SAM Art Comes to SOAP!

Each week for the past two years we have shared one work out of the nearly 25,000 in our collection on Facebook, in a feature called “SAMart.” Starting this week, SAMart comes to SOAP! Check back each week or subscribe to our RSS to learn more about new acquisitions and old favorites in the SAM collection.

Opening on April 30, Modern Elegance: The Art of Meiji Japan features paintings and decorative objects exemplifying the essence of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Japanese art.
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Report from Japan from Our Assistant Curator of Asian Art

This month, I traveled to Japan on a study tour for American curators of Japanese and contemporary art. Sponsored by the Japan Foundation, the two-week adventure took us on a whirlwind tour of museums in Tokyo, Yokohama, Kanazawa, Kyoto, Osaka, and Naoshima. The objective of the trip was to introduce a wide range of U.S. art professionals to Japanese museum practices and to foster a cross-cultural dialogue between specialists. The trip accomplished this goal, without a doubt, but it will be the events of March 11 and beyond that will prove most memorable.

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SAM is Back!

I am eager to welcome you back to SAM after the recent, short furlough. While this was a difficult measure to undertake, it did achieve its goal of significantly reducing expenses associated with this year’s budget. My colleagues and I returned to the museum this week after a two week break, energized and ready for the year ahead.  I thank you again for your support and understanding during our absence.

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Running for Soup

Wondering what the SAM staff are up to over our furlough (more info on that here)? Some of us are getting out of town, some of us are staying home and catching up on sleep, and at least one individual is in training. Our Senior Accountant, Richard Heine, is running the Paris Marathon on April 10. Did I mention this is the first marathon he’s ever run? So while we normally encourage hours of browsing in the Louvre instead of passing it by at a 10 mph clip, in this case, we’re all behind him. 

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Reflections on Picasso

Two Chief Sealth International High School students write in response to the Picasso: Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso, Paris exhibition at the Seattle Art Museum, November 2010. Photo: Catherine Anstett.

Wallace Stevens published his poem Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird in 1917, around seven years after Pablo Picasso painted the cubist landscape Sacre-Coure. In the poem and the painting, these two artists explore one object (a blackbird and a Parisian church, respectively) through multiple perspectives. Jumping forward to November 2010, students from Chief Sealth International High School were introduced to both works during a visit to SAM Downtown and asked to add a layer of their own perspectives in a creative writing exercise led by teaching writers Cambray Provo and Jeanine Walker.

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Up Next at SAM!

We are gearing up for our next show Nick Cave: Meet Me at the Center of the Earth which opens March 10.  Check out this video to learn more about Nick’s work.  You are in for a fantastical treat.

PICASSO online ticketing experiencing temporary “Blue Period”

We are so thrilled with the enthusiastic response to Picasso, but unfortunately our online ticketing system is not.  Due to the unprecedented demand this week we are experiencing system delays so please bear with us as we resolve the issue as quickly as possible.  Please note: We are very busy this week due to the holidays and tickets are limited.

Though you can always buy tickets on-site at all three of our locations: SAM Downtown, Seattle Asian Art Museum and the Olympic Sculpture Park, be aware that due the high volume of ticket sales we are averaging about a 4 to 5 hour wait for the next available timeslot to see Picasso.

Our best advice is to visit in the evenings or on a weekday during the first two weeks of January. We are open unprecedented extended hours- every evening until 9 p.m. with a few exceptions.

Don’t miss this once-in-a-lifetime show before it closes on January 17! For more details on how best to plan your visit go to

Another ‘To Do’ List – SAM’s Top 10

It’s that time of year when most of us become obsessed with “lists”. We’ve got holiday gift lists, grocery store lists, New Year’s resolution lists, party lists… it goes on and on. Even Santa has a list!  We don’t want to add to your holiday stress, but we do want to add another list to your lists!

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Win 2 Tickets!

Geesh! Where did the time go? 2011 is right around the corner and SAM Films is preparing to kick off the New Year with an action packed film series from Viennese producer – director – actor Otto Preminger. To get you in the mood for some of this award winning director’s best work, we want to give you an opportunity to win 2 tickets to the January 6th opening night of the series; The Art of Living: Films by Otto Preminger.

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A Fire in My Belly

As the director of the Seattle Art Museum, I am concerned about the recent removal of David Wojnarowicz’s film “A Fire in My Belly” from an exhibition in Washington, DC.  Wojnarowicz, who died of complications from AIDS in 1992, made two versions of the film between 1986 and 1987.  Holland Cotter’s thorough discussion of the history of this particular work, the sources of its imagery, and Wojnarowicz’s life, which appeared in the New York Times on Dec. 10th, is worth reading.  The decision to withdraw this politically-charged, intentionally-troubling imagery from public view in Washington DC serves to remind us that controversy can ignite at almost any time, that it is almost always painful, and that those of us who are lucky enough to work in the arts need to be prepared to stand up for what we believe is right, if we are going to maintain democracy.  

