Muse/News: Interesting Pictures, Ritual Objects, and Girls in Windows

SAM News

Here’s Margo Vansynghel of the Seattle Times with arts recommendations for December, including Elizabeth Malaska: All Be Your Mirror. The solo show features tour-de-force paintings by the 2022 winner of SAM’s annual prize for Northwest artists, the Betty Bowen Award.

“Malaska’s brushwork is at once vigorous, detailed and patterned, then loose and almost abstract or even droopy and distorted. The result is beautiful, unsettling and varied — and paints a much more interesting picture.”

“A theatrical new Calder exhibition staged in Seattle”: Don’t miss Elena Goukassian’s take for The Art Newspaper on Calder: In Motion, The Shirley Family Collection. She highlights the thoughtful curatorial choice to “frame his works as a delightfully subtle kind of performance.” ) She also mentions the playlist drawn from Calder’s own record collection.)

“These are all displayed in a newly configured gallery that features individual “stages” for the larger works, vitrines for the smaller ones and “overlook” balcony views—all with an eye towards spotlighting their theatrical nature.”

For the subscriber-only Airmail, Osman Can Yerebakan interviews the Shirleys and relays the story of the first time they heard Dispersed Objects with Brass Gong make a sound. (Are you patient enough to wait to hear it in the galleries?)

ICYMI! “Legendary Children Brought the House Down”: Jas Keimig and Susan Fried capture the magic for South Seattle Emerald.

Local News

It’s dark. Seattle Met helps with “Where to See Holiday Lights in Seattle.”

For her weekly ArtSEA post, Crosscut Brangien Davis features “art, film, and food to honor Native American Heritage Month.”

“Chehalis artist explores cultural appropriation of Native regalia”: Gayle Clemans for The Seattle Times on Selena Kearney: object/ritual, now on view at Solas Gallery.

“After shifting to a more conceptual art practice, Kearney has thought carefully about how much information to reveal in an image and how much to conceal. In this series, all of the photographs are taken in crisp detail with vivid color, as if they are beautiful documents of cheap, often offensive cultural relics.”

Inter/National News

Via Artnet: “5 Massive Pop Culture Moments From 2023 That Remind Us of Renaissance Paintings.”

Via Artdaily: The first New York solo exhibition for Natalie Ball—featuring never-before-seen works—just opened at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Ball was the winner of SAM’s 2018 Betty Bowen Award and her work is now on view at SAM. 

David Segal for The New York Times on Girls in the Windows (1960) by Ormond Gigli, a photograph that people keep buying and buying.

“He’s working without an assignment because he wants to memorialize those buildings, which stand directly across the street from his home studio. What he doesn’t know is that the image will become one of the most collected photographs in the history of the medium.”

And Finally

Another video from the Calder Foundation archives: The first performance of Work in Progress at Teatro dell’Opera, 1967–68.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Photo: Alborz Kamalizad.

Meet the 2023 Betty Bowen Award Winner: Tariqa Waters

The Seattle Art Museum and the Betty Bowen Committee are proud to announce Seattle artist Tariqa Waters as the winner of the 2023 Betty Bowen Award! The juried award comes with an unrestricted cash award of $15,000 and a solo exhibition at SAM. This year’s committee included Gary Glant (Chair), Mike Hess, Mark Levine, Sangram Majumdar, Catharina Manchanda, Llewelyn Pritchard, Greg Robinson, Norie Sato, Anthony White, and Merrill Wright.

Tariqa Waters’s innovative practice encompasses mixed-media tableaus, paintings, photographs, film, and immersive installations that push the aesthetics of commercial advertising into surreal, otherworldly territory. It is at the juncture with product advertising that Waters interrogates the importance of styling and beauty, especially its significance for Black women. Her work will be featured at the Seattle Art Museum in a solo exhibition in 2024, with dates to be announced.

Solo exhibitions of Waters’s work have been shown in Seattle at the Hedreen Gallery, the Northwest African American Museum, and the Museum of Museums (MoM). She has been awarded multiple prizes and grants, including the Conductive Garboil Grant, the Artist Trust Fellowship Award, the Neddy Artist Award, and the Artist Trust Arts Innovator Award. Waters is a two-time finalist for the Betty Bowen Award, winning the Kayla Skinner Special Recognition Award in 2020 and the Gary Glant Special Recognition Award in 2021. She was named one of Seattle’s Most Influential People in 2023 by Seattle Magazine.

Samantha Wall won the Kayla Skinner Special Recognition Award and Mary Ann Peters won the Gary Glant Special Recognition Award, in the amount of $2,500 each. Finalists Derek Franklin, Lisa Liedgren Alexandersson, and Ido (Lisa) Radon will each receive Special Commendation Awards in the amount of $1,250, awarded annually since 2020. The six finalists were chosen from a pool of 414 applicants from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho to compete for the $23,750 in awards.

Founded in 1977 to continue the legacy of local arts advocate and supporter Betty Bowen, the annual award honors a Northwest artist for their original, exceptional, and compelling work. Betty Bowen (1918–1977) was a Washington native and enthusiastic supporter of Northwest artists. Her friends established the annual Betty Bowen Award as a celebration of her life and to honor and continue her efforts to provide financial support to the artists of the region. Since 1977, SAM has hosted the yearly grant application process by which the selection committee chooses one artist from the Northwest to receive an unrestricted cash award, eligible to visual artists living and working in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

“This award serves as a testament to the countless hours, sleepless nights, and relentless dedication that I have poured into my craft,” says Waters. “It is a validation of the risks I have taken, the boundaries I have pushed, and the artistic growth I have experienced along the way. As an artist, it is not always easy to navigate the complexities of the creative process, but this recognition affirms that my work has resonated with others and has made a meaningful impact.”

The 2022 winner was Portland artist Elizabeth Malaska. Her solo exhibition, All Be Your Mirror, debuts at the Seattle Art Museum November 17, 2023–June 16, 2024. Learn more about Waters and all of the 2023 Betty Bowen finalists here.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Images: Tariqa Waters by Alex Cayley. Samantha Wall by Stephen Slappe. Mary Ann Peters by Amanda Smart.

Meet the 2023 Betty Bowen Award Finalists

Every year, SAM and the Betty Bowen Committee, chaired by Gary Glant, give the Betty Bowen Award, a juried award that comes with an unrestricted cash award of $15,000 and a solo exhibition at SAM. The award was founded in 1977 to continue the legacy of local arts advocate and supporter Betty Bowen and honors a Northwest artist (from Washington, Oregon, or Idaho) for their original, exceptional, and compelling work. In addition, two Special Recognition Awards in the amount of $2,500 and three Special Commendation Awards in the amount of $1,250 will be awarded by the Betty Bowen Committee.

Recent winners include Elizabeth Malaska (2022; her solo show All Be Your Mirror is on view November 17, 2023–June 16, 2024),  Anthony White (2021), and Dawn Cerny (2020). On view in SAM’s galleries right now are works by past winners Natalie Ball (2018), Jack Daws (2015), and Marie Watt (2005). The connections between SAM and these exceptional artists from our region continue over the years. 

Today, we are announcing the six finalists of the 2023 award who were selected from a pool of 414 applicants. Stay tuned for the announcement of the winner on October 23!

Derek Franklin – Portland, Oregon

Derek Franklin is an artist, curator, and artistic director who utilizes painting and sculpture to investigate the ways in which one responds to violence inextricably woven into societal structures. Drawing from constructivist theatre design, Franklin conceptualizes the home as a kind of stage and centers his inquiry on the objects that bear witness to daily domestic rituals, such as eating or drinking. Activated by the audience’s presence, Franklin’s work asks viewers to engage in communal experiences of sadness, awkwardness, and humor.


Lisa Liedgren Alexandersson – Seattle, Washington

Lisa Liedgren Alexandersson’s current project explores the intersections of artistic hierarchy, labor, and skill through the process of creating cotton and linen woven works. These materials evoke the history of painting through both material and the notion of the grid, a key point of investigation for their work. Adapting 1960’s Swedish kitchen towel weaving instructions into new artistic works, Liedgren Alexandersson prods the dual status of textiles as domestic, utilitarian objects, and as demonstrations of skillful aesthetic exploration.


Mary Ann Peters – Seattle, Washington

As a second generation Arab-American, Mary Ann Peters’s work constructs an outline for cultural inquiry that employs history, architecture, science, and heritage to respond to undermined diasporic narratives. Peters filters a personal exploration of these themes through the concept of audience perception and the ethical considerations of artistic discourse. Peters challenges the concept of an image being neutral, instead focusing on visuals that coalesce and redefine contemporary topics.


Ido (Lisa) Radon – Portland, Oregon

Ido Radon’s mixed media and multi-sensorial work is guided by long-term interests in the ideological and material structures and processes that produce reality under the conditions of advanced capitalism. Radon interrogates the use of various technologies to mediate the abstractions of capitalism and counter-histories of revolutionary impulses. The rise of the personal computer and community computing provide a historical and cultural grounding through which Radon incarnates feminist theory and critical discourses in complex aestheticized forms. 


Samantha Wall – Portland, Oregon

Samantha Wall’s recent series, Beyond Bloodlines, pulls from Korean folklore and Euro-centric mythologies to expose the effects of alienation and exile within the diaspora. Delicately layered on Dura-lar, the symbolic form of the serpent woman represents the status of Otherness applied to women who deviate from narrow margins of social acceptance. Wall’s drawings navigate the artist’s identity as a Black Korean immigrant, and remodel pathways for Black American narratives of existence within the US. 


Tariqa Waters – Seattle, Washington

Tariqa Waters is a multimedia artist who invokes traditional pop aesthetics to mediate the co-opting of Black culture, and consumerism. Her immersive installations, video works, large-scale sculptures, and photographs utilize humor, satire, and spectacle to critique and defy expectations, incorporating intentional anachronisms that navigate ideas of femininity, gender, race, and beauty. By recalling memory, myth, and tall-tales, Waters lays bare the contradictions and dualities rooted in Americana aesthetics.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Images: Installation view of Grief is On My Calendar Everyday at 2:00 PM, 2023, Derek Franklin, mixed media, 110 x 216 x 192 in. © Derek Franklin. B-cognition, 2023, Lisa Liedgren Alexandersson, linen, cotton, and wood, 63 x 30 x 240 in. Photo: Musse Barclay, © Lisa Liedgren Alexandersson. impossible monument (the threads that bind), 2023, Mary Ann Peters, silk, silk thread, silk waste, silk pods, glycerin, wood, and water, 84 x 60 x 144 in., © Mary Ann Peters. Sail or Temporary composition of a specter of a world, 2023, Ido Radon,, mixed media, 138 x 47 x 2 in. © Ido Radon. Becoming, 2023, Samantha Wall, conté crayon and ink on Dura-Lar, 80 x 80 in., © Samantha Wall. Pink Ball Barrette, 2022, Tariqa Waters, blown glass, 9 x 9 x 9 in. © Tariqa Waters.

This Moment in Time: A Conversation with Anthony White and José Carlos Diaz

With his first solo SAM exhibition, Limited Liability, coming to a close in a few short weeks, 28-year old Seattle artist Anthony White woke up bright and early one December morning to meet Susan Brotman Deputy Director for Art José Carlos Diaz in the galleries of his exhibition before the museum was open to the public. Sitting around the retro lunchroom table—the centerpiece of SAM’s 2021 Betty Bowen Award winner’s gallery—the two spoke about the response he’s received to Limited Liability, the meticulousness of his practice, queer representation in art, what’s next for Seattle’s rising star, and what it means to artistically render this moment in time.

Read the full interview below and experience Anthony White: Limited Liability at SAM’s downtown location before it closes Sunday, January 29.


José Carlos Diaz: I want to start off here by thanking you and SAM curators Catharina Manchanda and Carrie Dedon for putting this exhibition together. Limited Liability was the second exhibition that opened after I joined SAM in July 2022, and it’s been a joy getting to know you and to see visitors interact with your paintings. So, my first question is: What has been the response to this exhibition. What have you observed? What have you heard visitors say while seeing your artwork at SAM?

Anthony White: Overall, the response has been great. I think people are excited to see work like mine in an established institution. My work is vibrant and modern, and I think it can be refreshing to see in a museum gallery. It’s always fun to see people stumble on artwork they weren’t really expecting to see at a museum. I will say, everyone is infatuated with my age. I didn’t expect I’d receive so many comments about that.

JCD: Did they think you were older?

AW: Yeah. Generally, people are surprised that someone my age is able to do this.

JCD: It’s definitely incredible that someone your age has a solo exhibition at a major regional museum.

