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

SAM News

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

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

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

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

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

Local News

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

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

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

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

Inter/National News

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

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

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

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

And Finally

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

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Photo: Alborz Kamalizad.

Earth Day Rewind: 🍃 Botany with Bobby 🍃 Episodes 1–3

Since 2022, we’ve followed the adventures of Bobby McCullough, SAM Facilities and Landscape Manager, at the Olympic Sculpture Park as part of our video series 🍃 Botany with Bobby 🍃. In each episode, Bobby offers viewers an up-close look at the natural ecosystems living and thriving at the park as well as insight into its continued development and the art that resides within it. With Earth Day coming up on April 22, we’re taking it back to the beginning with a round up of the series’s first three episodes.

More episodes of 🍃 Botany with Bobby 🍃 are on the way! Until then, catch up on all eleven available episodes via our YouTube channel.


Episode 1: Bobby’s Top Five Favorite Plants

SAM is lucky to have a beautiful piece of earth to take care of: the Olympic Sculpture Park. And Bobby McCullough is dedicated to doing just that! In this inaugural episode of 🍃 Botany with Bobby 🍃, SAM’s Facilities and Landscape Manager discusses his five favorite natural plants visitors can find at the park: Check out our first installation of Botany with Bobby for his top five favorite plants at the park.

Episode 2: Climate Change at the Olympic Sculpture Park

The effects of climate change can be seen in local and global environments both big and small. In this episode, Bobby shares how its effects have manifested in the native plants living and growing at the Olympic Sculpture Park, paying particular attention to the Dawn Redwood—a plant previously believed to be extinct in the United States—and the Ginkgo Biloba.

Episode 3: King Bunny 🐰

The Olympic Sculpture Park’s booming rabbit population can be linked back to one particular coney: 👑 King Bunny. In this episode, Bobby spots King Bunny among the park’s plants and shares his admiration for the illusive four-legged ‘beast.’ Be sure to keep an eye out for this mischievous long-eared mammal next time you’re at the park!

– Lily Hansen, SAM Marketing Content Creator

Photo: L. Fried.

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

SAM News

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

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

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

Local News

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

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

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

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

Inter/National News

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

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

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

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

And Finally

In case you missed our big announcement.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Photo: Alborz Kamalizad.

Calder Smartphone Tour: Case of Small Mobiles

It is often assumed that Alexander Calder began experimenting with scale by making small, intimate sculptures before eventually scaling up to monumental commissions, such as The Eagle (1970), on view at the Olympic Sculpture Park. This assumption, however, is incorrect.

Calder’s understanding of scale began in his childhood when he observed his father managing sculpture projects (including the enlargement of monuments from models) for the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco. Throughout his career, Calder worked in all sizes and scales, with a non-linear progression that was daring and fluid. Some of his small-scale works were made as maquettes for colossal objects. Others, including this collection of standing mobiles, were of a different breed, with many being constructed as gifts for family and friends.

In the sixth stop on the free smartphone tour of Calder: In Motion, The Shirley Family Collection, SAM Susan Brotman Deputy Director for Art José Carlos Diaz compares the artistry between Calder’s monumental and miniature sculptures. Tune in to this recording and many more via our SoundCloud or by scanning the QR codes next to select works in the exhibition’s galleries.

Haven’t visited Calder: In Motion yet? Check out visitsam.org/tickets to plan your next visit to SAM and get an up-close look at the intricate details of Alexander Calder’s tiniest sculptures.

Case of Small Mobiles: Untitled (1952), Black, White, Yellow and Brass on Red (1959), Untitled (1947), Two White Dots (1973)

NARRATOR: We often associate Calder with monumental sculpture. But he also worked on a small, delicate scale throughout his career. This case displays a grouping of some of Calder’s small-scale works. Calder was known for making works like these as gifts. José Diaz:

JOSÉ CARLOS DIAZ: There’s a famous story of Calder making small works encased in a cigar box for his wife, and so his wife, Louisa, can travel with these. She can display them as she saw fit. She can curate them within her own setting. But it’s also the small works’ complexity.

So, if you look at this case, you’ll notice that the small mobiles are just as detailed. You’ll notice that they’re balanced. You’ll notice that the use of metal is done with such delicacy that it has just as much attention as Calder would focus on for his larger-scaled works. You also can get a sense of the colors. The palettes are very similar to Calder’s larger scaled works. You’ll notice shapes that are similar to other large-scale works. But it’s often because Calder is working within an aesthetic that can really work within scale. And Calder was very conscious when he played with scale because it allowed him to also explore the way that these stabiles and mobiles could function in a setting, regardless of how big they are.

– Lily Hansen, SAM Marketing Content Creator

Photo: Installation view of Calder: In Motion, The Shirley Family Collection, Seattle Art Museum, 2023, © 2024 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, photo: Alborz Kamalizad.

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

SAM News

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

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

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

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

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

Local News

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

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

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

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

Inter/National News

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

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

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

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

And Finally

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

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Photo: Chloe Collyer.

