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On Your Marks, Get Set, Bake! The Great Victorian Radicals Bake Off

It’s hard to say which came first: The opening of Victorian Radicals: From the Pre-Raphaelites to the Arts & Crafts Movement or SAM staff binge-watching the Great British Bake Off. Either way, we can’t get enough Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood. Our staff is so into it that we are hosting the Great Victorian Radicals Bake Off. On August 29, 6–9 pm, everyone is invited to see the resulting confections of this public baking challenge, cast a vote for your favorite dessert, and find out who the judges select as winner!

24 local bakers have signed up to create signature desserts inspired by artworks of their choosing in Victorian Radicals.  At the event, bakers will present their work to the judges, explain their approach and inspiration. Judges will select one baker based on criteria of taste, relevance to artwork, and presentation. The winner will be awarded $500. Here are just some of the artworks selected as inspiration!

Our three judges may not be tossing out catchphrases but they are certainly bringing some serious skill to this lovely affair. Meet our three tastemakers below.

Rachael Coyle
Rachael is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute and is the owner of Coyle’s Bakeshop. Previously, Rachael was Executive Pastry Chef at Le Pichet and Cafe Presse.

For me, baking is as much about texture as it is about flavor, so I’ll be looking for pieces that show balance and skill in both areas. I love seeing well-executed classics—but I especially love when a piece can play with something familiar just enough to make it new and interesting. Last, and very much not least, good technique is essential to good baking, so I’ll be checking that all the individual components (pastry doughs especially!) demonstrate good technical skill. But most of all: I can’t wait to see what the bakers create!

– Rachael Coyle

Chiyo Ishikawa
Chiyo is Seattle Art Museum’s Susan Brotman Deputy Director for Art and Curator of European Painting and Sculpture and curator of Victorian Radicals.

Chiyo Ishikawa headshot

I am hoping that contestants will be inspired by some of the objects in the exhibition—there are great images using flowers, vivid colors, and lots of detail. I am particularly hoping someone might want to take on some of the three-dimensional decorative arts objects that pile on Romanesque, Byzantine, and Gothic styles and use jewels, enamel work, and sculpted forms. More is more!

– Chiyo Ishikawa

Sara Naftaly
Sara is a graduate of the French Culinary Institute and is owner of Amandine Bakeshop. For 30 years prior, Sara was co-owner of Le Gourmand.

For me, presentation cakes are a little like beautiful people.  If there is no integrity on the inside, no depth of flavor,  no individual character, then the resulting impression is eminently forgettable.  

– Sara Naftaly

Although the audience can’t sample the desserts, we will have a bar and dessert options provided by TASTE during the event. Definite bonus, a limited number of free community passes will be made available for visitors to view Victorian Radicals which is open until 9 pm.

Images: Proserpine, 1881–82, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, British, 1828–1882, oil on canvas, 31 × 15 3/8 in., Lent by Birmingham Museums Trust on behalf of Birmingham City Council, Presented by the Trustees of the Public Picture Gallery Fund, 1927P7, © Birmingham Museums Trust, Courtesy American Federation of Arts. Peacock Vase, ca. 1885, William Frend De Morgan, British, 1839–1917, earthenware, painted in underglaze colors over white slip, 13 3/4 × 11 1/2 × 11 1/2 in., Lent by Birmingham Museums Trust on behalf of Birmingham City Council, Presented by Miss Bridget D’Oyly Carte, 1949M79, © Birmingham Museums Trust, Courtesy American Federation of Arts. Medea, 1866–68, Frederick Sandys, British, 1829–1904, oil on composite wood with gold leaf, 24 1/2 × 18 1/4 in., Lent by Birmingham Museums Trust on behalf of Birmingham City Council, Presented by the Trustees of the Public Picture Gallery Fund, 1925P105, © Birmingham Museums Trust, Courtesy American Federation of Arts. Tea set (water kettle on stand with integral paraffin burner, teapot, cream jug, sugar bowl, and tray), ca. 1895, William Arthur Smith Benson, British, 1854–1924, copper and brass, 11/16 × 15 3/8 × 9 3/16 in., Lent by Birmingham Museums Trust on behalf of Birmingham City Council, Purchased with grant aid from the V&A/MGC Purchase Grant Fund, 1991M34.1-6, © Birmingham Museums Trust, Courtesy American Federation of Arts. “Honeysuckle”, 1874 (design registered 1876), William Morris, British, 1834 – 1896, block-printed linen, 27 1/8 × 38 1/8in., Lent by Birmingham Museums Trust on behalf of Birmingham City Council, Presented by the Friends of Birmingham Museums Trust, 1941M402, © Birmingham Museums Trust, Courtesy American Federation of Arts. “Garden of the Hesperides” chest, 1887–88, Edward Burne-Jones, British, 1833–1898, wood with paint and gold leaf over gesso, 40 3/4 × 74 1/4 × 27 1/2 in., Lent by Birmingham Museums Trust on behalf of Birmingham City Council, Bequeathed by Helen Mary Gaskell, 1940, 2005.0121, © Birmingham Museums Trust, Courtesy American Federation of Arts. Photo: Courtesy Rachael Coyle. Photo: Scott Areman. Photo: Courtesy Sara Naftly.

