Come Back to SAM! Everyone must get tickets online in advance of their visit. Get yours today »

Muse/News: New Questions, Distant Ballet, and Simone Leigh Represents

SAM News

Seattle Met’s fall print edition is out; for the culture section, Stefan Milne explores the future of equitable art spaces. He interviews SAM director & CEO Amada Cruz and director of equity, diversity and inclusion Priya Frank, as well as artist Barbara Earl Thomas, whose solo exhibition opens at SAM next month.

She likens this moment, with its calls for more equitable structures, to the creative process. ‘Right now, we’re in the chaos phase.’ But if we trust the process, and push through the confusion, eventually a clear idea emerges. Then, says Thomas, you follow it, and ‘not only do you have a truth, but you see a whole new set of questions.’”

Local News

Crosscut’s Margo Vansynghel reports on the six surprising new art spaces that have opened in King County in recent months.

Mayumi Tsutakawa for South Seattle Emerald on the Pacific Bonsai Museum’s new show, World War Bonsai, which features 32 bonsai all made by artists who were forced into incarceration camps for Japanese Americans during World War II.

Seattle Met’s Stefan Milne has the details on Pacific Northwest Ballet’s season of “socially distant ballet,” including new works choreographed by Jessica Lang.

“To deal with the limitations, and fit with Schumann’s music, performers appear as shadows, sometimes synchronized with the dancer you can see, sometimes moving like a ghost with a mind of its own.”

Inter/National News

T, the New York Times style magazine, convenes a discussion with three artists, a curator, and a writer on the 25 most influential examples of American visual protest art since World War II. The angular, charged Panel 5 from Jacob Lawrence’s Struggle series made the list; you can see it next year at SAM.

Artemisia is headed to your TV: Artnet reports that a scripted series on the life of Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi, based on Mary Garrard’s biography, heads into production next year.

From Artforum: Simone Leigh will represent the United States at the 2022 Venice Biennale. She will create a new series of sculptures for the US pavilion, which is being co-commissioned by Boston ICA director Jill Medvedow and chief curator Eva Respini.

“‘Over the course of two decades, Simone Leigh has created an indelible body of work that centers the experiences and histories of Black women and at such a crucial moment in history, I can think of no better artist to represent the United States,’ said Medvedow in a statement.”

And Finally

Dancing through Harlem.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Muse/News: Moments of Grace, Artists in Bridges, & A Hero Rat

SAM News

Fiona Ye of University of Washington’s The Daily interviews artist Barbara Earl Thomas on her upcoming exhibition at SAM, The Geography of Innocence, and talks about the intention behind her new portraits of Black children.

“Its intent is to bring us into contact with the destabilizing forces of our perceptions and biases that disrupt our innocence. It is to make us conscious of our interdependency and marvel at how individual actions can lead to changes that are transformative or disruptive. It is to situate us in a moment of grace.”

Priya Frank, SAM’s Director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, is interviewed for Visit Seattle’s SEAforSHE series, which celebrates women leaders in Seattle.

Gather, the LED-light installation created by Kenzan Tsutakawa-Chinn that graces the renovated and reimagined Seattle Asian Art Museum, recently won an Architectural Lighting (AL) Design Award. While the Asian Art Museum remains closed, you can still engage with virtual programming like the upcoming series on color in Asian art.

Local News

Consider some merch with “a little sass”: Seattle Met’s Nicole Martinson recommends seven salty Seattle pieces, including Tariqa Water’s “NO” tote, available at SAM Shop.

The Stranger’s Jasmyne Keimig sees what’s “currently hanging”: this time, it’s Untitled Anxious Men Drawings by Rashid Johnson, on view virtually from Hauser & Wirth.

Crosscut’s Agueda Pacheco Flores introduces you to the artists making comics in Seattle’s historic drawbridges while living in residence.

“‘I’m really excited,’ Russian says, as cyclists speed by. ‘The University Bridge is a drawbridge, so it’s very dynamic, tons of people walk and run across the bridge every day, plus all the boats going by underneath —’ then a boat’s air horn interrupts them.”

Inter/National News

Alex Greenberger of ARTnews on a new retrospective of Imogen Cunningham and “why the proto-feminist photographer has grown so popular.” The exhibition heads to SAM next fall.

The American Alliance of Museums’ blog talks about children’s museology and the COVID-19 crisis, sharing how museums across the country are working to prioritize young people’s learning. SAM’s Teen Arts Group (TAG) is mentioned.

