All posts in “SAM News”

Muse/News: Art News from SAM, Seattle & Beyond

SAM News

Figuring History is now! The New York Times included the exhibition among their “Week in Culture” highlights, calling it “flawless.”

Cultured Magazine shared this interview with Mickalene Thomas—along with stunning portraits of Mickalene and her partner Racquel Chevremont in the Figuring History galleries.

The Seattle Times’ coverage includes a video, photos, and full review; the video features interviews with SAM curator Catharina Manchanda and the artists Kerry James Marshall and Mickalene Thomas.

“Their work is brought together for the first time in a powerful, important exhibition that really must be experienced in person to get the full impact of these enormous, vibrant works.”

Following the unveiling last week of the official portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, SAM curator SAM curator Chiyo Ishikawa appeared on KING5’s New Day NW on Wednesday morning along with artist C. Davida Ingram to discuss the portraits.

Local News

Public art curator and author Nato Thompson has been named the artistic director of this year’s Seattle Art Fair; City Arts’ Margo Vansynghel spoke with Nato about his plans.

Crosscut’s Matt Mills McKnight interviewed Sifu David Leong, owner of Northwest Kung Fu Academy, about the art of lion dancing; he also captured photos of the team at last week’s Lunar New Year kickoff celebrations.

Emily Pothast of The Stranger reviews the Zohra Opoku show now on view at the Mariane Ibrahim Gallery.

“’When I see someone who is fully veiled, I’m always thinking about what’s underneath, and become curious about the person I don’t see,’ she says. ‘I tried different ways of veiling myself to create different versions of myself in a veiled situation.’”

Inter/National News

The Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation awarded thirty artists a $20,000 Biennial Grant. Lots of SAM favorites included! Kerry James Marshall served on the jury; Titus Kaphar, Ebony G. Patterson, Sondra Perry, and Wendy Red Star were among the recipients.

Artnet takes a look at the MCA Denver’s show of works made by Jean-Michel Basquiat—and photos taken by roommate Alexis Adler—during a rambunctious year spent in an small apartment on East 12th Street.

Philip Kennicott of the Washington Post addresses the Hirshhorn’s decision to postpone a projection on its building exterior by Krzysztof Wodiczko that features a gun and a candle.

“One fundamental strategy of political art is to say: This ugly image is who we are, and then challenge the audience to deny that, in word and deed.”

And Finally

Nothing is more fun than scrolling through #WakandaForever.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Manager of Public Relations

Photo: Installation view of Figuring History: Robert Colescott, Kerry James Marshall, Mickalene Thomas at Seattle Art Museum, 2018, photo: Natali Wiseman.
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Muse/News: Arts News from SAM, Seattle, and Beyond

SAM News

Last week, we announced the hiring of SAM’s first-ever Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Manish Engineer, who will oversee technology and digital efforts across the institution. Artdaily and Geekwire shared the news.

Figuring History artist Kerry James Marshall is this month’s cover story in Juxtapoz. Don’t miss their wide-ranging interview with him—plus their online story on SAM’s exhibition.

Local News

The Stranger’s Charles Mudede reviews Everyday Black at the Northwest African American Museum, which features a portrait that he calls “the masterpiece of the show” of SAM’s Public Programs Coordinator David Rue.

Capitol Hill Times reports on the efforts of The Friends of the Benson Trolleys, who hope to retrofit the abandoned vintage trolleys to run on Seattle’s streetcar line.

City Arts’ Margo Vansynghel sits down with Zhi Lin, whose incredible solo show about the 1885 forced expulsion of Chinese inhabitants from Tacoma is on view until February 18 at the Tacoma Art Museum.

“Originally, I wanted to create an old history painting with old buildings, tailors, saloons and so on. I decided not to. Instead, I re-staged the scene in a contemporary setting, with the light rail track, skyscrapers, traffic signage nearby. To say, we are repeating history. Literally.”

Inter/National News

I know we’re all ready for spring, but let’s just enjoy Hyperallergic’s collection of dreamy Instagrams taken during the recent snowstorm in Paris. Scroll and le sigh.

Artnet’s Javier Pes reports on the happenings at art fairs Salon Acme and Material in Mexico City; Everyday Poetics artist Fritzia Irízar is named one of seven memorable artists from Material.

