All posts in “Zanele Muholi”

Muse/News: Mirrors in art, Kusama’s parade, and the pumpkin

SAM News

Flesh and Blood: Masterpieces from the Capodimonte Museum continues to wow. Ashley Nelson reviews the exhibition for Seattle University’s Spectator, calling it “a treat for the art enthusiasts and novices alike.” And the Seattle Times includes it on their list “the hottest events” in November.

Here’s London-based magazine Elephant on the symbolism of mirrors in contemporary art, with Zanele Muholi’s self-portrait Bona, Charlottesville, 2015 as a jumping-off point. See it at SAM before it closes November 3.

Local News

Tantri Wija for the Seattle Times with “unusual things to do” for Halloween if you’re too cool for trick-or-treating.

Who made that portrait of Earl, though? Real Change reports on the return of Earl Lancaster’s landmark barbershop to the “powerful corner” of 23rd and Union.

The Stranger’s Jasmyne Keimig reviews Robert William’s The Father of Exponential Imagination, now on view at the Bellevue Arts Museum.

“A technically skilled draftsman, Williams’s works are often psychedelic, depicting an alternate, surreal reality. Jaws unhinge so that the tongue can become a sort of beast to ride, Tarzan-like men wrestle with aliens, and hungry spirits reach toward burgers covered in demons.”

Inter/National News

There will be a Yayoi Kusama-designed balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade this year called Love Flies Up to the Sky. Yes.

The US Army announced this week a new reserve group of curators, conservators, and archaeologists—yes, like the Monuments Men and Women—charged with protecting cultural heritage in the Middle East.

Lee Lawrence for the Wall Street Journal on the Brooklyn Museum’s overhauled galleries of Chinese and Japanese art; other thematic presentations, including at the Seattle Asian Art Museum, are mentioned.

“As difficult as it can be to trace the stories and power plays behind objects, presenting a permanent collection involves the even more daunting task balancing what curators want to say with what they can, given the strengths and weaknesses of their museums’ holdings. One current trend is to structure displays thematically. When the Seattle Asian Art Museum reopens in February 2020, for example, its installation will use works from different times and places to explore such common concerns as identity and worship.”

And Finally

It’s a Halloween tradition! Once again, here’s The Pumpkin Dance.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Image: Installation view Flesh and Blood: Italian Masterpieces from the Capodimonte Museum at Seattle Art Museum, 2019, photo: Natali Wiseman
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Zanele Muholi on Visual Activism & Undoing Racism

In my instance, visual activism has a lot to do with two things: connecting the visual and my activism. Which means that every image that I take has a lot to do with politics. In my work, I am pushing a political agenda.

– Zanele Muholi

Taken in Europe, Asia, North America, and Africa between 2014 and 2017, each of the 76 self-portraits in the Somnyama Ngonyama (Zulu for Hail the Dark Lioness) series is distinct and poses critical questions about social injustice, human rights, and contested representations of the black body. South African visual activist Zanele Muholi combines classical portraiture, fashion photography, and ethnographic imagery to establish different archetypes and personae.

Hear from the artist as they describe how household and found objects become culturally loaded props in these self-portraits. Scouring pads and latex gloves address themes of domestic servitude. Rubber tires, electrical cords, and cable ties reference forms of social brutality and capitalist exploitation. Collectively, the portraits evoke the plight of workers: maids, miners, and members of disenfranchised communities. The artist’s gaze challenges viewers while firmly asserting their cultural identity on their own terms. Don’t miss your chance to see Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness while it’s still in Seattle at SAM through November 3.

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Art Zodiac: Hail the Virgos

Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness would have been the perfect subject for Leo season, but despite that, I am focusing on one of Muholi’s photographs for Virgo season instead. Their (Muholi identifies as they/them) work titled, Bester IV, shows Muholi against a geometric-patterned background with a scarf over their head like the Virgin Mary. Virgos rule detailed work like the complex patterning of material which requires patience, steadiness, and routine rigor to perform. I picked this work for Virgo season because the root of the word Virgo is virgin, and this photograph alludes to the most famous one, the Virgin Mother Mary.  Most astrologers prefer to interpret the virginal representation of Virgo as the love of the unadulterated or the purity of essence rather than the religious or sexual overtones it signifies.   