The New York Times’ Holland Cotter reviews the “stirring” new exhibition at MoMA PS1, Marking Time: Art in the Age of Mass Incarceration, curated by Nicole R. Fleetwood.

“It’s a society in which racism often determines presumption of guilt; in which imprisonment — human disempowerment and erasure — is chosen over righting the inequities that lead to prison. It’s a society in which caging people is big corporate business, with connections reaching everywhere, including the art world.”

And Finally

A medal for Magawa.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Image: Grace, 2019, Barbara Earl Thomas, American, cut paper and hand-printed color, 26 x 40 in., Courtesy of Claire Oliver Gallery, photo: Spike Mafford.

Muse/News: SAM Reopens, ID Favorites, and Lawrence Revisited

SAM News

Museums in Seattle can now reopen! With new safety protocols in place, the Seattle Art Museum will reopen to the general public on September 11. Catch up on all the details covered in The Seattle Times, The Stranger, Capitol Hill Seattle, ARTnews, and Artdaily.

Amada Cruz, SAM’s Illsley Ball Nordstrom Director and CEO, was Marcie Sillman’s guest on KUOW The Record’s Wednesday show, sharing details on what SAM has been working on and how much we’ve missed you.

Also last week, SAM’s Priya Frank appeared on KING5’s New Day NW, talking with guest host Angela Poe Russell about equity at SAM and artists & organizations she loves.

Local News

“All creative people love a good challenge”: Pacific Northwest Ballet artistic director Peter Boal speaks with Seattle Times’ Moira Macdonald about their upcoming, all-digital season.

The Stranger’s Jasmyne Keimig covers the covers of Vogue and Vanity Fair, both of which feature Black artists (Kerry James Marshall, Jordan Casteel, Amy Sherald) creating new paintings of Black women (someone imagined, Aurora James, Breonna Taylor).

JiaYing Grygiel shares restaurant recommendations in the International District from Seattle notables, including SAM’s recently retired Deputy Director of Art, Chiyo Ishikawa. The article is a part of a series, Chinatown USA, which is meant as both a celebration and a call to action amid economic devastation and anti-Asian racism.

“The history of the Asian communities in Seattle isn’t all just barbecue pork buns and egg tarts. The ugly side of Seattle’s past includes anti-Chinese riots, discriminatory laws, and the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. Now here we are, in the middle of a pandemic that has been tinged, including by the president, with anti-Asian overtones, and restaurants in the ID are hurting badly. Yet they’re remaining open.”

Inter/National News

Hyperallergic’s Valentina Di Liscia reports on the newly unveiled monument in Central Park to Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Sojourner Truth.

Artnet’s Naomi Rea reports on the recent controversy at the Whitney Museum of American Art, in which they came under fire for acquiring works of activist art from discounted benefits and fundraisers.

In advance of the opening of Jacob Lawrence: The American Struggle at the Met (which heads to SAM next year), the New York Times revisits a 1996 interview with Jacob Lawrence. The artist spoke with their then chief art critic Michael Kimmelman during visits to the Met and MoMA, discussing art and technique as they went along.

“The three of us looked at whatever interested him, from Dogon sculptures to Dubuffet. Lawrence was a bearish, humble man, courtly, endearing. ‘I guess there’s nothing wrong with a negative statement,’ he reassured himself out loud at one moment, before screwing up his courage to dis Jackson Pollock.”

And Finally

“The Shooting of John T. Williams, 10 Years Later.”

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Muse/News: Change at SAM, BLM meets AR, and a virtual tour of Harlem

SAM News

Last week, SAM announced that Priya Frank, leader of SAM’s Equity Team since 2016, has been promoted as the museum’s first-ever Director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. The Stranger’s Jasmyne Keimig interviewed Priya about her “new, rare” position.

“‘Real change is going to take time,’ she said. ‘We’re not going to undo structural racism in a day or a year or within a strategic plan. It’s an ongoing lifelong commitment. But it’s amazing to see things we envisioned and dreamt of happening.’”

Local News

Jasmyne Keimig of the Stranger also spent some time this week taking in public art with a pocket beer in hand; consider following her “quick and dirty guide” to some of the best public art in Seattle, including Richard Serra’s Wake at the Olympic Sculpture Park.

