alienish; clinically pristine, yet sinuous—all the appeal of an Eero Saarinen Tulip chair, but made for the body.”

And Finally

So the trailer for CATS happened. The Internet had some feelings.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Manager of Public Relations

Image: Installation view Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness, Seattle Art Museum, 2019, photo: Natali Wiseman.
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Tour Victorian Radicals with Chiyo Ishikawa

“It’s incredibly rich and it’s a way of making us rethink what radical is.”

– Chiyo Ishikawa

Tour Victorian Radicals: From the Pre-Raphaelites to the Arts & Crafts Movement with SAM’s Susan Brotman Deputy Director for Art and Curator of European Painting and Sculpture, Chiyo Ishikawa, and find out what was so sensational about the Pre-Raphaelites Brotherhood.

As industrialization brought sweeping changes to British life, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Everett Millais, and William Holman Hunt formed the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. The young artists were reacting to the traditional training methods of the Royal Academy of Arts, which they regarded to be as formulaic as industrial methods of production. While these works of art may not offend the sensibilities of today’s audiences, they were referred to as “Lamentable and revolting . . .” and as “. . . Monstrously perverse . . .” by their contemporary critics.

Visit SAM through September 8 to see 150 works from the 19th century Britain and consider for yourself what makes art radical.

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Muse/News: Muholi arrives, an unlovable tree, and monuments to rad Women

SAM News

Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness is now on view at SAM, and it’s not to be missed. Here’s Elena Martinique for Widewalls and Victoria Valentine of Culture Type on the South African visual activist’s work.

Jasmyne Keimig of the Stranger offered this sneak peek; keep an eye out for her feature story on the show.

Outside suggests “11 Alternatives to Crowded Outdoor Instagram Spots,” with the sculpture park handily beating the gum wall.

Give a read to Casey Arguelles Gregory of The Eye’s post about what we do with problematic art; Claire Partington: Taking Tea at SAM is given as an example of how to respond.

“[The installation] creates a stunning dialogue between the historical ‘porcelain room’ and our modern attempt to reckon with the colonialism and institutional racism that necessitated the creation of these beautiful objects.”

Local News

The Stranger doesn’t like our city flag. They’re throwing a design contest for a new one (non-binding). (SAM tickets are among the prizes!)

Crosscut’s Brangien Davis on Beili Liu’s new show at MadArt, which addresses the global refugee crisis with clothing frozen in place by cement.

The Denny Substation has a sculpture called Transforest—apparently the tallest public art in the City—that the Stranger’s Jasmyne Keimig calls “unlovable.”

“Obviously, Transforest can’t capture certain things about trees—their smell, the sound of leaves rustling in the wind, their sense of knowing. But as I stood underneath it, sweating under all that sun, trying to figure out this sculpture, I realized I was missing something simple, easily capture-able about trees—their shade.”

Inter/National News

Artforum reports on the ongoing controversy involving the proposed destruction of a mural at San Francisco’s George Washington High School; now 400 academics, writers, and artists have written an open letter opposing the plan.

Elsewhere in school murals: Dr. Maya Angelou is celebrated in over two dozen eye-catching murals throughout the campus of the Dr. Maya Angelou Community High School.

And elsewhere in rad women monuments: Zachary Small of Hyperallergic reports on the proposed monument on Roosevelt Island to the groundbreaking journalist Nellie Bly.

“Almost 132 years later, the intrepid reporter will return to the scene of the story that made her a hailed heroine of journalism as a permanent monument.”

And Finally

If you are not always eager to learn more about Bob Ross, then I just don’t know what to tell you.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Manager of Public Relations

Photo: Installation view Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness at Seattle Art Museum, 2019, photo: Natali Wiseman.
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Muse/News: Victorian extra-ness, tree art, and what happens when artists curate

SAM News

Crosscut’s Brangien Davis recommends that you “judge for yourself … and consider just what makes art radical” in her write-up of Victorian Radicals.

And GRAY Magazine’s Rachel Gallaher chats with curator Chiyo Ishikawa about the exhibition on “what’s so radical” about it.

“Rich in saturated color and minute detail, the works sit in bold contrast to the zeitgeisty minimalism and pastel palettes of the past few years. It’s a rather refreshing aesthetic twist, and a veritable feast for the eyes.”