Zanele Muholi: Somnayma Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness features 76 black-and-white self-portraits, making the artist very prevalent in this body of work. The time of Muholi’s birth is unknown, but according to Wikipedia, they were born on July 9, a Cancer—the archetype of the mother in astrology. The only planet that Muholi has in Virgo is Pluto, which makes a lovely sextile (a 60-degree angle) to their Cancer sun. In evolutionary astrology, Pluto represents the soul, its incarnations and the karmic gifts brought into this lifetime. Muholi, like others born between roughly 1956 and 1972, has a Virgo soul structure and it melds well with their Cancer ego structure (the sun). This is another reason why I chose this photograph as it mimics this aspect in their natal astrology chart.

via GIPHY

Virgo is the 6th sign of the zodiac and the sun transits Virgo from August 23 to September 30 each year. Virgos are meticulous, but Pluto-in-Virgos take the details of an issue to a staggering profound depth and breadth. You can see it in the entanglement of multiple themes and the pure (virginal) qualities in Muholi’s photographs. There is obviously an incredible amount of thought and planning that went into each image so the viewer could understand the difficult and powerful, sometimes in-your-face themes communicated through their body of work. This, along with the simplicity of how the sitter is framed and the exacting ruthlessness of the proportions, takes you on an internal journey into the shadow side (Pluto) of society and your own psyche. But the quality that shines the most in Virgos is ‘service to others’ and that is what I ultimately see Muholi doing with their work. They portray images of the plight of workers, maids, miners, and members of disenfranchised communities, in order to serve the greater good, forcefully demanding recognition and integration. 

– Amy Domres, SAM’s Director of Admissions 
Amy is also a Psychospiritual Evolutionary Astrologer and Healer at Emerald City Astrology

Images: Installation view Zanele Muholi: Somnayma Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness at Seattle Art Museum, 2019, photos: Natali Wiseman.
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Muse/News: SAM award news, the Space Needle is a she, and Dr. Seuss at the museum

SAM News

Last week, SAM announced the finalists for this year’s Betty Bowen Award: Andrea Joyce Heimer, Anthony Hudson, Adair Rutledge, Lynne Siefert, and Anthony White.

The solo exhibition of the 2018 winner, Natalie Ball, was reviewed in Art & Object.

“Subverting tropes about Native American identity and art by repurposing familiar materials, Ball points out the absurdity of our assumptions.”

Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness is on regal display on the cover of this week’s Real Change; inside, don’t miss Lisa Edge’s review of the installation.

“Let’s have positive images of ourselves that are done with love,” said Muholi. “Let us consume this self-love because our forefathers, our foremothers that came before us never had the opportunity to speak for themselves.”

Local News

“The Space Needle is a she.” Crosscut’s Brangien Davis on a documentary exploring the hidden history of Seattle’s iconic landmark: its shape may have been inspired by a Black dancer named Syvilla Fort.

The City’s Art Beat Blog has a recap of the recent Creative Advantage Arts Partner Summer Institute, held at SAM; this year’s theme was “exploring the local.”

The Stranger’s Jasmyne Keimig goes home to Wa Na Wari, reviewing the center’s newest show featuring work by several artists, including Nastassja Swift’s video of masked dancers.

“Swift’s video, no more than 10 minutes long, grapples with the concept of home, being home, having a home, feeling at home in one’s body and community. In that way, it fits well at Wa Na Wari. Where do we belong?

Inter/National News

Artforum reports that Werner Kramarsky passed away this week at the age of 93; a formidable collector, he donated 25 drawings to SAM over the years.

