Muse/News: Simply the Best, the Message in the Monument, and Send in the Bugs

SAM News

Seattle Met is out with their Best of the City features, including results of their reader survey. Who was selected as Best Museum? Why, the reimagined and re-reopened Seattle Asian Art Museum, that’s who!

And coming up downtown, by way of France’s Normandy Coast: Monet at Étretat. Preview and ArtfixDaily recently highlighted the exhibition, which opens to the public July 1.

Local News

Out now: Issue 2 of New Archives, the newest arts journal on the scene. Topics include art, healing, and joy from contributors including Carol Zou and Sharon Arnold.

Mark Van Streefkerk for South Seattle Emerald on In This Way We Loved One Another, an installation by Two-Spirit poet and interdisciplinary artist Storme Webber for Capitol Hill’s AIDS Memorial Pathway.

Crosscut’s Margo Vansynghel checks in with the 16 artists who created the Black Lives Matter mural on East Pine Street, one year later, including SAM collection artist Kimisha Turner, ARI Glass, Aramis O. Hamer, and more.

“All art forms have helped and continue to help us get through this collective dark night of the soul,” [Aramis O.] Hamer says. “Years in the future, I think we will speak of 2020 as being a Birth of a Renaissance.”

Inter/National News

In Artforum: A conversation between scholar Hanan Toukan and Palestinian Museum director Adila Laïdi-Hanieh about building an institution under colonialism.”

The Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam and the British fragrance brand Floral Street have teamed up to create scents inspired by the artist’s works, reports Artnet’s Naomi Rea.

The New York Times’ Jason Horowitz on how—and why!—an all-woman team of art restorers and scientists “quietly unleashed microbes with good taste and an enormous appetite” onto Michelangelo’s marble Medici Chapel in Florence.

And Finally

On view: Abandoned paintings.

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

Photo: Natali Wiseman

Muse/News: Stories to Tell, Ceramic Guardians, and Louvre Super-Fans

SAM News

Museum Shows With Stories to Tell”: Ted Loos for the New York Times’ special Museums section, highlighting summer exhibitions around the country including Monet at Étretat at SAM, opening July 1.

USA Today readers have named the “10 best sculpture parks in the US”; SAM’s Olympic Sculpture Park comes in at number 8! Go outside and see some art.

Intertwined weaves Black beauty into the cityscape,” writes the Stranger’s Jasmyne Keimig about the new public art installation by Intisar Abioto and Hank Willis Thomas. The nine street banners scattered throughout the Central District were brought to Seattle by Wa Na Wari in partnership with SAM.

Local News

Misha Berson for Crosscut on the Campfire Festival, an outdoor theatre fest happening now through June 5; its organizers the Williams Project say “we have to help people figure out how to commune again.”

Melinda Bargreen for the Seattle Times on the first live audience at Benaroya Hall in 14 months; watch the clip from the Seattle Symphony’s performance of a Beethoven piano concerto.

The Stranger’s Jasmyne Keimig visits the studio of Saya Moriyasu as she prepares for her upcoming show of ceramics at J. Rinehart Gallery.

“She shows me a sculpture with the head of a noble-looking seal—but the head is on top of a human body with a giant ass. Where the buttcheeks should be are two lighter colored circles, as if the creature had shaved just its rear end. It’s a beautifully made, oddly whimsical object that seems to wink at you: Don’t take anything too seriously.

Inter/National News

Francesa Aton of Art in America on “five new Black-run art spaces to watch.”

Maya Salam of the New York Times on several projects to preserve the plywood sheets that became art last summer, including Leesa Kelly’s “Memorialize the Movement” in the Twin Cities, which has now collected over 800 boards. 

Artnet interviews “super-fans” who were first in line to visit the Louvre when it finally reopened on May 19.

“We’re made of flesh, after all, and we need experiences. And it’s an experience to see objects in all their three-dimensionality … It’s touching to see these objects that have persisted through time.”

And Finally

“An Interactive Guide To Ambiguous Grammar.”

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Image: The Cliffs at Étretat, 1885, Claude Monet, French, 1840-1926, oil on canvas, 25 5/8 × 32 in., Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute, 1995.528, image courtesy Clark Institute.

Muse/News: EDI at SAM, Cultural Space Renaissance, and a Colescott Record

SAM News

Priya Frank, SAM’s Director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (DEDI), appeared on Converge’s Morning Update Show as part of their #FeelGoodFriday. She and host Omari Salisbury talk about her work for SAM, what’s on view at the museum, and her custom kicks. Her segment starts at minute 37, but watch the whole episode!

“Celebrate AAPI Heritage Month by Visiting These Art Museums,” says House Beautiful, which includes the Seattle Asian Art Museum on its list. It will be at a very limited capacity; get your tickets for later in June now. Learn more about the dramatic reimagining of the building and its collection, which debuted in February 2020, check out project partner US Bank’s interview of SAM CFO Cindy Bolton.

And on view later this summer at SAM downtown: Monet at Étretat. Art & Object shares the news about this show that will take us to France’s Normandy Coast.

Local News

John Grade, whose monumental tree sculpture Middle Fork graces SAM’s Brotman Forum, has been busy installing his new work at Sea-Tac airport; the Seattle Times has photos and a time lapse.

“Emerging from our caves”: Crosscut’s Brangien Davis has a whirlwind look at the many arts and culture events you can attend (gasp!) IRL

“Is Seattle ready for a cultural space renaissance?” asks Beverly Aarons for South Seattle Emerald, looking at what’s happening with Seattle’s new Cultural Space Agency PDA.