Artnet’s Ben Davis focuses in on the merits of Basquiat’s Untitled, which is now on view at the Brooklyn Museum.

“Untitled (1982) is built to be what it has become, a high-energy icon that can spread easily as a media image. But at the same time it also whispers that it doesn’t want to be reduced to just that; it doesn’t just want to be looked at, it wants to be seen.”

And Finally

Meet Banda Didá, the all-female Brazilian drum group.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Manager of Public Relations

Image: Souvenir I, 1997, Kerry James Marshall, acrylic, collage, and glitter on unstretched canvas, 108 x 157 in., Collection Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Bernice and Kenneth Newberger Fund, 1997.73, © MCA Chicago, photo: Joe Ziolkowski.
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Muse/News: Arts News from SAM, Seattle, and Beyond

SAM News

Kimerly Rorschach, SAM’s Illsley Ball Nordstrom Director and CEO, is featured in the February edition of Seattle Met as one of the “50 Most Influential Women in Seattle.”

The Stranger put together a list of all the best Black History Month events: SAM exhibitions Figuring History: Robert Colescott, Kerry James Marshall, Mickalene Thomas and Sondra Perry: Eclogue for [in]HABITABILITY both make the cut.

The Seattle Times’ Moira Macdonald recommends seeing Oscar nominees on Cinerama’s big screen—as well as two upcoming SAM Films events: “Alfred Hitchcock’s Britain” series and “David Lynch’s First Seven Films: From The Alphabet to Eraserhead.”

Local News

Seattle Sketcher Gabriel Campanario visited the new Amazon Spheres and came away underwhelmed.

The King County Council has proposed an ordinance that would involve more control over arts and cultural agency 4Culture.

Seattle Times’ Jerry Large introduces the new leader at Northwest African American Museum, LaNesha DeBardelaben; City Arts recently reported on the celebratory opening of their current exhibition, Everyday Black.

‘”Once I stepped foot in this museum, I immediately knew that this is the place for me,’ she said. ‘NAAM has so much potential and so much dynamism to it.’”

Inter/National News

The New York Times on responses from the National Gallery and Seattle University following accusations of sexual harassment against Chuck Close; ARTnews reports on Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts’ plan.

“It’s often difficult to know which way up a painting should be.” A Morris Lewis painting at the Jewish Museum is on view with a new name—and a new orientation.

Joyce J. Scott’s sculptures, quilts, and necklaces are on view in her most comprehensive exhibition to date at New Jersey’s Grounds for Sculpture; one of the exhibition’s curators is Lowery Stokes Sims, who contributed an essay to the Figuring History catalogue.

“’My work is politically and socially oriented because that’s what keeps me up at night,’ Scott added. ‘It’s important to me to use art in a manner that incites people to look and carry something home — even if it’s subliminal — that might make a change in them.’”

And Finally

What happens when an artist and her emotional support peacock simply try to get from here to there.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Manager of Public Relations

Photo: Robert Wade
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Muse/News: Arts News from SAM, Seattle, and Beyond

SAM News

Big news! The project to renovate and expand the Asian Art Museum was approved unanimously last week by the Seattle City Council. Curbed Seattle was among the outlets who reported the story.

The Seattle Times names Figuring History: Robert Colescott, Kerry James Marshall, Mickalene Thomas as one of the “hottest Seattle events” to look forward to in February.

Local News

Marcie Sillman of KUOW on artist Christopher Paul Jordan’s banner year, which— memorably for us—included his Latent Home Zero installation at the Olympic Sculpture Park.

Margo Vansynghel of City Arts interviewed Jolyn GC, curator of Perspectives in Portraiture, a new online gallery and ongoing pop-up space at WeWork.

32 fouettés! It’s exhausting/exhilarating just watching Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Lesley Rausch prepare for their production of Swan Lake, as the Seattle Times video team did recently.

Inter/National News

Donatello was the best, but this still rules: The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s exhibition, Michelangelo: Divine Draftsman and Designer, had a totally tubular visit this week by someone who happens to share the legendary artist’s name.