AW: Totally, but it’s still incredibly surprising to me. And a lot of people did reach out to say that it was nice to have something that they could relate to. There were a lot of people that would identify with certain symbols and objects that came out of very specific time periods. It’s really cool to see how my artwork connects with people, even if in the smallest degrees.

JCD: That’s great to hear! Many people may not yet know this, but SAM actually acquired one of your works from this exhibition. The artwork that the curatorial team and the board approved is UNTIL THE END OF TIME (2022). It was really important to our team to acquire this particular artwork because it really reflects the diversity within SAM’s collections, but it’s also a representation of an artist who is living and working in Seattle. But, as a curator myself, I was curious how you’d like to see your artwork displayed and used in the future when you visit SAM? Maybe in a different context? With similar or different artworks? Is this something you’ve thought about?

AW: First, I want to say how excited and honored I am to have my artwork in SAM’s collection. It’s an incredible way to be connected to this institution for a long time. But I do often find myself thinking about what happens to artworks that end up in collections. I think most institutions either keep their works either independently displayed somewhere or they pull it into a group installation to give it additional context. My hope is that UNTIL THE END OF TIME is shown alongside other artworks at SAM that tell the stories of time.

JCD: Would you be interested in seeing it integrated into the European galleries, as having a conversation or even challenging the Old Masters?

AW: Certainly.

JCD: I think that’d be a really fun conversation to have! Many of the European artworks in SAM’s collection capture a specific moment or time in history. With your artwork alongside these other pieces, I think they’d be talking about the same exact things but across vastly different time periods. I love it!

AW: I think there are endless opportunities for my artwork to interact with historic artworks throughout SAM’s collection. It’s fascinating to see how our interpretations of everyday life have changed over time.

JCD: Plus, it’s the first artwork in the collection featuring Kim Kardashian. 

AW: She should be honored. Someone tell her!

JCD: I was so thrilled that you’ve gotten so much press from this exhibition. But what’s made me the most proud is seeing all of the national press you and SAM have received about the work that’s being done in Seattle in showcasing LGBTQ+ art. 

That being said, the work I find myself gravitating toward the most in Limited Liability is JOYRIDE (2022). Because you have such a deep visual archive, I was blown away when you revealed—at least to me—that the format of this painting is based on Picasso’s Still Life With the Caned Chair (1912), which was a really groundbreaking moment for Picasso. But then, looking deeper at your painting, this idea of a joyride, it has such a coded language specifically around queerness and blackness; It’s almost like a special language. Walking up to this painting—even as someone who works at the museum and has seen it many times—it’s clear that there’s so much joy in it. So, I wanted to ask you to elaborate on your use of coded or visual languages throughout your art.

AW: Yeah, I think JOYRIDE offers people a way of getting to know me, my practice, and my experiences that my other works may not do so much. There is a slightly discreet symbolism and language that I’m using in this work and that has led to the invention of an entirely new way of speaking within my practice, I think.

I don’t like to spoon-feed people and give them only one way to see, think, and interpret my work. For example, JOYRIDE includes a sticker that says ‘cruisin’ that can be interpreted in two totally different ways. You could either think about it within the context of hard culture and vehicle cruising, or think about it as speaking toward a homoerotic experience, activity, or participatory event. So, the decision to interpret pieces and little details like those throughout my work is ultimately up to the viewer.

JCD: I can definitely see the nature of the symbolism you’re talking about. I think there’s also this playfulness with the inclusion of the Lisa Frank stickers and the young anime woman in red. And, in looking at all the works in this gallery, I think you once told me that you make one self portrait per year. Is that true?

AW: It is true. 

JCD: Can you talk about the origins of this tradition? How is your process of depicting yourself different from that of the rest of your work?

AW: Every year, there comes a month where I feel an unrelenting need to get my feelings and the way I’m seeing myself onto a canvas. It’s been a very strict practice that I’ve had for the past five years. I think it’s just as important to depict myself within a specific period of time as it is to depict the cultural objects and symbols that define it.

My self-portraits are also a bit more dramatic than my other works. I feel more comfortable and honest with the subject since it’s myself. In HYPNOSIS (2022), I’m lying horizontally on my stomach, staring deep into the void.

JCD: The void being the cellphone.

AW: Yes, It’s that constant endless rabbit hole that we all get sucked into these days. I think this was a pretty daring piece to execute and I didn’t want to inaccurately represent someone else with a piece like this.

JCD: The subject is you but I think the work is really representative of all of us today. It’s a beautiful piece.

You’ve had many people ask you about your complex process. When I first saw your work, I thought they were textile-based. They almost looked like quilted pieces of material—even your self portrait. I know you’ve talked about your use of melted coils of colored plastics quite a bit but I think it’s a very revolutionary medium—I think it’s called polylactic acid. The device you use to paint is very meticulous too. You’ve mentioned that it can take over a hundred hours to complete a single painting.

AW: It can. Sometimes longer.

JCD: But you’ve also previously mentioned that there is a sort of intuition to creating your paintings; that it’s an organic process. How do you balance the strict boundaries of using polylactic acid with your organic, or intuitive, process?

AW: There are definitely some set boundaries with the process. The methods I use to melt the plastic and draw lines on my canvas are very specific. But, there’s also this sort of synthetic or artificial nature to it that I find complementary to what I want to represent on each panel. That was really fun to stumble on at the very beginning of my practice. Although everything is very systematic, there’s a natural intuition that comes into play the more I work with this medium. Like an oil painter, I create my own palette for each work.

JCD: Your use of this medium is incredible. There’s an intense satisfaction that I think everyone receives from seeing your work in person. Have you faced any challenges with the digital life of your work? It’s interesting because you source so much content from the digital world in your art, and now that art is part of our collective digital archive. Is this something you’ve thought about?

AW: There are challenges with not being able to translate my works accurately in a digital image. As we move forward in our technological world, there may be a time when our methods of documentation of works such as my own are displayed differently. But there is so much satisfaction with seeing my, and all, paintings in person. 

That’s not to say I want my work to be an exclusive viewing experience—I want anyone and everyone who wants to see my work to see it! But, I’ve heard many people say they had no idea of the meticulousness of my art until they saw it in person. Only then do they understand how much complexity there is within each of my works. You can see the evidence of my hand, every line that I make, what direction I led my pen, and the decisions I made with every mark.

JCD: I never like to ask an artist what inspires them, but I can’t stop myself this time. What is actually inspiring you right now?

AW: At this specific moment? A lot of podcasts.

JCD: I wouldn’t have guessed that.

AW: Of course, my main influences are social media, but a lot of the things I listen to while working are podcasts about white collar criminals, corporate fraud, technological advances, and the state of the world. All of my canvases are inspired by what I’m listening to and my perception of the direction our world is headed in, but I think that does change over time. One day, I want to be able to look at the archive of my work and pinpoint precise moments of my life. I’ll create a timeline by identifying certain symbols and objects across every work.

JCD: But that’s not to say your work itself is dated. It captures specific moments in time but has longevity in its interpretation.

AW: And the world moves so fast, too. So, I think it is accurate to say that some of my works are dated. Certain objects pictured within them are already obsolete.

JCD: It’s interesting to think how future scholars will interpret the artworks being made during this period in time, especially yours. That’s the dream, right?

AW: Yes, but I think they should be a bit more concerned with the state of their existence. There’s a meme I recently saw that said if you showed somebody back in 2000 how much content we consume now, they would have a meltdown. It’d be so overwhelming. Our past selves would be stunned by the pace of life today. Hopefully, it slows down in the years to come but you never know.

JCD: I’ve never thought about that.

You have an exhibition coming up, Extended Warranty at Greg Kucera Gallery, opening in January. It sounds like you’ve got no plans of slowing down in 2023. So what’s next? What can the public expect to see in that exhibition and what else are you working on in the coming year?

AW: Yeah! That’ll be a smaller exhibition than Limited Liability, but it’s sort of an extension of thought that resulted from building the body of work that’s on view at SAM. As this exhibition opened, I was still thinking through these ideas of materialism and digital culture and wanted to extend them into the exhibition at Greg Kucera Gallery. So, both exhibitions—Limited Liability and Extended Warranty—explore similar threads. I have these trains of thought that I’ve been exploring since I became an artist and I want to continue seeing them out in the months and years ahead.

Photos: Alborz Kamalizad.

Hello, 2023! A Sneak Peek at SAM’s Exciting Year Ahead

The new year brings new art… and lots of it! We’re so looking forward to an entire calendar’s worth of must-see exhibitions across all three of our dynamic locations and can’t keep it to ourselves any longer. Read below for a sneak preview of what’s to come at SAM over the next twelve months!

“There will be something for everyone at SAM in 2023,” says José Carlos Diaz, SAM Susan Brotman Deputy Director for Art. “The exhibition schedule includes rich displays from the museum’s collection as well as a global array of dynamic art and programming from places such as Indonesia, Ghana, Japan, and right here in the Pacific Northwest region. 2023 welcomes not only a new year but also the 90th anniversary of SAM, which first opened to the public in June 1933.”

Kicking off the year, SAM’s modern and contemporary galleries now play host to Reverberations: Contemporary Art and Modern Classics. This array of art spotlights recent acquisitions and includes many works going on view for the first time. With works by artists such as Andy Warhol, Joan Mitchell, Mark Rothko, and Ruth Asawa, contemporary artists Senga Nengudi, Laura Aguilar, and Mickalene Thomas, and emerging artists Dana Claxton, Woody de Othello, Naama Tsabar, and Rashid Johnson, this collection installation explores the idea of ongoing artistic exchange. Many of the works on view are by artists of color and many are by women artists, reflecting the museum’s ongoing commitment to diversifying the collection and the perspectives we present.

On March 9, SAM will open Ikat: A World of Compelling Cloth, presenting an immersive exploration of the complex textile created in regions around the globe. The exhibition will feature over 100 textiles made from the 12th century to the present including kimonos, furnishings, robes, and other cloths from Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas. A large-scale installation by contemporary artists Roland and Chinami Ricketts that offers the experience of walking into an ikat will also be on view.

Summer brings Soul of Black Folks, an exciting touring exhibition and the Seattle debut of Ghanian artist Amoako Boafo (b. 1984). One of the most influential artistic voices of his generation, Boafo is known for vibrant portraits that center on Black subjectivity, Black joy, the Black gaze, and radical care. Co-organized by the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) and Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Soul of Black Folks will present over 30 works created between 2016 and 2022.

Later in July, the Seattle Asian Art Museum will debut Renegade Edo and Paris: Japanese Prints and Toulouse-Lautrec, exploring the cities’ early 20th century artistic and social transformations. Through nearly 90 prints drawn from SAM’s Japanese prints collection as well as private holdings of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s artwork, this exhibition offers a critical look at the renegade spirit in the graphic arts in both Edo and Paris, highlighting the social impulses—pleasure seeking and theatergoing—behind the burgeoning art production.

Finally, the fall will see SAM celebrate the works of Katsushika Hokusai (1760–1849) with Hokusai: Inspiration and Influence, from the Collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, opening October 19 at SAM’s downtown location. Thanks to the popularity of the instantly recognizable Great Wave—cited everywhere from book covers and Lego sets to anime and emoji—Hokusai has become one of the most famous and influential artists in the world. This touring exhibition organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston (MFA), takes a new approach to the work of the versatile master, pairing more than 100 of his woodblock prints, paintings, and illustrated books from the MFA’s collection with more than 200 works by his teachers, students, rivals, and admirers.

Other 2023 highlights at SAM include the solo exhibition of 2022 Betty Bowen Award winner Elizabeth Malaska; the SAM debut of artist, director, and writer Howard L. Mitchell—also known as GATO—whose 2019 film, Forgive Us Our Debts, tells the fictional story of Trey, a terrified 13-year-old Black boy who lives with his family in a rapidly gentrifying neighborhood; large-scale sculptural works at the Olympic Sculpture Park 365 days a year; and so much more.

With so much in store for 2023, we can’t wait to welcome you back to SAM soon!