Radical Responses with Allison Kudla

Beckoning visitors at the end of a long hallway inside Victorian Radicals: From the Pre-Raphaelites to the Arts and Crafts Movement is an interactive art activity inviting visitors to experiment with ideas connected to the exhibition. Created by artist Allison Kudla, visitors build designs using small pieces of discarded plastic pulled from ocean beaches through community clean up events, organized by the non-profit group Ocean Blue Project. As you build your design a camera captures the work, and the image, translated through a computer program, is projected into a kaleidoscopic pattern on the wall, mimicking the William Morris wallpaper surrounding it. You have until September 8 to see the exhibition, featuring a range of works by Morris and his peers, and to interact with Kudla’s art activity in the galleries.

Awarded a PhD in 2011 from the University of Washington’s Center for Digital Arts and Experimental Media (DXARTS), Kudla originally titled the work Radical Anthropocene, to focus on human activity as the dominant influence on climate and the environment. Prior to her PhD work, Kudla earned a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 2002, with an emphasis on art and technology studies. We sat down with the artist to discuss this engaging art interactive, hear from her below!

SAM: Tell us about your process creating this project.

Allison Kudla: The Radical Anthropocene project was based on a prior work I created for Summer at SAM in 2015. That work, titled Digital Kaleidoscopes of Nature, was an interactive workshop wherein people visiting the Olympic Sculpture Park could select from plant cuttings from the park to create digital kaleidoscopes. SAM approached me to adapt the project to become a wallpaper, rather than a circular kaleidoscope, that would be placed in response to William Morris’ wallpaper.

When considering the material or objects to be used to create the wallpaper, I thought about Morris, his ethics, values, and poetry. I knew I didn’t want to buy mass-produced items, but I did want to talk about industry and where we have come since Morris’ era. His care for our relationship to nature and warning of the future that might occur due to industrialization, were the cohering agents when I determined what the objects to use in creating the digital wallpaper. We are in the middle of a waste crisis on multiple levels. Perhaps the Naturalists of the Anthropocene are those that are working to clean up, invent sustainable materials, and regenerate human culture on the planet.

The Ocean Blue Project, based in Oregon, regularly organizes community beach cleanups to extract the detritus of industrialization from the ocean. The oft-called “marine debris” that was sent to me for selection and placement included plastic forms, shapes, textures and colors—some recognizable objects, others only fragments, and all created through a process of industrialization.

I teamed up with my colleague, Dr. David Gibbs, a senior research scientist at ISB, who created the project’s code in Python. We worked collaboratively through GitHub with SAM’s Cooper Whitlow to complete the project

Do you collaborate with people in other disciplines on a regular basis?

Yes, absolutely. I think working with people in other disciplines is mutually beneficial. Cross- or interdisciplinary pursuits tend to push us out of our comfort zone. If I can work as a colleague with a scientist, and a scientist can work as a colleague with an artist, we are both getting an opportunity to be in the imposter zone. Though this word, imposter, may have negative connotations, the truth is that when we feel this way we are often learning new things, growing, beginning to think from a different perspective, and potentially forming new views of our work. This is inherently positive. Also, it is fun to work with other people, so there are social aspects to that as well.

