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Muse/News: Art parks, virtual festivals, and good trouble

SAM News

For Smithsonian Magazine, Elissaveta M. Brandon explores “the magic of open-air, art-studded parks.” SAM director and CEO Amada Cruz is quoted on the importance of the Olympic Sculpture Park to “the daily life of the city.”

SAM Shop is included in this HuffPost round-up of “The Best Museum Stores For Online Shopping.” Head to the site to explore SAM exclusives and other art-centric finds.

Local News

Jasmyne Keimig of the Stranger reports on the quiet reopening of Seattle galleries. A group of galleries had asked to be included in Phase 2 and were granted permission; with precautions in place, “going to the gallery doesn’t look that much different from before.”

Crosscut’s Brangien Davis makes a quick run to their offices at Seattle Center—and finds herself pondering public art and spaces and the stories they’ve told and tell. She also shouts out In the Spirit, a new online show of work by contemporary Native artists from the Washington State History Museum.

The Seattle Times’ Yasmeen Wafai reports on Seattle’s Bon Odori festival, which will be going virtual for the first time in its 88 years of annual celebration. 

“Although the festival won’t be the same this year, Moriguchi noted that part of Buddhism is about change and adapting, so they still plan to make the most of it. He said he will try to do a Google Hangout or Zoom with friends while they watch. Mostly, he hopes people will still dance along at home.”

Inter/National News

Lesley L. L. Blume for the New York Times on museums’ intense efforts to locate and preserve artifacts and ephemera of this three-pronged historic moment.

Writer Saidiya Hartman for Artforum on Black radical traditions of refusal and imagination, and how they persist throughout history up to the present day.

Washington Post contributor Michele Norris with a powerful tribute to civil rights hero and Congressman John Lewis, who has passed away at the age of 80. In 2017, SAM was honored to host Congressman Lewis for a talk on his graphic novel, MARCH.

“He took the billy club they beat him with at Selma and turned it into a baton, a relay man running toward that promise in our founding documents that says all men are created equal when the word “all” really meant some and not others.”

And Finally

Suggested viewing: Good Trouble, the documentary directed by Dawn Porter.

 Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Photo: Benjamin Benschneider

SAM Shop: Creative Pottery with Deb Schwartzkopf

Earlier this month we had to cancel a book signing event featuring highly regarded Seattle potter, Deb Schwartzkopf. We were so sad to miss this chance to learn about her innovative techniques and see her newest collection of work in person, but the good news is, you can find her new book online at SAM Shop! Learn more about this artist and her book below.

Explore and gain new skills in pottery with local artist Deb Schwartzkopf in her recently published book, Creative Pottery: Innovative Techniques & Experimental Designs in Thrown & Handbuilt Ceramics. This book provides tutorials in the basic tools and techniques for beginners, while also refreshing foundational skills with new techniques and inspiration for experienced potters. The introductory chapter includes essential information, such as: setting goals, building a basic tool kit, setting up a wheel, and making and using templates. Later chapters add complexity through ideas such as decorative edges, bisque molds, and throwing closed forms.

Deb Schwartzkopf introduces these foundational and new techniques to potters through step-by-step photos, templates that can be used by readers, and beautiful photos of her work and the work of other active American potters. In each chapter, she profiles one or two potters, showing images of their work and asking them questions about their techniques, inspiration, and artistic process. These profiles provide readers with context about current work in the field and illustrations of how the techniques and ideas taught in the book can be employed. Through this book, potters can learn how to create many forms, including: cake stands, bud vases, goblets, teapots, pitchers, dessert boats, and juicers, all illustrated with photos and clear instructions.

Schwartzkopf is a studio potter, instructor, and active artist in Seattle. Her studio, Rat City Studios, has evolved into a communal clay establishment, where she teaches classes, creates her pottery, and mentors assistants. Schwartzkopf was born in Seattle, earned her MFA from Penn State University, and taught at schools including: University of Washington, Ohio University, and Massachusetts College of Art and Design. She was named Ceramics Monthly and Ceramic Arts Daily’s 2019 Artist of the Year. With her pottery, she works to make tableware that infuses life with purposeful beauty. Learn new techniques or inspire an artist you know with this new book, on sale now at the SAM Shop.

– Pamela Jaynes, SAM Gallery Coordinator

Images: Quarry Publishing, matisse lb photography

Muse/News: Café con leche, Kenny G, and ancient art discovered in Sulawesi

SAM News

Amada Cruz, SAM’s Illsley Ball Nordstrom Director and CEO, was interviewed by Puget Sound Business Journal. She shared her vision for museums, her morning routine of café con leche and public radio, and other fun facts.