Los Angeles isn’t known for its public transportation system. Perhaps the many planned improvements, and this, will help: public art for the planned Crenshaw Line by Mickalene Thomas, Carlson Hatton, Shinique Smith, and more.

“It is, of course, extremely valuable and somewhat fragile.” Guggenheim curator Nancy Spector had a better idea for a loan to the White House; instead of the requested Van Gogh, she thought they needed Maurizio Cattelan’s “America.”

And Finally

Art history classes were never like this: Drunk History presented the story of art historian/war hero Rose Valland with help from actor/life hero Tiffany Haddish. Because she likes us, Haddish also made the Oscar announcements Emmy-worthy last week.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Manager of Public Relations

Image: Colored TV, 1977, Robert Colescott, acrylic on canvas, 84 x 66 in., San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Gift of Vicki and Kent Logan, © 2017 Estate of Robert Colescott / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, photo: Don Ross
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Muse/News: Arts News from SAM, Seattle, and Beyond

SAM News

In a ceremony at the Seattle Art Museum last Wednesday, Dr. Chiyo Ishikawa, SAM’s Susan Brotman Deputy Director for Art and Curator of European Painting and Sculpture, was awarded the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters), joining a prestigious group of artists, writers, scholars, and producers recognized for fostering French arts and culture. ARTnews and Vanguard Seattle both shared the news.

The project to renovate and expand the Asian Art Museum met some important milestones in recent public hearings with the Seattle City Council. Last week, Brendan Kiley of the Seattle Times filed an update on the project.

Local News

Seattle says farewell to educator Mona Humphries Bailey, who passed away recently at the age of 85. We here at SAM were honored to have her once serve on our Education & Community Engagement Committee.

Last week’s New Yorker cover featured an illustration by Mark Ulriksen depicting Seahawk and activist Michael Bennett kneeling with Colin Kaepernick and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Alison Marks: One Gray Hair, now on view at the Frye Art Museum, was reviewed by Erin Langner for Hyperallergic.

“ . . . instigates an urgent conversation about the perspectives that are lost in a monolithic world, with questions and answers moving fluidly between the work, the viewer and the artist.”

Inter/National News

The Brooklyn Museum has announced that they’ll present a painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat in a one-painting exhibition (which will then go on tour); the work made headlines last spring after it was purchased by collector Yusaku Maezawa.

Meredith Mendelsohn of the New York Times profiles artist Derrick Adams, whose exhibition opening this week at the Museum of Arts and Design was inspired by the “Green Book,” guides for black travelers published from 1936 through 1966.

Antwaun Sargent writes for Artsy about LaToya Ruby Frazier—2013 winner of SAM’s Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence Prize—who has a new show at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise in Harlem.

‘”Whenever I’m making a portrait,’ says Frazier, and its subjects are ‘looking back at me, showing their dignity and pride and humanity, they are a marker on the timeline of history.’”

And Finally

This past weekend saw the Women’s March 2.0 take over cities and towns across the country. Here’s a song for those who want to keep the party going.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Manager of Public Relations

Photo: Natali Wiseman
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Muse/News: Arts News from SAM, Seattle, and Beyond

SAM News

As a farewell to Andrew Wyeth: In Retrospect, enjoy this SAM video featuring Gwendolyn DuBois Shaw, author of the exhibition catalogue essay that explores the importance of Wyeth’s portraits of the black community in Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania.

Culture Type takes a look at what’s on the horizon for African American art in 2018, including SAM’s exhibition Figuring History: Robert Colescott, Kerry James Marshall, Mickalene Thomas, which opens February 15.

February also brings the return of Seattle Museum Month, during which visitors to participating downtown hotels get half-price admission to area museums (including SAM!). For that, Travel + Leisure and Architectural Digest both included Seattle among their winter travel recommendations.

Local News

KUOW’s Marcie Sillman talks with artists and arts leaders Vivian Phillips, Dani Tirrell, and Tim Lennon to ask the question: can art save the soul of Seattle’s Central District?

Does this count as “art news?” I say YES: Former Zig Zag barman Erik Hakkinen is turning the basement of the Lusty Lady into a cozy cocktail bar—conveniently located across the street of the Seattle Art Museum.

