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Artists on Art: Like a Hammer

Listen as poet Sasha LaPointe shares a piece of her writing in response to Jeffrey Gibson: Like a Hammer. An Indigenous writer incorporating themes of survival and mixed heritage, LaPointe is the artist in residence at ARTS at King Street Station and recipient of a 2018 Artist Trust GAP Grant.

Jeffrey Gibson, the artist behind Like a Hammer is of Cherokee heritage and a citizen of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and grew up in urban settings in Germany, South Korea, the United States, and England. His sculptures, abstract paintings, and multimedia installation draw on his experiences in different cultural environments. Similarly, Sasha LaPointe’s work is influenced by a wide range of things: from the work her great grandmother did for the Coast Salish language revitalization, to loud basement punk shows and what it means to grow up mixed heritage.

See the exhibition that LaPointe’s piece, below, connects to before it’s too late—Gibson’s complex and colorful contemporary art is on view in Like a Hammer now through May 12!

Blue

I emerge from our small, yellow linoleum bathroom, blue. The bathroom is at one end of our single wide trailer, and I have the length of narrow hallway to consider before reaching the living room, blue.

“Blue!?” And I know my mother is furious.

“You look ridiculous.” It’s all she says. And I do look ridiculous. 

I had torn out the pages from a magazine. Lined my bedroom floor with them, and studied. Those punk rock, spiked hair, white teeth, high fashion, popped collar, leather studded glossy photo squares were strewn across my small space like a spread of tarot cards telling me a future I would never get to. Not out here. Not in the white trailer rusting amber, thick of trees, stretch of reservation, of highway that stood between me and whatever else was out there. Record stores. The mall. Parking lots where kids were skateboarding and smoking pot, probably. Kids with boomboxes and bottles of beer. Out there, were beaches with bands playing on them. And these faces, these shining faces, with pink, green, purple and BLUE hair. Blue. I could get that, at least. I could mix seventeen packets of blue raspberry Koolaid with a small amount of water, and get that. It was alchemy, it was potion making.  But no one told me about the bleach, about my dark hair needing to lift, to lighten, in order to get that blue. No one told me that the mess of Koolaid would only run down my scalp, my face, my neck and would stain me blue.

Blue, is what you taste like, he says still holding me on the twin bed, in the early glow of dawn and my teenaged curiosity has pushed me to ask what does my body taste like, to you? His fingers travel from neck to navel, breath on my thigh and here in our sacred space he answers simply. Blue. You taste blue. And I wonder if what he means is sad. You taste sad.

Taqseblu. The name is given to me when I am three. To understand it my child brain has to break it apart. Taqsweblu. TALK. As in talking. As in to tell. As in story. SHA. As in the second syllable of my English name. As in half of me. BLUE. As in the taste of me. Blue as in Sad.  Blue. My grandmother was Taqsweblu before me. And now I am Taqseblu too.

– Sasha Lapointe

Encounter the Experiential Art of Paige Barnes at Olympic Sculpture Park

If you’re visiting the Olympic Sculpture Park in the next three months you might encounter the new artist in resident of SAM’s pilot residency program as part of Winter Weekends. Paige Barnes is a movement artist whose dancing is sinewy and soft. Even the angles she creates from ankle to elbow appear like feather tips, tilting and adjusting to the surrounding atmosphere. While at the Olympic Sculpture Park her movements are directed by visitors’ pulses.

Having recently completed a degree at Bastyr University to become a licensed acupuncturist practitioner, Barnes uses a medical vocabulary to describe the quality of the pulses informing her movement, but is not approaching the pulse diagnostically. In fact, once she takes a pulse there is no exchange until after she takes the visitor’s pulse again, after the multimedia performance, and notes any differences in heart rate and quality in reaction to the experience.

“fast flick & that knee flick It’s not the birds but the burrows that wild flying beetle who is all marmalade.” –Vanessa DeWolf, Video: Vida Rose

Far from medical in her vocabulary, is the text of Vanessa DeWolf, a writer working with Barnes who crafts a personalized poem for the visitor in response to Barnes’ dance. Visitors are given this poem, as well as a walking score based on different parts of the body that offers a suggested guide through the park. As Barnes dances, animator Stefan Gruber begins drawing. His digital marks are highly repetitive, leaving ghostly traces behind on the projected image of his work in progress. During a break in Barnes’ movement, bassist Evan Flory-Barnes begins a solo that continues once the dancing begins again. Making her way back across the room, Barnes comes to rest in front the visitor, whose pulse has beat all this creative energy into action. DeWolf reads aloud the piece she’s been writing this entire time and Gruber plays the animated version of the drawing he’s been making. Played linearly, the marks make a line drawing that moves and morphs, the previously disjointed marks now a visual echo of Barnes’ movement.