“We should think of museums as civic spaces where all kinds of people can meet, convene, have a shared experience and celebrate our shared humanities. That’s more important now than ever.”

“She speaks five languages — ‘three of them badly.’”

How’s your holiday shopping going? The Seattle Times recently shared their Holiday Gift Guide; among their recommendations for gifts for men is a SAM Shop-exclusive, a Seattle edition of the chic reusable water bottle, Phil the Bottle.

Local News

Crosscut’s Agueda Pacheco Flores interviewed Kenny G. Enough said.

“The Terminal 86 Grain Facility Is Hideous. It Must Be Painted” declares Gregory Scruggs in the Stranger. He argues that the facility near the Olympic Sculpture Park is the only “loose end” in the plan for the downtown waterfront.

The Seattle Times’ Scott Greenstone on Collaboration on Canvas, a new show at CORE Gallery, an exhibition of collaborative paintings by homeless people, social workers, and volunteers.

“It was community, and a bunch of women sharing space and time, and doing something together,” Giller said. “It was different every time, but it was always a good feeling.”

Inter/National News

From Artforum’s December print edition, here are 34 artists reflecting on their favorite exhibitions and events of 2019—including Natalie Ball on Guadalupe Maravilla and Judy Chicago on John Akomfrah’s Vertigo Sea.

Artnet’s Katie White on Homage to the Great Latin-American Masters at Houston’s Art of the World Gallery; the exhibition explores the complexity of classifying borderless Latin American art.

An archaeological study of dozens of caves on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi has turned up visionary examples of art—perhaps the oldest known figurative art made by modern humans.

“Scrambling up a fig tree vine, he found his way into a small grotto. Its far wall bore a panel, painted with a red ocher pigment. When Aubert saw it, he was astounded. ‘I thought, wow, it’s like a whole scene,’ he says. ‘You’ve got humans, or maybe half-human half-animals, hunting or capturing these animals … it was just amazing.’”

And Finally

The Cloud Appreciation Society.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Photo: Natali Wiseman

Textiles with a life of their own: Parekh Bugbee at SAM Shop

We are obsessed with all things Peacock in the Desert: The Royal Arts of Jodhpur, India! Even SAM Shop is getting in on it and is bringing second-generation Indian textile designer Parekh Bugbee for an in-store trunk show on December 8. We sat down with Payal Parekh Bugbee to discuss the tradition of textiles in her family, sustainability, and spectacular colors. See these beautiful scarves in person while you chat with the designer and sip on some complimentary chai courtesy of Jaipur Chai. drop by anytime between noon and 4 pm and get a jump on holiday shopping!

SAM: How did Parekh Bugbee first start and where does the name come from?

Payal Parekh Bugbee: The initial roots of Parekh Bugbee began in 2011 when I met my husband-to-be during a work trip to Thailand. He’s a photojournalist and also does projects for global health NGOs. I didn’t know how our relationship would blossom but before long he traveled to India to formally meet my father and ask for my hand in marriage. At the time, I’d returned from living in New York City where I did undergrad studies at the Fashion Institute of Technology and had re-located to Mumbai to train under my father. Since the 1960s, my father had worked on collections made for many international designers. These were big name, well-known design houses and they put their labels on everything produced, so at the end of the day customers really wouldn’t know that the pieces were initially designed and manufactured by him. To this day he is a very humble artisan and doesn’t mind. Growing up in India, I spent many years observing his print mastery and artisan skillset. As such, I developed a real zeal for a career in textiles.

Parekh Bugbee, is a combination of my maiden and married names, the fusing of East and West cultures merged into one company. The prints and textiles we make merge traditional and evergreen Indian designs with modern and contemporary motifs.

Have you always wanted to be involved in your family’s business?

In truth, I always had a gut feeling at a very early age that I was destined to carry forward what my father had created but the mystery was what precise form it would take. As a teenager in the early 90s, my parents sent me to New York City to join my elder sister to study and pursue a career. Photography initially grabbed me passionately and I became adamant that I wanted to be a fashion photographer. These skills later proved useful to document and promote my father’s textile works and that was personally rewarding. When I returned to India after college, I worked as a photographer shooting textiles. It was an interesting journey—in India, the boy children usually inherit the duties of a families business but my father never had a male offspring, so it was natural that he wanted his daughters to understand his industry and carry it forward.

