Muse/News: Impressive SAM, Not Static, and Baltimore Queen

SAM News

“Art-loving families should visit the Seattle Art Museum” this summer, says Mark Sissons for Vancouver’s VITA Magazine, thanks to our “impressive” collection galleries and our summer exhibition Poke in the Eye: Art of the West Coast Counterculture, which opens this week on Thursday, June 20!

Nick Hilden for The Observer comes to town to discover “Where to See the Best Art in Seattle” and while at SAM finds that “the museum boasts an impressively eclectic range of works.” 

Via Nura Ahmed for South Seattle Emerald: “Tacoma Artist Anida Yoeu Ali Demands to Be Seen.”

Local News

Have you been keeping up with this season of Cascade PBS’s Black Arts Legacies? They’ve rolled out eight incredible profiles; earlier we shared the one of Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence, but you won’t want to miss the ones of DJ Riz Rollins, painter Moses Sun, glass artist Debra Moore, and more.

Sara Jean Green of The Seattle Times reports on the “long-promised Super Block” coming to the Central District that will feature a public art installation on the neighborhood’s history.

Via Rachel Gallaher for Seattle Magazine: “Tacoma Art Museum’s latest show reconsiders the meaning of Western American art.”

“The four curators are giving space to 17 contemporary artists whose work is often excluded in the context of collections like the Haub. ‘The art of the American West is not static,’ [curator Faith] Brower says. ‘There are many artists creating work that will further our understanding and deepen our connections to this iconic region.’”

Inter/National News

“I can act a fool, I can be delirious, I can give into anger, I can give into joy, into love”: Anthony Hudson AKA Carla Rossi interviews Jeffrey Gibson for BOMB Magazine. While you’re at it, rewatch this video of Carla’s visit to Like a Hammer (it’s our…52nd rewatch? But who’s counting?). 

Arun Kakar for Artsy with “The 10 Best Booths at Art Basel 2024,” including works by Jaune Quick-to-See Smith at Garth Greenan Gallery’s booth.

“How an Artist Became the Queen of Baltimore”: Aruna D’Souza of The New York Times spends the day in Baltimore with Joyce J. Scott on the occasion of her career retrospective, which is co-organized by BAM and SAM and travels to Seattle this fall.

“She sees her life as an artist as modeling for others another way of being and living,” said Catharina Manchanda, a curator at the Seattle Art Museum. “She has an incredibly strong conviction that every artwork has a role in bringing people together and offering people an opportunity to learn together, but she also models a whole new way of being an artist within a community. It’s not as much a career for her as a way of life.”

And Finally

“A Photographer Wins a Top Prize in an A.I. Competition for His Non-A.I. Image.”

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Photo: Alborz Kamalizad.

Muse/News: Essential Summer, Hooked on Clay, and Pointed Playful

SAM News

The Seattle Times staff recommends “8 essential things to do during summer in Seattle,” including a visit to the Olympic Sculpture Park, especially during Summer at SAM. The annual free series of performances, tours, and activities takes place every Thursday night and Saturday morning between July 11 and August 11.

In South Seattle Emerald’s “Arts in the South End: June 2024 Roundup,” Jas Keimig recommends an upcoming show at SAM. Jacob Lawrence: American Storyteller features 13 works on paper by the celebrated modern artist; it opens June 28.

Local News

Via Catalina Gaitán for The Seattle Times: “Seattle now has two of the largest outdoor murals in North America.”

Artists Anida Yoeu Ali and Kamari Bright were announced as the recipients of the 2024 Arts Innovator Award. Both artists will receive $25,000 to continue their practices. You can see Ali’s work at the Seattle Asian Art Museum in Hybrid Skin, Mythical Presence through July 7.

The June issue of University of Washington Magazine has a profile on artist Patti Warashina by writer Hannelore Suderman that reveals the ceramic artist’s original plan for her studies… click to find out just how lucky we are that she discovered clay. You can see examples in Poke in the Eye: Art of the West Coast Counterculture, which opens at SAM on Friday, June 21. 

“She loved the tactile experience of throwing clay on a wheel and was hooked on creating, pushing the limits of clay and taking inspiration from her classmates.”

Inter/National News

Via Artnet: “A Major Restoration Breathes New Life Into Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s Iconic Seasons.”

Holland Cotter of The New York Times recommends several shows to see in NYC galleries this month, including a solo show for Xenobia Bailey at Venus Over Manhattan. You can see the Seattle-born artist’s Afrofuturist fiber crochet work on view in Poke in the Eye: Art of the West Coast Counterculture, beginning Friday, June 21.

Art in America’s Andy Battaglia interviews Joyce J. Scott on the occasion of her retrospective, Walk a Mile in My Dreams, which debuted at the Baltimore Museum of Art and opens at SAM this fall.

“Time and again, Scott’s colorful creations stare down histories of racism, classism, and sexism with steely eyes and an impish grin. She takes a pointed and playful approach to bracing subject matter, the small-mindedness and absurdity of which she exposes as abhorrent and just plain dumb.”

And Finally

“Oh Happy Day” 30 years later.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Photo: Chloe Collyer.

Muse/News: Amiably Weird, Pride Art, and Creative Freedom

SAM News

Alex Greenberger of ARTnews recommends “44 Museum Shows to See This Summer,” including Poke in the Eye: Art of the West Coast Counterculture, which opens at the Seattle Art Museum on Friday, June 21. Can you dig it?

On view right now at SAM is Yirrkala: Art from Australia’s Top End, an exhibition of Australian Aboriginal paintings recommended in the May/June 2024 issue of Seattle magazine by Helen Lowenthal.