Improving Your Museum Experience with Technology: Emerging Arts Leader Shuprima Guha Reflects

I’ve always enjoyed spending time in art museums. With ambling hallways and multiple rooms featuring a variety of historic and contemporary art, it’s the excitement of not knowing what I’ll discover next that first got me interested in working at one. I joined SAM with the intention of learning more about how different museum departments come together to facilitate ideas. Suffice to say, I checked off this goal during my first few weeks at SAM. 

As an interpretation intern, I learned how SAM uses technology and verbal descriptions to improve accessibility for different audiences at the Olympic Sculpture Park. Verbal descriptions explain a work of art in terms of its color, size, texture, and other features so that individuals with low or no vision can better experience the piece. I developed the skill of writing for auditory purposes in this process. Conducting research on the most inclusive ways to approach writing these descriptions—along with the continuous feedback provided from the rest of the verbal description team—helped me overcome this learning curve of shifting from writing for reading purposes to writing for listening purposes and led me to produce some of my best work. 

While conducting this work, I began to ask questions about the smartphones that museum visitors can check out while browsing the galleries—part of SAM’s effort to improve in-gallery accessibility. This led to important conversations about how we envision visitors interacting with these devices and what museums can do to support such interactions (thank you to the visitor experience team for their expertise). Beyond these tasks, I also helped in developing the interpretive elements of Hokusai: Inspiration and Influence from the Collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, including the touch cart, in-gallery guide, and the digital collage interactive.

The support I received from the museum’s staff, security, volunteers, and my fellow interns played a tremendous role in how I approached my work. Asking questions to people from different departments created a system of support in which I knew everyone at the museum was eager to help. From isolating digital elements of Hokusai prints with the design team to prototyping a touchscreen interactive with staff from multiple departments, I believe collaboration was essential to my time at SAM. Deciding which topics to research and conducting meetings related to the Hokusai interactive taught me about not only project management, but also about Japanese culture and history. In writing the guide the exhibition’s interpretive touch cart, I also became familiar with the materials used in Japanese woodblock printing—thank you Jessica and Sorrel for your help!

As I began my SAM internship, it was exciting to see all of the tasks that SAM’s staff had planned for me; there was so much to do and so little time! Prioritizing tasks was one of the most important skills I developed. Although each new day was filled with exciting events and meetings, I made important decisions on which ones I attended and which I did not to ensure I could independently complete my tasks within a timely manner. Another skill I learned through this internship was networking. I learned how to ask questions about different staff members’ experiences and took advantage of the opportunity to get to know new people in the office, kitchen, elevators, and galleries. These skills are something I will carry forward in my academic and professional life. 

This internship showed me the initiatives the museum takes in making art accessible to visitors— something that I am particularly passionate about. Knowing that so many people care about the same things gives me immense hope for the future of museums. From accompanying docent-led tours to conducting surveys in the galleries, I learned how to engage with the public and lead conversations about art. As someone who has always been a bit hesitant to voice my opinion in large groups, my newfound confidence and eagerness to speak in public is one of the most valuable lessons I learned at SAM.

None of this would have been possible without the support of my incredibly supportive and encouraging coworkers. I want to particularly thank my supervisor, SAM Educator for Digital Learning Ramzy Lakos, whose creative ideas played an integral role in shaping my SAM experience. His optimism and sense of humor always made even the most challenging task feel simple. I want to thank everyone on the education team as well. Their excitement about the museum’s future shines through in everything they do. Lastly, I am grateful to everyone who I reached out to at various points in the last few months: thank you for making me feel like a part of the SAM community. I look forward to carrying these experiences into the next step of my career.

– Shuprima Guha, SAM Emerging Arts Leader in Interpretation

Photos: Alborz Kamalizad.

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

SAM News

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

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

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

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

Local News

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

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

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

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

Inter/National News

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

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

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

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

And Finally

Art But Make It Sports never misses.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Photo: L. Fried.

Muse/News: Cora’s Take, Arts Funding, and Guide Dog Art

SAM News

“The shadows look like airplanes!” That’s 7-year-old art critic Cora Hunter on Alexander Calder’s Little Yellow Panel (1936). Read all her impressions in Elizabeth Hunter’s “mother-daughter review” of Calder: In Motion, The Shirley Family Collection. Hunter also features insights from Jose Carlos Diaz, exhibition curator and Susan Brotman Deputy Director for Art, and Anna Allegro, Associate Director of Education.

In their “Things to Do” list, Seattle Met highlights Printing in the PNW at SAM Gallery, which features local printmakers as a companion show to the museum’s exhibition of Japanese prints, Hokusai: Inspiration and Influence.

And speaking of SAM Gallery: It got a shoutout from curator Jeremy Buben in “How to give art as a holiday gift in Seattle,” an article by Margo Vansynghel of The Seattle Times. 

“‘For $100, you can rent an artwork at SAM Gallery [the art sales and rental gallery of the Seattle Art Museum] for three months,’ he said. ‘Perhaps this is the nudge your friends need to start getting excited about art; plus, it’ll get them involved in picking something out to temporarily live with.’”