City Art’s Margo Vansynghel interviews Seattle/Baltimore artist Paul Rucker, who was just named one of 20 TED Fellows for 2018.

“There’s nothing that I’ve created in the gallery that’s more horrifying than what’s outside those doors. The lynchings have not stopped, they’ve merely changed forms—from rope to guns. I created a new piece called ‘You Might be Disturbed by Images Beyond This Point.’ I’ll place it at the exit of every gallery I show at, because I can’t make anything more disturbing than reality.”

Inter/National News

Who’s a good museum employee? The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston gets a 12/10 for hiring Riley, a Weimaraner puppy, who will learn how to detect insects and bugs in order to help protect the art.

Artsy tells the fuzzy story behind the first work by a female artist to be acquired by the Museum of Modern Art for its permanent collection.

Hyperallergic interviews Daniel Weiss of the Met about its new admissions policy and how it affect visitors.

And Finally

Everyday Africa is a project that shares images of the ordinary, nuanced, and beautiful in Africa in order to combat harmful, racist clichés.

— Rachel Eggers,

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Muse/News: Arts News from SAM, Seattle, and Beyond

SAM News

“Lust and death”? Sign us up! The Stranger’s Charles Mudede features the upcoming Ingmar Bergman film series in the latest edition of the paper.

“Look at it this way: A film like The Commuter, which must not be missed, is your fat-rich steak, and a movie like Bergman’s Through the Glass Darkly or Silence or Persona is your broccoli. You just can’t eat steak all of the time. You will die from just eating steak. You need your veggies. You can almost live forever on a diet of just films of the great Swedish director Ingmar Bergman.”

Tiffany Y. Ates featured the “redefining art history” work of Mickalene Thomas in the January/February edition of Smithsonian Magazine. Thomas will be one of three artists featured in Figuring History: Robert Colescott, Kerry James Marshall, Mickalene Thomas.

Le déjeuner sur l’herbe: Les Trois Femmes Noires (The Three Black Women), part of a new group exhibition at the Seattle Art Museum, depicts the subjects in a mosaic of vibrant colors, fragmented shapes, rhinestones and glittered Afros. ‘These women are so grounded and perfectly comfortable in their own space,’ says Catharina Manchanda, a curator at the museum. ‘While we might be looking at them, they are also sizing us up.’”

Local News

City Arts released their annual Future List: the “artists and trailblazers who will illuminate the year to come.” On the list are some SAM friends: Sculptured Dance alum Randy Ford and Wyeth Film Sprint fan favorite director Claire Buss.

Gayle Clemans of the Seattle Times takes note of the recent growth of galleries in homes, garages, and Airbnbs, as artists and curators try to work around rising rents.

The Stranger’s Emily Pothast features Natasha Marin (of the Reparations.me project) and her latest collaboration at CORE Gallery, BLACK Imagination: The States of Matter.

“It’s home-baked bread with butter for a stomach tight with growling. BLACK Imagination is for black people first. It’s a celebration of ourselves.”

Inter/National News

Major news: The Metropolitan Museum of Art abandons its pay-what-you-wish policy for out-of-towners, requiring those visitors to pay a mandatory admission fee of $25.

Artsy has an appropriately visual feature highlighting 25 people who defined the visual culture of 2017, including Agnes Gund, Beyonce and Solange, and da Vinci (still got it!).

Victoria L. Valentine of Culture Type recalls “the year in black art,” including Sondra Perry winning SAM’s Knight Lawrence Prize among many other moments.

And Finally

Please enjoy Moonlight director Barry Jenkins’ recent epic Tweetstorm as he watched his seatmate on an airplane watch Notting Hill.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Manager of Public Relations

Image: Courtesy of Photofest.
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Muse/News: Arts News from SAM, Seattle, and Beyond

SAM News

For those still holiday shopping, consider a Calderesque desktop mobile from SAM Shop, featured in Seattle Met’s gift guide, or give the gift of art with a SAM membership, as recommended in the Seattle Times’ Shop NW.

If you’ve got visitors in town for the season—or if you still need to check out Andrew Wyeth: In Retrospect yourself!—take the recommendation of the Seattle Times and head to the museum. As they note, we’ll have extended and holidays hours through the end of the exhibition on January 15.