Artist Anida Yoeu Ali was interviewed for KUOW about “the fabulousness of being a Muslim woman” and her performance work, which is now on view in Hybrid Skin, Mythical Presence at the Seattle Asian Art Museum through July 7.

Local News

For KNKX, two Garfield High students reflect on “what it’s really like to perform at the pinnacle of high school jazz”: the Essentially Ellington competition in New York. 

Here’s Brangien Davis of Cascade PBS on the opening of a delightful new brick-and-mortar bookstore in Pioneer Square, Long Bros. Fine & Rare Books.

Gayle Clemans for The Seattle Times on “5 Seattle art shows to see during Pride month 2024.”

“The past, present and future of art is powerfully and inextricably linked with the creative contributions of LGBTQ+ artists who have used art for self-expression, advocacy and social critique.”

Inter/National News

Lance Esplund of the Wall Street Journal reviews the Norton Simon Museum’s exhibition, I Saw It: Francisco de Goya, Printmaker, with prints that include haunting allegorical scenes and brutal images of war.

Artnet’s Katie White interviews Pipilotti Rist at the artist’s “zany, kaleidoscopic, and creatively cluttered” Zurich studio on the occasion of her survey exhibition Doha’s Fire Station.

Via Gameli Hamelo for ARTnews: “When El Anatsui Isn’t Busy Being One of Africa’s Biggest Artists, He’s Collecting Vinyl.”

“Just like Fela, I believe that my career has proven that the audiences will always look to the artist to lead, to expand their experience with new presentations or renewals of old fare. When encountering objects, I think of what they can do and what has not been explored yet, and try to explore it. Freedom has a lot to do with it.”

And Finally

Kabosu, the dog behind the “doge” internet meme, has crossed the Rainbow Bridge.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Photo: Chloe Collyer.

Muse/News: Peaceful Gestures, Art Response, and Ancient Labels

SAM News

Tune in: Anida Yoeu Ali was interviewed by Gregory Scruggs of Monocle Radio about her performance works now on view in Hybrid Skin, Mythical Presence at the Seattle Asian Art Museum. (Tip: Her segment starts about 31 minutes into the show.) You can see her as The Red Chador alongside her rainbow brigade on Saturday, June 1 across all three SAM sites!

“My gestures are the heart shake…and then sometimes I just bow to them as the Red Chador, just completely humble myself and offer a bow…that is always very well received and it sort of disarms a moment, too, when they see that I’m offering you a moment of reverence and a peaceful gesture.”

Margo Vansynghel of The Seattle Times was inspired by the aurora borealis to find more open-air beauty, including at the Olympic Sculpture Park: “Where to see free, outdoor art in the Seattle area in spring 2024.”

“The installation is a stunning illustration of Serra’s belief that sculpture wasn’t meant to be passively viewed but felt by moving through it. Here, let the undulating steel waves, at once tender and imposing, wash over you.”

Summer season is upon us: For Fodor’s, Sydney Baker has “The Perfect 5-Day Seattle Itinerary”; Baker recommends CityPASS for all your attraction needs, including a downtown day that includes the Seattle Art Museum. And Amanda Teague for The Manual has “4 reasons why Seattle is Kayak’s No. 1 summer travel destination,” including a shout-out for SAM

Local News

The skies also inspired Cascade PBS’s Brangien Davis, who found “Northwest artists channel Northern lights in galleries from Ballard to Pioneer Square.” 

Via Jenn Ngeth for South Seattle Emerald: “Events Bloom All Over Seattle to Celebrate AA&NH/PI Heritage Month 2024.”

Via Nova Berger for Capitol Hill Seattle Blog: “Capitol Hill resident and poet Janée Baugher has received the Dorset Prize.”

“Museums changed that for Baugher. She writes in a literary style known as Ekphrastic poetry: a poetic response to the emotions a piece of art brings. Using language as a tool to bridge the visual and the verbal, allowing the poet to capture their response to the artwork in a way we can all understand.”

Inter/National News

Don’t miss this full celebratory series of the greatest short story writer ever via The New York Times: “Alice Munro, Nobel Laureate and Master of the Short Story, Dies at 92.”

Via Artdaily: “Gagosian opens the gallery’s first exhibition of works by Lauren Halsey.” The artist had her solo show at SAM in 2022 in honor of her 2021 Gwendolyn Knight and Jacob Lawrence Prize. 

For the ones who read the labels: Richard Whiddington for Artnet on English archaeologist Leonard Woolley’s excavation of the ancient Mesopotamian city of Ur and what he found in 1925.

“The clue that indicated that Woolley had uncovered a Neo-Babylonian museum was the presence of artifact labels. Each object corresponded to a small clay cylinder that boasted inscriptions in four languages explaining the object, its context, and its history.”

And Finally

“A Few Words About That Ten-Million Dollar Serial Comma.”

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Photo: Alborz Kamalizad.

Global Agitator: An Interview with Anida Yoeu Ali

Since the debut of Hybrid Skin, Mythical Presence in January, visitors to the Seattle Asian Art Museum have been enthralled by Anida Yoeu Ali’s dynamic performance-based artworks. Now, we speak with the Tacoma-based international artist with the activation of The Buddhist Bug behind her and the activation of The Red Chador taking place on Saturday, June 1.


SAM: Something that connects The Buddhist Bug and The Red Chador is their incredible visual impact that sparks immediate curiosity and delight: the humor and vivid color of the bug and the entrancing sequins of the chadors in all colors of the rainbow. Is this an artistic strategy?

