Muse/News: Look Beneath, Grade Nets, and Murrell’s Renaissance

SAM News

Renegade Edo and Paris: Japanese Prints and Toulouse-Lautrec is now on view at the Seattle Asian Art Museum. Susan Kunimatsu explores the exhibition’s themes for International Examiner.

“[Curator Xiaojin Wu] takes us on a deep dive into the sociological conditions in two emerging world capitals on opposite sides of the globe, inviting us to look beneath the visible similarities in the art.”

Foong Ping, Foster Foundation Curator of Chinese Art, shared her curator’s take on the exhibition Chronicles of a Global East with Decorative Arts Trust. Don’t miss this show, which features fascinating objects related to the Silk Roads and maritime routes of the premodern global world, now on view at the Seattle Art Museum.

And you’ve got two weeks left to see Amoako Boafo: Soul of Black Folks at the Seattle Art Museum before its last day on Sunday, September 10. 

Local News

Take a walk: David Kroman for the Seattle Times on an exciting gift of $45 million to “create a walking and biking path on the east side of Alaskan Way, a greenway that will act as a pedestrian-friendly connection between Seattle’s Olympic Sculpture Park to the north and the new Waterfront Park to the south.” 

The Frye Art Museum announced that MariPili Tapas Bar chef Grayson Corrales will reopen their Café Frieda. The Seattle Times’ Bethany Jean Clement has the Galician-inflected details.

And Crosscut’s Brangien Davis heads to the woods with her latest ArtSEA post, finding Danish troll sculptures and a new John Grade installation of nets in the Washington Park Arboretum.

“And what if birds decide the nets make for great nests? ‘Oh,’ Grade said, ‘I would love that.’”

Inter/National News

Via Maddie Klett for ARTnews: “An Asian Imports Store, Not a Museum, Is the Site of the Summer’s Most Surprising Art Show.”

“Romance and heartbreak”: Artnet’s recurring spotlight on gallery shows features a “mixtape-inspired” show at International Center of Photography.

And Denise Murrell, curator at large at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, dreamed of an exhibition dedicated to the Harlem Renaissance and its artists’ dedication to “radical modernity”; it will open at the Met next February. 

“Murrell said she hoped Harlem Renaissance would be the start of long-term partnerships between the Met and historically Black colleges and universities to help preserve and exhibit their collections on a national scale.”

And Finally

RIP Bob Barker, “the patron saint of sick days.”

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Photo: Alborz Kamalizad.

Muse/News: Artists Talk, Rail Art, and Blessed Spaces

SAM News

Aesthetica Magazine features the Seattle Asian Art Museum exhibition Beyond the Mountain: Contemporary Chinese Artists on the Classical Forms, including quotes from their interview with FOONG Ping, SAM Foster Foundation Curator of Chinese Art. 

“Both poetic accents and metaphorical embodiments of what lies ahead, geographies appear majestically in Yang Yongliang’s two 4K videos, The Return and The Departure. Here, the artist marries images of cities with organic material to create a kind of dystopia. ‘Besides Yang’s reference to Song Dynasty-era ink paintings, the images speak of Seattle, where new skyscrapers mushroom everyday,’ Foong notes.”

And check out SAM’s video interview with another Beyond the Mountain artist, Lam Tung Pang.

Over at the Seattle Art Museum, Dawoud Bey & Carrie Mae Weems: In Dialogue is on view through January 22! Here’s Faith Noh for the Seattle Medium on the exhibition that “showcases Black life in America.”

“Seattle’s Prince of Plastic”: So Rachel Gallaher dubs artist Anthony White in this Seattle Magazine feature and interview. Don’t miss his SAM solo show, now on view through January 29.

“The ‘I Spy’ nature of the paintings gives them a fun, gamelike quality, while the overcrowded canvases cause a sense of mental overwhelm — the work recreates the experience of navigating the full-throttle, consumeristic society we live in today. We hate ourselves for spending hours scrolling Instagram, yet we cannot put our phones down.”

Oh, by the way, Seattle Magazine readers: Thank you for choosing SAM and SAM Gallery as the city’s best museum and best art gallery!

Local News

Via Crosscut: “Seattle dance company buys a church on Queen Anne.” Yay, Whim W’Him!