Local News

Crosscut’s Brangien Davis shines a light on “10 photo shows that bring light to Seattle’s dark days.”

Did you see The Stranger’s Keep Warm guide? It’s got tips, recipes, interviews and more.

“King County OKs sales tax increase for ‘transformative’ cultural funding.” The Seattle Times’ Margo Vansynghel reports on the council’s approval of “Doors Open,” a new levy.

“…the Metropolitan King County Council unanimously approved a new levy that will provide hundreds of millions in funding to arts, heritage, science and historical preservation nonprofits over the next seven years.”

Inter/National News

“Unsung Women Fashion Designers Finally Get to Strut at the Met”: Artnet’s Raquel Laneri on the Women Dressing Women exhibition.

Maximilíano Durón of ARTnews on “the best booths at Art Basel Miami Beach.”

Via Hilarie M. Sheet for The New York Times: “Her Guide Dog Inspired Her Art. Now the Lab Stars in a Museum Show.”

“It celebrates her 13-year-old guide dog, London, and their mutual dependency. ‘I protect her and she protects me,’ [artist Emilie] Gossiaux said. On a more universal scale, her art seems to remove barriers between animals and the rest of the natural world.”

And Finally

Via AP: “Photographs capture humpback whale’s Seattle visit.” As the whales breached Elliott Bay waters, we spy The Eagle and the Olympic Sculpture Park in the background!

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Photo: Installation view of Calder: In Motion, The Shirley Family Collection, Seattle Art Museum, 2023, © 2023 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, photo: Alborz Kamalizad.

A Monumental Gift Goes On View: Inside Calder: In Motion at SAM

“How can art be realized? Out of volumes, motion, spaces bounded by the great space, the universe.”

– Alexander Calder

This November, SAM begins a long-term commitment to Alexander Calder, the American artist celebrated for revolutionizing sculpture with his renowned mobiles and stabiles. Earlier this year, SAM announced the incredible gift of more than 45 seminal Calder artworks by longtime supporters Jon and Kim Shirley. Their magnificent collection—one of the most important private holdings of Calder’s art—is the result of 35 years of thoughtful collecting. 

Now on view at SAM, Calder: In Motion, The Shirley Family Collection thematically highlights pieces from every decade of Calder’s career, dating from the 1920s to the 1970s. The exhibition also includes examples of Calder’s works on paper and an oil painting, among other media, representing the expansiveness of his oeuvre. Sections devoted to his artistic experimentation, natural forces and dynamics, and the artist’s lasting contribution to modern art are also featured.

“As truly serious art must follow the greater laws, and not only appearances, I try to put all the elements in motion in my mobile sculptures. It is a matter of harmonizing these movements, thus arriving at a new possibility of beauty.”

– Alexander Calder

To accentuate the artist’s exploration of height, scale, and movement, the exhibition is installed in the museum’s double-height galleries—a unique space for large-scale works with several overlooks from the floor above. The exhibition design captures a sense of movement, with an S-shaped, curved wall that wraps around the iconic 22-foot-tall sculpture Red Curly Tail (1970) and divides the galleries into a series of vignettes illuminating the exhibition’s themes and highlighting the lyricism of Calder’s creations.

Elsewhere on view are the oil painting The Yellow Disc (1958), a medium that Calder engaged with throughout his career but is not nearly as well known as his sculpture; Untitled (Métaboles) (1969), a mobile the artist created as part of a stage set for a ballet; and Fish (1942). The latter, a significant work from a rare series of mobiles created during and after World War II when metal was scarce, is made of wire framing and found materials.

The central gallery traces Calder’s career, highlighting his achievements across the miniature and the monumental. The expansive Toile d’araignée (1965), an airy, monochromatic mobile hovers over several artworks, including the masterful standing mobile Bougainvillier (1947).

“That others grasp what I have in mind seems unessential, at least as long as they have something else in theirs.”

– Alexander Calder

The final gallery considers the artist’s legacy, with works that demonstrate Calder’s accomplishments throughout his most productive decades and his impact on the evolution of modern art. It includes Untitled (1936), Little Yellow Panel (ca. 1936), Jonah and the Whale (ca. 1940), Untitled (ca. 1942), Constellation with Red Knife (1943), Yellow Stalk with Stone (1953), and Squarish (1970). This gallery also serves as a bridge into the museum’s modern and contemporary galleries.

The Shirley family’s generous gift will also inspire public programs exploring Calder’s artistic practice. Events are planned for both the Seattle Art Museum and the Olympic Sculpture Park and will include talks, tours, performances, art-making workshops, and a family-friendly festival—stay tuned for more details!

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

This article first appeared in the October 2023 through January 2024 edition of SAM Magazine and has been edited for our online readers. Become a SAM member today to receive our quarterly magazine delivered directly to your mailbox and other exclusive member perks!