ANIDA YOEU ALI: I know people in general don’t expect to see my specific Asiatic face, with its stoic countenance—which I have inherited from my mother and grandmother—as the visage of The Buddhist Bug or The Red Chador. I’m interested in hypervisibility and an acknowledgement of my presence. I tend to place my body in colors that evoke some kind of joy and pleasure or an infusion of “fabulousness.” For me, performance allows for a magic of reinventing the self and projecting a larger-than-life persona that isn’t imprisoned by oppressive representations. There’s an awareness of the spectacle and ultimately a power in reclaiming the gaze, which has trapped and dehumanized so many of us and our communities.

SAM: You’ve said that the sculptural garments are “artifacts” when not being performed. Tell us about the exhibition space experience you’ve hoped to create for visitors to the museum.

ALI: Many of my installations, whether wearable garments or otherwise, require activation in which the live body completes the artwork. My art form is performance-installation where meters and meters of textile act as skin, as a way for the surface of my body to extend into public spaces, and as a metaphoric device for stories to spread across an expanse. But those stories aren’t literal or spoken; they are experienced through performances and encounters. The audience will need to do the hard work of figuring out what all this might mean to them: personally, politically, and/or spiritually.

I want visitors to pay attention to the encounter they are having with the colors on the walls, the colors of the textile, the highlighted text quotations, the artifacts of performance through exhibited videos, photographs, and installations. In the end, visitors will feel something and they might even be provoked.

SAM: It turns out that The Buddhist Bug and The Red Chador have both been performed at least 16 times. What new discoveries have you made as you’ve enacted the works at different times and places around the world?

ALI: As a performance artist, I put my body into public spaces and take on people’s reactions and responses. If my work provokes, then that means people are not only thinking but they are feeling. I create out of feelings and I want others to feel as well. With every live performance, my body is so publicly accessible that I must engage in a lot of visualization and meditative activities in preparation for a worst-case-scenario situation. However, what grounds me is knowing that someone will be positively affected, whether it’s the ability to bring warmth and smiles to them for a brief moment or offering something unexpected that they will think about beyond the live moment. For me, in every location around the world children and youth have responded with the most joy, curiosity, and genuine wonder. Children have disarmed rare situations in which adult reactions have been alarming or hurtful.

SAM: And what are you excited about for the upcoming performance of The Red Chador on June 1?

ALI: Because my works are more known outside of the US context, I am excited to finally bring this epic performance to the Seattle area. There’s a freedom I feel with performing in public spaces and enacting fantastical/mythical heroines that’s extremely powerful and necessary. All I want to do is to be able to offer people inside and outside my communities an opportunity to witness, engage, and experience a glimpse of the world that I have worked so rigorously to hone.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

This article first appeared in the February through May 2024 edition of SAM Magazine and has been edited for our online readers. Become a SAM member today to receive our quarterly magazine delivered directly to your mailbox and other exclusive member perks!

Photos: Chloe Collyer & Alborz Kamalizad.

Muse/News: Big Deal at SAM, Art Labyrinth, and Joyful Revolt

SAM News

Theresa Papanikolas, Ann M. Barwick Curator of American Art, appeared on KING5’s New Day Northwest to talk about Jaune Quick-to-See Smith: Memory Map. You have four weeks left to see this powerful retrospective at the Seattle Art Museum before it closes on May 12!

And Anida Yoeu Ali: Hybrid Skin, Mythical Presence is on view at the Seattle Asian Art Museum. Haley Ha wrote about the exhibition for International Examiner. 

Local News

Seattle Met recommends “Washington Museums Worthy of a Road Trip.”

In her latest ArtSEA post for Crosscut, Brangien Davis touches on a new book about local street trees and a can’t-miss Pacific Northwest Ballet bill.

For the Seattle Times, Rachel Gallaher gets a look inside the art-filled home of artists Dennis Evans and Nancy Mee. The couple announced last year that they will leave their collection to Seattle University. 

“It feels like a never-ending labyrinth of discovery; ducking into each room reveals something exciting, with pieces juxtaposed against each other, such as a swirling bronze sculpture by Gerard Tsutakawa placed near work by Ann Hamilton made from deconstructed books.”

Inter/National News

Via CBS Sunday Morning: “From the archives: Faith Ringgold’s colorful and daring art.” The acclaimed artist has died at the age of 93.

Artnet has pictures and details of the Brooklyn Museum’s glamorous Artist’s Ball held last week. 

Jillian Steinhauer for the New York Times previews artist Jeffrey Gibson’s exhibition that will debut this weekend at the US Pavilion in the Venice Biennale. 

“That, in the end, is the message of Gibson’s art: Everything is multifaceted. His over-the-top aesthetic is a joyful revolt against the reductiveness of fixed categories and the pressure he’s felt, both externally and internally, to always show up on behalf of Native Americans.”

And Finally

Meet Roger, the dog hero of the Taiwan earthquake.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Photo: Chloe Collyer.

Muse/News: Thrilling Ali, Wake Floats, and Craft is Art

SAM News

Amelia Ketzel pens a “love letter” to Anida Yoeu Ali’s performance-based works for Variable West—part of a recurring series for the platform for West Coast art. See Hybrid Skin, Mythical Presence now at the Seattle Asian Art Museum!

“Ali’s presence is thrilling and completely engrossing: what will these colorful entities do next? Where will they go? Where can they go?”

Check this out: Last week, The Seattle Seahawks and Delta Airlines visited the Seattle Art Museum to surprise Yaoyao Liu, SAM Manager of School & Educator Programs, naming her a “Delta Community Captain” for making a difference with her work to support arts education

Local News

The Seattle Times returns to its This City Block series, this time visiting Ballard. Rachel Gallaher features “3 must-visit Ballard museums and art galleries.”

Sarah Stackhouse for Seattle Magazine reports back from Visit Seattle’s annual meeting that the city of Seattle is “again the place to be,” with an increase in visitors nearing pre-pandemic levels.