Also via Crosscut: A round-up of all the holiday art markets this season. Gift and support artists at the same time!

The Seattle Times’ Brendan Kiley brings you the backstories behind the public art in Seattle’s light rail stations and introduces you to Tim Marsden, Sound Transit’s “art janitor.”

“It’s tricky business—which is why some artworks in Sound Transit’s light rail stations, particularly the more recent ones, are so striking. Unlike many of their earlier, inert cousins, they’re a little strange, unusually absorbing. They want to talk to you, sometimes in a whisper and occasionally like an ancient choir from a distant civilization singing in a long-forgotten key.”

Inter/National News

“How we saw the arts this year”: Revel in these visions from New York Times photographers. 

In Artforum: John Waters’s bonkers list of his favorite films of the year. 

Monica Uszerowicz for Art in America on four artists who “incorporate imagery and ideologies related to various African or Afro-Caribbean spiritual traditions” in their work. 

“When artists fold spiritual practices into their artwork, many withhold explanation—those familiar with the context will understand the symbols, while others will still be privileged to enter what has become a blessed space, even if they’re not aware of its implications.”

And Finally

A gift from Moira Macdonald

 Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Photo: L. Fried.

From Hong Kong to Seattle: A Conversation with Artist Lam Tung Pang

Hong Kong-born and Vancouver-based artist Lam Tung Pang made his Seattle debut earlier this year in Beyond the Mountain: Contemporary Chinese Artist on the Classical Forms at the Seattle Asian Art Museum. In September, the artist made the trip to the museum to see his artwork The Great Escape (2020) in the galleries for the first time. While in town, we sat down with the remarkable contemporary artist to talk about his pandemic-inspired kinetic installation and what it means to bring classical Chinese practices into the modern era. After you’ve watched the video, read below for even more from our conversation with the artist!


SAM: How does it feel to be showing your artwork to Seattle audiences for the first time?

LAM TUNG PANG: It’s so exciting to debut my artwork here in Seattle and especially at the Seattle Asian Art Museum! This museum features a lot of very interesting antique work, but my artwork is modern. It’s fascinating to see this all together in one museum, and I hope audiences will enjoy seeing all of this in one setting.

SAM: You worked with FOONG Ping, SAM Foster Foundation Curator of Chinese Art, in bringing your artwork to life. What was it like to collaborate with her from afar?

LTP: I met Ping last year when she [virtually] walked me through the gallery space and we discussed how to best display my work. It was a big challenge because I hadn’t shown my artwork in this setting before and wanted to add in new elements. So, the version of The Great Escape that you’re seeing now at the Seattle Asian Art Museum was made especially for this exhibition and the audiences here. In working with Ping, I was talking to someone that had a good knowledge of traditional Chinese art but at the same time was open to incorporating new and contemporary art. When you work with someone like Ping who is really passionate about art, it’s amazing.

SAM: Tell us about The Great Escape. What inspired this work?

LTP: It came together in 2020 during the pandemic. I couldn’t really go back to my studio at the time, so I began copying drawings I saw in children’s books as an escape from reality. I then took all of these drawings and turned them into an installation. What I suggest audiences look at specifically is the one row of drawings that is taken out of the installation and hung on the wall. When you look at the rotating projection, eventually you’ll see a gap, which the light passes through and illuminates the wall in the gallery space. This isn’t a high-tech synchronized setting, but you do see different images project alongside the drawings on the wall. So, please come spend a bit more time looking at The Great Escape because you’ll have a totally different experience every time you see it.

A version of this interview first appeared in the January 2023 edition of SAM Magazine and has been edited for our online readers. Become a SAM member today to receive our quarterly magazine delivered directly to your mailbox and other exclusive member perks.

– Lily Hansen, SAM Marketing Content Creator

Photos: L. Fried.

Curating Chinese Art for the Here and Now

Curating an art exhibition isn’t a competition—unless you’re a University of Washington student attending the School of Art + Art History + Design’s upper-level seminar, Exhibiting Chinese Art, taught by FOONG Ping, SAM’s Foster Foundation Curator of Chinese Art.

Pivoting from in-person to virtual learning, FOONG thought a little friendly competition would engage her students. She split them into teams and assigned three seemingly unrelated artworks by contemporary Chinese artists for them to research. Each team created a cohesive and imaginative exhibition framework to display the three works.