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations & Lily Hansen, SAM Marketing Content Creator

Photo Credits: Headdress–Shadae, 2019, Dana Claxton (Hunkpapa Lakota (Sioux), born 1959), LED firebox with transmounted chromogenic transparency. 60 1/2 x 40 1/2 x 7 in. (153.7 x 102.9 x 17.8 cm.), Richard E. Lang and Jane Lang Davis Acquisition Fund for Global and Contemporary Art, 2022.2, © Dana Claxton. Image courtesy of the artist. Pardah hanging, late 19th century, Silk Road (Uzbekistan), silk, warp ikat, cotton weft, 90 x 65 in., Collection of David and Marita Paly. Black and White, 2018, Amoako Boafo, oil on paper, 39 3/8 x 27 1/2 in., Image and work courtesy private collection and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles, California, photo: Robert Wedemeyer. Tagasode of the Tamayo House, 1800-02, Kitagawa Utamaro, Japanese, 1754-1806, woodblock print: ink and color on paper, 15 1/2 x 10 1/2 in., Gift of Mary and Allan Kollar, in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Seattle Art Museum, 2017.23.13. Photo: Colleen Kollar Zorn. Under the Wave off Kanagawa (Kanagawa-oki nami-ura), also known as the Great Wave, from the series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji (Fugaku sanjûrokkei), Katsushika Hokusai (Japanese, 1760–1849) about 1830–31 (Tenpô 1–2), woodblock print (nishiki-e); ink and color on paper, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. William Sturgis Bigelow Collection, Photograph © Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. We Will Remain Separate, 2019, Elizabeth Malaska, oil, Flashe, pencil on canvas wrapped panel, 72 x 120 x 2 in., Courtesy of the artist, © Elizabeth Malaska.

Artist Wendy Red Star’s Visions of Native Women

“I’ve never had the opportunity to walk through an American collection and see Native women and youth presented in the way I hope to do with this new work.”

– Wendy Red Star

Now on view at SAM is American Art: The Stories We Carry, a dramatic reinstallation of the museum’s American art galleries that explores a more expansive look at the American experience. It’s the result of an extensive collaboration among SAM curators, staff, artists, community advisors. In this video, Apsáalooke artist Wendy Red Star describes her experience collaborating with SAM and offers insights into her process as she was in the midst of creating a commissioned artwork for the project. She also describes the significance of including Native women’s voices when redefining American art.

Red Star’s striking artwork, Áakiiwilaxpaake (People Of The Earth) (2022), is now the first thing visitors see when they approach the American art galleries. The lightbox installation is a compelling hybrid of iconic American art genres: the portrait and the landscape. To create this large-scale work, Red Star invited Seattle photographer Holli Margell to create portraits of local Native women and children in a session held at the museum. Red Star then set these cutout portraits within her vision of the Seattle skyline, including Japanese artist Yoshida Hiroshi’s (1876–1950) woodblock print of Tahoma (also known as Mount Rainier) from SAM’s collection. By recalling the history of the region’s original inhabitants, Red Star celebrates the vibrant present and future of Natives in their home territories as well as urban Natives.

This isn’t the first time the museum has collaborated with Red Star. In 2016, she was the winner of SAM’s Betty Bowen Award, an annual award for Northwest artists that includes a solo show at SAM. The museum also acquired for its collection four prints from her photographic Four Seasons series, which was on view in the 2019 installation YOU ARE ON INDIGENOUS LAND: places/displaces.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Photo: Alborz Kamalizad.

Meet the 2022 Betty Bowen Award Winner: Elizabeth Malaska

The Seattle Art Museum and the Betty Bowen Committee are proud to announce Portland artist Elizabeth Malaska as the winner of the 2022 Betty Bowen Award! The juried award comes with an unrestricted cash award of $15,000 and a solo exhibition at SAM. This year’s committee included chair Gary Glant, Mike Hess, Mark Levine, Catharina Manchanda, Llewelyn Pritchard, Greg Robinson, and Norie Sato.

Malaska’s grand tableaux respond to a history of Western painting and power dynamics that often assigns women the roles of submissive accessories. In search of more potent and less pleasing feminine subjects, her tour de force paintings unpack historical genres, such as the reclining nude, and offer up challenging and introspective visions. Malaska is a 2021 Guggenheim Fellow, as well as the recipient of fellowships from The Joan Mitchell and Hallie Ford Foundations. Recent group exhibitions include Time Being at Oregon Contemporary and Making a Better Painting: Thinking Through Practice at Lewis and Clark College. Her work is in the collections of The Portland Art Museum, The Hallie Ford Museum, and The Schneider Museum of Art. Her work will be featured at the Seattle Art Museum in a solo exhibition in 2023, with dates to be announced. 

Klara Glosova won the Kayla Skinner Special Recognition Award and Rafael Soldi won the Gary Glant Special Recognition Award, in the amount of $2,500 each. Finalists Sam Hamilton, Tim Hutchings, and Ric’kisha Taylor will each receive Special Commendation Awards in the amount of $1,250, awarded annually since 2020. The six finalists were chosen from a pool of 532 applicants from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho to compete for the $23,750 in awards.

“Selecting the Betty Bowen Award winner is always a formidable task, and this year was no exception with an extraordinary pool of applicants,” says Gary Glant. “We are thrilled to see Betty’s legacy live on with this year’s winners, who all represent the incredible artistic talent and vision to be found in the Northwest.”

Founded in 1977 to continue the legacy of local arts advocate and supporter Betty Bowen, the annual award honors a Northwest artist for their original, exceptional, and compelling work. Betty Bowen (1918–1977) was a Washington native and enthusiastic supporter of Northwest artists. Her friends established the annual Betty Bowen Award as a celebration of her life and to honor and continue her efforts to provide financial support to the artists of the region. Since 1977, SAM has hosted the yearly grant application process by which the selection committee chooses one artist from the Northwest to receive an unrestricted cash award, eligible to visual artists living and working in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.

“I am profoundly honored to have been chosen by the committee as the recipient of this year’s Betty Bowen Award,” says Malaska. “This is an exceptional opportunity, and I am already exhilarated thinking about the paintings I’m going to make. I wholeheartedly believe that art has the capacity to transform our world for the better. It is extraordinary to me that Bowen’s passion and legacy continues to support Northwest artists. Such a sustained reach of vision is deeply inspiring to me and something that I aspire to through my own work.”

The 2021 winner was Seattle artist Anthony White. His solo exhibition, Limited Liability, is currently on view at the Seattle Art Museum through January 29, 2023. Learn more about Malaska and all of the 2022 Betty Bowen finalists here.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Images: Photo of Elizabeth Malaska by Mario Gallucci. Photo of Klara Glosova by Jonathan Nesteruk. Photo of Rafael Soldi by Jess T. Dugan.

Muse/News: Flashy Morsels, Queer Films, and Iranian Protest Art

SAM News

“15 LGBTQ art shows that are spicing up global museums this fall”: Dan Allen for NBC Out with exhibitions from around the world to see, including Anthony White: Limited Liability at SAM. 

“…a world not unlike our own, overpacked with morsels of flashy but disposable pop culture, technology, luxury branding, gaming, junk food, and various other vices.”

SAM and the Betty Bowen Committee have announced the six finalists for the 2022 Betty Bowen Award, an annual juried award for PNW artists. The Stranger shared the news; stay tuned for the winner announcement on November 1!

Local News

Via Capitol Hill Seattle: Joe Bar, a beloved Capitol Hill coffee shop known for its art shows, will be closing after 25 years. Don’t miss the final group art show—titled The End—before it closes October 26. 

This week included Indigenous Peoples’ Day; Crosscut gathered six of its recent articles “that honor the robust Native heritage and history in the Pacific Northwest.”

The Seattle Queer Film Festival launches this week and runs through October 23 at various locations. Dominic Baez of the Seattle Times previews the festival’s opening night film, What the Funk?!, a documentary on the “popular, all-people of color, funk-centric burlesque festival.”

“Part of my motivation for documenting this was, you know, the only person that’s going to be the best at telling your history is going to be you,” [Mx. Pucks A’Plenty] said. “When you look at burlesque history, there’s not a lot of Black and brown burlesque history that survived, or was even recorded in comparison to our white counterparts.”

Inter/National News

Artnet’s Taylor Defoe recounts the recent concerns brought up about the erasure of Felix Gonzalez-Torres’s queer identity in presentations of his work.

Tessa Soloman for ARTnews reports on the recent air strikes by Russia reportedly targeting Ukrainian museums and heritage sites

Pamela Karimi for Hyperallergic on the “many shades of Iran’s protest art.”

“Most of these works were created by graphic designers and illustrators for social media platforms; however, they represent only one of the diverse art forms being produced in contemporary Iran. In response to the current unrest, many have abandoned exhibition and performance for the ‘anonymous’ expression of political views through graffiti and ephemeral installations.”

And Finally

Go, Mariners!

 Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Image: Alborz Kamalizad.

Meet the 2022 Betty Bowen Award Finalists

Every year, SAM and the Betty Bowen Committee give the Betty Bowen Award, a juried award that comes with an unrestricted cash award of $15,000 and a solo exhibition at SAM. The award was founded in 1977 to continue the legacy of local arts advocate and supporter Betty Bowen and honors a Northwest artist (from Washington, Oregon, or Idaho) for their original, exceptional, and compelling work. In addition, two Special Recognition Awards in the amount of $2,500 and three Special Commendation Awards in the amount of $1,250 will be awarded by the Betty Bowen Committee.

Recent winners include Anthony White (2021; his work is now on view at SAM), Dawn Cerny (2020), and Lynne Siefert (2019); the 2016 winner, Wendy Red Star, will have a new commission debut on October 20, 2022 as part of SAM’s exhibition, American Art: The Stories We Carry. The connections between SAM and these exceptional artists from our region continue over the years. 

Today, we are announcing the six finalists of the 2022 award who were selected from a pool of 532 applicants. Stay tuned for the announcement of the winner on November 1!

Klara Glosova – Seattle, WA

Made during the pandemic, Glosova’s recent body of work—one example is featured above—comprises introspective paintings that reflect a sense of loneliness, isolation, and a turn inward. Focusing on members of her family who had to cope with the loss of loved ones, her portraits capture a collective sadness, anxiety, and feeling of disconnect. Windows, mirrors, and screens of various kinds demarcate the threshold between the domestic interior and the world at large, while the architectural interiors stand in for the inner lives of those portrayed. 

Sam Hamilton – Portland, OR

Hamilton’s current project, Te Moana Meridian, is an experimental opera that doubles as a genuine proposal to the general assembly of the United Nations: to relocate the Prime Meridian from its current location outside Greenwich, England, to its antipodean coordinates in the South Pacific Ocean. The work is conceived as a five-channel video installation with singers performing the proposed text in English and Māori. If realized, the changes proposed by this work would replace the vestiges of colonial supremacy that marked the United Kingdom as the universal center of time and space, with a new measure for global equity.

Tim Hutchings – Beaverton, OR

In Hutchings work, play and poetry are actualized through systems of gameplay. Hutchings creates intricate and imaginative games and exercises that exist at the intersection of visual art and game-centric dynamism, often disguised as something else entirely, such as a book or a journal. The resulting installations command engagement and interaction, prompting the viewer-turned-participant to reflect on collective memory, loss, and shared emotional experiences. 

Elizabeth Malaska – Portland, OR

Malaska’s psychologically probing paintings explore and rupture the traditional gender hierarchies in Western art. In her revisionist undertaking, she cites visual elements from depictions of women in past and more recent painting, assembling them in new ways. In doing so, Malaska activates these histories and implied patriarchal hierarchies, to question their validity and propose more complex and potent feminine subjects.

Rafael Soldi – Seattle, WA

Soldi uncovers the ways in which aspects of identity, particularly queerness and masculinity, interact with normative sociopolitical structures and adolescent rituals, particularly in Latin American societies. Soldi’s most recent work, CARGAMONTÓN, is a series of photogravures depicting the adolescent roughhousing that is at once violent and homoerotic, reflecting on his own experiences as a youth growing up in Peru.

Ric’kisha Taylor – Seattle, WA

Taylor’s rich assemblage works draw on music videos, history, performance, fashion, and news articles as well as adult magazines. Rich and seductive in color, pattern, and materials, with a particular interest in textiles, her work draws the viewer close. Her subjects vogue and vamp, but grotesque distortions disrupt their easy consumption. The resulting collage works expose and challenge the sexualized stereotypes of Black bodies in popular culture and the media.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Image credits: Scott in Armchair, 2021, Klara Glosova, oil on canvas, 60 x 60 x 2 in., Courtesy of the artist, © Klara Glosova. Te Moana Meridian performance still, 2021, Sam Hamilton, video, Courtesy of the artist, © Sam Hamilton. Thousand Year Old Campfire excerpt, 2023, Tim Hutchings, flowcharts, game book, 8 ½ x 5 ½ x ¼ in., Courtesy of the artist, © Tim Hutchings. We Will Remain Separate, 2019, Elizabeth Malaska, oil, Flashe, pencil on canvas wrapped panel, 72 x 120 x 2 in., Courtesy of the artist, © Elizabeth Malaska. CARGAMONTÓN (CM02), 2022, Rafael Soldi, aquatint photogravure, 27 ½ x 34 in., Courtesy of the artist, © Rafael Soldi. Pounce, 2022, Ric’kisha Taylor, acrylic, fabric, glitter, gems, chain, paper, pearls, sequins, 40 x 36 in., Courtesy of the artist, © Ric’kisha Taylor.