“And with her long unbroken beach and owls softly cooing this might be the softest hunt ever” –Vanessa DeWolf, Video: Sage Mailman 

Hesitant and fluid, occasionally staccato, intermittently delicate, Barnes creates improvised repetitions that flow like the blood, sometimes thick and viscous, sometimes thin and light. This chain reaction of artistic media is using landscape is a metaphor for the body: the liver is a meridian, the kidneys are a water element controlling fear and willpower.

Glimpse the process of this residency taking place Saturdays–Mondays in the PACCAR Pavilion. Weekends, Barnes and DeWolf will take pulse readings from 2–3 people and Mondays, the entire artist crew will take 2 pulse readings. Attend the Winter Weekend Art Encounters to see the ongoing outcomes of these pulse readings. The Friday, January 27 Art Encounter, Bridging Pulse, will be informed by the prior public pulse readings and feature the core group of artists. February’s Friday 24 Art Encounter will not include animation but will feature 10 dancers interacting with each other and responding to multiple pulse reading stations. For the third and final Art Encounter on March 31 will present Vanessa DeWolf’s writing as a lead character in a more intimate and contained performance.

“I’m available as a marble ten the pages open to where I will find it again” –Vanessa DeWolf, Video: Bruce Clayton Tom

At each Art Encounter you’ll notice a pulsing light directed outwards from the PACCAR Pavilion. This is the work of Amiya Brown, yet another collaborator in Page Barnes’ menagerie. Let this light, programmed to pulse at the pace of various Northwest lighthouses guide you safely towards these subtle and beautiful encounters.

–Chelsea Werner-Jatzke, Copywriter & Content Strategist

Remix: It’s Got What You Need

As a brand-new intern at SAM, my very first assignment involved getting up close and personal with the details of the upcoming Remix (as in tomorrow, Friday, June 7!), and let me tell you, the night is jam-packed with good stuff. After learning about all the events, activities, and performances planned, it’s no surprise I’m counting the hours until the doors open, and you should be, too!

Every quarter, SAM holds Remix, an after-hours, 18-and-older event, drawing hordes of party-goers to SAM Downtown to get an intimate view of the museum’s latest exhibition, test their own art-making abilities at various activity booths, watch some unbelievable dance performances, and, of course, bust a move (or two, or ten) of their own.

This season’s Remix event is centered on the Modern exhibition The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection: Fifty Works for Fifty States and promises to be nothing short of a modern explosion and an event that you don’t want to miss.

Come see SAM after dark, this Friday from 8 pm–midnight, when the lights turn low and the jams turn up.

DJ Riz kicks the night off in the Brotman Forum with an irresistible, groove-inducing variety of soul-meets-pop-meets-hip-hop beats.

As if that weren’t enough reason to linger, the Brotman Forum will also play venue to three performances by Seattle’s Alchemy Tap Project, whose dancers bring a whole new modern flavor to tap dancing.

Want even more dance?

Head up to the third floor galleries for Modern art-inspired dance vignettes by Seattle-based Salt Horse.

While you’re there, take advantage of SAM’s aptly-titled My Favorite Things: Highly Opinionated Tours to get a fresh and highly opinionated (surprise!) look at SAM’s Collection Galleries. With a wide array of knowledgeable and outspoken guides to choose from, the only way you could possibly go wrong with these tours is by not taking one.

After seeing Fifty Works for Fifty States, you’ll no doubt be itching to start an art collection of your own (if you aren’t, you might want to get your pulse checked), and SAM’s got you covered.

Head to the Chase Open Studio area where artist Joey Veltkamp and other local artists will be waiting to create and exchange mini artworks with you in the SAM Mini Fair; grab a FREE Remix tote bag to store your goods!

If all this dancing, art collecting, and opinion-hearing has you feeling wiped, swing by the Rec Room for libations at the bar and some good, old-fashioned (but not) bingo. If you’re envisioning a room in Florida with faded floral prints and a slow-moving ceiling fan, stop right there. This is not your grandmother’s bingo (and if it is, you’ve got one cool grandma).