“I wanted to challenge my students, and they really impressed me,” says FOONG. “This exhibition has been in the works for a long time, but a few of their ideas have since been incorporated into the show. Beyond the Mountain wouldn’t be what it is today without their insights.”

Opening this July, Beyond the Mountain: Contemporary Chinese Artists on the Classical Forms is the latest special exhibition to open at the renovated and reimagined Seattle Asian Art Museum. Introducing Chinese artists never before exhibited at SAM as well as drawing from the museum’s collection, the exhibition sees artistic themes of the past revitalized. It explores age-old subjects such as Chinese ink painting, proverbs, and landscapes while reflecting upon current or recent events—from the global language of street protests to escape in a time of contagion. Together, the artists contemplate the societal toll of modernity and globalization as well as the impact of humans on the natural world.

One of the works FOONG is most excited to see back on view is Ai Weiwei’s Colored Vases (2010). An acclaimed contemporary artist and outspoken dissident, Ai dipped nine earthenware vases into buckets of industrial paint and then left them to dry. In covering the surface of these purportedly ancient artifacts with bright new paint, Ai suggests that our perceptions of authenticity are a status quo that might be challenged. Much like history, he says, the vases are “no longer visible, but are still there.”

Another highlight are two videos by Yang Yongliang. From afar, these large-scale projections look like classical ink paintings—until you realize that they are actually digital pastiche of video and photography where construction cranes and other modern interventions disturb the majestical natural scene.

“The exhibition is about this moment in our lives,” says FOONG. “These Chinese artists engage with classical Chinese themes, but they speak to everyone.”


Read below for a short interview with exhibition curator FOONG Ping on visitors can expect to experience in the galleries.

SAM: What artwork are you most excited for audiences to see and interact with in the galleries?

FOONG Ping: With this exhibition, I’m introducing Seattleites to an artist new to us: Lam Tung Pang. He has created a site-specific installation in one of our galleries that I really think is going to blow people’s minds. It’s titled The Great Escape and responds directly to his experiences of the COVID-19 pandemic in Hong Kong. To escape the stress of the 2020 lockdown, Pang started reading kids’ books and also became fascinated with the master of escape, Harry Houdini. The artwork reflects this specific time in our lives and his thinking about the ways we might free ourselves from constraints—mental & physical—that bind us. I’m confident that the piece goes beyond expectations when people think about Chinese art.

SAM: You’ve described this exhibition as both traditional and modern Chinese artistic forms. How is this seen throughout the exhibition?

FP: Everyone has certain stereotypes about Chinese art—including Chinese folks! Although there are common Chinese artistic elements of ink-brush painting and images of landscape, Beyond the Mountain is so much more than that. The artists in this exhibition have taken these identifiable ideas from Chinese art and transformed them for a modern audience. This exhibition is intentionally small and precise, so visitors can deeply explore each artwork’s clear and distinct voice.

SAM: What message do you want audiences to take away from this exhibition?

FP: I want audiences to understand the legacies of Chinese art, language, and culture and how these legacies remain incredibly relevant today. No matter a visitor’s background, Beyond the Mountain reveals the existence of a global common language, where everyone can reflect on Chinese history and make a connection to their own experiences.

– Lily Hansen, SAM Marketing Content Creator

Segments of this article first appeared in the July and October 2022 editions of SAM Magazine and has been edited for our online readers. Become a SAM member today to receive our quarterly magazine delivered directly to your mailbox and other exclusive member perks.

Images: Alborz Kamalizad & Natali Wiseman.

Muse/News: Knockout at SAM, Arreguín’s Blends, and Oppenheim’s Transformations

SAM News

“In Seattle, it’s almost normal,” declares the New York Times headline on this story by David Laskin that takes the temperature of the city’s cultural scene. The Seattle Asian Art Museum and its journey to reopening (and reopening, again) kicks off the story, with reflections from curator FOONG Ping, whose exhibition Beyond the Mountain: Contemporary Chinese Artists on the Classical Forms is now on view.

In short, Seattle is back, but not all the way…But the city’s defining cultural institutions remain healthy, new restaurants and coffee places are popping up all over town, and the communities ringing the center are more vibrant than ever.”

“It’s a knockout show, with bold, tech-enhanced, multimedia works playing off traditional images and themes. And it’s also a fitting symbol of Seattle in the aftermath of the pandemic.”