Kamna Shastri for Real Change on Student Art Spaces, a youth-led initiative whose mission is to “amplify student voices in art through gallery exhibitions and events,” especially in terms of equity and accessibility.

Crosscut’s Margo Vansynghel on Amp’Up Seattle, an augmented reality art show created by designers at architecture and design firm GGLO for the Seattle Design Festival.

“‘The main aim was to have these locations have a new meaning to them,’ [Gargi] Kadoo says. She hopes people will use the app and artworks as an opportunity to ‘revisit the focus of the BLM movement,’ she adds. ‘Keep that heat and conversation going.’”

Inter/National News

Remember going places? Consider taking this virtual tour of Harlem, “New York’s most storied neighborhood,” led by the celebrated architect David Adjaye.

Sometimes a quick look at “the best and worst of the art world this week” is what you need to get caught up on all the news. Thanks, Artnet.

Artnet shares an opinion essay about the threat of climate change from Nick Merriman, chief executive of the Horniman Museum & Gardens in London.

“Museums must use their position as long-term memory institutions to look beyond short-term political and funding cycles and speak out about issues that are existential threats to all of us. This involves changes in two main areas: in museums and galleries’ operating models, and in their relationship with the public.”

And Finally

Hearken back to the days of innocently enjoying public transit with this breakdown of transit chimes by chord interval.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Photo: Stephanie Fink

Muse/News: Equity leaders, poetic phone calls, and gallery smizing

Last week, SAM announced that Priya Frank, leader of SAM’s Equity Team since 2016, has been promoted as the museum’s first-ever Director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. Seattle Medium, Northwest Asian Weekly, ARTnews, Artdaily, and Hyperallergic all shared the news.

Local News

The Seattle Times’ Moira Macdonald on the Seattle Public Library’s new “Lit Line,” in which you can dial in and “select to hear a poem or short story (in English or Spanish), or a historic Seattle news item, read by an SPL staffer.” Perfect!

Calling ʼ90s kids: The Stranger arts & culture writer Jasmyne Keimig binges Moesha, Brandy’s beloved sitcom about the life of a Black teen, and reflects on the character’s personal style and inspirational box braids.

Margo Vansynghel of Crosscut talks with photojournalist David Ryder (who has had a busy few months!) about his new series, Crowd Control, in which he takes photos of crowd control weapons against a stark white background.

“In Ryder’s photos, this loud, violent object suddenly becomes still. Historically and today, still lifes have been on the lowest rung of the painterly and photojournalistic ladder. There are no people, no action to capture. But as artists and photojournalists like Ryder have found, sometimes a collection of fragments can tell a fuller story.”

Inter/National News

Artnet reports on the USPS Art Project, “a mail-art initiative launched in April by Brooklyn-based artist Christina Massey.” It’s sort of an Exquisite Corpse via post; artists create an artwork, then mails it to the next to complete the work.

“She Explains ‘Mansplaining’ With Help From 17th-Century Art”: Alisha Haridasani Gupta for the New York Times on Nicole Tersigni’s new book based on her viral tweets.

ARTnews shares the sad news of the passing of artist Luchita Hurtado at the age of 99. Their obituary traces her fascinating life and includes links to several interviews Hurtado did over the years.

“Though Hurtado’s work was not as well-known as it should have been—even as her vivacious character brought her into contact with many of the mid-20th century’s most important artists—she persisted in building up a vast oeuvre over time. ‘What drove me to paint?’ Hurtado asked in a recent video interview with the Serpentine Galleries in London. ‘It was like breathing—you know, it’s hard not to.’”

And Finally

“Raising eyebrows and smizing in solidarity”: Crosscut’s Brangien Davis returns to Seattle galleries.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Photo: Zabiullah Fazly

The Kimerly Rorschach Fund for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

In September 2019, Kimerly Rorschach, SAM’s Illsley Ball Nordstrom Director and CEO, retired after seven years of leading the institution and an illustrious 25-year career in the arts. When Rorschach joined SAM in November 2012, she set her sights on creating a schedule of exhibitions and programs for the museum’s three locations that was compelling and timely and that would resonate with a rapidly growing and diversifying Seattle community. 