Image: Bougainvillier, 1947, Alexander Calder, 1898-1976, sheet metal, rod, wire, lead, and paint, 78 x 82 x 54 in., Promised gift of Jon and Mary Shirley, © 2023 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, photo: Nicholas Shirley.

Muse/News: Hokusai’s Fame, Culture Streetcars, and Caravaggio’s Cardsharps

SAM News

José Carlos Diaz, SAM Susan Brotman Deputy Director for Art, was interviewed for KING5’s Evening Magazine about Hokusai: Inspiration and Influence, from the Collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, which is now on view at SAM.

“Hokusai’s probably an artist you’ve always known. You know him for the Great Wave, but he’s also one of the most famous artists of all time.This exhibition has almost 300 works that represent the artists Katsushika Hokusai, but also his peers, his pupils, his rivals, and also the influence he had on Europe as well as contemporary culture today.”

On Saturday, the Seattle Asian Art Museum hosted the Diwali Family Festival. KING5 News’ Angeli Kakade previewed the event on Friday’s broadcast, and Nicole Henao, SAM Manager of Teen & Family Programs, appeared on the Saturday morning news to share all the details (did you catch it?). 

Jas Keimig for South Seattle Emerald with recommendations for arts events in November, including Legendary Children on November 17 at the Olympic Sculpture Park. This celebration of queer and trans BIPOC communities is produced with many partners.

Local News

“At this Green Lake dive bar, karaoke is a cathartic, unifying experience”: Nathalie Graham for the Seattle Times with a moving read. 

Crosscut’s Brangien Davis gets you ready for the Big Dark in her latest ArtSEA post, including an update on the just-christened SIFF Cinema Downtown’s opening date. 

Joshua McNichols and Mike Davis on the proposal for a streetcar line through downtown Seattle that would connect cultural institutions

“Putting the streetcar line at the center of this arts renaissance is not just a gimmick. It turns out there’s a strong correlation between the presence of the arts downtown and transportation, whether it’s streetcars or single occupancy vehicles.”

Inter/National News

Claire Selvin for ARTnews on the Whitney Museum of American Art’s new show on Ruth Asawa that focuses on her works on paper. 

“Collectors Marilyn and Larry Fields make ‘landmark gift’ of 79 works to MCA Chicago”: Ruth Loepz for The Art Newspaper reports on a gift of art “predominantly by woman-identifying and BIPOC artists.”

“There’s Much More to Caravaggio’s ‘The Cardsharps’ Than Vice”: Katie White of Artnet takes another look at the masterpiece, now on view in Chicago.

“The painting is mischievous, the older conman’s face comical in expression, and we feel ourselves rooting, with a bit of a smile, for the bad guys.”

And Finally

Let’s dive into the Calder Foundation archives: “Works of Calder, 1950 by Herbert Matter.”

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Photo: Alborz Kamalizad.

SAM Through Kids’ Eyes: Book a School Tour For Your Students this Year!

The 2023–2024 school year is officially in full swing! As students and educators return their classrooms, we’re taking this opportunity to share some information about how to book a guided or self-guided school tour at any of our three locations. Plus, we’ve included a few imaginative artworks created by students on a field trip to the Olympic Sculpture Park to give you an idea of the type of artistic activities your students will take part in while visiting any of SAM’s locations.

All school tours at the Seattle Art Museum, Seattle Asian Art Museum, and the Olympic Sculpture Park are image-focused and inquiry-based experiences designed for K–12 students. Guided tours are led by trained guides who encourage students to look closely, share personal perspectives, and build connections to their lives and learning. Following this in-gallery experience, students are invited to get creative through an art workshop supported by SAM educators, teachers, chaperones, and/or volunteers. Meanwhile, self-guided tours allow educators to customize their museum experience by leading their own tours through the galleries.

In the 2022–2023, we’re proud to have served more than 5,500 students across 235 school tours. Of these tours, 154 took place at the Seattle Art Museum, 36 took place at the Seattle Asian Art Museum, and 26 took place at the Olympic Sculpture Park. This year, we intend to host more tours and provide even more students across Washington State with an exciting educational and artistic experience.

Ready to book a school tour for your classroom? Click here to check availability and plan your visit to SAM!

– Lily Hansen, SAM Marketing Content Creator

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: Building Love, Butler’s Street, and an Art KO

SAM News

Via 425 Magazine: “Local Creative Pros on the Northwest Places That Make Them Swoon.” Architect Jim Graham admires how the Olympic Sculpture Park’s PACCAR Pavilion “mixes seamlessly and beautifully with the landscape.” And interior designer Kirsten Conner appreciates the Seattle Asian Art Museum’s original Art Deco design and 21st-century update (she even had her wedding reception there!). 

Culture Type is among the outlets announcing the news that Baltimore-based artist Joyce J. Scott will be featured in a retrospective of her 50-year career. Walk a Mile in My Dreams opens at the Baltimore Museum of Art in March 2024 and then heads to SAM next fall.

