Celebrate the people you love at SAM this weekend, with great art and activities. You can even extend your celebration, and stop by the downtown Seattle Art Museum on Monday—we are open downtown on Presidents Day!
In 1917 Marcel Duchamp, using the fictitious name “R. Mutt,” submitted Fountain—a factory-made men’s urinal—to the first exhibition of the American Society of Independent Artists. After heated discussion, the work was rejected from the exhibition. But the event, with Duchamp’s brash challenge to basic assumptions about art, reverberated through the 20th century and beyond. At the most basic level, the artist asked what makes a work of art? Duchamp asserted that the artistic concept was more important than traditional notions of skill, craft or beauty.
As opposed to the found fixture of Fountain, Robert Gober’s Urinalis hand-made. With this action, he turns Duchamp’s object back into a sculpture, a psychologically suggestive form suggestive of a human body.
Relief fragment with warrior and horse, 668-627 B.C., Neo-Assyrian (ca. 1045-610 B.C.; modern Iraq), Nineveh, Southwest Palace, Room XXXIII, stone, overall 17 1/4 x 22 1/4 in., Eugene Fuller Memorial Collection, 57.54. Currently on view in the Ancient Mediterranean and Islamic art galleries, Seattle Art Museum.
WHEREAS it has long been our custom to commemorate November 11, the anniversary of the ending of World War I, by paying tribute to the heroes of that tragic struggle and by redirecting ourselves to the cause of peace; and
WHEREAS in the intervening years the United States has been involved in… other military conflicts, which have added millions of veterans living and dead to the honor rolls of this Nation…
NOW, THEREFORE I, DWIGHT D. EISENHOWER, President of the United States of America, do hereby call upon all of our citizens to observe… November 11… as Veterans Day.
-Presidential proclamation on the first Veteran’s Day, 1954
The Seattle Art Museum and Asian Art Museum are closed on Veteran’s Day. The Olympic Sculpture Park is open today until 30 minutes after sunset.
Seated demon figure, 14th century, Chinese, bronze with gilt, 3 1/4 x 2 x 1 7/8 in., Eugene Fuller Memorial Collection, 52.45. Currently on view at the Asian Art Museum.
‘Tis the season… for ghosts and ghouls and demons!
Supernatural beings appear in artwork spanning centuries and continents, and play distinct roles in different cultures. Even within individual cultures, these creatures have different attributes that can mean different things. It has been suggested that this demon is shivering from cold, suffering that is being imposed upon him.
SAM celebrates Halloween this week with the help of Nancy Guppy and New Day Northwest (KING 5, 11 am). Nancy will be in SAM’s galleries on Thursday, October 30, in full costume inspired by Pop Departures. Join her, and SAM, for a little Halloween inspiration!
Portrait of a Young Woman “C A C,” dated 1565, attributed to Santi di Tito, Italian, Florentine, 1536-1603, oil on wood panel, 7 1/2 x 21 3/8 in., Samuel H. Kress Collection, 61.153
In our image-saturated age, it’s hard to imagine a time before selfies, Snapchat and Instagram. But before photography made it a simple matter to capture a life, painters strove to convey an individual’s unique character in ways that would endure through the ages. Costume, gesture, and accessories tell us about the sitter’s family and status in society, while facial expression and gaze give as much of a sense of personality and inner life as the sitter was willing to reveal.
A new installation in the European galleries (fourth floor, Seattle Art Museum) introduces you to individuals who lived in 16th-century Italy, a time when prosperous citizens considered themselves worthy of the same kinds of visual commemoration that had previously been reserved for royalty. These portraits honored important life events—a new job, a new marriage—or simply served as visual reminders of people and places long gone—just like our digital photo albums do today.
The Cornish Hills, 1911, Willard Metcalf, American, 1858 – 1925, oil on canvas, 35 x 40in., Partial and promised gift from a private collection, 2005.160. On view in American Art Masterworks, American Art galleries, third floor, Seattle Art Museum, starting this Saturday, October 11.
Rather suddenly, as a mature painter at the age of fifty, the impressionist painter Willard Metcalf found a landscape subject that would engage him as never before. In the winter of 1909 Metcalf traveled to the artists’ enclave of Cornish, New Hampshire, where he discovered the beauty of the winter landscape, reduced to a few solid forms and strikingly contrasting colors. Thereafter, Metcalf made the scenery around Cornish something of a specialty year-round, his magnificent paintings earning him the title “poet laureate of the New England Hills.”
Basket with Orca whale design, ca. 1910, Tlingit, spruce root, maidenhair fern stem, grass, and dyes (twining), 8 1/2 x 10 in., Gift of John H. Hauberg, 91.1.100. Currently on view in the Native American art galleries, third floor, Seattle Art Museum.
Baskets made for collectors (rather than for use) were produced in large numbers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries by Tlingit women. They often took the form of functional Tlingit berry and cooking baskets and displayed traditional false embroidery designs—but the fine weaving betrays its decorative intentions. This example, depicting orca whales, is of a rare type developed in the late 19th century.