Hosted by the fabulous members of the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, this bingo has a modern (art that is) twist with cards featuring pictures of SAM’s favorite modern artworks. One game in, and you’ll be dying to make a habit of it (SAM is not responsible for any pun-related injuries).

With all the excitement and endless stream of options offered, you may just feel like a kid in a candy store. If you want to make that metaphorical candy a reality, TASTE Restaurant is open ‘til midnight to keep your sweet tooth satisfied. Didn’t I say SAM’s got you covered?

Whatever venue you favor, be it the dance floor, the art exhibition and galleries, or any of the numerous SAM creates studios (minimalist jewelry making, anyone?), one thing is for certain: SAM Remix has everything you need to make this Friday a night to remember.

-Carter Stratton, Communications Intern

Photo by Robert Wade.

Remixed for the Very First Time

As the newest PR intern, it is slightly embarrassing for me to say that I have never been to SAM Remix, but this March 8 will be my very first time. As disconcerting as my lack of experience may be, I have made up for it with enthusiastic research and comprehensive interviews, which I believe present an authentic representation of the evening. It is my deepest desire that the following information may help other Remix newbies better prepare themselves for the upcoming SAM Remix. Read More

Women in Film: Reel Girl tours and Riot Grrrl scores

Tonight SAM downtown is centering its lens on women in film with tours by local leaders in the film world and a special screening of Lynn Hershmann Leeson’s recent documentary !Women Art Revolution (2010, 83 mins) starting at 7:30 pm in Plestcheeff Auditorium.

!Women Art Revolution traces the impetus and organization of the Feminist Art Movement during the 1960’s through its rise from a subculture of women artists during the anti-war and civil rights era to its difficult acceptance into our cultural narrative.  The film, for which Leeson collected footage and interviews for 40 years to create, discloses the Feminist Art Movement through interviews with artists such as Yoko Ono, Carolee Schneemann, Eleanor Antin, Judy Chicago, Rachel Rosenthal, and the Guerrilla Girls among others. The candid interviews describe how women artists took a cue from groups such as The Black Panthers to organize and speak out against cultural institutions for engaging in gender discrimination.

The film features an original soundtrack by Carrie Brownstein, guitarist of Washington Riot-Grrrl rockers Sleater-Kinney, whose roaring guitar riffs provide a very pertinent sonic landscape to the film. Sleater-Kinney, named after I5 off-ramp No. 108 in Lacey, Washington, declared an indefinite hiatus in 2006. You can check out Brownstein’s current group Wild Flag performing “Romance” live from Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop during KEXP’s broadcast at South by Southwest in 2011 here. The soundtrack also features songs by Janis Joplin, Laurie Anderson, The Gossip (Olympia natives), Erase Errata, and Tribe 8.

In addition to the screening of !Women Art Revolution SAM is hosting two My Favorite Things: Highly Opinionated Public Tours by local women working in the film world; Beth Barrett and Robin Held. As Programming Manager of the Seattle International Film Festival Beth Barrett will share her favorite works and, hopefully, have a couple of highly opinionated comments of her own to offer. Robin Held, Executive Director of Reel Grrls a local organization that empowers young women through creating film and digital media, will co-lead a tour of Elles with local dancer-choreographer Catherine Cabeen.

– Ryan Peterson, Program Assistant

!Women Art Revolution movie poster

Vigorous Sounds: Women in Music at SAM

This Wednesday night, we are excited to host French soprano vocalist Donatienne Michel-Dansac at 7:00 PM. As a guest vocalist to the Seattle Symphony Donatienne Michel-Dansac is bringing her voice to SAM as part of our musical programming in conjunction with the exhibit Elles: Women Artists from the Centre Pompidou, Paris. Her performance follows Seattle Symphony Orchestra harpist Valerie Muzzolini-Gordon’s gallery performance during SAM Remix earlier this month.  Taking place amongst Sophie Calle’s photographic series Exquisite Pain in the fourth floor galleries, Muzzolini-Gordon performed elegant compositions by French composers in response to artists featured in the exhibition. Muzzolini-Gordon’s sustained harp tones echoed over the gallery space and lingered into the next room as the intricate arrangement of notes created a poignant connection with the adjacent artwork.