In the Studio with Anthony White

Hiding within the busy city streets of Pioneer Square sits an intimate artist’s studio unlike any other. In this small, square room, SAM 2021 Betty Bowen Award winner Anthony White creates mesmerizing paintings crammed with products, name brand logos, and digital icons that assess our increasingly intertwined analog and digital lives.

“It’s my happy place,” says White. “It’s nice to have a space that’s reserved only for creating art.”

White spends most of his days in this space. It’s quiet and personal, with an ever-rotating array of his creations adorning the walls. It’s here that many of his completed artworks sit before they’re delivered to their next—or final—destinations. In the back corner sits a small desk, a focused space where White first sketches his paintings. Pink, brown, blue, green, purple, yellow, and more, endless rolls of polylactic acid—White’s medium of choice and the same material used in the 3D printing process—occupy the other corner, adding a pop of color to the room. A black leather couch hides next to the door, a place for guests to sit, talk, model.

“I don’t have many guests,” says White. “It’s only when I’m collaborating with someone or asking a friend to model that someone else is in here with me. Otherwise, it’s just me and my art.”

Where White spends the most of his time, however, is in the center of the room. With an unfinished canvas sitting on a sawhorse, it’s here that White paints. With his headphones in, White will work anywhere from eight to 10 hours a day. Circling the canvas, he is precise and careful with each line of polylactic acid he paints.

From his studio to museum walls, experience Anthony White’s breathtaking artwork on view in Anthony White: Limited Liability at SAM’s downtown location through January 29, 2023. Meet the artist and hear from him in SAM’s galleries on Thursday, September 15 at 6:30 pm as we celebrate the opening of White’s first solo exhibition at SAM. There’ll be a public reception in the Susan Brotman Forum with a bar and music by Seattle’s own DJ Housepartysea. Reserve your tickets to this free event—space is filling up fast!

– Lily Hansen, SAM Marketing Content Creator

Photo: L. Fried.

Muse/News: Anthony’s Brain, Farmworker Families, and Restitution Poetics

SAM News

“A dizzying tapestry of our digital world”: Margo Vansynghel wrote about Anthony White: Limited Liability, the artist’s solo show at SAM as part of his 2021 Betty Bowen Award win. ICYMI: Head to SAM’s Instagram to experience Anthony’s “brain on art” as he took over our Instagram stories last week!

The Seattle Times arts team helpfully gathered all the “ways to stretch your entertainment dollars in the Seattle area” with free or discounted tickets and events. They mention the free days at SAM’s three locations—Seattle Art Museum (First Thursday!), Seattle Asian Art Museum (Last Fridays!), and the Olympic Sculpture Park (365 days a year!)—as well as other hot tips for free or discounted admission. Now, go ART!

Though the exhibition was no longer on view when Savita Krishnamoorthy’s International Examiner review of Embodied Change: South Asian Art Across Time was published, it’s still very much worth a read. And you can still see Chila Kumari Singh Burman’s neon installation Kali (I’m a Mess) in the Seattle Asian Art Museum’s park lobby. 

“We are witnessing an aspirational South Asianfuturism, dreaming of a world without war and human suffering.”

Local News

Capitol Hill Seattle Blog on Soft Services, a site-specific installation of inscribed stones by Brooklyn artist Chloë Bass that has taken up residence throughout Volunteer Park. 

Check out KNKX’s new series, Aux Cord Privileges, which puts “musicians from the Puget Sound area in charge of the stereo.” The first two editions feature vocalist Shaina Shepherd and rapper Da Qween.

The Seattle Times’ Jayce Carral on a new exhibition featuring photos and memories from the region’s farmworker families. All The Sacrifices You’ve Made / Todos los Sacrificios Que Has Hecho is on view at Tacoma’s Washington State Historical Society until October 16.

“‘You felt a sense of community in the fields because it was people talking your language, people hearing the kind of music you hear at home, people eating the foods you eat,’ [Exhibition subject Luz] Iniguez said. ‘It really felt like a community of people that were just working hard trying to make the most of a situation that was hard.’”

Inter/National News

“The highest aesthetic and technical achievement in fashion”: That’s a Met Costume Institute curator on Issey Miyake’s designs; the groundbreaking Japanese designer has died at age 84. You can see three examples of his work right now at SAM in Folding Into Shape: Japanese Design and Crafts.

Via Sarah Rose Sharpe of Hyperallergic: “Best Museum Bathrooms in the US, Ranked.”

Arthur Lubow for the New York Times on a five-screen film installation by Isaac Julien now on view at the Barnes Foundation that “looks at the place of African art in the Barnes and other Western museums.”

“‘I’m calling this the poetics of restitution, which is something I’m trying to explore in the work,’ Julien said in a telephone interview from London. ‘The debates that we’re having today that seem contemporaneous were happening 50 years ago, if not before. I think that’s really interesting.’”

And Finally

Art But Make It Sports.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Photo: Chloe Collyer.

Object of the Week: SO GOOD IT COULD HAVE BEEN

When a male colleague coined “so good it could have been made by a man” as a shiny new art-descriptor, artists Dawn Cerny and Victoria Haven weren’t so keen on its uptake.

Cerny and Haven met in Seattle in 2012, when Haven was working on a show at SAM on view concurrent with ELLES: Women from the Centre Pompidou, Paris. Cerny had expertise in printmaking, and Haven had a story to share: at the show’s opening event, a male painter they both knew told her not only that her work was “so good it could have been made by a man,” but “that he was mystified (with a tinge of pity) that it had been relegated to a show of work by women.”

The comment prompted the pair to collaborate, under the witty moniker DAFT KUNTZ, to reframe his words (both literally and figuratively). Without adding their own commentary, the artists ask us to consider: Should we interpret it as an underhanded compliment or a reminder that artistic and intellectual achievement is still measured by male accomplishments?

Perhaps the two are not mutually exclusive. SO GOOD IT COULD HAVE BEEN shares a certain arresting visual quality with the iconic Do Women Have To Be Naked To Get Into The Met. Museum? 1989 poster by the Guerilla Girls (the data for which has since been updated and is, spoiler alert, just as abysmal). The works are conceptually similar in their use of jarring statements that force the viewer to reflect on social structures, presented with bold text and graphic imagery. A component of Do Women Have To Be Naked To Get Into the Met? that is often overlooked, however, is one essential word: modern. It was not the case that 5% of all of the art in the Met Museum in 1989 was created by women, rather, only 5% of the art in the galleries of modern art was created by women. A common refrain in response to criticisms of male hegemony is the classic “it was a different time,” and “that was then, this is now.” It may be true that the times they are a-changing, but Cerny and Haven remind us that we still have a ways to go.

A 2016 SAM Blog post featuring SO GOOD IT COULD HAVE BEEN touches on a similar point.

We all know the [women] artists that most people are able to list off automatically, right? The list usually goes a little something like…Georgia O’Keefe, Frida Kahlo, Dorothea Lange, etc. And they are all fantastic women artists worthy of such recognition! But there’s so many more out there. Our goal at SAM is to share a wider range of women that may not be as well known, including women of color and more contemporary artists, all from our collection.

Relegating the exclusion of women to the past both excuses the history of male superiority in art and minimizes the exclusionary tactics that contemporary women artists face. SO GOOD IT COULD HAVE BEEN admonishes the very present imbalance and asserts a new way forward. The top text, “so good it could have been,” is hopeful and earnest. “Made by a man” is tacked on below like an official stamp; it’s a dark cloud, a swift gut punch expelling the air from once hopeful lungs. But it’s a necessary evil, because only by understanding the imbalance can we move toward a future where women artists are celebrated without being measured by male accomplishments. And perhaps, if we’re lucky, even be let into the Met fully clothed.

SO GOOD IT COULD HAVE BEEN is notable in another way: it is a collaboration between two past winners of the SAM’s annual Betty Bowen Award, an unrestricted cash prize for a Northwest artist to further their career. Dawn Cerny and Victoria Haven are both previous Grand Prize recipients of the Betty Bowen Award: Haven was awarded the prize in 2004, the two artists came together to create SO GOOD IT COULD HAVE BEEN in 2015, and Cerny went on to win the Grand Prize in 2020.

So who will be next? The 2022 Betty Bowen Award is currently open for applications through Monday, August 1 at 11 pm PST. The winner receives an unrestricted cash prize of $15,000 and a solo exhibition at SAM. For more information and to see a list of past winners, please visit visitsam.org/bettybowen or email bettybowen@seattleartmuseum.org.

– Johnna Munsen, Betty Bowen Award Administration Intern

Image: SO GOOD IT COULD HAVE BEEN, 2012, DAFT KUNTZ, Collaboration between Victoria Haven and Dawn Cerny, silkscreen on paper, 33 1/2 × 26 in. Gift of Matthew Offenbacher and Jennifer Nemhauser with funds from the 2013 Neddy Award in Painting, 2015.2.1.

Muse/News: Caffeinated Curator, Material Realities, and Shang Relics

SAM News

“Christie’s, consecrated statues, and coffee”: Seattle Met’s Sophie Grossman peeks into a day in the life of Natalia Di Pietrantonio, SAM’s Assistant Curator of South Asian Art. Her first exhibition at the Seattle Asian Art Museum, Embodied Change: South Asian Art Across Time, is on view now through July 10—don’t miss it!

Last week, we shared the exciting news that José Carlos Diaz will be joining SAM in July as the new Susan Brotman Deputy Director for Art. He spoke with KUOW’s Kim Malcolm about what he’s thinking about as he makes his way to Seattle.

“I’m going to hit the ground running. I really want to get a sense of where we are, listen to the staff, but also start communicating with stakeholders and think about what the needs are for an institution in the Pacific Northwest, and how that responds to what’s happening in the country.”

For International Examiner, Susan Kunimatsu reviews an installation of Japanese art now on view at the Seattle Art Museum, Folding Into Shape: Japanese Design and Crafts.

“The Seattle Art Museum’s collection of Japanese art is so vast that only a fraction is on display on any given day. But the depth of its holdings allowed curator Xiaojin Wu to create this little gem of a show. Taking the concept of containment and the technique of folding and selecting objects that represent different artists’ responses to those ideas, she has shown how cultural influences flow across media and over time.”

Susan has been busy! She also previewed our summer exhibition for, well, Preview. Tickets are on sale now for Alberto Giacometti: Toward the Ultimate Figure, which opens at SAM on July 14. (Did you see our trailer for the show, featuring original animation and music by SAM designers L. Fried and Natali Wiseman??)

And business-oriented Quartz found inspiration for professionals in Giacommetti’s tireless quest for discovery in his art. 

Local News

This past Sunday, many in the US celebrated Juneteenth. In case you missed it, the Seattle Times’ graphic team shared information on the meaning of the holiday’s flag (including a link to print your own!). Explore more about its history at juneteenth.com and check out this article written by SAM Marketing Associate Karly Norment Meneses on how to celebrate responsibly. 

No change in commute: the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) announced that Tom Mara will be its next executive director. Mara just celebrated his departure from SIFF neighbor KEXP after 30 years with the radio station.

Duncan Gibbs for South Seattle Emerald on the works of Hanako O’Leary and Molly Vaughan, both on view at ARTS at King Street Station through July 7. Vaughan was the 2017 Betty Bowen Award winner and her work is in SAM’s collection. 

“Elevating these topics (reproductive rights, trans rights, women’s health, and autonomy) to the platform of aesthetic enquiry blasts the logic and word games of political rhetoric to pieces. Art demonstrates the material reality of personal experience in a way that can’t be argued or legislated.”

Inter/National News

Best Booths at Basel! ARTnews’ Sarah Belmont takes you there, including to former Seattle-based gallerist Mariane Ibrahim’s inaugural booth, which includes two paintings by Amoako Boafo.

Discoveries via Francesca Aton for ARTnews: “‘First of its Kind’ Viking Age Shipyard Discovered at Birka” in Sweden. (You can always get your Nordic kicks locally at the National Nordic Museum.)

Even more discoveries via Artnet’s Amah-Rose Abrams: “Archaeologists Have Uncovered 13,000 Shang Dynasty Relics in China, Many of Them Used in Sacrificial Rites.” 