In her latest ArtSEA post, Crosscut’s Brangien Davis remembers the late Richard Serra with a visit to Wake at the Olympic Sculpture Park

“Narrowed at the base of what might be the prow and stern, the five rusted steel forms seem to move as a flotilla, impossibly balanced as a giant ship on water — how does it stay afloat?”

Inter/National News

Via Artnet: “The Door From ‘Titanic,’ Too Small to Fit Two People, Sells Big at Auction.” (“Too small”??)

Faye Hirsch for Art in America on the retrospective of Käthe Kollwitz now on view at the Museum of Modern Art. 

Joyce J. Scott: Walk a Mile in My Dreams opened last week at the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA). Baltimore Magazine interviewed Scott to preview the retrospective, which was co-organized by the BMA and the Seattle Art Museum and opens here this fall. 

“I’m an artist-craftsperson. I don’t separate them. I’m always doing both. It’s the same impulse, the same creative feeling or setting that makes me make a cup and makes me make a piece of sculpture. There’s not a hierarchy that I ascribe to.”

And Finally

In case you missed our big announcement.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Photo: Alborz Kamalizad.

Muse/News: Must-See Smith, Seattle U Gift, and Finally Gilot

SAM News

“3 must-see shows by Indigenous artists in Seattle this spring”: Gayle Clemans for The Seattle Times recommends Jaune Quick-to-See Smith: Memory Map among two other exhibitions at the Frye Art Museum and the Henry Art Gallery.

“Jaune Quick-to-See Smith (citizen of the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Nation) has been a force in the art world for over five decades, creating deeply impactful work and opening doors for the increasing recognition of contemporary art by Native Americans.”

And don’t miss Elizabeth Hunter’s “mother-daughter review” of the exhibition for Seattle’s Child, featuring insights from Smith, reflections on the works on view, and tips for how to make the most of a museum visit with your family.

Spring is here, and so is a new edition of The Stranger’s Art and Performance Magazine featuring a dazzling Anida Yoeu Ali on the cover. Inside the magazine—which you can pick up around the city—catch the interview with Ali that covers “absurdity, grief, the diasporic dilemma, cosmogonies, and Dune.” (Jaune Quick-to-See Smith: Memory Map is also among the mag’s recommendations.)

Local News

Via Jas Keimig for South Seattle Emerald: “New Seattle-based podcast Invisible Histories explores the history of Seattle—specifically South Seattle—that might not always be readily apparent or celebrated.”

Seattle Magazine rounds up a bevy of spring arts recommendations around the city, including Calder: In Motion.

“Seattle University gets $300 million gift of art — among largest in history”: Margo Vansynghel of The Seattle Times announces exciting news for the city’s arts scene. 

“The collection—which spans more than six centuries and contains prime examples of Western art history—will serve as a resource for students, faculty and art enthusiasts across the city, said Seattle University President Eduardo Peñalver. ‘I think it’s a win-win for Seattle University and for Seattle,’ he said.”

Inter/National News

The New York Times sends a chorus of three critics—Jason Farago, Travis Diehl, Martha Schwendener—to the Whitney Biennial.

Via Artnet: “Forget Kate Middleton’s Photoshop Blunder: Here Are Other Royals Who Had Their Portraits Edited.”

Via Rhea Nayyar for Hyperallergic: “Picasso Museum Is Showing Françoise Gilot’s Work, Finally.”

“In a press interview regarding the new display, Musée Picasso President Cécile Debray noted that Gilot was at last ‘being given her rightful place as an artist’ at the Parisian institution through this special exhibition of her work.”

And Finally

“What Your Bookshelf Organization Says About You.”

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Photo: Chloe Collyer.

Celebrate Women’s History Month With Five Artworks by Women Artists on View at SAM

Every March, the United States recognizes women’s past and present contributions to society with Women’s History Month. On International Women’s Day on Friday, March 8, we took to social media to highlight the five ongoing and upcoming solo SAM exhibitions by remarkable contemporary women artists. They include:

Now, our celebration of Women’s History Month continues with this round-up of five artworks by women artists you can currently see on view in SAM’s galleries. The five artworks discussed below represent only a few of the many works by women artists in SAM’s collection, but show the range of different techniques, subject matter, and ideas they bring to their art. Women have always been artists and craftspeople, but they have not always been celebrated or acknowledged for their contributions. Plan your next visit to the Seattle Art Museum to appreciate these artworks in person and learn more about the historical and contemporary artists who made them.


Yunarla, 2010
Yukultji Napangati

The precisely painted dots of Yunarla form patterns and undulations that take on a meditative, entrancing quality. Curving lines radiate out from the central knot, suggestive of a topographic map in some ways, but also referring to the vines of the bush banana. Also called the silky pear vine, the bush banana (marsdenia australis) only grows in Australia and serves as food with edible fruit, roots, leaves, seeds and flowers. The name Yunarla also signifies a particular rockhole and soakage site where ancestral women camped to replenish their energy near these places in the desert where water is stored beneath the surface of the sand. 

Yukultji Napangati (born ca. 1970) lived with her family in the Gibson Desert until 1984, when she and several others from her Pintupi tribe made contact with non-Indigenous Australians for the first time. The “Pintupi Nine” became a media sensation as a “lost tribe,” while they insisted they were not lost, as they were living as their ancestors had for millennia. While adjusting to culture shock, Napangati became aware of the Papunya Tula’s community art center, which established a thriving business for Australian Aboriginal people to create and sell their art in 1972. Women began painting in the mid-1990s, and Napangati quickly adopted the ethos of educating outsiders by conveying extensive knowledge about her community and culture through this restrained mark making. Don’t miss your chance to see this work in Honoring 50 Years of Papunya Tula Painting, which closes after April 14.