What brought you to pursue a PhD in the intersection of Art and Science?

I studied fine art at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. This trailblazing school didn’t require their students to pick one discipline, but rather let the course catalog be exactly that; a catalog. Each semester I would pick my classes thinking about what I was genuinely interested in learning. I didn’t know what kind of artist I wanted to be when I started there, but by the end, after moving through painting and fiber arts into video and finally art and technology, I realized that it was the creation of new art forms and new knowledge where I found the most satisfaction. When I joined the PhD program at UW, DXARTS (Digital Arts and Experimental Media), it was in its first year. Not only was it a pioneering new program, it was founded on exploring cutting-edge, research-based art. I decided to take the X in DXARTS and run with it. Through that, I established a practice intersecting experimental biology, specifically plant biology, with computer-aided design and fabrication processes.

Where else can we see your work?

Due to the living nature of many of my works, they often are only presented when specific facilities and resources are secured, and typically solely for the purpose of creating a cultural experience for an audience. In short, my work, because it is living, is very hard to collect and often tricky or expensive to produce. When it is produced, it has a finite duration and potentially unknown outcomes, thus making it a “risky” choice for many typical arts establishments. Despite those challenges, the Centre Pompidou in Paris, France recently acquired one of my most complex works, “The Capacity for (Urban Eden, Human Error).” It was an amazing experience to transfer the knowledge of the piece to the museum and have valuable conversations with the technology team and the collections managers about not only the maintenance of the living work during the two-month lifespan of when it is on display, but also on the conservation of the whole system for decades to come.

What do you plan to do with the images created from the in-gallery experience at SAM?

It is another research project for me! I am fascinated by what people choose to “save” or determine as beautiful in the context of the activity. I am also fascinated by patterns and am interested in creating interactive projects where the audience is engaged in creating the work and feeding back into the system itself. In the future, I hope to use the images as a negative control for a classification system I plan to develop around the history of pattern-making using data science and libraries of ornamental patterns. I have been attempting to garner resources to move this project forward, but as you can imagine, longer-term funding in fringe areas like this can be hard to find.

For now, I created this compilation of several of the hundreds of patterns that were saved.

Images: Courtesy of Allison Kudla

Muse/News: A radical age, imagined futures, and refugee stories

SAM News

The Stranger’s Philosopher-In-Residence Charles Mudede reviews Victorian Radicals: From the Pre-Raphaelites to the Arts & Crafts Movement, describing the historical context for what makes it radical.

“The humans of our times are so used to kitsch. But for the Victorians, it was completely new. It was radical. This is the mind-set the exhibit wants us to enter: one that had no past, only the future. The Victorian age is the cradle of our post-post-postmodern times.”

“Why see one sculpture when you can see nine acres of them?” Business Insider on popular US tourist traps and where to go instead—like SAM’s Olympic Sculpture Park.

Local News

Crosscut’s Misha Berson on “The Bar Plays,” two plays set in bars presented in a real-life “venerable gathering place,” Washington Hall.

The Stranger’s Jasmyne Keimig visits Juventino Aranda’s show at Greg Kucera, In Dreams I Once Believed There Was a Future, which features enlarged and edited pages from Little Golden Books.

Real Change’s Lisa Edge on the “Black celestial sovereignty” in the work of Robert Pruitt; his solo show is now on view at Koplin Del Rio gallery.

“The thing that we’re living under doesn’t seem to be working for us, so maybe we need to imagine a new thing,” said Pruitt. “Myth, science fiction, all of that is a way to kind of for me to think about another kind of way of living.”

Inter/National News

Just asking: should we maybe have left these where they were? Artnet reports on the “array of amulets, gems, and lucky charms” found at Pompeii that researchers believe belonged to a female sorcerer.

Now on view at DC’s National Gallery of Art: The Life of Animals in Japanese Art, featuring “300 works drawn from 66 Japanese institutions and 30 American collections” that are all about animals (!).

“Poignant, solemn and utterly shaming”: The New York Times’ Jason Farago reviews The Warmth of Other Suns, a thematic exhibition on the global refugee crisis at the Philips Collection.