Local News

ICYMI: Check out Susan Fried’s photo essay on Umoja Fest 2023

Via The Seattle Times: “Seattle City Council approves nearly $1M grant for Cinerama.” Full speed ahead for SIFF as they look to launch a capital campaign to get the theater open again. 

The Stranger’s Charles Mudede reflects on the philosophy of writer Octavia Butler on the occasion of a street being named for her in Lake Forest Park. 

“Butler moved here from Southern California in 1999. She bought a simple but cozy-looking house at the top of a hill and near three things she could not live without: a nearby bus stop, a nearby bookstore, and a nearby supermarket.”

Inter/National News

Watch a New York Times exclusive: “How a Rare Portrait of an Enslaved Child Arrived at the Met.”

Via Artforum: The New Yorker has announced Jackson Arn as its new art critic, succeeding Peter Schjeldahl in the role.

Artnet’s Eileen Kinsella on a “Knockout Show on the Surprising Links Between Art and Boxing” that spans two venues in New York. 

“‘We discovered women artists using boxing as a shorthand for victimization or an idea of empowerment. The fact that the boxer was like a Schroedinger’s Cat… both a winner and a loser,’ is a through line of the show, said [curator Sara] Cochran.”

And Finally

Physical media nerds, unite!

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Photo: Chloe Collyer.

SAM Announces Kim Rorschach as Interim Director and CEO 

Two weeks ago, we shared the news that Amada Cruz is stepping down after serving as SAM’s Illsley Ball Nordstrom Director and CEO for the past four years. Today, we are pleased to announce that former director Kimerly Rorschach has agreed to serve as SAM’s interim director and CEO. Rorschach retired in September 2019 after seven years of leadership at SAM as the Illsley Ball Nordstrom Director and CEO. Rorschach will begin in early September, allowing overlap time with Cruz prior to her departure in early October, to ensure a seamless transition. 

“We are delighted to welcome Kim back to SAM, a place she loves and led with great vision and care,” says Constance Rice, Chair of the Board. “The museum flourished under her leadership, and we are grateful that she will bring her deep knowledge of SAM and her many relationships with trustees, donors, staff, and larger arts community to bear in this moment.” 

Kim is a highly regarded leader with 25 years of experience as a museum director. During her tenure at SAM, Rorschach planned and oversaw an extensive renovation and expansion of the Seattle Asian Art Museum, a project that brought SAM’s 1933 historic Volunteer Park building up to 21st-century structural and environmental standards and reimagined the presentation of its celebrated Asian art collection. She led a successful $150 million fundraising campaign for SAM, which included $50 million for the Seattle Asian Art Museum project. She also launched DEI initiatives at the museum and diversified the exhibition and acquisition programs. Exhibitions devoted to Kehinde Wiley and Yayoi Kusama, among others, attracted broad new audiences to the museum. 

Welcome back, Kim!

Muse/News: Vivid Joy, Upcycled Fashion, and Expanding Indigeneity

SAM News

Amoako Boafo: Soul of Black Folks, the Ghanaian artist’s debut museum solo exhibition, is now on view at SAM! Marcus Harrison Green says the show “urges reflection on Black identity and the self” for the cover story of last week’s Real Change (also reshared in South Seattle Emerald). 

“Bringing these paintings alive are the vivid colors he uses: marigold yellows, starch whites, olive oil greens and cherry reds that are all catnip to the eye. No matter the direness of what Boafo’s subjects may have been through, brightness (i.e., joy) never abandons them. It all has the effect of making one muse over the origins of these not-so-make-believe characters.”

The Stranger’s Charles Mudede includes the exhibition in a recent “Stranger Suggests”; he has his own take on the exhibition’s connection to W.E.B. Du Bois’s idea of double-consciousness. 

As Soul of Black Folks tours the US, ARTnews’ Gameli Hamelo reports on how the artist is “using his star power to support Ghana’s art scene.”

“Boafo’s quest to show his work in Ghana attests to his dedication to his home country, which tends to get lost in discussions of his art, the prices for it, and his celebrity. Rather than coasting by on fame, Boafo is using his star power to support Ghana’s art scene.”

Also: The Seattle Times was among the outlets that announced major news from the museum last week. Amada Cruz will depart SAM for a director role at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art, a place where she has a personal and professional connection. Stay tuned for more on the institution’s leadership transition plan.

Local News

“Free Seattle waterfront shuttle bus returns,” reports the Seattle Times’ Mike Lindblom. It offers a fun way to experience the downtown waterfront, including the Olympic Sculpture Park.

Junko Yamamoto and her “vibrating substances” are featured as the Stranger’s “artist of the week.”

Jas Keimig for Crosscut on the “slow-fashion” Seattle designer dan mcLean.

“‘When it’s a dan mcLean show, it’s Fashion Week,’ said one partygoer wearing a giant hat and shades.”

Inter/National News

Via ARTnews’ Francesca Aton: “Ancient Glass Workshop Discovered in Czech Republic May Have Hosted Sacred Rituals, Archaeologists Say.”