“‘The sculptures are very complex and imaginative, reflecting the fairy world imagined by people at that time, and they demonstrate the diversity and richness of Chinese civilization,’ said Zhao Hao, an associate professor at Peking University.”

And Finally

Thank you for your many gifts, Philip Baker Hall—perhaps especially for Bookman.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Image: Chloe Collyer.

Muse/News: History at SAM, Overheard at the Frye, and Sculptures with the Blues

SAM News

“SAM picks new board chair, making national history.” That’s the Seattle Times headline announcing that Dr. Constance W. Rice is the museum’s new board Chair. She is believed to be the first Black woman to assume the role at a major US art museum. ARTnews, Artdaily, The Seattle Medium and others also shared the news.

“She says she wants to ‘keep doors wide open’ in the museum to communities that might not see the museum as a place they belong, in the way she felt comfortable roaming the halls of MoMA when she was younger. ‘For me, every citizen of Seattle owns the art museum,’ Rice says. ‘I want them, when they walk in, to feel like I felt years ago as a kid: welcome.’”

The Seattle Times’ Tan Vinh reports on restaurant openings, including MARKET SEATTLE, SAM’s new restaurant partner.

“Arguably the most popular seafood spot in the North End…expands to downtown Seattle with a 60-seat restaurant inside the Seattle Art Museum. All of its greatest hits are here: lobster rolls, fried soft-shell crab, seafood chowder and fish and chips.”

Local News

All aboard: Brangien Davis of Crosscut on the new public art debuting along with the expanded light rail. Also mentioned: The Frye Art Museum’s new exhibition of recent acquisitions, including a work by SAM’s 2021 Betty Bowen Award-winner, Anthony White.

The Stranger’s Jas Keimig on Alden Mason: Fly Your Own Thing, now on view at the Bellevue Arts Museum through October 10.

The Seattle Times’ Brendan Kiley has their “A&E Pick of the Week”: Duane Linklater’s new exhibition at the Frye Art Museum. Kiley dives deep with five of the works on view.

“There are stories and ideas in “mymothersside,” currently occupying several rooms at Frye Art Museum, but we only catch fragments and echoes, like we’re overhearing something — or being permitted to overhear little bits of something that isn’t ours to fully comprehend.”

Inter/National News

Artnet’s Melissa Smith has the first major interview with Naomi Beckwith since she became chief curator and deputy director of the Guggenheim; Beckwith talks about why she’s exactly where she needs to be.

The MacArthur Foundation named its 25 new fellows (yep, “geniuses”), including visionaries from the art world such as painter Jordan Casteel, art historian/curator Nicole Fleetwood, and sculptor/painter Daniel Lind-Ramos.

“Woody de Othello’s ceramic sculptures give Funk art a musical twist.” That’s Glenn Adamson for Art in America on the artist’s “heartbreaking” sculptures that have roots in face jugs, the blues, and the Funk art movement.

“Pathos is very much the point, but the effect is anything but delusional: one object, one figure at a time, Othello is making a world that’s almost too true to bear.”

And Finally

White lines.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM’s Associate Director of Public Relations

Image: Courtesy of MARKET Seattle.

Muse/News: Falling at SAM, Coltrane in Seattle, and the Year 2000

SAM News

Get out your calendars: The Seattle Times is out with their extensive fall arts guide! Megan Burbank previews both of SAM’s fall shows, Frisson: The Richard E. Lang and Jane Lang Davis Collection and Imogen Cunningham: A Retrospective. And JiaYing Grygiel has details on “for free or cheap” ways to visit local museums, mentioning free days at the Seattle Art Museum and Seattle Asian Art Museum, as well as the always-free Olympic Sculpture Park.

Brendan Kiley of the Seattle Times appears on KUOW to talk end-of-summer arts picks; he highly recommends Barbara Earl Thomas: The Geography of Innocence at SAM, which closes January 2, 2022. See it again or for the first time before heading to the Henry Art Gallery in October for more from this local arts legend.

Don’t miss the final days of Dawn Cerny: Les Choses, the solo exhibition for the 2020 winner of the Betty Bowen Award closing September 27. Here’s Emily Zimmerman interviewing the artist for BOMB Magazine.

Last week, SAM announced that Anthony White is the 2021 winner of the award, which grants $15,000 and a solo show to a Northwest artist. Here’s the news in Artdaily and The Stranger.

Local News

The Puget Sound Business Journal reveals their list of Directors of the Year for area boards. On the list are two board members of SAM: Sheila Edwards Lange and Maggie Walker. Congratulations, and thank you!

Crosscut’s Brangien Davis logs a hefty fall reading list in the latest edition of ArtSEA, inspired by the recent Washington State Book Awards announcement.

Paul de Barros for the Seattle Times on the story of how two local saxophonists discovered a recording of a live-in-Seattle performance by John Coltrane of his masterpiece, “A Love Supreme.”

“I heard ‘Psalm’ first,” he says, “and I was blown away, because I knew it was rare, that he never played it in public, except in France. But then when I turned the tape over and realized here’s Joe Brazil doing his matinee set, then it ends, then the next thing is the opening fanfare [of “Acknowledgment”], and — Oh my God, I realized the whole suite is here!”

Inter/National News

“George Lucas’ new L.A. museum moves full speed ahead”: The Los Angeles Times with an update on the forthcoming museum of narrative art, led by former SAM leader Sandra Jackson-Dumont. Also mentioned: the appointment of another former SAM education leader, Regan Pro, as their deputy director of public programs and social impact.

“In honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month, which takes place from September 15 to October 15, five of Getty’s most popular online exhibits on Google Arts & Culture will now be permanently available in Spanish as well as their original English,” reports Sarah Rose Sharp of Hyperallergic.

Artnet’s Sarah Cascone on the illustrations created by Jean-Marc Côté in 1900 that offered “fantastical visions of the future,” that is, the year 2000.

“They remain relevant, and become increasingly more so as time passes,” [Rebecca] Romney said. “One of the cards depicts a scientist interacting with microbes; another shows something very akin to a Zoom session…Looking at these cards is a bit like catching up with a friend you haven’t seen since high school—that contraction of time in which it feels as if you experience two time periods at once, thinking of all that was different in the past, and how much has changed now.”

And Finally

Met Gala looks inspired by art.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM’s Associate Director of Public Relations

Image: Night Watch, 1960, Lee Krasner, American, 1908–1984, oil on canvas, 70 x 99 in., Seattle Art Museum, Gift of the Friday Foundation in honor of Richard E. Lang and Jane Lang Davis, 2020.14.4 © The Pollock-Krasner Foundation. Photo: Spike Mafford / Zocalo Studios. Courtesy of the Friday Foundation.

Muse/News: Dawn Cerny Wins Award, Venus Suggests Life, and RBG’s Love for Operas

SAM News

SAM announced last week that Dawn Cerny is the winner of the 2020 Betty Bowen Award, an annual juried award for Pacific Northwest artists. Cerny will receive $15,000 and a solo exhibition at SAM in 2021. The Stranger’s Jasmyne Keimig shared the news, as did Artdaily.

Beverly Aarons for South Seattle Emerald interviews Barbara Earl Thomas about her upcoming exhibition at SAM, The Geography of Innocence, which features cut-paper portraits of Black children, many from the artist’s life.

“But she didn’t want to just capture them exactly as they were — she wanted to answer in her work the question, ‘What do I wish for them?’ Thomas didn’t want to talk about what she didn’t want — racism, violence, tragic deaths — but she wanted the work to embody the hope for the children’s futures.”

Tamara Gane for The Washington Post on “art alfresco,” recommending the best sculpture parks in the US to commune with art outside—and leading with SAM’s Olympic Sculpture Park.

Local News

The Stranger’s Jasmyne Keimig and Chase Burns previews four “don’t-miss” documentaries at the upcoming Local Sightings Film Festival.

“Washington State Is All Over the National Book Awards Longlist,” reports Seattle Met’s Stefan Milne. Get reading!

Muse/News really can’t take one more story about penguins visiting locked-down museums. Where are the penguins for SAM?? Anyway, here’s Crosscut’s Brangien Davis with her weekly editor’s letter, where she talks life on Venus, penguins in museums (sob!), and art classes for your health.

“I would argue that the Venus discovery is cultural, in the vein of Carl Sagan’s assertion that we’re all ‘made of star stuff.’ The mystifying connections across our vast universe contribute to the culture we humans create, even if subconsciously, or via some microscopic cellular nudge.”

Inter/National News

Yinka Elujoba for the New York Times on Jacob Lawrence: The American Struggle, which “succeeds in making visible, and even visceral, America’s history with the struggle for racial and political equality.” The exhibition is now on view at The Met and heads to SAM early next year.

The Brooklyn Museum made headlines last week when it announced it would sell twelve works from its collection at auction, to support the “management and care” of its full collection. They are the first major museum to take advantage of loosened regulations—due to the difficulties brought on by the coronavirus—around deaccessioning of works.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has passed away at the age of 87, leaving an immense legacy as a scholar, jurist, human—and opera lover. This tribute offers insights into the legal scholar’s intense advocacy for the arts.

“…those kinds of cases she made her career of are the stuff of opera. The underdog, the ill-served character: Manon Lescaut, Violetta, women who have to struggle their way to the top for survival. They connected to her sense of right and wrong and what is a humane way of living.”

And Finally

“A good time for thinking about Francisco Goya is while the world stumbles.”

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Image: The farm that was there and then not, 2020, wood, handblown glass, plaster tape, wire, paint, clay, 27 x 22 x 14 in., Courtesy of the artist, © Dawn Cerny

Muse/News: Online learning, quarantine portraits, and Wendy Red Star’s school

SAM News

Seattle’s Child has a round-up of online learning activities from area museums, zoos, and more—including a mention of Stay Home with SAM art-making activities.

Local News

Chris Talbott for the Seattle Times reports on KEXP’s recent shifts in leadership and programming, as the beloved radio station works to become an anti-racist organization.

Crosscut’s Margo Vansynghel joins Seattle dancers as they pivot to performances outdoors in local parks.

Stefan Milne explores why Steven Miller’s quarantine portraits of friends have struck such a deep chord.

“American culture often talks of queerness in terms of visibility, ‘in the closet’ or ‘out.’ In these photos, Miller looks in on a more literal enclosure. He told me his way of dealing with this imposed invisibility is having people ‘come as they want to be seen.’”

Inter/National News

Rebecca Ann Proctor reports for the Art Newspaper on the devastation in Beirut after an explosion in the port left more than 70 people dead and over 4,000 injured. Many museums and galleries were severely impacted in the blast.

Artnet’s Kate Brown reports on the turmoil within the Paris-based International Council of Museums (ICOM), as an effort that began last year to redefine “museum” has now resulted in a series of resignations.

Hyperallergic’s Karen Chernick speaks with Wendy Red Star—winner of SAM’s 2016 Betty Bowen Award—about her new solo exhibition at the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art (MASS MoCA)’s Kidspace, which acts as a corrective to the lack and misrepresentation of Native history in public school curriculums.

“For me, it’s very important that the ancestors that are presented in the exhibition are really thought of as people. And relatable people…And really humanizing them, because Native people have been dehumanized so much or made into this mythical part of the West that doesn’t exist. My hope is that there’s a human connection that the kids can make and relate to.”

And Finally

Setsuko Thurlow bears witness.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

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.

Muse/News: Radical times, art world internships, and online wives

SAM News

The summer edition of the Stranger’s Art & Performance Quarterly is out! Recommended SAM shows in the visual arts listings include Hear & Now, 2018 Betty Bowen Award Winner: Natalie Ball, Victorian Radicals, Zanele Muholi, Material Differences: German Perspectives, You Are on Indigenous Land: Places/Displaces, and Claire Partington: Taking Tea. They also recommend upcoming events Summer at SAM and Remix.

Fine Art Connoisseur, 425 Magazine, and Seattle Gay Scene are also among those who look forward to getting radical with the Victorians when our major exhibition opens this Thursday night.  

Local News

The Stranger’s Jasmyne Keimig looks—and looks again—at Cecilia Vicuña’s first major US solo exhibition, now on view at the Henry Art Gallery.

The Seattle Times’ Brendan Kiley reports on the formal launch of the Art Workers Union (AWU), formed by and for security guards at the Frye Art Museum.

Margo Vansynghel for Crosscut on the future home of an incredible archive of Black Panther newspapers; a satellite of Estelita’s Library, it will be the first “tiny cultural space” from the Office of Arts & Culture.

The newspaper collection, says Dixon, preserves “an important, critical part of American history. To see that [this] time existed and that it’s captured in the pages of these newspapers so that people can actually see and read what we said—not what someone else is interpreting from afar—but what we said, how we articulated revolution in this country, that’s the importance of them.”