Watch Evening Magazine’s thoughtful story on Hear & Now, featuring interviews with artist Trimpin, poet Pam Winter, and Path with Art director Holly Jacobson.

Comedy Gold from the American Cinema kicks off this week; with classics like The Thin Man and The Awful Truth it’s no wonder the series is included on Seattle Magazine’s list of “21 Best Things to Do in Seattle in July 2019” and is one of the Seattle Times’ “hottest Seattle events for July 2019.”

Congrats! SAM trustee Charles Wright has been named Middle Market Family Business Executive of the Year by the Puget Sound Business Journal. 

Local News

Crosscut’s Agueda Pacheco Flores (just named New Journalist of the Year by the Society of Professional Journalists [Western Washington]!) visits The Beacon, Columbia City’s new single-screen cinema.

The Stranger’s Rich Smith wrote about Seattle’s newest “pretty dreamy” dance company, Seattle Dance Collective; their first show, Program One, premieres at Vashon Center for the Arts this weekend.

An SOS, a lofty reminder, a memento mori: Crosscut’s Brangien Davis visits Ted Youngs’ new Smoke Season installation and looks at some other trees in art, including John Grade’s Middle Fork at SAM and the Neukom Vivarium at the Olympic Sculpture Park.

“They peer up at the tree, which stands parallel to the Space Needle — one conceived as a beacon of humanity’s bright future, the other an urgent message from the here and now.”

Inter/National News

You love to see it: As part of NPR Music’s exploration of the Seattle music scene, they look at “11 Visual Artists Creating The Look Of Seattle Music.” 

Who knew this was such a rich genre? Artnet’s Caroline Goldstein brings you the “Finest Artistic Depictions of Totally Wasted People Ever.”

The New York Times’ Roberta Smith on Artistic License at the Guggenheim, a show curated by six artists—one for each of the ramps of the museum’s rotunda.  

“Artists look at a collection more freely and greedily than most of us, from odd angles. They often ferret out neglected or eccentric treasures, highlighting what museums have but aren’t using; they can also reveal a collection’s weaknesses, its biases and blind spots.”

And Finally

A world of cages.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Manager of Public Relations

Image: Installation view “Victorian Radicals: From the Pre-Raphaelites to the Arts & Crafts Movement” at Seattle Art Museum, 2019, photo: Natali Wiseman.

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Muse/News: Beauty at SAM, Juneteenth lessons, and a huge statue from Kehinde Wiley

SAM News

The Victorians Radicals are here! Here are reviews from Gary Faigin for the Seattle Times and Stefan Milne of Seattle Met on the exhibition’s beautiful objects and historical richness.

Fayemi Shakur profiles Zanele Muholi and their work photographing Black lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex South Africans. Muholi’s stunning self-portraits arrive at SAM on July 10.  

“I want the next generation of young queers and non-queers to know that we are here, that we were here. We owe it to ourselves to make sense of our lives and living.”

Local News

“Almost free is unfree”: LaNesha DeBardelaben, Executive Director of the Northwest African American Museum, shares the story—and lessons—of Juneteenth. (And Real Change’s Lisa Edge wrote up their current exhibition!)

The Stranger’s Jasmyne Keimig on the “disco balls, closed-circuit cameras, and colored lighting” in Give It or Leave It, Cauleen Smith’s solo show at the Frye Art Museum.

The Seattle Times’ Brendan Kiley talks with Greg Lundgren about empty spaces, collective billionaires, and the forthcoming Museum of Museums (MoM).

“I’ll keep saying the same thing I’ve said for years: Any time you have a concentration of talent, wealth, innovation and quality of life, you’ve got all the ingredients for a renaissance, of a revolution, of a movement. But somehow, we just haven’t been mixing them right.”

Inter/National News

NPR reports that poet, writer, and musician Joy Harjo will be the next poet laureate of the United States. Learn more about her with this great conversation from BOMB Magazine between Harjo and fellow poet Sherwin Bitsui.

Artforum reports: “The Association of Art Museum Directors’ board of trustees has passed a resolution that calls on the more than two hundred museums it represents to end unpaid internship programs.”

A new republic, set in stone: The Virginia Museum of Arts announced the acquisition of Kehinde Wiley’s largest sculpture to date, a 30-foot-tall bronze of a Black man on a horse, modeled after Richmond’s Confederate statues.