Mark your calendar for September 23, says the Stranger, and we agree, because it’s the return of Legendary Children, the beautifully epic night celebrating the area’s house and ball community.

On Seattle Met’s regularly updated list of “things to do in Seattle”: Indigenous Matrix: Northwest Women Printmakers, curated by Kari Karsten and now on view at SAM.

Lonely Planet writes up “the 8 best museums in Seattle for a rainy day”; all three SAM locations get a mention, even the outdoor space of the Olympic Sculpture Park. You know what they say: no such things as bad weather, only bad clothing!

Local News

We were thrilled to bring programming like Summer at SAM and SAM Remix back to the Olympic Sculpture Park this year. Via Citystream, here’s a look at the return of another important community event, the Seafair Powwow at the Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center.

Qina Liu for the Seattle Times on the opening of Loving Books, a Black-owned bookstore in the Central District, which curator Kristina Clark long envisioned as a “safe place where Black children could be Black children — where Black children could fully belong.”

Chloé Dye Sherpe for Art Access on Alfredo Arreguín’s solo show that’s now on view at the Museum of Northwest Art in La Conner. SAM recently acquired its first work by the artist; it will go on view as part of American Art: The Stories We Carry in October. 

“Arreguín’s unique combination of complex, geometric patterns with portraiture and landscape elements blend to create for the viewer either a spiritual moment or opportunity for introspection.”

Inter/National News

Via Artnet: Get “ArtDrunk” with collector and influencer Gary Yeh as he takes in Frieze Seoul.

Eve M. Kahn for the New York Times on new design books on topics ranging from Olmsted trees, 1980s Miami architecture, and African textiles. 

Via Lauren Moya Ford for Hyperallergic: “It’s Time to Look at Meret Oppenheim Beyond the Teacup.”

“Oppenheim’s inventive, shape-shifting works are difficult to classify. Unexpected combinations of materials, like fungus, buttons, and dried pasta with wood, stone, and clay, speak to her sense of imagination and experimentation. Nature and transformation are at the core of many pieces, but her message to viewers is ultimately open ended.”

And Finally

Shane Hawkins on the drums.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Photo: Alborz Kamalizad.

Muse/News: Studio Time, Singing Stories, and Russell’s Legacy

SAM News

Following up on their review of the “captivating” Alberto Giacometti: Toward the Ultimate Figure, the Seattle Times makes a very cool connection to the exhibition’s focus on Giacometti’s studio space by going behind-the-scenes into the creative spaces of five local artists, all of whom have connections to SAM: Marita Dingus, Romson Bustillo, Barbara Earl Thomas, Aramis O. Hamer, and Jake Prendez. Thanks to Jerald Pierce for the peek into their practices!

Just opened at the Seattle Asian Art Museum: Beyond the Mountain: Contemporary Chinese Artists on the Classical Forms. Capitol Hill Seattle Blog’s Alex Garland captured photos at the press preview of the dynamic exhibition and KNKX’s Grace Madigan reported on its connection to a University of Washington class taught by the exhibition curator, Foong Ping. 

“What’s up with all these rabbits everywhere?” asks Brendan Kiley for the Seattle Times’ Pacific NW Magazine. For the story, he met up with Bobby McCullough, Facilities and Landscape Manager at the Olympic Sculpture Park, to go in search of King Bunny, a resident bunny who may be responsible for a good number of the 500+ rabbits who make the sculpture park their home. P.S. Check out our video series Botany with Bobby for more stories from the park.

Dhyana Levey for Tinybeans with “The Ultimate Guide to Seattle’s Free (& Cheap) Museum Days,” including the downtown museum and the Asian Art Museum, both of which welcome children 14 and under for free—all the time!—and the Olympic Sculpture Park, which is just plain free to everyone. 

Local News

“Nick Garrison, a theatrical force in Seattle and beyond, dies at 47”: For the Seattle Times, David Schmader writes a fitting tribute for a beloved star gone too soon.

The Stranger’s Charles Mudede wrote a visual arts story! Everyone gather round! Here’s his take on the Romare Bearden exhibition now on view at the Frye Art Museum. 