After spending one month in the office agreeing to work with him, I realized that it was connected to so many lives and it gave so much back to everyone who was involved in producing these fine textiles. I came to understand it as an ecosystem within itself from concept to completion. Most of the artisans are from different cities and villages around India. In simple terms, the work and the skills they employ make it possible for their kids to have a good education, a solid home, and modest savings for the marriage of their children. My father over the years built apartment units on the acreage around the factory so the artisans and their families could live close. A mango orchard was planted not long ago and he started a sustainable organic garden as well. To look at the whole picture is necessary to understand what goes into making these textiles.

I understand Parekh Bugbee uses organic and natural dyes. How do you get the spectacular colors?

We have a long process for drying the fabrics. My father refers to it as ‘cooking the textiles.’ After the silkscreen printing process, which is accomplished by a meticulous application of layers upon layers of color, the fabrics are run through an extremely high-temperature steam and then dried in direct sunlight for at least two days. This direct sun exposure ensures best results for fastening the color onto each textile.

Do you see changes in the way textiles are produced in India that are considering environmental implications?

Textiles in Asia are a very large and complex industry and even in India there are many approaches to this art, but in our practice, we try our best to be very environmentally conscious. Our entire factory is made out of recycled materials—floor to ceiling—and for as long as I can remember my father has been all about ‘zero wastage’ when it comes to the production line. A while back he created a sophisticated water filtration system which essentially recycles all the water used in the textile printing process to eventually be used in the vegetable gardens.

All of the scarves are so beautiful! How many do you keep for your personal collection?

These textiles have a life of their own and a story behind them. I feel that with time they will only be more valuable as most wearable textiles are now produced cheaply by machine only. These are made by hand every step of the way. That is now rare. And that is why they will retain their special nature.

Honestly, I do have a very wide range of my favorite silk scarves and shawls. I  have them tucked away in a closet and someday it will be a great honor to pass them on to my child. I really believe that these textiles are not just mere pieces of fabrics, they are textile jewels that will never go out of fashion.

Images: Courtesy of Payal Parekh Bugbee

Appreciation Without Appropriation: Trickster Company at SAM Shop

Did you know that SAM Shop has a store on the museum’s fourth floor with objects specifically selected based on the artwork in our special exhibitions? During Double Exposure: Edward S. Curtis, Marianne Nicolson, Tracy Rector, Will Wilson we’re working with Native artists and companies to stock the shelves. SAM Shop buyer, Renata Tatman interviewed Native artists and the co-owners of one of these retailers: Crystal and Rico Worl are siblings and they started Trickster Company with a focus on Northwest Coast art and themes and issues in Native culture. SAM recently launched a brand new web store for SAM Shop where you can order playing cards and stickers from Trickster Company. Better yet, stop by the special exhibition store on the fourth floor when you visit Double Exposure (closing September 9!) for more products by this innovative Indigenous product design company, or check out the Trickster Company site after learning more about this dynamic duo right here!

SAM: Do you remember how old you were when you first started to work on projects together?

Crystal Worl: When we were kids we used to build little towns out of Lego. There were shops filled with tiny paper books, and clothes made out of fabric. We had a very elaborate plan. Playing and making things was the way we had fun. We were given a lot of love and nurtured by family. We were encouraged to be creative. We are really blessed to have parents that believe in our art business.

Rico Worl: Crystal was always the artist. I never considered myself an artist until I returned from college. I started to work on a brand around 2010. At that time we started to think about the concept of Trickster together.

 

Do you collaborate on most projects, or do you each come up with your own ideas and work independently?

Crystal: It depends on the project. Sometimes I’ll say to Rico, “Hey I have this project, do you want to do it with me?” I’m often juggling up to 20 different projects. Some are collaborations with our community or other artists. We try to share opportunities with each other when they come up. Often times when I have an exhibition I invite Rico to submit work.

Rico: It’s a mix. We share a lot of the designs. Other times we help take on projects the other needs help with.

How and when were you inspired to explore a more contemporary design esthetic?

Crystal: I knew I needed to practice drawing everyday, and study formline from works done by the masters. After college I had to decided to find a mentor for an apprenticeship in carving and design. Robert Davidson came to Juneau to give a lecture about formline art. One part of his lecture he said that you need to start with 10,000 hours of practice to begin. He encouraged me to write him a letter and send in my portfolio. I am now in a two-year apprenticeship with Robert. Robert’s work inspires me to learn the principals of formline, practice 10,000 hours, develop intuition, and then expand on it.

Rico: I consider myself more a student of traditional formline design. Though I must also note that I feel that formline evolves—labeling it traditional or contemporary is not accurate. We are using contemporary mediums though and placing designs in a different context. I do this to represent my own modern identity.

How did you learn about doing business and selling your designs?