Naomi Polonsky for Hyperallergic on Carrie Mae Weems’s new show, now on view at London’s Barbican Art Gallery.

Exciting headline via Zachary Small for the New York Times: “Jeffrey Gibson, Indigenous U.S. Artist, Is Selected for Venice Biennale.” SAM is a big fan: Gibson’s solo exhibition Like a Hammer was on view at SAM back in 2019; a work by the artist in SAM’s collection is now on view in Reverberations

“‘The last 15 years of my career have been about turning inward and trying to make something I really wanted to see in the world,’ said Gibson, 51. ‘Now I want to expand the way people think about Indigeneity.’”

And Finally

RIP, Sinead O’Connor

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Photo: Chloe Collyer.

Muse/News: Love Labors, Major League Art, and Take a Seat

SAM News

Victoria Valentine of Culture Type shares “15 Solo Exhibitions Featuring Black Artists” in museums this summer, including Amoako Boafo: Soul of Black Folks, which opens at the Seattle Art Museum this week. She shares a quote from curator Larry Ossei-Mensah.

“This exhibition is a labor of love and a holistic snapshot of how Amoako Boafo sees the world through his artistic practice. All who visit this exhibition—which is anchored by radical care and the celebration of Black life—will be moved and hopefully, see a little bit of their humanity embedded within the paintings in this show.” 

The exhibition also tops the list at Cultured in their weekly round-up of happenings.

Curiocity and Seattle Met both recommend Summer at SAM, and we have to agree! The annual free series of performances, art making, and more kicks off at the Olympic Sculpture Park this Thursday night.

Local News

The only thing better than a road trip is an artsy road trip! Seattle Times writers weigh in on some Pacific Northwest journeys for exploring art and music

“It’s up to us to save Black arts spaces in Seattle”: South Seattle Emerald’s Patheresa Wells reflects on the barriers facing Black art and artists, citing the stories of Sankofa Theater and Wolf Delux.

All-Star Week fever takes over Seattle: Here’s Gayle Clemans for the Seattle Times on a “Pioneer Square event [that] aims to bring baseball fans and art lovers together.”

“Seven local and national artists were chosen as the muralists, including Seattle-based artist Alexander Codd, who creates under the name A.CODD. ‘To be a part of All-Star Week is a win for me,’ Codd stated in an email interview, citing the ups and downs of being an artist…‘Similar to the Mariners, I am living an underdog story,’ he says.”

Inter/National News

Artnet’s Brian Boucher shares the “surprising side hustles” of six artists. 

“With freedom came fashion flair”: Seph Rodney for the New York Times on Africa Fashion, now on view at the Brooklyn Museum. 

Via Alex Greenberger for ARTnews: “Artist Carolyn Lazard Has a Radical Proposition for Museum Visitors: Have a Seat, and Be Comfortable.”

“When it comes to video art, seating tends to be an afterthought, if it is even present at all. But to pair with Leans, Reverses, Lazard crafted several ‘Institutional Seats,’ objects that viewers can sit on to watch the video. These seats are composed of benches sourced from the ICA itself; to these ready-made objects, Lazard added upholstery that renders them a lot more welcoming.”

And Finally

Big same: National Gallery of Art on the lighting-speed emergence of Threads.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Image: Libby and D-Lee, 2019, Amoako Boafo, oil on canvas, 62 1/2 x 72 1/4 in., Courtesy of Holly Jane Butler and Roberts Projects, Los Angeles.

Shawna Bliss Celebrates 24 Years of Service at SAM

Earlier this year, volunteers across all the Seattle Art Museum, Seattle Asian Art Museum, and Olympic Sculpture Park came together to celebrate another incredible year of service at SAM. Hosted by the Seattle Art Museum Volunteers Association Advisory Committee (SAMVA-AC), the 2023 Volunteer Soirée honored the landmark accomplishments of some of SAM’s longest-serving volunteers.

Of the many awards handed out that evening, none were as significant and surprise-filled as the Dorothy C. Malone Award. Established by the SAM Board of Trustees in 1989, the award is given to an exceptional volunteer who exemplifies the highest standard of dedication and service to the museum.

Dorothy “Dottie” C. Malone is a significant part of SAM’s history, having invested 63 years in the museum as a staff member and volunteer. She treated the museum as her family, taking a warm and personal interest in the staff, volunteers, and operations of the museum. She cared deeply and held the museum to a high standard of excellence. Her concern for volunteers, which she called “the backbone of the museum,” combined with her own dedication and commitment, inspired the Board of Trustees to establish this award in her name.

This year’s recipient of the Dorothy C. Malone Lifetime Achievement Volunteer Award is Shawna Bliss. A volunteer for over 24 years, Shawna currently volunteers in our docent program and has consistently contributed to the development of gallery learning across all three SAM locations. Born and raised in West Seattle, Shawna is the oldest of five siblings and discovered a passion for education at a young age. She received her bachelor’s degree in education and psychology from the University of Washington and completed her master’s in education at the University of Utah.