Inter/National News

From the Los Angeles Times: The Natural History Museum of LA County announced a major rethink of the La Brea Tar Pits site; the Olympic Sculpture Park’s designer Weiss/Manfredi is one of three firms making proposals for the project.

Hyperallergic’s Kealey Boyd on Margaret Kilgallen’s first posthumous museum exhibition—now on view at the Aspen Art Museum—and the artist’s “unique mix of folk, feminism, and street art.”

Artsy’s Benjamin Sutton examines “how internships are changing the art world,” detailing various initiatives at the Getty Foundation, Souls Grown Deep, and Artpace.

“Museums desperately need talent in all sorts of positions—curators represent a fraction of the staff of museums,” Anderson said. “We’d be thrilled if an accountant emerges from [the Souls Grown Deep initiative] and finds their way into the museum profession, but they’re an accountant who has knowledge and experience in a particular cultural remit that otherwise they may not have.”

And Finally

Please, My Wife, She’s Very Online.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Manager of Public Relations

Image: The Long Engagement, ca. 1854–59, Arthur Hughes, British, 1832–1915, oil on canvas, 42 1/8 × 21 in., Lent by Birmingham Museums Trust on behalf of Birmingham City Council, Presented by the executors of the late Dr. Edwin T. Griffiths, 1902P13, © Birmingham Museums Trust, Courtesy American Federation of Arts.

Muse/News: A SAM award-winner, kinesthetic truth, and art goes lunar

SAM News

This week, the Seattle Times shared SAM’s news that multidisciplinary artist Natalie Ball is the winner of the 2018 Betty Bowen Award. Ball approaches her sculptural work through the lens of auto-ethnography. Look out for the artist’s solo exhibition at SAM in spring 2019.

Our major fall exhibition, Peacock in the Desert: The Royal Arts of Jodhpur, India, is among the highlights in Zoe Sayler’s Seattle Times story on the upcoming visual arts season that promises “something for everyone.”

SAM participated in an important research collaboration between Artnet and In Other Words, exploring in-depth how institutions have—or have not—moved the needle on showing and buying art by Black artists.

RIP to the legendary architect Robert Venturi; he and his wife, Denise Scott Brown, designed the 1991 downtown Seattle Art Museum building.

Local News

Dance critic Sandra Kurtz previews Pacific Northwest Ballet’s Jerome Robbins Festival for Seattle Weekly, noting the iconic choreographer’s “kinesthetic truth.”

Seattle Eater reports: Food science nerd Nathan Myhrvold, creator of the Modernist Cuisine cookbooks, is opening a food photography gallery in SAM’s neighborhood.

Margo Vansynghel of City Arts spoke with artist Lawrence Pitre about community, the Central District, and his new narrative painting series We Are One at 4Culture.

“I knew the Central Area had been going through a lot of urban renewal. I went to see the Migration Series at the Seattle Art Museum and thought, I could do a series capturing urban life, showing the historical legacy of the Central Area.”

(Inter)National News

Just in time for the 10-year anniversary of the 2008 financial meltdown, a 26-foot-tall painted steel rose by German artist Isa Genzken has been installed in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park, intending to inspire empathy and equality.

Speaking of the financial breakdown, the New York Times’ Scott Reyburn explores why “the art market remains one of the most glaringly visible symptoms of global income inequality.”

Artsy’s Scott Indrisek on photographer Robert Frank’s game-changing photography book The Americans, and why the monograph—turning 60 years old—matters today.

“’Frank revealed a people who were plagued by racism, ill-served by their politicians, and also rendered increasingly numb by the rising culture of consumerism,’ Greenough noted. ‘But it’s also important to point out that he found new areas of beauty in those simple, overlooked corners of American life—in diners, or on the street.’”

And Finally

“Finally, I can tell you that I choose to go the moon.”

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Manager of Public Relations

Image: Portrait of Natalie Ball by Greg Wahl-Stephens, courtesy of the artist.

Muse/News: SAM on The Advocate, what libraries can do, and a farewell to Gold

SAM News

Project 42: Molly Vaughan is featured on The Advocate! Their post includes the SAM-produced video featuring behind-the-scenes footage of Molly Vaughan in her studio and moments from the pop-up performances held throughout the show’s run. Catch the solo exhibition of the 2017 Betty Bowen Award-winner before it closes on Sunday, August 5.

“A vast and at times splendid show.” Margo Vansynghel of City Arts reviews Double Exposure, exploring its themes of flux, ambivalence, and narrative ownership.

And Frank Catalano of Geekwire explores three examples of how museums are incorporating virtual and augmented reality, including “mesmerizing” examples at Double Exposure.

Local News

Michael Upchurch of Crosscut on what Mickalene Thomas’s mother said that will make you cry at the Henry Art Gallery’s current exhibition.

If you enjoyed the schooling provided by #LibraryTwitter last week, don’t miss Ambreen Ali’s story for Seattle Magazine on how the Seattle Public Library has reinvented itself to be “the community’s great equalizer.”

Cultured Magazine interviews director Nato Thompson on what to expect at the Seattle Art Fair’s fourth edition.

“I feel like this fair will demonstrate a unique blend of sardonic humor, dystopic futurism, historical imagination, indigenous radicalism and a homespun dreaminess.”

Inter/National News

Zachary Small of Hyperallergic reports on the controversy surrounding a Vogue Paris fashion editorial by Juergen Teller that uses the signature aesthetic of Mickalene Thomas.

Lou Cornum for Art in America reviews On Whiteness, the Kitchen’s current show created in collaboration with Claudia Rankine’s Racial Imaginary Institute.

RIP to the beloved Pulitzer Prize-winning food writer Jonathan Gold; Janelle Zara of Artnet offers this remembrance that reminds us that Gold’s poetic writing was partly informed by experiences as a performance artist.

“I had fully intended that, in fact, I would kill the chicken in the midst of this performance. But chickens aren’t that stupid.”

And Finally

If Timothée Chalamet had posed for Caravaggio.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Manager of Public Relations

Memorializing Trans Lives in Project 42 at SAM

At the center of Project 42: Molly Vaughan stands an elaborate dress with a 25-foot-long train hanging down from the ceiling. Created for the 2017 Betty Bowen Award winner installation at SAM, it is one of artist Molly Vaughan’s most ambitious pieces in the series that will eventually include 42 garments memorializing murdered trans individuals.

Seattle-based artist Molly Vaughan made this particular garment in collaboration with Lesley Dill in memory of Lorena Escalera Xtravaganza. Created using a vintage victorian form for a bustle, the train is covered in a reorganized poem by Emily Dickinson. Lesley Dill selected “The Soul Has Bandaged Moments” and stenciled it by hand as she rearranged the text and broke stanzas.

“Lesley was an inspiration to me and to Project 42,” says Molly Vaughan. “As a docent at the the Orlando Museum of Art I toured a dress of Lesley’s and it left a big impact on me. As a printer, it’s my job to replicate the hand of the artist who intentionally hand-stenciled the text, rather than digitally reproducing it.” Look closely and you’ll see the pen strokes of Lesley Dill’s process. What you won’t see when you visit, is the embroidery on the interior of the garment that Molly has created just for Lorena that is meant to convey her inner life and extravagance.

Lesley Dill says that she works with Emily Dickinson’s text often because “Dickinson’s writing is the door I walked through to become an artist.” After reciting a stanza of this specific poem over the phone she continues to explain: “It’s a gothic poem and speaks of a poetic persona whose identity is haunted and exhilarated. A large part of the entire Project 42 is about the vivacity of life and bandages of the soul. I feel that Lorena and the project are deserving of intensity and multiple layers of meaning.”

Formatted on the train of the garment in the gallery the poem is difficult to read so we’re sharing it here for you.

The Soul Has Bandaged Moments

The Soul has Bandaged moments –
When too appalled to stir –
She feels some ghastly Fright come up
And stop to look at her –
 
Salute her, with long fingers –
Caress her freezing hair –
Sip, Goblin, from the very lips
The Lover – hovered – o’er –
Unworthy, that a thought so mean
Accost a Theme – so – fair –
 
The soul has moments of escape –
When bursting all the doors –
She dances like a Bomb, abroad,
And swings opon the Hours,
 
As do the Bee – delirious borne –
Long Dungeoned from his Rose –
Touch Liberty – then know no more –
But Noon, and Paradise
 
The Soul’s retaken moments –
When, Felon led along,
With shackles on the plumed feet,
And staples, in the song,
 
The Horror welcomes her, again,
These, are not brayed of Tongue –
 
– Emily Dickinson1
 
 
A large part of Molly’s collaborative process involves asking her collaborators to research the individual being memorialized. The process left Lesley Dill reflecting that “Lorena Xtravaganza was trying to find and name her true self in a world that had no room for this search. Her murder is a catastrophe of culture. Molly is giving us a chance to memorialize individuals who wanted to simply exist inside of their nature. When our culture murders trans people, I feel our belief in human goodness is wounded. With Molly’s work we are given new faith, we are reinvesting in faith.”
 

Find your faith renewed in humanity with a visit to Project 42. If you are looking for another reason to come, the garment created for Lorena Escalera Xtravaganza includes an interactive element where visitors are invited to tie fabric flowers to the train. Visit often if you hope to catch one of the unannounced performances that will take place in the galleries.

– Chelsea Werner-Jatzke, Content Strategist & Social Media Manager

1 Emily Dickinson, “[The soul has bandaged moments]” from The Poems of Emily Dickinson: Variorum Edition. Copyright © 1998 by Emily Dickinson.  Reprinted by permission of The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press.
Images: Installation view of Project 42: Molly Vaughan at Seattle Art Museum, 2018, photo: Natali Wiseman.

Muse/News: Arts News from SAM, Seattle, and Beyond

SAM News

In honor of World Book Day, Culture Type recommends reading an exhibition catalogue; among the picks is the catalogue for Figuring History (only two weeks left to see it!).

“Few have the opportunity to travel around the country to view all of the important and compelling museum exhibitions featuring work by African American artists. While there is no substitute for seeing art in person, exhibition catalogs are the next best thing.”

The solo exhibition of the 2017 Betty Bowen Award winner is now on view! Margo Vansynghel of City Arts interviewed the artist for this feature story.

“I don’t want to only talk about myself,” Vaughan says when we meet to talk about the Betty Bowen Award and the associated show. “The project is about raising awareness about what’s happening: Last year was the most dangerous year on record for trans people, and specifically for womxn of color. Over 92 percent of trans people killed are trans people of color. That intersectionality is important.”

In her recurring series Art of Our City, Marcie Sillman of KUOW features dancer, Renaissance man, and SAM public programs coordinator David Rue (I really hope you didn’t miss him perform last week in Dani Tirrell’s Black Bois).

My older brother was in a production of “Into the Woods.” He was in 6th grade or something like that, but it was the first time I saw the curtain rise to expose this world of the imagination and I was like, “Oh my god! This is what I should be doing! This is it!’

Local News

Seattle Times food writer Bethany Jean Clement reviews Oh, You STILL Work There?, The Factory’s recent show about artists working in the service industry.

Carla Bell for Crosscut interviews ChrisTiana ObeySumner, Seattle Opera’s first social impact consultant; they will work to “encourage more access to communities of color.”

City Art’s Margo Vansynghel on Photographic Center Northwest’s current show on the deep visual legacy of the Black Panther Party, curated by Michelle Dunn Marsh and Negarra Kudumu.

“The Black Panthers were very aware of the power of imagery and of the effects of repetition,” Kudumu says. “The key markers and unifying aesthetic were always present, as a constant reminder of who they were and what they stood for.”

Inter/National News

The National Memorial for Peace and Justice—“the first public museum and memorial to the victims of racial terror in the US”—opened last week in Montgomery, Alabama. The New York Times’ Campbell Robertson has an unmissable look at this extraordinary new institution.

The Institute for Contemporary Art has opened in Richmond, Virginia. Hyperallergic’s Amanda Dalla Villa Adams visits their inaugural exhibition, Declaration, featuring artists such as Deb Sokolow, Titus Kaphar, and Paul Rucker.

Artsy’s Tess Thackara on the “must-see” exhibition of sculpture by the late Jack Whitten, now on view at the Baltimore Museum of Art.

“They were talismans and memorials; expressions of reverence to his ancestors; objects intended to create hope and to keep his family safe. They bring African and European cultural pasts together, rejecting the binaries of West and non-West. Indeed, they represent something like a loose roadmap for the future of humanity, offering some clues for how we might face the twin threats of technological and ecological crisis.”