The First People, 2008
Susan Point

The First People was commissioned for the Seattle Art Museum and stands twelve feet tall, greeting visitors to the museum’s Native American art galleries. Prominent Northwest Coast artist Susan Point (born 1951) brings traditional Salish forms and techniques to contemporary and often public settings to share the history and culture of First Nation people. Point has been credited with single-handedly reviving a unique Salish style that laid dormant for nearly 100 years; she is among only a handful of Native female artists working in the media of woodcarving.

In this work, the eight faces connecting via flowing tendrils refer to the hereditary roots and extended families of the Salish people. These root-like forms also signify the fjords and meandering pathways that punctuate the traditional homelands of her own people, the Musqueam of the Fraser Delta in present-day Vancouver. These pathways are the lifelines that yield salmon and other foods for Salish people. Looking closely at the carving, we can see the perfectly smooth surface of the faces, in contrast to the visible chisel marks of the roots, both showcasing the natural beauty of the cedar wood itself, a material highly valued by First Peoples.

Dug Up from Kitchen Weeds, 2014
Ebony Patterson

In its barrage of color, pattern, and glittering textures, Dug Up from the Kitchen Weeds, on view in Remember the Rain, hides a more somber image. The black-and-white stripes at the center clothe a figure that is lying face down. Though this form is camouflaged within the pink floral background, rhinestones, and tropical birds and plants, it is also hypervisible. Once you notice the stripes, leopard print pants, and red shirt, you can’t overlook them.

Ebony Patterson (born 1981) cites bling funerals, an increasingly popular occurrence in Kingston, Jamaica, as a source of reference, as “the glitter and bling shines light on things.” These lavish celebrations held for working class people say, “You may not have noticed me when I was alive, but you will damn well see me before I leave.” Patterson is interested in bringing people on the margins into focus in her work—first by catching the eye with striking color and imagery, and then by asking viewers to look more closely and see what they find embedded within and protruding from the surface of her collages. Her aesthetic of ornamentation and ostentation often takes on qualities of both disguise and hypervisibility to engage with issues one might rather ignore, such as wealth disparity, high murder rates, and police-related deaths in Jamaica.

Codigo Desconhecido #5, 2015 
Marilá Dardot

Marilá Dardot (born 1972) often works with text-based materials—including books, printed cards, and magazines—to explore ideas of language, communication, and memory. In Codigo Desconhecido #5 (which translates to “unknown code”), books are cut down to their spines, rendering them illegible. Instead of reading and accessing the books’ knowledge, the viewer is left to see these books as objects or artifacts. Each book is cut or ripped to reveal its unique paper and binding materials rather than its words, making its structure but not its content visible.

This work, on view in SAM’s modern and contemporary art galleries, is part of a series that Dardot began during an artist’s residency in Vienna, when she was surrounded by books in a language she could not read. Words are powerful, but here she removes them and in doing so, opens up many avenues for interpretation. Dardot’s work plays with books as our main source and conduit of knowledge—questioning which stories get told or repressed, how translation and language can limit our understanding of others, and possibilities for political resistance on the page and outside of it.

The Sink, 1956
Joan Mitchell

The Sink (1956) is nearly ten feet in length; its size engulfs the viewer in a range of colors, textures, and feelings. Joan Mitchell (1925–1992) was an artist who used her memories, experiences, and environment as inspiration for her abstract works, seeking, in her own words, “to define a feeling.” The Sink, also on view in SAM’s modern and contemporary art galleries, is an abstracted landscape of sorts, with its pools of green and blue interrupted by swirls, drips, and jagged lines in yellow and red and interspersed with thick applications of white paint. Rather than capturing a strictly realistic image of nature, this painting seems more like a memory or impression of a place built up with emotive brushstrokes and applications of paint.

Mitchell grew up in Chicago with strong interests in athletics, art, and literature, thanks to her mother, the poet Marion Strobel Mitchell. She studied art at the School of the Art Institute and then in France on a fellowship. She moved to New York in 1949 and joined the artistic scene there, becoming one of the few female Abstract Expressionists celebrated in her own time. About a decade later, she settled in France where she found artistic inspiration in Impressionists like Paul Cézanne and Claude Monet, continuing a long tradition of artists observing nature and finding her own unique visual language.

– Compiled by Nicole Block, SAM Collections Associate

Photos: Jo Cosme, Chloe Collyer, and Alborz Kamalizad.

Muse/News: Living Color, Art Home, and Sargent’s Fashion

SAM News

“Artist, Agitator, Bug”: For University of Washington Magazine, Shin Yu Pai writes about Anida Yoeu Ali: Hybrid Skin, Mythical Presence, now on view at the Seattle Asian Art Museum.

“Ali notes that the themes in her work, like the history of war, trauma and genocide, are not frequently presented in mainstream cultural institutions. She seeks to be politically provocative and aesthetically remarkable while also conveying playfulness and joy.”

Former Seattleite Leslie Kelly returns for a fun-filled weekend for the Spokesman-Review’s “Going Mobile” series, making stops at the Olympic Sculpture Park and the Seattle Art Museum to see Calder: In Motion, The Shirley Family Collection.

Via Seattle Met: “Artist Cristina Martinez Shares Her Favorite Seattle Spots”—including the Seattle Art Museum. 

“As a family we spend a significant amount of time there…I always make my kids show me their favorite and least favorite piece.”

Local News

The Seattle Times’ Margo Vansynghel brings you “6 Seattle photo exhibits to see in March.” Shout out to Jo Cosme, a former Emerging Arts Leader Intern in Graphic Design at SAM; go see her show at 4Culture!