The following years saw Shawna traveling with her husband, Don, throughout the United States and Australia before settling into a long term home in Bremerton to raise their family. For many years, Shawna commuted from Bremerton to Seattle to volunteer at SAM, becoming one of the museum’s most prominent supporters. Family gifts often included museum memberships, invitations to view exhibitions and programs, and one-of-a-kind items from SAM Shop. She encouraged her siblings and children to visit SAM and often brought her parents downtown to explore the museum’s galleries.

Following our celebration of Shawna and her continued contributions to SAM, we asked her about her time at SAM and any advice she’d offer prospective volunteers. Read below to see what she had to say!


SAM: How did you learn about the opportunity of becoming a SAM volunteer? What was the process like for you to join?

Shawna Bliss (SB): I learned about the opportunity of becoming a SAM volunteer at an education job fair held in Seattle before the start of the 1999 school year. A SAM representative was promoting SAM’s education programs and volunteer opportunities. I completed a volunteer application, had an interview with SAM’s Manager of Volunteer Programs, and was hired to assist a SAM educator in the Art Studio.

SAM: What is your favorite memory of being a SAM volunteer?

SB: I have so many favorite memories of being a SAM volunteer! What keeps me at SAM year after year are the opportunities to work with, and learn from, other volunteers, SAM staff, and museum visitors.

SAM: Were you surprised to receive the Dorothy C. Malone Award? What was your reaction?

SB: I was totally surprised! 2019 was the last year SAM held its Volunteer Soirée, so I came to this year’s soirée expecting to celebrate “our” return to SAM. I was not expecting any of us to be personally recognized!

SAM: Why should people consider becoming a SAM volunteer? 

SB: Do you like making new friends? There are many volunteer opportunities at SAM, all of which give volunteers occasions to meet and engage with like-minded people, including other volunteers, SAM staff, and visitors. 

Do you like learning about art, artists, and connecting art to the lives of visitors? If so, there is always much to see, read, and think about at SAM.

Do you like SAM and support its mission, vision, and values? SAM volunteers do! Young or old, just getting started or having volunteered for decades, all of us take pride in representing SAM as we serve in our volunteer roles. 

– Lily Hansen, SAM Marketing Content Creator

Photos: Chloe Collyer.

Muse/News: Rising Star, New Leader, and a Wave of Influence

SAM News

Amoako Boafo: Soul of Black Folks opens Thursday, July 13 at the Seattle Art Museum. The Seattle Times’ Margo Vansynghel includes the exhibition—the artist’s first in Seattle—on her list of recommendations for July.

“The star of Ghanaian artist Amoako Boafo has risen almost too fast to behold—like the speed of light.”

“Visiting the Metropolitan Museum of Art for Free in New York thanks to the Seattle Art Museum.” Terumi Pong of An Emerald City Life and her family make excellent use of a patron-level SAM membership.

Via Denise Sakaki for 425 Magazine: “The Market Fishmonger & Eatery is a Summertime Catch.” We couldn’t agree more, and we recommend you check out our restaurant partner’s eateries at the Seattle Art Museum and for the summer, the Olympic Sculpture Park.

In other Olympic Sculpture Park news, it’s been named one of the ten best sculpture parks by the readers of USA Today. Thank you!

Local News

In her latest ArtSEA post, Crosscut’s Brangien Davis shares a behind-the-scenes of the final preparations for XO23, the forthcoming art space in the old Coliseum Building opening July 13 (hmm, could make a night of it with the Boafo opening…). 

Check out The Stranger’s comprehensive Pride month coverage, with event recommendations, engaging profiles, and reported features. 

The Seattle Times’ Margo Vansynghel also reported the recent news that Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture has named Minneapolis arts administrator Gülgün Kayim its new director.

“Seattle is a city that is known for its world-class artists, creative entrepreneurs, and arts scene,” Kayim continued, “and I look forward to working with them to make the arts more equitable and accessible to all.”

Inter/National News

Howard Halle for ARTnews on “12 LGBTQ+ Artists Having Institutional Shows This Pride Month,” including Jacolby Satterwhite, Keith Haring, and Lauren Halsey.

Via Artnet: There’s a new episode of the acclaimed series Art in the Twenty-First Century to check out on PBS. It features contemporary artists including Anicka Yi, Tauba Auerbach, the Guerrilla Girls, and Hank Willis Thomas.

“How Hokusai’s Art Crashed Over the Modern World”: Jason Farago of the New York Times reviews Hokusai: Inspiration And Influence, from The Collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Now on view in Boston, it heads to SAM this October!

“[…] one of the greatest of all printmakers appears at the nucleus of a worldwide cultural transformation, in which art became more urbane and more fleeting, and the observed world got flattened out into signs and symbols.”

And Finally

The Seattle Times revisits Sleepless in Seattle locations (and seeks justice for Walter!).

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Photo: Chloe Collyer.

