All posts in “City of Seattle”

Muse/News: A piping hot cuppa at SAM, fruity art in Seattle, and lots of milk punch

SAM News

Thank u, next: Seattle press reflected on the year (was it just a year?) that was 2018. Both Seattle Magazine and The Seattle Times gave shout-outs to Double Exposure, SAM’s major summer exhibition that explored the complicated legacy of a celebrated photographer and the dynamic present of Indigenous arts.

SAM’s recently debuted installation Claire Partington: Taking Tea was featured in both Art & Object and Fresh Cup Magazine.

“Through her use of material and symbolism, Partington explores the multi-faceted history of the international tea trade, including issues of appropriation, colonialism, slavery, and the gendered roles associated with tea.”

Also now on view: Body Language, a small but nuanced installation exploring the power of gesture. Seattle Met gave it a recommendation.

And the Seattle Times looks ahead to the “hottest Seattle events for January 2019,” recommending SAM’s film series The Magic Lantern of Ingmar Bergman (if you don’t know Bergman, now’s your chance!) and Tasveer’s first-ever South Asian Literary Festival, for which SAM’s Gardner Center for Asian Art and Ideas is a partner.

Local News

Watch this video by Crosscut’s Jen Dev on Franklin High School’s Arts of Resistance & Resilience club, which just completed a 40-foot-long mural honoring the 50th anniversary of the Seattle Chapter of the Black Panther Party.

A response to the carb-laden winter? Two shows about fruit are now on view; Seattle Met’s Gwen Hughes reviewed the FoodArt Collection’s and The Stranger’s Jasmyne Keimig wrote up the Jacob Lawrence Gallery.

The Seattle Times’ Crystal Paul visits Edgar Arceneaux’s Library of Black Lies, now on view at the Henry, noting that it “invites endless interpretation.”

“As you move through the labyrinth, things become simultaneously clearer and muddier. You encounter real books, fake books and books half-obscured. You have to look closely to tell what’s real, and even then, you’re not always certain.”

Inter/National News

Artsy’s Jackson Arn on “the short, unhappy career” of Elizabeth Eleanor Siddall, an artist and muse of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood; we’ll hear more about this group’s exploits in SAM’s summer 2019 major exhibition Victorian Radicals.

In This Imperfect Present Moment artist Toyin Ojih Odutola created one of her signature ballpoint pen portraits of Aretha Franklin for the New York Times Magazine’s annual “The Lives They Lived” issue.

Hyperallergic’s Jasmine Weber on a recently discovered silent film, Something Good, which is believed to be “the earliest cinematic depiction of affection between a Black couple.”

“This artifact helps us think more critically about the relationship between race and performance in early cinema,” Field tells UChicago. “It’s not a corrective to all the racialized misrepresentation, but it shows us that that’s not the only thing that was going on.”

And Finally

He contained multitudes—and lots of milk punch, apparently. How the New York Times traced the final days of Uncle Walt.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Manager of Public Relations

Image: Installation view of Body Language at Seattle Art Museum, 2018, photo: Natali Wiseman
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Object of the Week: Engineering Drawing for Montlake Landfill Proposal

With President Carter’s announcement that the nation must mobilize its vast coal resources to solve the energy crisis, we are entering an era of potentially irreconcilable conflict between the pressures of energy and the pressures of environmental concern.

– John D. Spellman, Earthworks: Land Reclamation as Sculpture, 1979

We find ourselves in a critical and precarious moment: our impact on the environment has caused irreparable harm. With this in mind, it is incredible to look back nearly forty years ago, when the King County Arts Commission brought together a roster of internationally recognized artists to re-imagine post-industrial sites in King County, such as gravel pits, surface mines, and abandoned airstrips. The 1979 initiative and its attendant symposium—Earthworks: Land Reclamation as Sculpture—was a progressive city-backed project meant to envision earthworks as a tool for environmental recovery.

Among the group of accomplished artists—which included Robert Morris, Dennis Oppenheim, Mary Miss, and Herbert Bayer—was Beverly Pepper, who worked with the University of Washington to develop her proposal for Montlake Landfill, part of the University of Washington’s East Campus. [1] Measuring approximately 80 acres, the landfill site proposal contained two main elements: the first, rendered in the lower right-hand corner of the plan, a 100-foot circle of white-capped posts that would, over time, reveal changes in land levels and be a resource for University of Washington students; the second, an intervention into the landscape that would reveal (through a glass wall) decades of waste disposed at the site, as well as a layer of gravel to again indicate the earth’s movement over time.[2]

While it is not the responsibility of artists to respond to political, social, or cultural events, it is often the case that artists are in the unique and privileged position to call attention to contemporary issues, respond to our increasingly complex world, and, most importantly, effect change. Though Pepper’s Montlake Landfill proposal never came to fruition (Robert Morris and Herbert Bayer’s plans were selected by the jury panel), it remains a radical gesture that will hopefully serve to inspire future artists, environmentalists, and civic leaders alike.

– Elisabeth Smith, Collections Coordinator

Images: Engineering Drawing for MontLake Landfill Proposal, 1979, Beverly Pepper, Collage of graphite on vellum, 30 1/4 x 54 3/4 in., King County Office of Cultural Resources, 98.3.47, Beverly Pepper. Cover of Earthworks: Land Reclamation as Sculpture catalogue, 1979.
[1] The Montlake Landfill operated as a burn dump and, eventually, as landfill between the years 1926 and 1966. In 1971, the landfill was closed, and covered with two feet of clean soil. According to a report published by the University of Washington’s Environmental Health & Safety Department, “Municipal solid waste, primarily consisting of residential wastes, was disposed in the landfill. Some limited amounts of industrial waste that could be considered hazardous were also disposed at this location.” As for the location: “Although the exact limits of the Montlake Landfill are not definitively known, available documentation suggests that the landfill is generally bounded by Montlake Boulevard NE to the west; NE 45th Street to the north; Laurel Village and the Douglas Research Conservatory to the east; and Canal Road, the Intramural Activities Building, and Union Bay to the south.” For the entire report, please see: https://www.ehs.washington.edu/system/files/resources/montlake.pdf
[2] For more on the projects included in Earthworks: Land Reclamation as Sculpture, please see: https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/records-licensing/archives/exhibits/earthworks_brief.aspx.
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Seattle as Collector Opens at SAM

I had the pleasure of attending the opening for the Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs Seattle as Collector exhibition here at SAM last night. The exhibition is part of the celebration of the Office’s 40th Anniversary, and the show includes over 110 pieces from the city’s 2,800 piece collection. The city’s collection, garnered through the 1% for art program, is really pretty extraordinary. I had been looking forward to seeing the installation, but when I actually walked through it, I was really struck by the artists included. We’re talking Chuck Close, Jacob Lawrence, Gwendolyn Knight, Alden Mason…big names. And there were a bunch of artists that I recognized because of exhibitions and projects I’ve worked on at SAM over the last few years.  Continue Reading…

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