And Finally

RIP to Bob Dorough, who has passed away at 94. I will always be grateful for your undeniably funky earworms that made learning magical.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Manager of Public Relations

Photo: Natali Wiseman

Muse/News: Arts News from SAM, Seattle, and Beyond

SAM News

Seattle Met’s Spring Arts Preview included the solo show of Betty Bowen Award-winner Molly Vaughan as one of the “Top Things to See and Do in Seattle” this spring.

And their cover story, uncovering the gems of “hidden Seattle,” included SAM Gallery—“a space where art appreciation turns into acquisition.”

SAM’s summer exhibition, Double Exposure: Edward S. Curtis, Marianne Nicolson, Tracy Rector, Will Wilson, is featured in Seattle Magazine’s Spring Arts Preview as one of the “can’t-miss” upcoming shows.

Chris Juergens of The International Examiner interviewed Manish Engineer, SAM’s first-ever Chief Technology Officer, about what he’s looking forward to in his new role.

“A higher profile, innovative art museum scene coalesces well with a rapidly growing local economy and world tech hub. Just like Engineer’s professional and educational background is a fusion of many worlds, with Engineer’s help, Seattle too will become a fusion of technology, business and art.”

Local News

Emily Pothast of the Stranger reviews C. Davida Ingram’s solo show A Book with No Pages, now on view at UW’s Jacob Lawrence Gallery, saying it “doesn’t just imagine that love. It’s a portal to a world where it has always existed.”

Karen Ducey of Crosscut takes her camera to the historic Louisa Hotel to capture the life-size murals from an underground after-hours jazz club that were discovered after a fire in 2013.

Rosin Saez of Seattle Met talks with Janelle Abbott and Camilla Carper, the creators of art/fashion line Femail, which is currently housed in the former Lusty Lady space.

“’This one I struggled with, but I think I’m happy now,’ she explained as she gazed at a patchwork dress made with her grandma’s sweatshirt. ‘It’s really, wonderfully, heinous.’”

Inter/National News

Beloved activist and patron Peggy Cooper Cafritz recently passed away; the story of her incredible art collection—and how she had to rebuild it after a fire—is told in a just-released Rizzoli book.

Taylor Dafoe of Artnet on New York-based arts nonprofit Creative Time’s upcoming spring exhibition, which “uses house music to explore issues of mass incarceration and criminal justice reform” in a decommissioned fire station.

Hope you enjoyed your bubbly and takeout for the Oscars last night. Mekado Murphy of the New York Times shares how four artists approached creating alternative posters for Get Out, the film which earned its writer/director Jordan Peele the award for best original screenplay.

And Finally

If SAM ever needs to hire someone to help write wall labels, this might be the person.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Manager of Public Relations

Image: Studio visit with Molly Vaughan, 2017, photo: Natali Wiseman

In The Studio: Molly Vaughan, 2017 Betty Bowen Award Winner

Molly Vaughan, winner of the 2017 Betty Bowen Award, comes from an academic background, however the background noise of a visit to her studio is the sound of a sewing machine. Vaughan is embroidering Four Corners, a poem written by one of her collaborators, Natalie Ann Martinez onto the fabric she will use to make the sleeves for her current garment in the ongoing series, Project 42. Though she didn’t study textile art, Molly Vaughan’s recent work includes the production of colorful and carefully crafted, hand-made garments.

Project 42 is named for the short life expectancy of transgender individuals in the United States. The age 42 is based on Vaughan’s own research since no official study can currently verify the average life expectancy of trans people. The National Transgender Survey was conducted two years ago and will be published soon as the most comprehensive analysis of the transgender community, Vaughan tells us.

For each work in the series, the artist designs a garment that begins with an image of a murder location, which is digitally manipulated to create an abstract textile print. The garment is then activated by a collaborator or by the audience and visitors to the installation, as it will be when installed at SAM for Molly Vaughan: Betty Bowen Award Winner, in April 2018. Molly Vaughan describes this practice as rooted in the belief of labor as memorialization and in the physical object as tribute.

Help us celebrate the 2017 Betty Bowen Award Winner during the Award Ceremony and Reception on November 9 featuring a collaborative performance memorializing Fred Martinez Jr. by Natalie Ann Martinez, Catherine Uehara, and Amanda Pickler, and a talk by this multi-talented artist.

Heavier than it looks, this top includes fabric from every garment Molly Vaughan has made. This is the only piece Molly has made for herself and she intends for it to continue to grow.

SAM: Tell us how Project 42 got started.

Molly Vaughan: Project 42 began as a with a grant from Art Matters Foundation. I proposed a series of painting that were abstract paintings of locations where trans people had been murdered. Many people don’t want to have conversations about violence against trans people. Most people don’t know what abstract painting is about. They don’t know the history and the conceptual violence behind it. I wanted to use abstract painting to speak to that idea of something misunderstood, which ‘transness,’ I think, is very misunderstood.

How did you begin working with textiles?

The paintings were too static. They weren’t memorializing the individual in the way that I wanted them too. For a long time, I’d been talking to a dancer about collaborating, and I reached out to her to ask if I printed this pattern on fabric and made a garment, would she dance in it? That’s where it began. I stepped outside of my boundaries to make something outside of my traditional production and comfort zone.

How did do you decide how to abstract these geographical locations? Is there a specific school of abstraction or artists you’re influenced by as you create the patterns?

It’s responsive. Sometimes the patterns start with colors from photographs like skin tones or colors of clothing. Sometimes the patterns utilize screenshots of Google Earth street views where someone was murdered. They each include some type of symbolic action. In one garment many layers of lines are combined to form the pattern, each with 105 lines, a reference to the room number the individual was murdered in. There is also the design content—creating something that is visually appealing as a way to pull people into a discussion that they don’t recognize they want to have.

What role do your collaborators play in the creation of the garment?

I think of myself as the director of the project. The collaborators can engage in any type of action that they wish to share but we work closely to make sure that their memorialization is respectful and considered. Sometimes I do performance work too but I try not to be the focus. The last one was the result of a requirement by Anna Conner that couldn’t be facilitated unless the dress was cut off of her. Then I began to recognize the symbolic significance of sewing the dress back together as part of the performance. So that’s what we did.

The activations of these garments have taken place across multiple continents. Are these connected to the murder locations or otherwise location specific?

One of the original goals of the project was to offer stolen opportunities to the spirits of the people who were murdered. And an original conceptual element was the idea of travel. The first garment I made went to Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam to be performed in by Emily Navara who wore the dress to her favorite park in the city. The second dress was sent to New York City and my friend Mia D’Avanza went to her favorite swing dancing club wearing it after sharing a large meal with her friends.

As a white artist, it would be inappropriate for me to dictate how the majority of these people are memorialized because the majority of these people are people of color. Though one part of my identity represents a shared experience, my experiences are so different than many of these individuals because of the intersectionality of their identities. This is more about the retuning of humanity and the sharing of missed opportunities. Eating at a cafe in Rome in one of these garments is a symbolic gesture, but is a symbolic gesture focused on the humanity of individuals who were treated so inhumanely.

Work in progress for collaboration with Natalie Ann Martinez. Inkjet printed cotton poplin, antique lace, Navajo Churro sheep wool.

Will the installation at SAM in April include performance?

The installation at SAM will include three or four new pieces. They will be more sculptural since they will be on display for such a long period. The center piece will be a collaborative sculpture that visitors can contribute to by tying or manipulating fabric that has been prepared for them that will then be either sewn on to the garment by me or may actually be tied onto the garment by the museum goers themselves.

I’m pretty emotionally overwhelmed by the idea that to create these new pieces since the process requires me to immerse myself in the murders. I select who to memorialize by looking at the photographs of the individuals, and allowing them to step forward and ask, to speak to me. You have to get into a certain space to do that.

How much research do you do about these people’s lives or is it just the incident of their murder?

The amount of available information is dictated by the size of a person’s community. I want to treat everybody the same, so I decided not reach into, or out to, the communities the people were directly from. In some ways that sounds a little wrong, and in some ways, it is. But some of these individuals were prominent and well-known, and others nobody knew. I want to make sure everybody is treated with the same level of compassion, care, and respect no matter who they were.

Fred Martinez Jr., who we’re memorializing at the Betty Bowen Awards Ceremony and Reception, has had a documentary made about him (all research points to Fred’s use of male pronouns). How do I give the same amount of attention and respect to every individual? There’s also the question of me, as a stranger, impacting family and friends by revisiting the murder of their loved ones. This is not an easy project. And at times the critiques I place upon myself of how the project functions almost stops the process, but then another murder occurs, and I question how can I help to stop this violence. Raising awareness is important but so is considering the roles that we may all play in the larger questions of institutionalized violence, particularly against people of color.

Work in progress from a series re-creating every drawing in “The Drawings of Francois Boucher” by Alastair Lang.

What else are you working on?

I just wrapped up Safety in Numbers for Disjecta in Portland. It’s focused on anonymity and its relationship to safety for myself as a trans person. I create anonymity for myself by turning people into clones of me through physical haircuts. I’ve done this twice now and in both cases, the haircut selected was based on a contemporary trend. This time it was the tasseled bob. The bob, in a historical context addresses notions of gender identity and freedom of gender cultural constructs.

In addition to that I’m working on a series of drawings and etchings. I’m re-creating every drawing in The Drawings of Francois Boucher by Alastair Lang and inserting trans bodies as a way to create a visual history for myself, which doesn’t exist. We know that trans people did exist, and in some cases, had very prominent roles in courts. I’m creating this history for myself through these drawings and they also include anamorphic creatures that I’ve been using for a number of years that hint to the disorientation that I had growing up about my identity.

– Chelsea Werner-Jatzke, Content Strategist & Social Media Manager

Images: Courtesy of the artist. Studio photos: Natali Wiseman. Molly Vaughan, Documentation of Project 42 performance by Anna Conner at the Henry Art Gallery, 2016, Commissioned by the Henry Art Gallery, Seattle, Washington, Photograph by Jonathan Vanderweit, Courtesy of the artist, © Molly Vaughan.

Muse/News: Arts News from SAM, Seattle, and Beyond

All the news that’s fit to blog about. See what SAM’s PR Manager, Rachel Eggers, has been reading to find out what’s happening inside the museum and around the art world.

SAM News

For Crosscut, artist and writer Don Fels asks the question: “What has made Yayoi Kusama the hottest ticket in Seattle?” Don’t miss the fun time lapse video from the lines outside the museum (if only they had gone that fast!).

“It’s very fitting, almost willfully symbolic, that people are talking with one another as they stand together outside. She couldn’t have engineered delivery of her message better if she had tried, or maybe she’s been working at that very accomplishment all these years.”

Last week, SAM announced the five artists selected as finalists for the 2017 Betty Bowen Award, which honors a Northwest artist for their original, exceptional, and compelling work. The Stranger shared the news, along with Hyperallergic, Artnet, Artdaily, and The Skanner. Stay tuned for the announcement of the winner in mid-September—and for the winner’s solo show at SAM in April 2018.

Last week’s glorious Sculptured Dance event at the Olympic Sculpture Park was everywhere; dance writer Sandra Kurtz previewed it for Seattle Weekly:

“With the audience close enough to see the dust that those sneakers kick up and hear the slap of hands as they clasp in a fast turn (not to mention the mountains in the background), we get a fresh sense of a vital art form.”

The Stranger, Seattle Met and Crosscut also recommended the event; for those who missed it, helpful Instagrammers captured a bit of the evening’s magic.

Local News

Where’d You Go, Cate Blanchett? She and director Richard Linklater were spotted filming their adaptation of a famous Seattle book at the Central Library this week.

Coming soon to the airwaves of Rainier Valley: KVRU 105.7 FM, a low-power FM station serving the community.

The Mayor’s Arts Award winners were announced last week; CityArts reported from the sunny ceremony at Seattle Center.

Inter/National News

MoMA curator Sarah Suzuki and illustrator Ellen Weinstein teamed up to create a children’s book starring Kusama as the heroine.

Prepare for the film/art connections to be explored in Andrew Wyeth: In Retrospect with this Artsy round-up of 17 artists and the films that influenced them.

The perfection of style: The New York Times files this inspiring slideshow of street style from the recent Afropunk Festival in Brooklyn.

And Finally

The project that’s achieving “a sense of shared destiny and common civic purpose” with one of my favorite things: LISTS.

– Rachel Eggers, Manager of Public Relations

 

Image: A pop-up performance during Summer at SAM by The Purple Lemonade Collective during Sculptured Dance at the Olympic Sculpture Park on August 31, 2017. Photo: Robert Wade.