Crosscut Now takes you behind the scenes of Seattle Opera as it prepared to debut X: The Life and Times of Malcolm X. See it there now through March 9.

Elizabeth Hunter and her daughter Cora continue their explorations of cultural spaces; this time, they visit Wa Na Wari in the Central District to enjoy art…and cookies. 

“These little reminders of home—a claw foot bathtub, the smell of food cooking in the kitchen—are what make Wa Na Wari such a memorable art venue. No matter where you are, you are reminded: This is a home.”

Inter/National News

Via Colin Moynihan for The New York Times: “What’s in a Name? For This Rembrandt, a Steep and Rapid Rise in Price.”

Big news for the museum field: “Marilyn Jackson Named the New President and CEO of the American Alliance of Museums.”

Jo Lawson-Tancred for Artnet on Sargent and Fashion, which is now on view at Tate Britain in London after a successful run at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

“Like an antidote to the avant-garde, Sargent’s paintings have a timeless charm owed to his uncanny ability to bring subjects to life on canvas… Walking through the galleries, one feels almost like they are stepping into a century-old conversation between fully sentient figures.”

And Finally

“Bartell’s has always been more than a drugstore.”

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Photo: Chloe Collyer.

Muse/News: Heroic Art, Eco-Feminist Trash, and Harlem at the Met

SAM News

Anida Yoeu Ali: Hybrid Skin, Mythical Presence is now on view at the Seattle Asian Art Museum. For NW Asian Weekly, Kai Curry highlights Ali’s experiences bringing sculptural garments to life in real-world contexts.

“As a society, we don’t talk enough about the heroism of artists. Of what an artist like Ali risks in order to ask the hard questions—and to force the public to ask them as well. Strip searches, theft, violence…These interactions, though surreal, are real. They give the artist and the audience insight into who the artist is—but also into who we are.”

Via Karen Ho for ARTnews: “A Vast Gift of Calder Sculptures Could Change the Seattle Art Museum—and the Surrounding City—Forever.”

Kids at home? Yulia Fiala for Seattle’s Child has you covered with “21 fun things to do for midwinter break”—including a visit to Calder: In Motion, The Shirley Family Collection.

Local News

KING5 Evening interviews artist Juliana Kang Robinson about her special edition Seattle Kraken logo created for Lunar New Year. Robinson is a teaching artist with SAM, and you can also see her work on the crosswalk art at First and University.

Via Jadenne Radoc Cabahug for Crosscut: “From 2020 to now: 4 Seattle Black activists reflect on their work.”

In the latest edition of “Artists to Know,” The Seattle Times’ Margo Vansynghel profiles Marita Dingus and her sculptures made of discarded materials. Her work is in SAM’s collection.

“Saving these materials from the landfill isn’t just a means to a waste-reducing end: Dingus considers herself an environmental, feminist artist steeped in African American art traditions and a belief in ecological and racial justice.”

Inter/National News

Artnet’s Brian Boucher on a witty gesture rendered in an asparagus stalk by Édouard Manet. 

Via Holland Cotter of The New York Times: “The Met Aims to Get Harlem Right, the Second Time Around.”

“The museum isn’t framing the show as an institutional correction, though how can it be viewed otherwise? At the same time, it’s more than just that. It’s the start — or could be — in moving a still-neglected art history out of the wings and onto the main stage.”

And Finally

“The dog who deserves an Oscar.”

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Photo: Abbey Road, The Red Chador: Genesis I, Main St. & 102nd Ave, Bellevue, Washington, USA, 2021, Anida Yoeu Ali, Cambodian American, b. 1974, archival inkjet print, Image courtesy of the artist, © Studio Revolt, photo: Dylan Maddux.

Muse/News: Ceramics Competition, Black History, and Ai’s Memory

SAM News

“Celebrates everything that goes into the work of the performance artist”: For Observer, Dan Duray features Anida Yoeu Ali: Hybrid Skin, Mythical Presence, now on view at the Seattle Asian Art Museum.

On Seattle Met’s list of “Things to Do in Seattle”: Last week’s Saturday University on February 10, which features a lecture and performance exploring the transmission of spiritual knowledge, or ilmu, in East Javanese performing arts.  

Local News

Seattle Refined interviews Aaron Murray for their “artist of the week” series. You can see some of his clay creations at SAM Shop. 

“Otherworldly landscapes and an upside-down volcano”: Another excellent round-up of arts happenings from Crosscut’s Brangien Davis. 

Thanks to Jas Keimig for this “Event Guide to Black History Month 2024” from South Seattle Emerald. Mark your calendars!

“It’s February, which means it’s time to highlight and uplift the rich history, culture, and traditions of Black people in the United States. We even have one extra day this year (Feb. 29, it’s a Leap Year!), which means you have ample time to make your plans…”

Inter/National News

Karen Ho for ARTnews reports on the arrival of “The Great Canadian Pottery Throw Down,” a new reality competition television show for ceramics on CBC guest-judged by actor Seth Rogen. The article mentions another judge, ceramicist Brendan Tang, whose work is in SAM’s collection and on view now in Chronicles of a Global East.

Via Min Chen for Artnet: “Airplane Mode: 7 Artists Who Were Nerds for Aviation.” Yep, Alexander Calder is on the list for his moving sculpture at JFK Airport and his designs for jets.

Jonathan Landreth for the New York Times interviews Ai Weiwei about Zodiac, the artist’s new “graphic memoir.” 

“The idea was to gather things from my memory, like a timeline, and offer mystical stories from China’s past. I explained it as a mix of memory and mythology.”

And Finally

Let’s “watch this” again.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Photo: Jo Cosme.