Crystal: When I showed my dad what I made, he would get really excited and tell me that it was good, and that we should try to sell it. My Mom would purchase supplies for me and give me books about art. She taught me how to bead. Both of my parents wanted me to do what I loved to do and make a living doing it.

Rico: It sounded fun. I was working at Sealaska Heritage doing anthropological work. I started to learn about commerce when people wanted to buy my artwork. I read a lot about being an entrepreneur, it became a game to me.

In the Pacific Northwest most people are familiar with formline and Native design. Do you sell to other parts of the country where they may not have seen this design work before?  

Crystal: Formline is naturally pleasing to the eye. It looks good on anything and opens the door to educate people about our art and culture.

Rico: We sell around the world off our website. One of the goals of the Trickster Company is to make the art accessible and give people a chance to appreciate without appropriating. People are excited to make the connection with Native culture.

 

 

 

SAM Shops: Take Infinity Home with You

Probably the first thing that pops to mind when you think of Yayoi Kusama is, polka-dots! And, yes, there’s plenty of those in Kusama’s work. But it’s what those polka dots represent that weaves a clear thematic thread through everything she makes. And we mean everything, including the Kusama-studio products in the SAM Shop on the 4th floor and on the ground floor. To Kusama, a polka-dot is a way toward the infinite: “Our earth is only one polka dot among a million stars in the cosmos.” So it will come as no surprise that items produced by Kusama’s studio, from scarves to glasses cases, are covered in polka-dots. We’ve also got Kusama-inspired jewelry that makes use of this visual refrain in unique and surprising ways. Take a look at some of these items and don’t miss the SAM Shop during your visit to see Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors, closing September 10!

 

Yayoi Kusama eye glass case, $16.95

Yayoi Kusama vinyl pouch, $15.95

Yayoi Kusama puzzle, $75

Red Coco neoprene bracelet, $72

Kusama Pumpkin

Kusama soft sculpture pumpkins, $250/$450

Photos: Natali Wiseman

Taking Home Gauguin

It’s difficult to leave the Gauguin & Polynesia: An Elusive Paradise galleries; the vibrancy and serenity of the island-inspired exhibition is an oasis where guests can escape the gloom of a dreary Seattle winter.  Fortunately, SAM SHOP has made it possible for everyone who can’t bring themselves to leave the islands to take home the spirit of the exhibition.

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10 Tips for Your Trip to “Gauguin & Polynesia”

1. ADJUST TO ISLAND TIME
Starting February 9, SAM Downtown has extended open hours to make it easy to see Gauguin & Polynesia: An Elusive Paradise.

Tuesday–Sunday 10 am–5 pm
Thursday & Friday
10 am–9 pm
First Thursdays
(March 1 & April 5) 10 am-midnight

Closed Mondays
(except Presidents Day & select Members-Only Mondays)

After the exhibition closes on April 29, the museum will resume Wednesday–Sunday open hours.

Want to avoid crowds?
It’s likely the museum will be busiest during First Thursdays (when ticket prices are reduced) and on Saturdays and Sundays. For a quieter experience, we encourage you to visit during the week after 2 pm (school groups tend to visit between 10 am and 2 pm), or on Thursday or Friday evenings.

 

2. BEAT THE LINES, BUY ONLINE
Online ticketing, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

  • Guaranteed admission for your reserved day and time.
  • No waiting in line. Just print your online ticket at home or show us on your phone as you enter and you can go immediately to the special exhibition galleries.
  • No online ticketing fee.

Okay, so that’s only three, but you have to admit, they’re pretty good!

Sold out online? Don’t worry!
If your preferred time is already sold out online, you may still be admitted by showing up in person. A limited number of day-of tickets will be available— first-come, first-served—at the Ticketing Desk.

Visit seattleartmuseum.org/gauguin to check ticket availability. SAM’s Facebook page and Twitter feed will also have updates about tickets, lines and other exhibition news.

 

3. SAVE SAVE SAVE
Regular-priced Gauguin & Polynesia tickets include entrance to the SAM Collection Galleries Downtown and FREE admission to the Seattle Asian Art Museum within one week. There are no extra fees for online orders.

SAM Members, Children (12 & under) FREE!
Adults
            $23
Seniors (62+), Military (with ID)
           $20
Students (with ID), Teens (13–17)
        $18

Visit First Thursdays and Fridays & Save
Admission price discounts on First Thursdays and First Fridays will be available during Gauguin & Polynesia. Visit seattleartmuseum.org/gauguin for details.