During her tenure, equity and inclusion also became top priorities. As part of a commitment to building racial equity, addressing institutional racism, and bringing forth real change, she led the museum’s participation in Turning Commitment into Action, a cohort led and funded by the Office of Arts & Culture in partnership with Office for Civil Rights in 2015. After taking part in this important cohort, SAM established a staff leadership team dedicated to these efforts, and hired Priya Frank as Associate Director for Community Programs in the museum’s Education department and also appointed her the founding chair of the newly established Equity Team.

Beginning in 2016, SAM established racial equity training for the staff, volunteers, docent corps, and Board of Trustees. The museum also created special exhibition advisory committees to ensure that diverse community voices are part of the exhibition, programming, and marketing planning processes. Equity was added to the museum’s official values statement and integrated into the institution’s strategic plan, which guides all departments’ goals. The Emerging Arts Leader internship was also established, a paid internship aimed at candidates who are underrepresented in the museum field. These are just some of the ongoing efforts that Rorschach led the museum in pursuing.

In honor of Rorschach’s extraordinary vision in guiding the museum’s dedication to equity work, the SAM Board of Trustees, along with friends of Rorschach, have created an endowment that establishes permanent funding for diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts at SAM. The Kimerly Rorschach Fund for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion helps ensure that these efforts will continue at the museum and paves the way for SAM to be a leader in this crucial area of the arts.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Photo: Scott Areman

Muse/News: Reimagined museums, reflective art, and the many rhythms of Cuba

SAM News

Last week, SAM announced that the Asian Art Museum will reopen to the public on February 8 and 9 with two free 12-hour days of programming, reflecting the 12 themes of the dramatically reimagined collection. The Seattle Times broke the news.

Natalie Ball: Twinkle, Twinkle Little Snake is reviewed by Bean Gilsdorf in Art in America. It’s also the cover story in this week’s edition of Real Change, with a feature review by Lisa Edge inside.

“Ball’s creations are freighted with symbolic messages, composed in a language that conjures both ancestral tradition and contemporary identity.”

“While audiences may not understand all the references she’s included, she wants them to connect with it emotionally. ‘I want them to feel it,’ Ball said. ‘I want it to pull or tug.’”

Building bridges! Centering joy! Priya Frank, SAM’s Associate Director for Community Programs, is one of Puget Sound Business Journal’s annual “40 Under 40” leaders.

Local News

Last week, we shared coverage of an internal battle at Intiman Theatre. This week, the organization has agreed on a plan for its future.

Seattle Met’s Stefan Milne has some thoughts on the five gallery shows to see this month.

The Stranger’s Jasmyne Keimig gets reflective in Carrie Yamaoka’s recto/verso at the Henry Art Gallery.

“It’s representation in the purest of senses, in that you can literally see yourself in her work—not an abstracted label of your body, say, or your identity, but your body and your identity.”

Inter/National News

The new MoMA opens on October 21, and press have had their sneak peek. Here’s thoughts from the New York Times and Vulture; CBS Sunday Morning will visit this week.

Can he collect it? Yes he can! Artsy chats with Q-Tip about his art collection, now on view at Bonham’s in New York.

It’s one of those beautiful New York Times interactives, this time taking us on a road trip across the many rhythms of Cuba.

“Cuban music is often described as a tree, with various primary roots that supply life for many branches. But separating the island’s music into distinct genres is an inherently flawed task — they intertwine and cross.”

And Finally

A swan song (or 10) from Jessye Norman.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Muse/News: Jaw-dropping art at SAM, wigs off at Seattle Opera, and David on the subway

SAM News

“My jaw is still on the floor.” Washington Post art critic Sebastian Smee looks back at art in 2018 “from Nanette to the Carters,” naming Peacock in the Desert as one of the year’s best exhibitions.

Peacock in the Desert was also featured in last week’s edition of Real Change by Lisa Edge, who says it “wows right away.”

Artnet includes SAM installation In This Imperfect Present Moment on their round-up of “32 Inspiring Museum Exhibitions to See Across the US Over the Holidays,” one of only seven shows in the western US to be recognized.

At the recent Great Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition, SAM Education’s Priya Frank and David Rue joyfully represented as judges; don’t miss this Evergrey video with Priya about the event, which raises funds for our neighbor the Pike Market Senior Center.

Local News

The new Seattle Opera building celebrates its grand opening last weekend; Crosscut’s Brangien Davis goes inside the facility’s light-filled costume shop, which includes a dedicated space for wig making.

Local writer Emily Pothast debuts in Art in America with this review of Group Therapy at the Frye Art Museum.