Artnet’s Ben Davis takes a look at Dia:Beacon’s new permanent gallery dedicated to Sam Gilliam and his signature “drape” paintings.

The New York Times’ Guy Trebay attends the 16th annual edition of the influential and popular International Folk Art Market, which explodes the art-world schism between fine art and craft.

“It comes out of nowhere, out of nothing,” he added. “There’s not a tradition for it. It’s just some guy saying, ‘I want to make this thing.”

And Finally

Double Dr. Seuss news: Oh, the museums you’ll go!

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Image: Installation view of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Snake” at Seattle Art Museum, 2019, photo: Natali Wiseman.

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Muse/News: Layerless freedom, #JayDoodles, and Art Boys

SAM News

In honor of Pacific Northwest Black Pride, Crystal Paul, Erika Schultz, and Corinne Chin of The Seattle Times presents a multimedia story exploring identity and freedom with 10 Black, queer Seattleites.

In a related story, they recreated an intimate conversation that Black, queer artists recently had with Zanele Muholi, talking through their reactions to the SAM show, Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness.

Here’s Gregory Scruggs for the Stranger, interviewing Brazilian artist Regina Silveira about her Olympic Sculpture Park site-specific installation Octopus Wrap, the goal of art, and the relative concrete jungles of Seattle and São Paulo.

Seattle Met’s September issue has hit newsstands. Their fall arts preview leads with a story on the new directors at SAM, the Symphony, and the Opera—and their visions for the future. SAM’s new director Amada Cruz starts in mid-September!

“The tradition of art museums is that they’re closed off repositories of precious works of art,” [Cruz] says. “How do we open ourselves up so that museums can become part of everybody’s daily life?”

Local News

The Seattle Times’ Alan Berner captured some terrific shots (as usual) of an installation happening at the Burke Museum: a huge mural by artist RYAN! Feddersen.

Watch this Crosscut video featuring cool footage of the viaduct “unmaking” and a conversation with architect David Miller about the future of the waterfront.

#JayDoodles: It’s a thing. SAM’s own Chiyo Ishikawa is among the art-world heavies offering their takes on Governor Jay Inslee’s lighthearted artistic practice in this Seattle Times story.

“The figure in the boat could represent his campaign: Rowing against the stream!”

Inter/National News

The MCA Denver has named Nora Burnett Abrams its new director, reports the New York Times. She’s been a curator at the museum for the last 10 years.

Alex Needham, an arts editor at the Guardian, tweeted this week that curators shouldn’t be named in show reviews. Artnet’s Naomi Rea reports on the ensuing Twitter storm.

Artnet’s Caroline Goldstein reports on the ABC casting notice that may bring so-called Art Boys to network television.

“The dashing Art Boy, on the other hand, is more of a rosé and tapas type. Who doesn’t want to watch a show about him?”

And Finally

Happy birthday, Dorothy Parker.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Image: Installation view “Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness,” Seattle Art Museum, 2019.



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Muse/News: Muholi recommended, radical love, and a new look at Basquiat

SAM News

Aesthetica makes five recommendations from around the world to see, including Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness at SAM.

Seattle Magazine is out with their list of the “21 Best Things To Do in Seattle in August 2019.” Remix at the Olympic Sculpture Park makes the cut.

Local News

The Seattle jazz scene has two sad losses to report: the closure of legendary club Tula’s at the end of September, and the retirement of Clarence Acox, Garfield High School’s jazz band director.

In addition to their booth-to-booth coverage of this past weekend’s Seattle Art Fair, Crosscut has pieces by Emily Pothast and Margo Vansynghel examining the various outcomes of the Fair on the local art scene.

The Big Art Weekend wouldn’t be complete without the incredible satellite events; here’s Gayle Clemans for the Seattle Times on the free festival:festival, which also took place over the weekend (SAM’s David Rue is one of the curators!).

“The festival will highlight ‘artist-driven portraits of identity,’ which will take many forms including visual art and performance, according to co-curator and dance artist David Rue. ‘We’re using this approach so that artists can provide a counterpoint to the dominant narrative told about people that look like them while celebrating the power of culturally responsive rigor.’”