“Together they outline a more fraught view of the art of the last century, in which the refugee is not an outsider looking in, but a central actor in the writing of a global culture. ‘Refugees,’ Arendt wrote in 1943, ‘represent the vanguard of their peoples — if they keep their identity.’”

And Finally

One solution for the sad lunch break.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Image: Installation view Victorian Radicals: From the Pre-Raphaelites to the Arts & Crafts Movement, Seattle Art Museum, 2019.

Art Zodiac: Victorian Radicals

Were the Pre-Raphaelites into astrology? 

There’s a hint in Victorian Radicals: From the Pre-Raphaelites to the Arts & Crafts Movement that some were. That hint is in Edward Burne-Jones stained-glass piece, St. Mark, which depicts the saint evangelizing what would become his gospel with a winged lion above him, a representation of his strong character. What is interesting is that the lion is resting his paw on a stylistic blue wave which contains the astrological glyph of Leo slyly repeated in it. Coincidence? I think not.   

It seems that Edward Burne-Jones gave a shout-out to the astrology world.  During the Victorian era advancements were made in astronomy and Alan Leo, a British astrologer who is often referred to as the father of modern astrology, was born in 1860. Seances, salons, and the occult were all the rage during this time and the first Ouija Board was commercially produced in 1890. Astrology could have been a serious topic of discussion in their group. 

via GIPHY

Needless to say, Victorian Radicals contains a fair amount of beautifully-painted depictions of myths that astrologers use to explain and interpret planets and asteroids in charts: Medea, Iris, Pandora, Venus, Cupid, and Psyche are some of the few. Any astrologer can pick out paintings in this exhibition and tie them easily to the planets’ mythology because they are so symbolic and integral to our work. 

I would be remiss not to mention that I picked St. Mark because we are in the middle Leo season right now, and Leos are synonymous with lions, although not flying lions, but you could make a case that a Leo Sun/Neptune conjunction could produce one (Mic drop! Where my astrologers at?). Each year between July 23 and August 22, the sun transits across the sky through the Leo constellation. Leos are one of the three fire signs in the zodiac, Aries and Sagittarius being the other two, which lends to traits of passion, spontaneity, and playfulness. Lions are also the proud, strong, loyal, and loving ones living among us. 

If you haven’t seen the exhibition, visit on September 5 when the rates are reduced to $9.99 and below for first Thursday. Also, there is a painting of Morgan Le Fay by Frederick Sandys which calls to mind the book Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradly and calls on anyone who loves witchcraft to come see their pagan roots immortalized in it. This exhibition is a woo-woo lovers’ paradise packed with supernatural aspects. 

– Amy Domres, SAM’s Director of Admissions
Amy is also a Psychospiritual Evolutionary Astrologer and Healer at Emerald City Astrology

Image: Saint Mark, 1883 (designed 1874), Edward Burne-Jones, British, 1833–1898, stained, painted, and leaded glass, 58 × 25 1/4 × 1 in., Lent by Birmingham Museums Trust on behalf of Birmingham City Council, Bequeathed by J R Holliday, 1927M1016, © Birmingham Museums Trust, Courtesy American Federation of Arts Installation view of Victorian Radicals: From the Pre-Raphaelites to the Arts & Crafts Movement at Seattle Art Museum, 2019, © Seattle Art Museum, photo: Mark Woods

10 Facts About the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood

From the intricate silver objects and the dazzling jewelry to the vibrant paintings on display, there is so much to see and learn about in Victorian Radicals: From the Pre-Raphaelites to the Arts & Crafts Movement. For instance, did you know the 15th-century painter Van Eyck’s was an inspiration to the Pre-Raphaelites? Here are some facts that you may not know about the rebellious artists behind the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood. Read up and then come see this stunning exhibition on view through September 8!

