All posts in “Christopher Paul Jordan”

Muse/News: Planets align at art fair, community rules in Tacoma, and photographs shape-shift at SAM

SAM News

The fourth edition of the Seattle Art Fair took place this weekend. SAM hosted Pluto (yes, the planet—or celestial snowball, whatever). Sarah Anne Lloyd of Curbed Seattle has details on Chris Burdens’ scale model of the solar system that originated at Gagosian’s booth and traversed Pioneer Square and downtown.

And hopefully you didn’t miss 1 ROOM. Here’s City Arts’ Margo Vansynghel on the group show curated by studio e’s Dawna Holloway that featured work by 50-plus Northwest artists in a former storage room near the fair (a golf cart took folks back and forth).

Barbara Brotherton, SAM’s curator of Native American Art, appeared on KKNW-AM’s ARTbeat Northwest to talk about Double Exposure during drive time.

And a visit to SAM’s “awesome” exhibitions is included on Thrillist’s round-up of “actually cool things to do when someone visits Seattle.”

Local News

Gayle Clemans of the Seattle Times reviews Summer Dreams, a group show now on view at Winston Wächter; in it, she sees “enticing, delightful, wistful glimpses of what is both possible and impossible.”

All aboard! Brangien Davis of Crosscut travels the newly completed SODO Track mural installation; with 50 murals from 62 artists, it’s now the longest in the world.

This month’s City Arts takes a deep dive into the creative life of Tacoma, with the cover story by Margo Vansynghel and reflections from local artists such as from Renee Sims, Asia Tail, and Christopher Paul Jordan.

“These days, the word ‘community’ is brandished so frequently that its meaning is eroding. Not so in Tacoma. Conversations with more than a dozen artists crystallize the sense that in Tacoma, together is better. Collaboration trumps competition. People show up for each other.”

Inter/National News

Jori Finkel of the New York Times reports on the hiring of MoMA PS1’s Klaus Biesenbach as the new director of the Museum of Contemporary Art—which is being greeted with both cheers and jeers.

HuffPost’s Yashar Ali broke the news that Beyoncé has unprecedented control over Vogue’s September cover; she’s selected Tyler Mitchell, the first black photographer to shoot Vogue’s cover in its 126-year history.

Genevieve Gaignard—whose work is now on view at SAM—also has a show in New York right now; it includes the artist’s shape-shifting photographs and three “mise-en-abîme” environments.

“Gaignard’s photographs. . . . feature women who immediately seem poised and self-confident, secure in their identity regardless of whether or not the viewer is able to pinpoint their racial background. That is intentional. ‘I just want to portray females in these empowered ways,’ said the artist. ‘There’s enough damsels in distress.’”

And Finally

Practice the art of good citizenship: Here’s how to return your ballot for tomorrow’s primary election.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Manager of Public Relations

Image: CHRIS BURDEN, Scale Model of The Solar System, 1983 (detail), plastic, steel ball bearings, plexiglas, dimensions variable © 2018 Chris Burden / licensed by The Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Nathaniel Willson © Courtesy Gagosian.
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The Western Mystery by Spencer Finch

Ephemeral Art, Lasting Effects: Temporary Installations at the Olympic Sculpture Park

Spencer Finch’s The Western Mystery portrays one of our most familiar temporary experiences: a sunset. This new installation of ninety glass panes suspended from the PACCAR Pavilion’s ceiling opened at the Olympic Sculpture Park in April. The glass panes are sixteen shades of yellows, oranges, blues, and pinks based on the hues found in the artist’s photographs of Seattle sunsets. As the glass squares subtly rotate overhead, their surfaces capture fragmented reflections of the park that fade in and out of view.

The Western Mystery by Spencer Finch

Much like a sunset itself, The Western Mystery is an ephemeral experience. Over the past 10 years, the Seattle Art Museum has hosted 15 temporary installations by local, national, and international contemporary artists. SAM celebrates the sculpture park’s 10th anniversary this summer with Spencer Finch’s installation, as well as a new sculpture by Tacoma artist, Christopher Paul Jordan. Titled Latent Home Zero, Jordan’s “interactive silent film” is experienced through a binocular telescope that integrates collaged imagery related to the migration of African American people across the US with distorted, real-time views of the sculpture park.

SAM first began installing temporary art with Dennis Oppenheim’s five, massive Safety Cones, in the summer of 2008. But, the first temporary work appeared unexpectedly in 2007, shortly after the sculpture park opened. Mimi Gardner Gates, SAM’s Director from 1994–2009, recalled, “Early on, the artist group PDL created Eaglets under Alexander Calder’s The Eagle—a nest with three little Eagles. I loved that because it was Seattle’s artists responding to the sculptures in the park. To me, that really brought the park alive.”

Blue Sun by Victoria Haven

That lively spirit returns to the park every year through the temporary projects SAM commissions. For some artists, the short-term nature of their installations can lead to experimentation they wouldn’t always attempt in a permanently sited piece. In April of 2016, Seattle artist Victoria Haven created Blue Sun, a large-scale wall drawing that was based on the path and reflections of the sun as she experienced them from her studio window in South Lake Union. “I think the process involved a sense of immediacy that gave Blue Sun an energy and an aliveness,” Haven said. “It was like a breath on the wall; it was there and then it was gone. And, there’s something beautiful about the rigor and commitment involved in creating a monumental project that exists for a relatively short amount of time.”

YOU ARE HERE by Trimpin

The sense of immediacy also played a role in Seattle artist Trimpin’s 2014 temporary sound sculpture, YOU ARE HEAR. The installation’s three listening stations were comprised of repurposed tractor seats and oversized sets of “headphones.” Visitors who interacted with the piece experienced sounds created within their immediate environment, both from mechanisms the artist constructed and the sounds that naturally occur around the park. The artist himself became immersed in the sculpture park environment as he installed YOU ARE HEAR over a period of three days.  He explained, “I noticed there were lots of regulars coming through every day and that they were noticing how something unusual was going on. It was great to have a conversation with them . . . . It was an exciting chance to engage with the public as they were walking their dogs or jogging through the park.”

The Olympic Sculpture Park offers a unique experience for both seeing and creating works of art. Just as the spinning reflections of The Western Mystery create a new perspective on the Olympic Sculpture Park, all of the temporary projects have given visitors reasons to rethink their surroundings over the last 10 years, both within the park and out in the world.

—Erin Langner, Freelance Arts Writer and Former SAM Adult Public Programs Manager

This post is the fifth installment in a series of stories exploring the history of the Olympic Sculpture Park in celebration of its 10th anniversary. Over the course of this year, we will continue reflecting on the Park’s evolution over the past decade.

Images: Installation view of The Western Mystery (detail), 2017, Spencer Finch, American, b. 1962, Seattle Art Museum site-specific installation, Photo: Mark Woods.  Installation view of The Western Mystery, 2017, Spencer Finch, American, b. 1962, Seattle Art Museum site-specific installation, Photo: Mark Woods. Installation view of Safety Cones, 2008, Dennis Oppenheim, American, b. 1938, Seattle Art Museum site-specific installation, Photo: Paul Macapia.  Installation view of Blue Sun, 2016, Victoria Haven, American, b. 1964, acrylic, 57 x 14 ft., Seattle Art Museum Commission 2016, Photo: Natali Wiseman. YOU ARE HEAR, 2014, Trimpin, German, b. 1951, three part sound installation at SAM Olympic Sculpture Park, commissioned by the Seattle Art Museum. © Trimpin, Photo: Nathaniel Willson.
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