Inter/National News

Baltimore is great city full of great people. And now this! Artnet reports that the Baltimore Museum of Art will dedicate “a year’s worth of exhibitions dedicated to female-identifying artists throughout 2020.”

“What Does Radical Love Look Like?” Hyperallergic’s Seph Rodney explores that question at the Ford Foundation Gallery’s latest show, featuring work by Athi-Patra Ruga, Lina Puerta, and Ebony G. Patterson.

The New York Times has a fascinating look Basquiat’s ‘Defacement’: The Untold Story at the Guggenheim; curated by Chaédria LaBouvier, the show centers on a painting that depicts the tragic death of a young Black artist.

‘”This is someone becoming — finding themselves, finding their voice, finding their practice,’ Ms. LaBouvier said. ‘I didn’t want to make him into a myth, or make him into a sort of trauma-porn story either. And I thought the best way to do that was to take a step back and let him speak for himself.’”

And Finally

Evergreen story.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Manager of Public Relations

Image: Installation view Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness, Seattle Art Museum, 2019, photo: Natali Wiseman.

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Muse/News: A legacy on view, Springfield in Tacoma, and blind spots

SAM News

 A Cultural Legacy: A Series of Paintings from the Paul G. Allen Family Collection is now on view at SAM. This iterative single-painting exhibition celebrates the legacy of Paul Allen. Artdaily, Artnet, Geekwire and Patch all shared the news.

The Seattle Times includes SAM show Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness on their “Look Ahead” list of recommendations for the month of August, calling their portraits “a soul-shaking experience.”

And Seattle Met recommends Remix, our “bona fide fete,” on their list of “13 Seattle Events to Catch This August.” Get your tickets now for another radical edition of our art-filled, body-moving, late-night out.

Local News

The Stranger’s Jasmyne Keimig devotes the recent “Currently Hanging” post to Birmingham by Toyin Ojih Odutola, now on view at the Frye Art Museum.

The most recent edition of Crosscut’s arts newsletter by Brangien Davis includes a shout-out to the Seattle Arts Voter Guide, created by Seattle University students in a Public Policy and the Arts class.

Crosscut’s Agueda Pacheco Flores on the Tacoma Art Museum’s new exhibition, Bart at TAM, featuring over 150 cels of hand-drawn art from The Simpsons.

“The cels in the exhibit come from Heeter’s personal collection of more than 900 Simpsons animations, which he started collecting in the early ’90s. ‘I had a full head of hair when I started collecting and now it’s all gone,’ he says.”

Inter/National News

Read about 2017 Knight Lawrence Prize-winner Sondra Perry’s new show A Terrible Thing, “an institutional critique of MoCA Cleveland.”

Great news reported by Artnet’s Sarah Cascone: “A consortium of foundations … has bought the historic archives of Johnson Publishing, the Chicago-based company behind Ebony and Jet magazines.”

Don’t miss this conversation-starting New York Times piece by Elizabeth Méndez Berry and Chi-hui Yang that calls for more critics of color.

“…the spaces in media where national mythologies are articulated, debated and affirmed are still largely segregated. The conversation about our collective imagination has the same blind spots as our political discourse.”

And Finally

Keep an eye out for an 8-foot-tall yellow bird.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Manager of Public Relations

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Muse/News: Muholi’s gaze, disco photographs, and Space Age fashion

SAM News

Crosscut’s Brangien Davis reviews Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness, saying the self-portraits “stare right back at you—and, unlike you, they don’t blink.”

“Throughout it all Muholi looks straight at us with those unflinching, wide-open eyes. ‘Yes?’ they seem to say. And also: ‘I see what you see when you see me.’”

Rainy Julys mean MOVIES. Have you been to our new film series, Comedy Gold from the American Cinema? Check out films every Thursday night recommended by Seattle Magazine and The Stranger, now through August 15.