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My Favorite Things Tours: Where Picasso Meets Lil’Wayne

So it’s a Friday night and you made it to SAM, waited in line (admiring Cai Guo-Qiang’s twinkling cars suspended above your head, of course), purchased your ticket to Picasso, followed the orange line up 2 floors, fidgeted with the audio guide while you wait in line again, entered the Picasso exhibition and you’re ready to earn your way onto Team Picasso. Normally what takes place from this point on is around an hour of doing the “museum shuffle” with your fellow audio guide aficionados. Here’s where we like to shake things up a bit.

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Cleaning up

Last week, on one of our 70 degree sunny days, the Olympic Sculpture Park teamed up with Puget Soundkeepers Alliance to collect and remove creosote logs from the waterfront. Bobby McCullough, SAM’s lead gardner at the park, was part of a team that removed ten tons (!) of creosote soaked wood from the Olympic Sculpture Park, Myrtle Edwards and Elliott Bay Park.

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Win 2 Tickets to Remix!

Our special, Picasso edition of SAM Remix is this Saturday, November 13, and we’re giving away 2 tickets to this wildly popular event. From the “party rock” sounds of Tigerbeat  to artist trivia contests led by Geeks Who Drink  to live figure drawing in the “Blue Studio”, performances by the Harlequin Hipsters and much, much more.  You really don’t want to miss this one!

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Our Summer with SAM

This summer, two very bright and curious high school seniors helped out in the museum’s curatorial division. Milo and Henry spent their summer helping organize our object records, and researching several works in the SAM collection. Here, they write about their experience.

Win Tickets to SAM Remix

From a crochet party to Truckasaurus – dancing under the stars to cool new art – Sam Remix is tomorrow! It’s been a year since we’ve taken the party outside, and we can’t wait for the festivities at the Olympic Sculpture Park. Take a look at the line-up.

I’ve got your tickets, too – one pair to be exact. Wanna win them? Read More

Yoga and drawing at the Olympic Sculpture Park

 Can you believe how quickly this summer is zipping by? In June, we kicked off three months jam-packed with art activities at the Olympic Sculpture Park. This Saturday, Aug. 28, will be the final day for yoga and drawing in the park for the summer. If you haven’t made it to a free outdoor yoga class yet, we hope to see you Saturday. (Class runs from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., rain or shine.) Read More

Opening celebration for the Quileute exhibition

The Brotman Forum was packed with energy Saturday for the opening celebration of Behind the Scenes: The Real Story of the Quileute Wolves. More than 1,600 people turned out to see the Quileute Nation drum circle and to hear stories from the Quileute culture.
The exhibition, which was curated by Barbara Brotherton, runs through Aug. 14, 2011.


Photo by JiaYing Grygiel


Photo by JiaYing Grygiel


Photo by JiaYing Grygiel


Photo by JiaYing Grygiel


— JiaYing Grygiel, admissions representative

What about those wolves….

A small Native community, knit together by ancient beliefs, living in their ancestral homelands—a  remote coastal village, ringed with primordial forests and in the shadow of Mt. Olympus—seems like a fitting scenario for a supernatural story line.  Cast as shape-shifting werewolves in the Twilight saga books and films, opposite a band of sophisticated vampires, the Quileute really do have ties to wolves—but not werewolves! Quileute oral traditions trace their distinguished ancestry back to myth time when the powerful transformer, Kwa-ti, changed a pair of wolves into the first Quileute people. Thus began a long association with the wolf. I don’t know if Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight books, knew this but her mention of the mysterious Quileute tribe and an ancient treaty with vampires catapulted their small nation into notoriety.

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Special Picasso ticket offer extended to SAM’s electronic friends

As a special “thank you” to our Facebook fans and Twitter followers, we’d like to let you in on an advance opportunity, otherwise only available to museum members.

You can reserve your tickets for the Picasso exhibition NOW – one week before ticket sales open to the general public! Also, for a limited time, we will waive the $3 transaction fee when you buy Picasso tickets online.

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Behind the Scenes: In Space & Time with Gretchen Bennett and D.W. Burnam

Two weekends ago, on the gloomiest of Saturday afternoons, I had the pleasure of participating in Gretchen Bennett and D.W. Burnam’s “Unconventional Portraits” workshop on songwriting.  Created in conjunction with the Kurt exhibition and Gretchen’s video installation I don’t blame you, the artists put together a day of vigorous writing exercises for those who participated.

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