“Art and violence have for an eternity held a strong narrative grip with each other … To have the Rumors of War sculpture presented in such a context lays bare the scope and scale of the project in its conceit to expose the beautiful and terrible potentiality of art to sculpt the language of domination.”

And Finally

A dilemma of inheritance, a question of citizenship.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Manager of Public Relations

Image: Beata Beatrix, begun 1877 (left unfinished in 1882 and completed by Ford Madox Brown), Dante Gabriel Rossetti, British, 1828–1882, oil on canvas, 34 1/8 × 26 7/8 in., Lent by Birmingham Museums Trust on behalf of Birmingham City Council, Purchased, 1891P25, © Birmingham Museums Trust, Courtesy American Federation of Arts



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My Favorite Things: Tracy Rector

“It’s a space where it really calls upon you to interpret on your own and to take from it what you need. Or just sit and take it in.”

– Tracy Rector

Hear from independent filmmaker and activist Tracy Rector on her favorite thing at SAM, The Porcelain Room. Brimming with more than one thousand magnificent European and Asian pieces from SAM’s collection, the Porcelain Room has been conceived to blend visual excitement with a historical concept.

Rather than the standard museum installation arranged by nationality, manufactory, and date, our porcelain is grouped by color and theme. Today, when porcelain is everywhere in our daily lives, this room evokes a time when it was a treasured trade commodity—sometimes rivaling the value of gold—that served as a cultural, technological, and artistic interchange between the East and the West.

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Muse/News: A new leader for SAM, Lorna’s dark paintings, and Frida’s voice

SAM News

Last week, SAM announced that Amada Cruz has been chosen as the museum’s new Illsley Ball Nordstrom Director and CEO, succeeding Kimerly Rorschach who is retiring in September. Brendan Kiley of the Seattle Times had the exclusive. Brangien Davis of Crosscut and Jasmyne Keimig of the Stranger also both interviewed Amada.

And everyone else shared the news, including ARTNews, Artforum, Artnet, and Seattle Met. Even Representative Pramila Jayapal was eager to welcome Amada to Seattle!

Oh yeah: We also opened our major summer exhibition last week! Seattle Times photojournalist Alan Berner was there with a sneak peek of the beauty that is Victorian Radicals: From the Pre-Raphaelites to the Arts & Crafts Movement.

And Seattle Magazine’s June issue features a round-up of “must-see” area museums—including, of course, SAM.

Local News

The future site of Capitol Hill’s AIDS Memorial Pathway will be activated this summer and beyond with temporary artworks and performances—including a series of dance performances curated by SAM’s Public Engagement Associate, David Rue!

Crosscut’s Brangien Davis on Discover + Disrupt at the Center for Architecture and Design; the show features work by art collective Electric Coffin that imagines “a more artful public cityscape.”

The Seattle Times’ Moira Macdonald on the controversy surrounding Penguin’s new edition of John Okada’s novel “No-No Boy.” UW professor Shawn Wong originally fought to have the book published and disputes the new edition.

“The publishing history of ‘No-No Boy’ is as important as the book itself,” he said, remembering how he would sell copies of the original CARP edition out of the trunk of his old Mustang in the 1970s. “To publish the book without acknowledging that publishing history is publishing a very incomplete story.”

Inter/National News

“Dark times, to me, mean dark paintings”: The New York Times’ Siddhartha Mitter speaks with Lorna Simpson about her new show, which sees the artist continuing to work in ever-new mediums, including painting.

Artnet’s Sarah Cascone on the Delaware Art Museum’s plans for a reinstallation of much of its permanent collection and how they’re engaging the community in their prototyping process—including Post-Its!

The Guardian’s Nadja Sayej on a “groundbreaking” exhibition of work by Native women at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. The show features a loan from SAM’s collection: Marie Watt’s Blanket Stories.

“90% of Native art is made by women. Native artists know this. It’s just non-Native people who haven’t recognized that.”

And Finally

Is this Frida Kahlo’s voice?

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Manager of Public Relations

Photo: Natali Wiseman
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Igshaan Adams’s tapestry

In This Imperfect Present Moment closes Sunday, June 16! Don’t miss this chance to see works across a wide array of media by artists hailing from Cape Town, Johannesburg, Cotonou/Rotterdam, Luanda/Lisbon, Baltimore, to Los Angeles, and New York. These works have been brought to Seattle by local collectors who are intrigued by how these artists convey vibrant narratives that resonate across global boundaries. While you’re here take a close look at Surah al-Fatiha (the Opening), by Capetown artist Igshaan Adams.