Seattle Times food critic Bethany Jean Clement on “Cook,” an unpretentious cookbook with recipes and illustrations from “artists, gallerists, curators, food-industry types, friends.”

“’The aesthetic of the book is totally an homage to every community cookbook — every church, Junior League, elementary school cookbook — ever made,’ she says. She found an old-school cursive typewriter font to use for some of the recipes. ‘If I could’ve made it on a ditto machine, I would’ve,’ Ito adds.”

Inter/National News

“The butt, yeah—the butt’s great.” Art critic Jerry Saltz takes a statue of Michelangelo’s David into a NYC subway station.

Artnet reports that Kaywin Feldman has been appointed the first-ever female director of DC’s National Gallery of Art. Revisit her essay published earlier this year on “museum leadership in a time of crisis.”

Feldman departs the Minneapolis Institute of Art; speaking of, the Mia just debuted a new in-house smartphone app “that transforms the galleries into a giant escape room.”

“’It’s one of the many ways we are embracing the idea of meeting our customers where they are, welcoming them to the space, helping them find surprise and delight,’ said Douglas Hegley, Mia’s chief digital officer.”

And Finally

She styled songs, she marched in Selma, she stole hearts. Goodbye, Nancy Wilson.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Manager of Public Relations

Image: Installation view of Peacock in the Desert: the Royal Arts of Jodhpur, India at Seattle Art Museum, 2018, photo: Robert Wade

Muse/News: Peacock struts, Saint Woman commands, and the pumpkin dances

SAM News

Peacock in the Desert continues to strut:

The exhibition was included in The New York Times’ overview of “Art to See This Fall,” which says it’s “the next best thing to visiting the clifftop Mehrangarh Fort Museum overlooking Jodhpur.”

It was king of KING, with segments on the station’s Evening Magazine and New Day NW—the latter featured an interview with His Highness Maharaja GajSingh II and his daughter Baijilal Shivranjani Rajye.

And reviews for the show ran in The International Examiner, Crosscut, The Daily, and The Spectator.

“Spanning five centuries, Peacock is an eye-popping look at a royal-family legacy. It uses video, audio and room-filling installations, along with dozens of fantastically detailed paintings (magnifying glasses are provided so you can study them closely), to immerse you in its world.”  —Michael Upchurch, Crosscut

Also: You may have seen Amy Sherald’s Saint Woman on the cover of this week’s Real Change (cash or Venmo accepted!); reporter Lisa Edge reviews the SAM show In This Imperfect Present Moment for this week’s centerpiece story.

“’It’s like she’s thinking about something else. She’s in command of her own space. Her own time,’ said curator Pam McClusky.”

Seattle Magazine’s annual list of the city’s movers and shakers is out—and Priya Frank, SAM’s Associate Director of Community Partnerships, is on it! She’s named “one to watch”—we couldn’t agree more. Congrats, Priya!

Local News

Very sad news: Yoko Ott, an artist and curator with connections to numerous Seattle organizations, died last week at the age of 47.

Tschabalala Self! That, and other offerings, are part of the exciting lineup coming up at the Frye Art Museum announced this week.

Sharon Salyer of The Everett Herald speaks with artist Romson Regarde Bustillo about his show on view at Edmonds Community College that asks, “what’s in a name?”

“’Art is information as much as it is something inexplicable,’ Bustillo said. ‘When we look at it, we have an emotional and a visceral reaction, but it is not removed from the way we’ve been conditioned to process information.’”

Inter/National News

Oh, Canada. Smithsonian Magazine reports on the latest humane news from our northern neighbor: Doctors in Montreal will soon be able to prescribe museum visits to their patients.

And in Germany, museums are the subject of a TV show. It will feature noted creatives—like Vivienne Westwood and Karl Ove Knausgård—leading tours in inside eight historic European museums.

And come through, America (well, NYC)!: The just-released budget for the city features a record-breaking $198.4 million for cultural organizations.

And Finally

It’s a Halloween tradition! To all you ghouls and goblins, I present: The Pumpkin Dance.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Manager of Public Relations

Image: His Highness Maharaja GajSingh II of Marwar-Jodhpur and Baijilal Shivranjani Rajye of Marwar-Jodhpur in Peacock in the Desert: The Royal Arts of Jodhpur, India at Seattle Art Museum, 2018, photo: Stephanie Fink.