 

Donatienne Michel-Dansac will be performing avant-garde compositions by composer George Aperghis whose works are located in the field of experimental music and are known for their playfulness and theatricality. Michel-Dansac is known for performing, and often premiering, new works by contemporary composers, although she regularly performs works from all musical eras. Her performance this Wednesday will take place Plestcheeff Auditorium to give an acoustically rich performance to contrast with Muzzolini-Gordon’s gallery recital. This should be a great chance to hear Michel-Dansac perform intricate works she is familiar with in an intimate setting. Personally I am excited to hear excerpts from Aperghis’ works Récitations, a piece written for solo voice that is sprightly but vigorous, whose sound might be compared to vocalizing a computer algorithm. The night’s performance will also feature excerpts from Aperghis’ works Pubs and Zig-Bang. Michel-Dansac will also be performing with the Seattle Symphony on November 29 and December 1 with the performance Morlot Conducts Mahler.

 

Seattle Symphony Performance

Donatienne Michel-Dansac

November 28, 2012

7–8 pm

Plestcheeff Auditorium

Free and open to the public.

Ryan Peterson, Program Assistant

It’s Elles REMIX Style

Before moving to Seattle to start my fall internship at the Seattle Art Museum this past August, I had already developed an appetite for Remix. I’d never been to one on my many visits to the Northwest but I had seen the posters—shiny, glossy and wickedly designed, I wanted, needed to know more about SAM’s quarterly event.

Aimed at engaging and building relations with young adults, SAM’s Remix events align ever so nicely with the museum’s special exhibitions to create a dance-party-meets-fine-arts experience that gets under your skin in the best way. This fall’s French import Elles: Women Artists from the Centre Pompidou, Paris weaves its way seamlessly throughout this month’s Remix at SAM Downtown on November 9 from 7:30 pm–12:30 am; showing that ladies can hang with the boys and party just as hard.

DJ Michele Myers kicks off the night in the Brotman Forum with intoxicating rhythms and beats from pop, local favorites, soul and just about anything else you can dream of to keep you dancing your pants off. Watch as choreographers Linda Austin, Anne Furfey and Amy O perform excerpts from Ten Tiny Dances on a 4×4 foot dance floor throughout the night. Enjoy the musical styling’s of Hollis and The Pytons as they perform sets from ACT Theatre’s These Streets—an homage to the grunge movement in Seattle with a feminine twist. Curated by Gretta Harley and Sarah Rudinoff, these sets are sure to get the blood pumping and bring out your long dormant grunge kid.

Head on over to the Arnold Board Room to rest those tired dogs while testing your mettle and your knowledge of pop culture, sports, film and more at the Women All-Stars Trivia with Geeks Who Drink. Or earn your Artistic License with Erin Shafkind at her Department of Artistic Licensing with the help of Jenny Zwick and Tessa Hulls. It’s like the DMV only fun.

Let your activist self run free in the South Hall and create Take Action Buttons with Janet Fagan. Too much activism and not enough space?  Create a Power Band with Romson Bustillo to showcase your inner superhero! Put your thinking cap on at the Second Floor Think Tank and ask yourself Can Women Really Have It All? Join Vivian Phillips and Priya Frank as they explore questions raised by Elles: Pompidou through interactive activities. Give your brain a break and mosey on up to the Fourth Floor Galleries and listen to Seattle Symphony Orchestra harpist Valerie Muzzolini Gordon while she performs music inspired by Elles: Pompidou’s French roots.

But wait there’s more! (Isn’t there always?) It wouldn’t be Remix at the museum without the My Favorite Things: Highly Opinionated Tours. Happening periodically throughout the entire night, the tours are led by short folks, tall folks, artistic folks, academic folks and just about everyone else in between to offer up their opinions, whether good or bad, about the art and artists featured in the Elles: Pompidou exhibit.

What’s in a Groove?

It’s the feeling you get from hearing music that makes you want to dance, the break in a revolving and evolving drum beat, even a familiar routine that puts you “in the groove.” Of the many definitions one is a reference to those small indentations, or grooves, on a vinyl record that, when it spins, give the needle a track to run on and produce a musical groove. Jazz musicians’ use of the term refers to hearing one musician’s seemingly effortless playing, and can be heard in the context of “that cat’s deep in the groove.” This is itself a reference to listening to records and the needle’s ability to dig even further into the vinyl at that moment in time.

The Commodores. “Movin’ On.” 1975. Photo by the author. 13 April, 2012. JPEG file.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can also see grooves expressed in the rhythmic patterns of visual art. This happened to me on a Friday morning at SAM as I explored the collection of Australian & Oceanic Art in SAM’s Theiline Pigott McCone Gallery. I wasn’t searching for grooves in particular, but looking closely at the elongated hollow log coffins in the Aboriginal Art collection and seeing the striated line work carefully drawn in steady rhythmic cadences I suddenly thought of the grooves both musical and pressed into vinyl records across the museum in the Listening Room’s record archive.