Visiting Igshaan Adams in his studio in Capetown is to step into a zone of transformation. He works with a group of weavers who wander in and out as he shows you mounds of materials that are being upgraded to carry stories and interpretations of Sufism, the mystical sect of Islam, which offers alternative ways of looking at the world. He speaks of his love of the mysticism of Islamic texts, and how they provide guidance for the realities of daily life. Learning about his family provides further insight for his development as an artist; he was raised by Christian grandparents who were supportive of his faith, fasted with him during Ramadan, and invited imams over to the family home. As you trip over ropes and nearly stumble into a massive maze of beads that are being arranged in a spiral with a mystic rationale, you try to keep track of the mesmerizing pull of the artist’s sincerity. His descriptions of involving the sacred to encourage humankind’s capacity for good and nobility set a tone of deep introspection.

In the instsallation, you’ll see a tapestry named after the first chapter of the Quran. Adams has added beads to convey the opening line, which is meant to be recited and contemplated every time a believer begins to establish a direct connection with Allah. About this, Adams has said, “As an artist, I think I can give a person one moment of reflection or one moment with a different perspective.” So goes this imperfect present description of his effort, which is worth so many more words that you are encouraged to seek out online.

– Pam McClusky, Curator of African and Oceanic Art

Image: Surah al-Fatiha (the Opening), 2016, Igshaan Adams, South African, b. 1982, woven nylon rope, beads, 94 1/2 x 94 1/2 in., Private collection, photo courtesy of Blank Projects, Cape Town.
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SAM Connects Free Days to Victorian Radicals

The search for beauty in our modern age will lead you to the free Community Opening Celebration for Victorian Radicals: From the Pre-Raphaelites to the Arts & Crafts Movement on June 13. From 5–9 pm see the exhibition for free, take part in art-making activities, and catch performances throughout the museum. Can’t make it to the opening? We have many other ways for you to visit SAM for free or at a discount during Victorian Radicals!

  • Free community passes may be available for community organizations or colleges and universities.
  • Many of our programs include free admission to our special exhibitions on the day of the event. Keep an eye on exhibition-related events.
  • First Thursdays
    Adult: $9.99
    Seniors 65+, Military (w/ID): $7.99
    Students (w/ID): $4.99
    Ages 19 & younger: Free
  • First Friday: Admission to the special exhibition is $7.99 for anyone 65 years and older.
  • As a part of Museums for All, SAM offers free admission to low-income families and individuals receiving SNAP benefits when you show your EBT card.
  • King County and Seattle Public Libraries offer free passes to special exhibitions.
  • City of Seattle’s Gold and FLASH card program. If you have a Gold or FLASH card, your caretaker gets free admission.
  • Teen Tix
  • Bank of America’s Museums on Us: On the first full weekend of every month, Bank of America cardholders receive free admission at SAM.
  • Blue Star Museums: free admission to military personnel and their families. Just show your military ID. The military ID holder plus up to five immediate family members (spouse or child of ID holder) are allowed in for free per visit (special exhibition surcharge may apply).
  • UW Art Students get free admission with sticker on their student ID

Basically, you have no reason not to visit! And remember, entry to SAM’s permanent collections is always suggested admission! You can come experience our global collection year-round and pay what you want.

Images: Sir Walter Scott’s Monument Clock, ca. 1850, William Frederick Evans, British, active 1830–75, gilded and silvered brass, blued steel, enamel, and marble, 24 5/8 × 16 3/8 × 12 5/8 in., Lent by Birmingham Museums Trust on behalf of Birmingham City Council, Presented by Miss P. Evans, 1959S1057.1, © Birmingham Museums Trust, Courtesy American Federation of Arts. Day dress, ca. 1865, British, green and black striped silk with black ribbon, braid and cord trim (machine- and hand-stitched), 52 3/8 × 68 7/8 in., Lent by Birmingham Museums Trust on behalf of Birmingham City Council, Presented by Mrs. Bridget Doreen Bruce, 1963M32, © Birmingham Museums Trust, Courtesy American Federation of Arts
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