Muse/News: In-Between, Music Hook, and New Supper

SAM News

Anida Yoeu Ali: Hybrid Skin, Mythical Presence is wowing visitors to the Seattle Asian Art Museum. Crosscut’s Brangien Davis features the exhibition in her ArtSEA post. And don’t miss Annie Atherton’s interview with Ali for Seattle Magazine, in which they discuss nuances of identity and the role of humor of absurdity in her work. 

“We’re told that fragmentation is having to split our Asian-ness or our American-ness, our bicultural identities—that we have to become more whole. What I’m teasing out is what I call the diasporic dilemma. What I’ve figured out for myself, is that the in-between space, working in fragmentation is how I’m whole.”

The Seattle Times’ Margo Vansynghel reports on new NAGPRA regulations that require institutions to conduct more consultations with Native tribes before exhibiting or researching Native cultural objects. At SAM, five objects in the Native American galleries have been taken off view and information has been posted in the galleries to encourage dialogue on this important process.

“For now, SAM says it is committed to working with tribes in reviewing its collection. This process is to ensure the institution is in compliance with the new law, a spokesperson said, as well as the museum’s own policies around ethical collecting and display and its goal of strengthening its relationships with Indigenous communities and other ‘communities of origin.’”

Local News

Crosscut’s Brangien Davis also gathered up recommendations for Black History Month.

“How Did January Become Summer Camp Season?” asks Seattle Met’s Allecia Vermillion. Hot tip! SAM Camp registration opens on February 16 at 5 pm. 

Rachel Gallaher for Seattle Magazine on how Totem Star, a non-profit music organization for youth, is filling up its new location in STATION SPACE at King Street Station.

“‘Music is the hook,’ [Totem co-founder Daniel] Pak says. ‘It’s what you see. It’s what we do. But Totem Star is also a place for our artists to find who they are. We’re creating a safe space for people to be loved, build community, and find each other. We want to help these young people grow into the best versions of themselves.’”

Inter/National News

Via Maximilíano Durón for ARTnews: “Ruth Asawa’s Life as an Aspiring Artist Gets the Graphic Novel Treatment.”

Walker Mimms for Hyperallergic on a “fluent and accessible new book” that explores the pivotal court case when artist James Whistler sued critic John Ruskin

BRB, buying a ticket to London. Jo Lawson-Tancred for Artnet on “How Tavares Strachan Reimagined Leonardo’s Last Supper.”

“Inspired by one of art history’s best known paintings, Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper (ca. 1495–98), the mammoth bronze sculpture imagines a convivial gathering between notable historical figures from Africa and its Diaspora who, in reality, never met because they were separated by time and place.”

And Finally

“Chihuahua named WA’s top dog breed.”

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Photo: Alborz Kamalizad.

Muse/News: Dragon Year, Gum Pete, and Art Gardens

SAM News

Julie Dodobara for ParentMap recommends “Lunar New Year Events for Seattle-Area Kids and Families in 2024,” including the Seattle Asian Art Museum’s celebration on Saturday, February 3. Ring in the Year of the Dragon with us!

While there, you could also take in the Seattle Asian Art Museum’s exciting new exhibition, Anida Yoeu Ali: Hybrid Skin, Mythical Presence. In her new Seattle Magazine column, “Social in Seattle,” Linda Lowry highlights several area events that combined community and art, including the opening events with the artist. For UW Daily, Avery Cook writes how the Tacoma-based artist “blends art and activism to spark important conversations.”

“Vibrant images, breathtaking videography, and genuine artifacts from the performances are on display to demonstrate their influence and cultural significance.”

Seattle Museum Month kicks off this week, reports Emily Molina for 425 Magazine. During the month of February, Visit Seattle partners with area museums for half-off savings. Molina mentions Calder: In Motion, The Shirley Family Collection at the Seattle Art Museum as one of the shows you can see during the month. And ICYMI: Christie’s includes the exhibition on their list of “the best exhibitions and openings of 2024: North America.”

Local News

Crosscut’s Brangien Davis celebrates five years of the weekly ArtSEA post (congrats!) with ideas for forest bathing in tree art, including the Enter the Forest show that opens this Wednesday at SAM Gallery.

Moira Macdonald of The Seattle Times interviews actor and Seattle theater alum Lily Gladstone about her historic Oscar nomination

 The Seattle Times on oft-viral local artist Rudy Willingham’s latest project: “Sticky Pete Carroll mural honors the gum-chomping former Seahawks coach.”

“‘There was something about the gum I thought was so funny,’ Willingham said. ‘He always had gum in his mouth, running up the sidelines, it reminded me of a little kid. I loved how much he enjoyed the job and his childlike enthusiasm.’”

Inter/National News

Laurel Graeber for the New York Times on Artland: An Installation by Do Ho Suh and Children at the Brooklyn Museum, “an ever-expanding fantasy world designed and molded by children.”

ARTnews’ Alex Greenberger reviews Multiple Realities: Experimental Art in the Eastern Bloc, 1960s–1980, now on view at the Walker Art Center.

Emily Steer for Artnet asks, “Are gardens the art of the future?”

“Some artists, however, have taken these interests a step further, elevating the idea of gardening to an expansive, awe-inspiring effect. These artists combine ambitious organic or digital plants with music, poetry, and scientific collaboration.” 

And Finally

The Milwaukee Public Library is the best thing on social media right now.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Photo: Chloe Collyer.

Muse/News: Ali’s Debut, New in Old, and Cornell Gifts

SAM News

Anida Yoeu Ali: Hybrid Skin, Mythical Presence has made its dramatic debut at the Seattle Asian Art Museum. Jim Dever of KING5 Evening shares this story: “Tacoma artist Anida Yoeu Ali transforms herself to transform others.” Mike Davis of KUOW includes the show in his “list of new art exhibits challenges and inspires.” The exhibition was recommended in a recent Stranger Suggests and in this fun video by The Ticket. And Craig Sailor reviews the show for The News Tribune and its South Sound readers: “Tacoma artist with reputation as global agitator now has solo show at Seattle Art Museum.”