Crosscut’s Black Arts Legacies project, which launched in June, is still delivering. Here, project editor Jasmine Mahmoud writes about singer Ernestine Anderson, who had a voice like “honey at dusk.”

“Ernestine was jazz and blues personified — she musically participated in both worlds,” daughter [Shelley] Young says of her mother’s musical impact. “Singing the blues involves storytelling,” she continues, “and she loved telling a story.”

Inter/National News

Speaking of studio visits: it’s a recurring series at Artnet.

Beat the heat with this listicle: “ARTnews’ 10 Best Art Books for Summer Reading.”

The world lost several important artist-activists last week: actors Mary Alice and Nichelle Nichols and N.B.A. legend Bill Russell. Explore Russell’s legacy in several articles from the New York Times, including this one on his pioneering activism.

“[Former Seattle SuperSonic Spencer] Haywood said in an interview on Sunday that he and Russell would often dine at a Seattle restaurant called 13 Coins after road trips, and Russell would regale him with stories about the civil rights movement.”

And Finally

Michelangelo Matos on the sources of Beyoncé’s “Renaissance.”

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Photo: Alberto Giacometti working on the plaster of the Walking Man, 1959, Photo: Ernst Scheidegger, Archives, Fondation Giacometti, © 2022 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / ProLiterris, Zurich.

Inside SAM’s Asian Painting Conservation Center

“Without the periodic conservation of these works, they simply wouldn’t exist anymore. So this work is really critical and we are conserving our collections so that they are lasting in perpetuity for generations to come.”

– Nick Dorman, SAM Chief Conservator

When the Asian Art Museum reopens, you’ll be able to stop by to learn about the conservation of Asian paintings by peeking through the public viewing window into the conservation space to see the progress! Through a $3.5M challenge grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, a new Asian Paintings Conservation Center at the Asian Art Museum is devoted to the conservation, mounting, and study of Asian paintings. The new conservation center serves the museum’s collection as well as institutional and private collections in the region. This is the first museum center of its kind in the western United States. We hope to have it completed by 2021.

If you value the ways SAM connects art to your life, consider making a donation or becoming a member today! Your financial support powers Stay Home with SAM and also sustains us until we can come together as a community and enjoy art in the galleries again.

Muse/News: We heart Asian art, keepers of the dream, and Parasite’s art

SAM News

The Seattle Asian Art Museum is officially reopen! Thank you to the thousands of people who streamed through the reimagined galleries at the free housewarming event last weekend. The museum starts regular hours on Wednesday, February 12.

“I felt freed, well, just to look”: Stefan Milne examines Boundless at the Asian Art Museum and The American War at ARTS at King Street Station, which both “explore how we see Asia.”

Seattle Refined shot a recent episode from the museum, including a fantastic segment with SAM curators Foong Ping and Xiaojin Wu (starts at :40).

And ParentMap’s JiaYing Grygiel has this charming look at the museum through the eyes of kids and families.

Local News

I Google this every Oscars season. Here’s a breakdown from the Seattle Times on those harder-to-understand categories.

The Stranger’s Charles Mudede on the work of Marisa Williamson, who has two shows on view in Seattle at SOIL Gallery and Jacob Lawrence Gallery.

Crosscut’s Margo Vansynghel on the new local documentary, Keepers of the Dream: Seattle Women Black Panthers, which premiered last Friday at Northwest Film Forum and will screen again on February 20.

“Women were critical to the survival of the organization,” [Robyn] Spencer says. “They were the movers, the shakers, the theorists, the thinkers, the organizers — they were keeping the party going.”

Inter/National News

Artist Beverly Pepper died this week at 97. Two of her works grace the Olympic Sculpture Park. Here’s Artnet’s obituary for the legendary sculptor.

Here’s Artnet on director Bong Joon-ho’s use of suseok, or “scholar’s rocks” in his Oscar-winning film Parasite.

The New York Times’ Roberta Smith on the late, Seattle-born painter Noah Davis, whose work is again on view in a “big, beautiful exhibition” at David Zwirner.

“Your eyes and mind enter them easily and roam through the different layers of brushwork and narrative suggestion. There’s an unexpected optimism to all this. The paintings also dwell in silence, slow us down and hypnotize.”

And Finally

Did you know that the Asian Art Museum will screen this film on February 26? Well, we will!

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Photo: Jueqian Fang
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