Local News

The Stranger’s Dave Segal on the Nordic Museum’s exhibition of photography by Hasse Persson, who captured some of the most important political and cultural moments in America from 1968-1980—including shenanigans at Studio 54.

The Seattle Times’ Moira Macdonald goes to camp, checking out the Met’s latest fashion exhibition—and finding some resonances in MOHAI’s current show of Northwest style.

Farewell to Marvin Oliver, artist and professor emeritus at the University of Washington, who died this week at the age of 73.

“’We have lost an amazing mentor and elder in our community and his legacy will live on,’ Olsen said. ‘And those of us who understand his vision and mission to support the Native students and enhance the visibility of Native art and culture will make him and keep him proud and forge on with his legacy.’”

Inter/National News

Pictures worth a thousand (and more) frames: here’s Artsy on six films inspired by famous photographs.

Farewell to Philip G. Freelon, who was “arguably the most significant African-American architect in recent history.” He died recently at the age of 66.

Space seems to be on everyone’s mind. Enter the Brooklyn Museum, with their new retrospective Pierre Cardin: Future Fashion, full of his “youth-fueled modernism” aesthetic.

“They were garments that projected utility but were irresistibly sleek and sexily alienish; clinically pristine, yet sinuous—all the appeal of an Eero Saarinen Tulip chair, but made for the body.”

And Finally

So the trailer for CATS happened. The Internet had some feelings.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Manager of Public Relations

Image: Installation view Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness, Seattle Art Museum, 2019, photo: Natali Wiseman.
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Muse/News: Muholi arrives, an unlovable tree, and monuments to rad Women

SAM News

Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness is now on view at SAM, and it’s not to be missed. Here’s Elena Martinique for Widewalls and Victoria Valentine of Culture Type on the South African visual activist’s work.

Jasmyne Keimig of the Stranger offered this sneak peek; keep an eye out for her feature story on the show.

Outside suggests “11 Alternatives to Crowded Outdoor Instagram Spots,” with the sculpture park handily beating the gum wall.

Give a read to Casey Arguelles Gregory of The Eye’s post about what we do with problematic art; Claire Partington: Taking Tea at SAM is given as an example of how to respond.

“[The installation] creates a stunning dialogue between the historical ‘porcelain room’ and our modern attempt to reckon with the colonialism and institutional racism that necessitated the creation of these beautiful objects.”

Local News

The Stranger doesn’t like our city flag. They’re throwing a design contest for a new one (non-binding). (SAM tickets are among the prizes!)

Crosscut’s Brangien Davis on Beili Liu’s new show at MadArt, which addresses the global refugee crisis with clothing frozen in place by cement.

The Denny Substation has a sculpture called Transforest—apparently the tallest public art in the City—that the Stranger’s Jasmyne Keimig calls “unlovable.”

“Obviously, Transforest can’t capture certain things about trees—their smell, the sound of leaves rustling in the wind, their sense of knowing. But as I stood underneath it, sweating under all that sun, trying to figure out this sculpture, I realized I was missing something simple, easily capture-able about trees—their shade.”

Inter/National News

Artforum reports on the ongoing controversy involving the proposed destruction of a mural at San Francisco’s George Washington High School; now 400 academics, writers, and artists have written an open letter opposing the plan.

Elsewhere in school murals: Dr. Maya Angelou is celebrated in over two dozen eye-catching murals throughout the campus of the Dr. Maya Angelou Community High School.

And elsewhere in rad women monuments: Zachary Small of Hyperallergic reports on the proposed monument on Roosevelt Island to the groundbreaking journalist Nellie Bly.

“Almost 132 years later, the intrepid reporter will return to the scene of the story that made her a hailed heroine of journalism as a permanent monument.”

And Finally

If you are not always eager to learn more about Bob Ross, then I just don’t know what to tell you.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Manager of Public Relations

Photo: Installation view Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness at Seattle Art Museum, 2019, photo: Natali Wiseman.
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