Avoid the Crowds & Save
On Thursday and Friday nights, 5–9 pm, ticket prices are reduced by $3 for everyone and lines are likely to be shorter.

Bring your Friends & Save
Receive discounted ticket prices and group benefits when you purchase 10 or more tickets in advance. For more information call 206.344.5260 or email groups@seattleartmuseum.org.

Park at 3rd and Stewart Garage & Save
Discount parking is available at the Third and Stewart Parking Garage—entrance is located on Stewart between 2nd and 3rd Avenues. Ask for a voucher at the SAM Ticketing Desk and park for up to four hours for only $6.

 

4. GO! GAUGUIN & SAVE MORE
When you buy your tickets online, you’ll get a link in your confirmation email leading to an online coupon good for great discounts from participating retailers, restaurants, and art and cultural institutions. It’s a city-wide celebration of Gauguin & Polynesia which means fun offers and super savings for you.

 

5. ARRIVE EARLY AND STAY AS LONG AS YOU LIKE
Gauguin & Polynesia
is in the Simonyi Special Exhibition Galleries on the Fourth Floor. Please arrive 10–15 minutes before the time listed on your ticket. You must enter the galleries no more than 20 minutes after your specified time, or your reservation will be released. There is no re-entry into Gauguin & Polynesia, but once admitted you may stay as long as you wish.

Don’t forget!
You are welcome to explore the 35 international SAM Collection Galleries before or after your visit to see Gauguin & Polynesia. And, remember to bring your special exhibition ticket within one week to the Seattle Asian Art Museum and enjoy FREE admission to our recognized Asian art collection.

 

6. DOWNLOAD FOR FREE
The Seattle Art Museum and Acoustiguide have developed an insightful audio guide with commentary about selected works in the exhibition. Download the podcast or iPhone/Android application to your digital device at seattleartmuseum.org/gauguin prior to your visit to the museum.

Don’t have your own digital device?
FREE audio wands are available on a first-come, first-served basis. Audio guides for no and low vision visitors are also available.

 

7. SHOP ‘TIL YOU DROP
Want to pick up a bit of the Pacific Islands? Or maybe find that special gift? Expect the unexpected at SAM SHOP, where playful, modern and worldly wares are the norm.

 

8. FEED & WATER REGULARLY
Don’t forget to fill up beforehand—food and beverages are not allowed in the galleries. May we suggest TASTE Restaurant? TASTE features artistic, locally-focused food, including menu items inspired by Pacific Island cuisine. Reserve your table to coincide with your gallery visit at opentable.com.

 

9. VISIT AGAIN FOR FREE
Become a member today
and visit as many times as you like for free. Enjoy members-only benefits including exclusive access times for Gauguin & Polynesia, free admission at all SAM sites for a year and discounts at SAM SHOP and TASTE Restaurant.

Already purchased your ticket?
Stop by the Ticketing Desk to apply the price of your Gauguin & Polynesia ticket towards a membership!

 

10. SNEAK A PEEK
See a preview of the works and learn more about Gauguin’s life, his art and his search for the exotic at seattleartmuseum.org/gauguin

Photo credit: Madeline Moy

SAM SHOP: Great for Holiday Shopping

The goal of any holiday shopping excursion is to find something for your friends, family or significant other that is genuinely special and will surprise them. Whether it is an amusing novelty item or an exquisite hand-made mask, it is important to find a gift that will bring a smile to the receiver’s face.

Normally, I wouldn’t go to a museum shop to buy my Christmas gifts, I’ll admit, but I decided to give it a try and it was a good thing I did. I always had it in my mind that SAM SHOP sold only museum paraphernalia, a place to sell catalogues and books on the featured artists and not a place to do my holiday shopping. Instead, I landed on a shop that I immediately knew housed items that my friends and family would love. As I walked around the shop, the first thing I noticed was a common theme. Everything I looked at was unlike anything I’d seen before. It seems clichéd to say, but it is true. Many of the pieces in SAM’s Shop are actually one-of-a-kind pieces made by local artists. Most of the hats and scarves are made locally and about 85% of the jewelry artists live in the area, setting this shop apart from other stores.

After my initial walk-through, I doubled back to the three things that caught my eye. First, there were the Whisky Stones. They were next to the graffiti cocktail shakers, which are fun in their own right but the stones seemed both useful and original. I spent a semester abroad in Scotland and if there is one thing that the Scottish take pride in, it’s the quality of their whisky, so these little guys immediately caught my eye.

In short, these are stones that keep your whisky cold without diluting the taste. You can buy an entire set with tumblers included or just the stones by themselves. Personally, I thought the idea was ingenious.

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