  • The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood began in 1848 and was founded by William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais, and Dante Gabriel Rossetti.
  • The founders of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood were all students at the Royal Academy but they rebelled against the ideas and methods of The Academy and would often skip classes to have secret meetings at their homes.
  • The name “Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood” came from their belief that the “Golden Age of Art” came before Raphael and the Renaissance.
  • The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood eventually grew and received tremendous support from writer and critic John Ruskin.
  • When the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood formed, the members were all between the ages of 18–23 years old.
  • In 1850 the Pre-Raphaelites launched an illustrated journal called “The Germ” meant to “sow the seeds of a widespread reform of society through advanced art and design.” It included poetry, essays, and short stories as well as etchings. The journal discontinued after four issues.
  • Although the brotherhood by definition excluded women, influential female figures such as Elizabeth Siddall, Rosa Brett, and Anna Blunden made art within the wider circle of the Pre-Raphaelites.
  • John Millais’ muse, Effie Gray, was the wife of his mentor John Ruskin. While painting and modeling, Millais and Grey fell in love. Gray divorced Ruskin and married Millais a year later!
  • Pre-Raphaelite art sparked controversy because their realism was seen as ugly and jarring by some critics and writers. Charles Dickens wrote that Millais’ “Christ” painting was “a hideous, wry-necked, blubbering, red-haired boy in a nightgown.”
  • The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood lasted five years and was dissolved by 1853 as the young members grew in different directions. But the movement had a long-lasting impact and inspired the formation of the Arts & Crafts Movement.

– Ana Osorno, SAM Communications Intern

Images: Installation view of Victorian Radicals: From the Pre-Raphaelites to the Arts & Crafts Movement at Seattle Art Museum, 2019, © Seattle Art Museum, photo: Mark Woods.

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.

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

Object of the Week: A Woman with Red Hair

A picture frame is, or should be, more than an adjunct to a work of art. If properly made, it is itself a work of art.

– Bill Barol, “The Carrig-Rohane Frame,” 1989

William McGregor Paxton’s Woman with Red Hair is an exemplar late work by the Boston School artist. Well-known for his attention to detail—especially capturing the effects of light—Paxton’s portraits often depict elegant women in minimally decorated rooms. However, unlike his earlier and larger body of work, the sitter here is removed from an interior setting and set against a rich, nearly impasto teal background. Our focus as viewers is placed solely on the woman, her features, and Paxton’s mastery of light and color.

Yet, there is one more element of the work that is impossible to ignore: its frame. Meticulously carved and gilded, it is a piece of art in its own right. All too often frames are overlooked for what they surround, but this Carrig-Rohane frame, designed and fabricated by Herman Dudley Murphy in 1911, holds its own and complements the Paxton painting.

Prior to his career as a framemaker, Murphy studied at the Boston Museum School and worked as an illustrator. Like many young artists he moved to Paris, and for five years (1891–1896) studied with artist James Abbott McNeill Whistler. Whistler believed, quite radically for the time, that a frame and a painting should be in harmony, and as a result manufactured his own frames. Murphy’s relationship with Whistler proved formative and, upon his return to the United States in 1897, Murphy taught himself how to carve and gild. Discouraged by the poor quality of American frames, he eventually opened his own business in 1903—Carrig-Rohane—in the basement of his Winchester, Massachusetts home.[1]

As evidenced by Whistler, a new appreciation and consideration of the frame as integral to the display of painting emerged in the late-19th and early-20th centuries, part of a larger artistic and aesthetic shift toward the handmade that defined the Arts and Crafts movement. The importance of the frame during this period is encapsulated in the writing of art critic Percy Fitzgerald, who in 1886 described the gold frame as that which “seems to enrich everything it touches.” He also penned that the frame “suggests the notion of an abstract boundary or zone between the vulgar surrounding world and the sort of spiritual life of Art.”[2] Both the Carrig-Rohane frame and Paxton painting are currently on view in the American Galleries, so I encourage you to see—and judge—for yourself.

Elisabeth Smith, Collections Coordinator

[1] “Continuing the Tradition: Grundmann Studios,” in The Boston School Tradition: Truth, Beauty and Timeless Craft (Boston: Vose Galleries, 2015), 53.
[2] Percy Fitzgerald, The Art Journal (London: J.S. Virtue & Co., 1886), 40.

Image: A Woman with Red Hair, 1922, William McGregor Paxton, oil on canvas, 30 x 25 in., Gift of the Estate of Bruce Leven, 2018.5.1.