“The Cultural Space Agency will give its BIPOC leadership the power to support cultural space projects in Seattle that directly benefit vulnerable communities most impacted by displacement.”

Inter/National News

Artnet’s Taylor Defoe reports on the changes happening at DC’s National Gallery of Art: it just reopened with a new brand identity and a new chief curator, E. Carmen Ramos. 

Rebecca Mead for the New Yorker on “the mysterious origins of the Cerne Abbas Giant.”

ARTnews and everyone else reported on the major acquisition by the forthcoming Lucas Museum of Narrative Art: Robert Colescott’s now-legendary George Washington Carver Crossing the Delaware, which was included in SAM’s 2018 show Figuring History

“This particular one is both contemporary and historical,” [museum director and CEO Sandra] Jackson-Dumont said, referring to the caricatures depicted in the painting. “It bridges popular culture and history. It’s a wonderful opportunity for us to make sure the Lucas Museum is participating in expanding the canon.”

And Finally

Julia Wald’s Missed Meals

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Photo: Priya Frank

Object of the Week: Pomponne II de Bellièvre

One international diplomat has left the museum, but another is waiting to be seen in the galleries.  Monday, August 3 was Chiyo Ishikawa’s last day as the Susan Brotman Deputy Director for Art. This ended her 30-year career as a curator of European Painting and Sculpture whose diplomacy was legendary. With great language skills, knowledge of art history, and an exemplary way with people, she made projects flow. To learn of her accomplishments, this press release offers a summary.

The label for this portrait offers evidence of her patience in collecting. Check out the extraordinarily long credit line under the detail below. Just imagine all the donors lining up next to this remarkable portrait. It took a crowd of supporters to acquire this diplomat from another time and place. Pomponne II de Bellièvre served as the French ambassador to the English Court of Charles I. When seen in person, his portrait has the allure of a meeting with an actual personality. This was the hallmark of the painter, Anthony van Dyck, who knew how to flatter royal and wealthy subjects, partly by creating portraits that appear so alive and real that they seem ready to speak. The studied elegance of this diplomat is seen in his dark silk suit with a tactile sheen, and his facial expression implying that he is about to introduce himself.    

Pomponne II de Bellièvre (detail), 1638-39, Anthony van Dyck, oil on canvas
54 x 43 1/2 in., Purchased with a major grant from an anonymous donor; additional funds provided by Louise Raymond Owens; Norman and Amelia Davis; Oliver T. and Carol Erickson; Seattle Art Museum Guild; Pauline Ederer Bolster and Arthur F. Ederer in memory of their sister, Milli Ederer Kastner; Mr. and Mrs. James D. Burns; gift in memory of Andrew Price by Mrs. Mary Price and their family; bequest of Mr. and Mrs. Archibald Stewart Downey; bequest of Charles Moseley Clark; Max R. Schweitzer; gift of Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Stimson, Thomas D. Stimson Memorial Collection; Eugene Fuller Memorial Collection; Silver Anniversary Fund; Margaret E. Fuller Purchase Fund; Seattle Art Museum Purchase Fund, by exchange, 98.15.

If De Bellièvre could talk, he’d have plenty of stories about court intrigues around Charles I. This English monarch married the sister of the French King Louis XIII and was an avid art collector who made ceremonies and dinners wait so he could show off his expensive holdings. He brought Van Dyck to the court in 1632, and nurtured his rise to success. However, not long after painting this ambassador’s portrait, Van Dyck died at the age of 42, from a long illness that may connect his life to ours.   

Van Dyck lived at a time when waves of the plague known as the Black Death overtook populations in Europe from 1347 to the late 17th century—throughout the Renaissance and Baroque periods. When Van Dyck arrived in Palermo, Sicily in 1624, one such wave took hold, and he was quarantined. While there, he painted numerous portraits of the city’s patroness, Saint Rosalie, trying to intercede for those stricken by the plague. One of these paintings is now in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. It is suspected that Van Dyck’s illness may have begun during this time.   

It has been hard for the staff to honor Chiyo Ishikawa remotely, but pandemics do require new forms of diplomacy. Luckily, she will open her final exhibition, Monet at Étretat in May 2021, yet another example of her leadership in international artistic persuasion. We certainly hope by then that we’ll all be together in the galleries and can pay our respects to the French ambassador who waits there patiently for us to return. 

Pam McClusky, SAM Curator of African and Oceanic Art

Images: Pomponne II de Bellièvre, 1638-39, Anthony van Dyck, oil on canvas
54 x 43 1/2 in., Purchased with a major grant from an anonymous donor; additional funds provided by Louise Raymond Owens; Norman and Amelia Davis; Oliver T. and Carol Erickson; Seattle Art Museum Guild; Pauline Ederer Bolster and Arthur F. Ederer in memory of their sister, Milli Ederer Kastner; Mr. and Mrs. James D. Burns; gift in memory of Andrew Price by Mrs. Mary Price and their family; bequest of Mr. and Mrs. Archibald Stewart Downey; bequest of Charles Moseley Clark; Max R. Schweitzer; gift of Mr. and Mrs. Douglas Stimson, Thomas D. Stimson Memorial Collection; Eugene Fuller Memorial Collection; Silver Anniversary Fund; Margaret E. Fuller Purchase Fund; Seattle Art Museum Purchase Fund, by exchange, 98.15. Saint Rosalie Interceding for the Plague-Stricken of Palermo, 1624, Anthony van Dyck, oil on canvas, Metropolitan Museum, 71.41. Chiyo Ishikawa, photo: Robert Wade.