Muse/News: Jeffrey Gibson’s iconic forms, Tschabalala Self’s avatars, and a maybe-Caravaggio

SAM News

Reviews for Jeffrey Gibson: Like a Hammer continue to hit! The Seattle Times, GRAY Magazine, KEXP’s Sound and Vision, UW Daily, The Spectator, and family blog An Emerald City Life all wrote up the exhibition. What they’re saying:

“Rather than offering an evolutionary tour of style, the exhibition exudes a feeling: a bold, fluid simultaneity, grounded in striking pattern, color and craftsmanship and provocative references to music, personal stories and indigenous practices.” – Gayle Clemans

“Personal, brilliantly hybridized, and seriously eye-catching.” – Blake Peterson

“It’s the type of honest, colorful, modern and inclusive art that speaks to your heart and I really want my kids to see it.” – Terumi Pong

In honor of his 50th anniversary at SAM, UW grad and SAM Films curator Greg Olson is the cover story of the alumni magazine Columns, with a profile by Sheila Farr and a photospread worthy of the big screen.

Artist Jacolby Satterwhite created an animation sequence for Solange’s film that accompanies her new album; Complex speaks with the artist, whose Country Ball 1989-2012 is now on view at SAM.

Local News

Crosscut’s Agueda Pacheco Flores spoke with students who learned yesterday that their school, The Art Institute of Seattle, would be permanently shut down—today.

The Stranger has a round-up of 15 Pioneer Square gallery shows to see this month, including Mary Coss at METHOD and Ryna Frankel at 4Culture.

Hyperallergic’s Jasmine Jamillah Mahmoud spoke with artist Tschabalala Self about her Frye Art Museum show and her avatars of Black womanhood.

“You can choose your identity through an avatar. This freedom is power. This freedom subverts subjectivity and allows an individual to escape the cultural attitudes they are subject to.”

Inter/National News

Artsy shares the news that the arts and cultural sector contributed over $763.6 billion to the American economy in 2015, making the case for the economic impact of the arts.

Hyperallergic shares the 43 extraordinary nominees for the 2019 World Press Photo Contest, including Finbarr O’Reilly’s “Dakar Fashion” and John Moore’s “Crying Girl on the Border.”

Unveiled in London this week: a 17th-century canvas of Judith and Holofernes that may be a Caravaggio—but there is no consensus among experts. The New York Times’ Scott Reyburn zooms in on the details.

“It’s perhaps not what an auctioneer—or a billionaire collector—wants to hear about a painting valued at more than 100 million. The market demands that geniuses like Caravaggio work alone.”

And Finally

Nothing made me happier last week than Alston’s singing mice.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Manager of Public Relations

Image: Installation view Jeffrey Gibson: Like a Hammer at Seattle Art Museum, 2019, photo: Natali Wiseman.

Before SAM: Publications from the Seattle Fine Arts Society and the Art Institute of Seattle

The SAM Research Libraries’ latest digital collection is a set of publications from two arts societies that preceded the Seattle Art Museum. The Dorothy Stimson Bullitt Library holds a collection of bulletins, calendars, announcements, and annual reports that were published by the Seattle Fine Arts Society between 1920 and 1929, and annual reports from the Art Institute of Seattle from 1929-1932 (1932 is the year the Art Institute transitioned to the Seattle Art Museum). Now, this collection of publications has been digitized and is accessible via the Libraries’ site. Though incomplete, this is the first time this collection of publications will be accessible outside of the physical library at SAM.

From 1920–1929, the Seattle Fine Arts Society was the premier group of art enthusiasts in Seattle. From their publications, we learn about the exhibitions, social events, classes, and “field trips” organized by this small-but-growing group of individuals who wanted nothing more than to foster a dedicated arts presence in the city. Without permanent headquarters, and a reliance on society membership, the Fine Arts Society was informal, inexperienced, but passionate and driven by a love of art and a belief in the power of art to transform a city and its residents. The calendars list events full of Northwest artists and collaboration with art students at the University of Washington, and educational events with the goal of sharing a love of art with citizens who, if only educated properly, might care more about art in the city. The Society wished to be an accessible part of the community, and worked tirelessly to bring art and art-centered events to the public for free or at low cost.

By the end of the decade, the Fine Arts Society announced a name change to the Art Institute of Seattle, but a mere three years later would bring a much more drastic change: that of the transformation from Art Institute to established museum and civic institution. The annual reports during the end of the 1920s and early 1930s reveal the kind of funding, planning, and labor that went into making the museum a reality.

With this collection, you are invited to trace the prehistory of SAM, and see the seeds of the very same values that drive SAM today take root. The members of Seattle Fine Arts Society and the subsequent Art Institute of Seattle sought to nurture and spread their passion for art with one another and with the public, even as Seattle Art Museum today brings art to life.

– Kate Hanske, Intern, Dorothy Stimson Bullitt Library

Photos: Natali Wiseman