“‘I’m constantly fluctuating between the insider/outsider perspective at any one point,’ she explained Tuesday during a press preview of the show. ‘I’m never quite the person that people expect me to be, whether that’s a local or a foreigner, an insider to a culture, or an outsider, whether I’m here or there.’”

Conde Nast Traveler includes the Seattle Art Museum on its list of “The 16 Best Things to Do in Seattle,” calling out the “well-curated” exhibitions throughout the space.

Speaking of SAM’s collections galleries: American Art: The Stories We Carry was referenced in Artsy’s feature, “15 Leading Curators Predict the Defining Art Trends of 2024.” Marina Isgro of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden name-checked SAM’s 2022 reinstallation of its American art galleries as a trendsetter for other institutions.

Local News

Charles R. Cross offers this remembrance of a Seattle legend: “Susie Tennant, early champion of Nirvana and other bands, dies at 61.”

Get ready for “10 must-see Seattle art shows in February 2024” recommended by the Seattle Times’ Margo Vansynghel.

Brangien Davis’s recent ArtSEA post highlights creative organizations that creatively repurpose old spaces.

“Alongside the city’s constant expansion, arts venues tend to be in flux, always coming and going. Many take a hermit crab approach, making homes in old buildings that lost their original purpose amid the changing times.”

Inter/National News

“A Fire at a Seattle Gallery Destroys Works By Picasso, Rembrandt, and Goya”: A fire at Davidson Galleries made national news, including this from Artnet’s Adam Schrader.

The Olympic Sculpture Park is nominated for Best Sculpture Park in USA Today 10Best’s annual readers’ choice awards. Public voting takes place now until February 19. Maybe you’d like to make your voice heard?

Via Deborah Solomon of the New York Times: “National Gallery of Art Receives Major Gift of Joseph Cornell Boxes.”

“…Cornell seems perfect for the nation’s capital because his story is so archetypally American. He was obstinate, cranky and consumed with the beauty of common objects; he persisted with his art in the face of enormous loneliness. Living with his mother and his disabled brother, he found his inspiration in the work of other artists and dedicated his boxes to figures ranging from the composer Franz Schubert to the poet Emily Dickinson to the television actress Patty Duke.”

And Finally

Art But Make It Sports never misses.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Photo: L. Fried.

Muse/News: Performance Art, Feminist Masks, and 2024 Must-Sees

SAM News

Anida Yoeu Ali: Hybrid Skin, Mythical Presence opens this Thursday at the Seattle Asian Art Museum! The Seattle Times included the exhibition on its list of “most anticipated Seattle exhibits of 2024,” and Gayle Clemans interviewed the artist for a preview of the exhibition, which celebrates two of Ali’s performance-based works, The Buddhist Bug and The Red Chador.

“‘This humorous creature provides a lot of joy to people,’ Ali said in a recent interview. ‘It’s really beautiful to see how approachable this entity is, especially amongst children and families. ‘The Buddhist Bug’ has a way of softening people and eliciting curiosity.’”

And it’s the final week to see Hokusai: Inspiration and Influence. Here’s Allyson Levy for International Examiner on the hugely popular exhibition.

“Ukiyo-e was considered low-brow art due to the highly reproducible nature of woodblock prints, which reigned supreme during the movement. Woodblock prints allowed artists to create a high volume of prints that they could sell cheaply. Even so, the level of detail and sophistication of technique found in woodblock prints is awe-inspiring.”

Looking back: The Seattle Times included Calder: In Motion, The Shirley Family Collection on their list of “top Seattle-area arts and culture happenings of 2023.” Hot tip: The exhibition is on view through the summer—and it rewards repeat viewings.

Local News

Shin Yu Pai for University of Washington Magazine on Cheryll Leo-Gwin’s solo show, Larger Than Life, now on view at The Jack Straw Cultural Center, which “features large-scale colorful prints that use the Chinese coat as a recurring motif.”

Crosscut’s Brangien Davis welcomes 2024 with an overview of colorful shows on view at Seattle galleries.

Via Susan Platt for International Examiner: “Ceramicist Hanako O’Leary interweaves Shinto mythology with feminist ideology.”

“…We experience a powerful feminism that looks at women holding each other and life size masks transformed from historical traditions to suggest the many sides of strong women.”

Inter/National News

A New York Times interactive exploring “the very personal collections that seven artists left behind.”

Hyperallergic names “The Top 50 Exhibitions of 2023,” including the major retrospective of Jaune Quick-to-See Smith that debuted last year at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Your chance to see this groundbreaking exhibition is coming soon, when the exhibition opens at SAM on February 29.

Artnet names “12 Must-See U.S. Museum Shows in 2024,” including Joyce J. Scott, Walk a Mile in My Dreams, a retrospective that debuts at the Baltimore Museum of Art in March before heading to SAM this November. 

“‘Joyce J. Scott’s sophisticated and virtuosic use of a wide range of materials brings beauty and biting irony to bear on subjects ranging from the traumatic to the transcendental,’ the show’s co-curators, Cecilia Wichmann and Catharina Manchanda, said upon announcing the show last summer.”

And Finally

Weird cats of art history.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Image: Live Performance of The Buddhist Bug at Wei-Ling Contemporary Gallery, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2019, Anida Yoeu Ali, Cambodian American, b. 1974, Image courtesy of the artist, photo: Nina Ikmal.

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