Local News

The Seattle Times’ Brendan Kiley highlights the difference arts funding can make, profiling local musician and student Angel Rodriguez—winner of the NEA’s first “musical theater songwriting challenge.”

City Arts’ Margo Vansynghel invites a tech worker to join her for a visit to SOIL’s new show, Tech Support, trying to understand how local tech workers might engage more with the art scene.

“I think it’s one of the most beautiful pieces of jazz ever composed.” Charles Mudede of the Stranger is 100% correct; read his interview with pianist Jose Gonzales about the story behind Vince Guaraldi’s “Christmas Time Is Here.”

Inter/National News

The New York Times features artist Alexandra Bell and her “Counternarratives” series, which examines biases in media coverage.

“Museums are living, breathing organisms,” she said. “We need to make space for other voices.” Priscilla Frank for the Huffington Post on how museum educators are dealing with “art history’s problematic faves.”

The Minneapolis Institute of Art is establishing the world’s first Center for Empathy and the Visual Arts, which aims to “to spark and nurture empathy […] to contribute even more toward building a just and harmonious society.”

And Finally

For those celebrating, have yourself a very Happy Hanukkah and a truly Merry Christmas.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Manager of Public Relations

Image: Installation view of Andrew Wyeth: In Retrospect at Seattle Art Museum, 2017, photo: Natali Wiseman.
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Visiting Tokyo’s New Yayoi Kusama Museum

Were you one of the more than 130,000 visitors to the Seattle Art Museum’s Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors exhibition over the past summer? If so, then you’ll remember the citywide frenzy of excitement as everyone rushed to get tickets and be the first to post their Kusama selfies. I was lucky enough to visit twice while it was here. So when I learned that the legendary Japanese artist was opening a new museum in Tokyo in October 2017, the same month I would be there, I jumped at the chance to go!

Located in Tokyo’s Shinjuku neighborhood, The Yayoi Kusama Museum‘s sleekly curved white building was constructed in 2014, but its purpose was a local mystery until the museum was announced in 2017. The five-story space features paintings, sculpture, and the popular “infinity rooms,” as well as an archive and reading room.

The museum’s inaugural exhibit, Creation is a Solitary Pursuit, Love is What Brings You Closer to Art, focuses on Kusama’s recent work. If you saw the SAM exhibit, you’ll recognize the large, vividly colored paintings of her latest series, My Eternal Soul. Frenetic, pulsing with energy, and almost biological—like gigantic microscope slides of cells and amoeba—there’s an uneasy tension between the bright rainbow of colors that pull you in and the jarring, repetitive forms that repel the eye.

Visiting the Kusama Museum is a surprisingly hushed and peaceful experience. Only four sets of 70 people are admitted per day, so there were only a few people in each gallery. In the museum’s Infinity Room, we were allowed to stay for two full minutes, walking around the glowing cube of orange-gold pumpkins, and we could take all the selfies we wanted. With such a small crowd, it was easy to get into the Infinity Room alone—and now that I’ve done it, I believe silence and solitude is the best way to truly immerse yourself in the illusion of limitless space and light.

Speaking of selfies, you won’t want to miss the museum’s restroom. That might sound odd, but the restrooms and elevators are decorated with wall-to-wall mirrors and red polka dots. Photography isn’t allowed inside the galleries (other than the Infinity Room), but this might just be your best bathroom selfie ever.

Since the SAM exhibition featured five Infinity Rooms, some visitors might feel a bit disappointed that this museum offers only one. But Kusama is a prolific artist in many media, and her museum offers a carefully curated selection representing the themes and styles of her 65-year-long career. While they’re small, the quiet, uncrowded galleries make for a uniquely intimate atmosphere.

If you’re headed to Tokyo and interested in learning more about Kusama’s career and legacy, the Yayoi Kusama Museum gives you a chance to get up close and personal with her art—just as she intended.

IF YOU GO: The Yayoi Kusama Museum is open Thursdays through Sundays and national holidays (closed Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays). Reserve tickets for four timed slots per day on the first day of the month for the following month (e.g., December 1 for the month of January), starting at 10 am, Japan time.

Stephanie Perry, SAM Member

Photos: Stephanie Perry
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