Hollow log coffins, dupun, from central and eastern Arnhemland, Australia. Photo by the author. 13 April, 2012. JPEG file.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These groups of tall Eucalyptus logs signify a place for “sorry business,” and describe how the Yolnu, native to Australia’s East and Central Arnhemland, practice remembering deceased members of their community in a very different way from ours in the West. During the ceremony bones of the deceased are placed in the logs during ritual dances known as Dupun. The log coffins have been naturally hollowed out by termites, and are then left to the elements following the ceremony. Yolnu artists cover the logs in images of the country and designs of the clan of the deceased using a brush made of long human hair.

detail of Rirratjingu Larrakitj, (clan coffin). 2003. Wanyubi Marika. Photo by author. 13 April, 2012. JPEG file.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The grooves I saw covering the log coffins, the interlocking white lines, represent “deep knowledge, sea foam and ribbons of tide.”[1] Bones are infused into the log coffins of the Yolnu to connect deceased people back into the land. I see a further connection here with Theaster Gates: The Listening Room in that both records and the hollow log coffins provide an archive of shared history on aural and visual levels. Both of these customs are contemporary works of art that create and embrace cultural memory and shared history, highlighting the ideas and values of a culture that influenced their design. The jazz in here, or what continues to lure us in, is that they undoubtedly do this with a discernable groove.

-Ryan R. Peterson, Curatorial + Community Engagement Intern 


[1] Mundine, Djon. Quote taken from the information placard relating to the Hollow Log Coffins in SAM’s Theiline Pigott McCone Gallery.

Last photo: detail of Rirratjingu Larrakitj, (clan coffin). 2003. Wanyubi Marika. Photo by author. 13 April, 2012. JPEG file.

Funky Samples

The Record Store, which closed its doors at [storefront] Olson-Kundig January 31st and was featured at SAM’s Arnold Board Room during last February’s Remix, is due for re-open later this year. I have had a lot of reflections on the energy that project has erupted.

I was alone at the Record Store one day, one of my first volunteer shifts towards the beginning of the store’s opening. I was playing records as people filtered in and out throughout the day when I found an album I knew but haven’t listened to much on a regular basis: Parliament’s Mothership Connection.

I was familiar with Parliament’s iconic status as Funk originators and with this album in particular, and I’ve listened to Funkadelic, the alter-ego band of Parliament. Later, both bands merged as one into P-Funk. I am familiar with the classic album cover and I knew I’d recognize the songs if I played the album. The first track was spinning and I immediately recognized the song, but was a little confused why it was so familiar if I don’t listen to this group regularly. Then it came to me that I knew the song from Dr. Dre’s The Chronic. The last song on The Chronic, “The Roach (The Chronic Outro)” samples this song, “P. Funk (Wants to Get Funked Up)” pretty heavily.

Of course I recognize a classic funk song because later a hip-hop album, very iconic itself, sampled this original funk classic. Apparently I hadn’t researched into Dr. Dre’s samples closely enough to already know he used this Parliament song. Once again I’m caught in a time in our culture where I learn to find legendary music of decades before not only from my parents but more through contemporary songs that sample classics of music history. The great thing about this was that I consistently heard other guest selectors at the listening events of the Record Store also play this very Parliament song during their own sets.

Everyone is pointing out that Funk music revolutionized musical creativity, and that later musicians pay tribute by referencing this iconic trend in their own music through samples and funk rhythms. Contemporary hip-hop, R&B and electronic artists and producers are all huge players in the reinterpretation and reference of past musical eras. Through both direct sampling and creating sounds that suggest those of iconic albums or eras of music, recent artists salute the innovation of past artists and evoke the moods associated with the iconic music they admire. The mixing of old and new sounds and the use of references and sampling in general is one of the clear innovations of current and contemporary music. The lines between genres have blurred and  undefinable.  The sampling and referencing of old songs makes them ever more memory-striking and iconic, and for the new generation of music listeners they solidify a history of musical culture. The truly classic records played at the Record Store reach the memories of both young and old generations because of their timeless listening quality and their celebrated influence over time across all types of contemporary musics.

-Paige Smith, Curatorial + Community Engagement Intern