2016 Betty Bowen Award Winner Wendy Red Star

We talked with Wendy Red Star, the 2016 Betty Bowen Award winner, to discuss her art and ideas of cultural archiving, inclusion, expectations, and engaging communities through a creative process. Raised on the Apsáalooke (Crow) reservation in Montana, Wendy Red Star works cross-generationally, looking in particular at matrilineal relationships within Crow culture and ceremony. She has critically examined historical portraits of Crow leaders by white photographers and taken apart stereotypical representations of Native American women in a variety of popular culture contexts. Her work centers on photography but sculpture, video, fiber arts, and performance are also important to her practice.

Learn more about this artist’s compelling work which will be featured in an installation at the Seattle Art Museum beginning November 10. And don’t miss an opportunity to celebrate the winner of the Betty Bowen Award during the ceremony on the 10th, beginning at 5:30 pm, honoring Wendy Red Star as well as  Dawn Cerny and Mark Mitchell who both received special recognition this year. The ceremony and reception following the artists’ remarks are free and open to the public.

Seattle Art Museum: You’ve described yourself as a cultural archivist in the past, can you describe how your work fills this role?

Wendy Red Star: My practice is collaborative and research-based. I am in pursuit of an on-going excavation of historical Native American imagery and material culture. I like to bring these “artifacts” to life in a contemporary visual arts context. Through an art practice that is driven largely by process, I want to unpack the fraught relationship and history of Native images, portraits, self-representation, and do so with wit, humor, and subtle satire in order to have levity in my art without sacrificing integrity.

red-star_medicine-crow

SAM: You’ve literally annotated a series of images of Crow chiefs. Do you consider your larger body of work to be an annotation? How are your cultural annotations in conversation with the erasure or removal aspects your other work?

WRS: Native voices have historically been silenced, unable to explain or even place our own narrative within the larger society. As a Native person I have witnessed the lack of inclusion for Native artists in particular in the contemporary art world, many of whom struggle for inclusion in important exhibitions. Also troubling is a prevailing but antiquated expectation of what Native art should be, whether from the 19th century or the 21st. This leaves many Native artists feeling segregated into categories of “traditional” work and without a place in the contemporary art world. I consider my practice and the act of annotating, revealing, and erasure a reclamation of my own history and identity. The act is so much more than a rejection of the colonial gaze, it is a deliberate act to take authority and rewrite histories in humanist way.

SAM: How do you see your work in conversation with SAM’s collection, if at all?

WRS: My recent work has had at its center an intensive engagement with my own Crow community and I am seeking to expand that focus into the broader contemporary art world to explore how other artists are grappling with narrative and performative aspects of their work, and how to continue exploring ways of creating greater accessibility and a sense of openness. I am inspired by the work of conceptual artist Fred Wilson who SAM has worked with and the ways in which I could further reappropriate and reimagine the photographic possibilities inherent in portraiture, staging and candid images, institutional critique, and curating museum objects in broader historical and contemporary contexts. SAM is an institution that is open to this process and I find that very exciting and necessary.

SAM: Tell us a bit about your process—how does the fabrication aspect of your creative process add dimension to the final product?

WRS: The actual making of my work happens fairly quick. The majority of my time is spent engaging in research and processing ideas while out walking with my dog in the woods. Once I have settled on an idea the execution happens in many different forms but is almost always image driven witha  focus on richness of color and cultural content.

apsaalooke_fem3

SAM: How does clothing design fit into your practice? Are you intrigued by your work being up at the same time as Yves Saint Laurent: The Perfection of Style?

WRS: My grandmother, Amy Bright Wings, made sure I participated in Crow cultural traditions. She provided me with a traditional elk tooth dress, a shawl, beaded belt, and moccasins—all objects that I have since integrated into my artwork. I soaked up as much of my grandmother’s knowledge as I could by watching her continually making. Although she never actually showed me directly how to make traditional Crow regalia, I learned through the process of immersion. Traditional Native regalia has signifiers that state the honors and virtues of the owner and maker of each individual garment. Every piece of traditional clothing is made with intention and striking beauty virtues that I use to help guide me in all aspects of my art making. I am a self taught seamstress learning the basics about nine years ago when my daughter was born. I have a deep admiration for the construction of garments, fine tailoring, and the sculptural aspect of making clothing. I am looking forward to viewing Yves Saint Laurent: The Perfection of Style and seeing the elegant construction and display of clothing. I suspect it will provide me with many ideas.

 

ABOUT THE BETTY BOWEN AWARD

Betty Bowen (1918–1977) was a Washington native and enthusiastic supporter of Northwest artists. Her friends established the annual Betty Bowen Award as a celebration of her life and to honor and continue her efforts to provide financial support to the artists of the region. Since 1977, SAM has hosted the yearly grant application process by which the selection committee chooses one artist from the Northwest to receive an unrestricted cash award, eligible to visual artists living and working in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. The award comes with an unrestricted cash award of $15,000.

 

Images: Apsáalooke Feminist 1, 2016, Wendy Red Star, digital print on silver rag, 34 x 40 in., Courtesy of the artist, ©Wendy Red Star.
Peelatchiwaaxpáash/Medicine Crow (Raven), 2014, Wendy Red Star, inkjet print with red ink, 16 x 11 in., Courtesy of the artist, ©Wendy Red Star.
Apsáalooke Feminist 3, 2016, Wendy Red Star, digital print on silver rag, 34 x 40 in., Courtesy of the artist, ©Wendy Red Star.

Object of the Week: Crystal Math

Don’t do this, but. . . If you were to bring a stack of Marvel comics to the Seattle Art Museum, ride the escalator to the third floor, take a left turn, pass the video installation, and look up at the wall to your left, you’d find installed on that wall a custom-built box that fits your comics perfectly. However, it’s sideways, and it’s a museum artwork.

The piece you’d be looking at is sardonically called Crystal Math. It visualizes a collaborative effort between brothers Oscar Tuazon and Eli Hansen. As brothers do, they’ve worked together on projects since their childhoods and this piece represents the particular interests of Tuazon in architecture and Hansen in glass art. Their collaborative art takes on traditional views that separate “high” and “low” art forms into different contexts. Crystal Math thoughtfully, playfully mingles them all.

The humble material of plywood, simply arranged into a box, contrasts the precious blown glass, artfully made. The cerebral architectural theory that informs the glass geodesic domes, which are references to the visionary Buckminster Fuller, contrasts the world referenced by the pipe-like spout on the upper dome, recalling drug paraphernalia. Then there’s the fact that Tuazon and Hansen have incorporated a box fashioned by their father for holding their comic books into an art installation on the wall of a major museum. Thinking about this piece in terms of high or low art forms, fine art or craft, really leads us nowhere; thinking about it as a creative act brings us to all kinds of fun readings.

Tuazon, who won the Betty Bowen Award in 2007, is a local artist with international appeal. He and his brother were born on the Port Madison reservation on the Kitsap Peninsula, just East of Poulsbo and North of Bainbridge Island, and they attended high school in Port Townsend. Tuazon studied at Cooper Union in New York and also completed the Independent Study Program through the Whitney Museum of American Art before moving back to the Northwest and working in Tacoma. He moved to Paris, a biographical detail that reflects his many connections abroad, and has now settled in Los Angeles. Tuazon has exhibited work in Zurich, Brussels, Berlin, Geneva, Rome, Oslo, Paris, and Tokyo, as well as in New York and LA.

Both Tuazon and Hansen participated in the residency program at Pilchuck Glass School, and right now Crystal Math joins works by other Pilchuck students, most notably Dale Chihuly, in SAM’s galleries. It also offers a point of connection to Graphic Masters: Dürer, Rembrandt, Hogarth, Goya, Picasso, R. Crumb. Not only does Graphic Masters feature the art of a legend in comics, R. Crumb, who I’m sure would be pleased to hear of Tuazon’s and Hansen’s comic book box, but it also juxtaposes work that many would consider traditional with Crumb’s notably anti-traditional illustrations. Plywood and print works, Picasso and pipes—they’re all coming together at SAM!

—Jeffrey Carlson, SAM Collections Coordinator

IMAGE: Crystal Math, 2007, Oscar Tuazon (American, b. 1975) and Eli Hansen (American, b. 1979), blown, cut, assembled glass and plywood, 36 x 30 in. Seattle Art Museum, Gift of Merrill Wright, in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Seattle Art Museum, 2007.69, © Oscar Tuazon and Eli Hansen, Photo: Natali Wiseman.

And the winner of the 2015 Betty Bowen Award is…

On September 21, 2015, The Betty Bowen Committee announced that Jack Daws is the winner of the 2015 Betty Bowen Award. The award comes with an unrestricted cash prize of $15,000. A selection of Daws’ work will be on view at the Seattle Art Museum beginning November 19, 2015. The award honors a Northwest visual artist for their original, exceptional, and compelling work.

Eirik Johnson was selected to receive the Special Recognition Award in the amount of $2,500, and Lou Watson was awarded the Kayla Skinner Special Recognition Award, also in the amount of $2,500. Six finalists—including Susan Dory, Samantha Scherer and Sadie Wechsler—were chosen from a pool of 537 applicants from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, and competed for $20,000 in awards. Daws, Johnson, and Watson will receive their awards on Thursday, November 19 at 6 pm at SAM. The award ceremony and reception are free and the public is invited to join the celebration.


2015 Betty Bowen Award Winner
Jack Daws, Vashon, WA

Critical Reflective Discourse Free Zone by Jack Daws

Jack Daws is a self-taught artist who lives on Vashon Island and is originally from Kentucky. In his practice, Daws cross-examines the blind spots of salient moments in American history, from Chief Seattle to recent social and political events. Frequently, his appropriated objects seem innocuous and everyday but upon close inspection, they reveal a more troubling undercurrent that asks us to reconsider established truths and values. He recently exhibited The House That Jack Built at Mercer Gallery of Walden 3 in 2014, and contributed to the ongoing site-specific exhibition Duwamish Revealed, organized by the Environmental Coalition of South Seattle. His work satirically asks ponderous questions in order to enlighten the public. Through visually common and memorable works, he encourages his audience to reexamine their world.

 

Special Recognition Award
Eirik Johnson, Seattle, WA

weighing Matsutake, Tsukiji Market, Tokyo by Eirik Johnson

Eirik Johnson earned his MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute after graduating from the University of Washington with a BFA in Photography and a BA in History. His current body of work is Mushroom Camps, in which he documents the unique economy and culture surrounding the Matsutake mushroom. By recording the people and places along the mushroom’s journey from Oregon to Japan, Johnson reveals unexpected connections, reflecting current commercial and social issues.

 

Kayla Skinner Special Recognition Award
Lou Watson, Portland

Billboard Duet Interrupted (detail) by Lou Watson

Lou Watson attended the Dell’Arte School of Physical Theater in Blue Lake, California and graduated with her BFA in Intermedia from the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon. Her recent work includes an experimental concert, Suite Sandy Boulevard at the Hollywood Theater (Portland, Oregon); In Celebration of Pig Pens, an installation at the Regional Arts and Culture Council’s Portland Building, and a film entitled commute that showed at the Experiments in Cinema Festival in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Working in a variety of media, Watson discovers a sense of wonder in the mundane. She refashions her regular routine into a concert, a dance, and a work of art, adding splendor and excitement to the experience of daily life.

For more information about the Betty Bowen Award and how the winners are chosen, visit our website.

IMAGES: The New World, 2013, Jack Daws, Douglas fir, acrylic, stainless steel bolts, 48 in. x 36 in., Courtesy of the artist © Jack Daws, Photo by Richard Nicol. Critical Reflective Discourse-Free Zone, 2015, Jack Daws, custom aluminum sign, 48 in. x 72 in., Courtesy of Duwamish Revealed, Organized by Sarah Kavage and Nicole Kistler, in partnership with ECOSS (The Environmental Coalition of South Seattle), © Jack Daws. Kyoko Ishikawa weighing Matsutake, Tsukiji Market, Tokyo, 2014, Eirik Johnson, Archival pigment print, 37 in. x 45 in., Courtesy of the artist © Eirik Johnson. Billboard Duet (detail), 2015, Lou Watson, performance, Courtesy of the artist © Lou Watson.

Jenny Heishman Announced as 2011 Betty Bowen Award Winner!

Today the Betty Bowen Committee announced that Jenny Heishman is the winner of the 2011 Betty Bowen Award. The award comes with an unrestricted cash prize of $15,000. In addition a selection of Heishman’s work will be on view at SAM beginning October 20, 2011. The Betty Bowen Committee, chaired by Gary Glant and administered through SAM, has selected local artists to win cash prizes for 33 years.

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