Muse/News: Boafo Summer, Book Machine, and Real Van Gogh

SAM News

Art in America shares “The Art World’s Summer Happenings to Add to Your Calendar.” On the list: Amoako Boafo: Soul of Black Folks, opening July 13 at the Seattle Art Museum. This is your chance to experience the rising art world star’s larger-than-life portraits!

Gemma Alexander for ParentMap on “10 ways to create and enjoy art outside as a family this summer.” She mentions the free and family-friendly Summer at SAM series at the Olympic Sculpture Park. Stay tuned for the full program announcement.

“Helps families gain access to the arts”: Ellie White for Seattle’s Child on the Seattle Public Library’s Museum Pass program, which includes 11 cultural institutions, including SAM. 

Local News

Dip your toe into The Seattle Times’ comprehensive “Guide to a Great Seattle Summer.” 

And then immerse yourself in Crosscut’s second year of the Black Arts Legacies project, with written features, videos, and podcast episodes featuring local celebrated Black artists. 

The “Sistah Scifi Book Vending Machine” lands at Black Coffee Northwest and soon, at the Northwest African American Museum (NAAM); Jas Keimig has all the details for South Seattle Emerald. 

“‘I’m excited to get other people excited about science fiction and science fiction writers and these themes of fantasy and Afrofuturism, centering Blackness and Black stories and Black people,’ said [NAAM operations director Ashanti] Davis.”

Inter/National News

What do you think about the Supreme Court’s decision against the Andy Warhol Foundation in Warhol Foundation v. Goldsmith? Artnet discussed the outcome from many perspectives and also shared this opinion in favor of the decision by Ben Davis. 

ARTnews’ Maximilíano Durón reports on the 15 artists just announced as the winners of the annual Latinx Artist Fellowship given by the US Latinx Art Forum (USLAF). The list includes Mexican artist Margarita Cabrera, whose soft sculptures are now on view at SAM as part of Reverberations: Contemporary Art and Modern Classics.

Sebastian Smee for the Washington Post: “Forget ‘Immersive Van Gogh.’ These exhibitions are the real thing.”

In the end, there was only one thing—art. The point is, he made it so—by sheer striving. By the time van Gogh hit his stride, only 2½ years before he died, you couldn’t tell if he was sweating perspiration or paint.

And Finally

Don’t miss this New York Times package on the life and legacy of Tina Turner (1939–2023), especially the essay by Wesley Morris.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Photo: Alborz Kamalizad.

Muse/News: Textile Messages, Gallery Futures, and Video Art

SAM News

It’s the final week for Ikat: A World of Compelling Cloth at the Seattle Art Museum! Crosscut’s Brangien Davis featured the show in her latest ArtSEA letter. 

“There are so many gorgeous garments and wall hangings here: indigo kimonos from Japan and multipatterned robes from Nigeria; astonishing cloth artworks from India, Uzbekistan and the Americas.”

We were thrilled to host Amity Addrisi and the whole crew at New Day NW recently at SAM. Check out the segment where José Carlos Diaz, Susan Brotman Deputy Director for Art, takes Amity to some of the museum’s most beloved spots.

Puget Sound Business Journal names Northern Trust a Corporate Citizenship honoree for 2023; the firm; they share quotes from José Carlos Diaz and Amada Cruz, Illsley Ball Nordstrom Director and CEO, about their support of SAM.

Great minds think alike: Curiocity, Seattle’s Child, and Seattle Met all wrote up lists of the city’s best parks and bike trails, including mentions of Volunteer Park (home to the Seattle Asian Art Museum) and the Olympic Sculpture Park.

Local News

“A who’s who of the region’s arts and fashion community”: 425 Magazine’s Andrew Hoge on the Seattle Art Museum Supporters (SAMS) benefit at the Seattle Asian Art Museum, which featured a presentation of fashion designer Joseph Altuzarra’s fall collection.

Rachel Gallaher for Seattle Magazine speaks with artist and architect Iole Alessandrini, whose exhibition at SOIL Gallery—which closes this Saturday—iterates on projects held at the Olympic Sculpture Park.

Via Margo Vansynghel of the Seattle Times: “Two longtime and prominent pillars of the local art world, Linda Hodges and James Harris, announced this week they’re closing their namesake Seattle galleries.”

“‘Seattle has tremendous potential,’ Harris said. ‘Even though some of the old established people are retiring, or I’m moving away, I really feel that the visual cultural scene there is still going to flourish.’”

Inter/National News

Via the New York Times: “Can You Spot the Dog Hidden in This Picasso Painting?

NPR reports on the Supreme Court ruling against The Andy Warhol Foundation in a copyright infringement case over “fair use” of artworks

Artforum’s May cover story: Tina Rivers Ryan on Signals: How Video Transformed the World, now on view at the Museum of Modern Art.

“It helps us see ‘video art’ as something that was shaped by television—a technology and medium that was also the site of a novel public sphere—and that, like television itself, is now transitioning into a new form.”

And Finally

Heaven’s receptionist.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Photo: Alborz Kamalizad.

Muse/News: Ikat Sights, Chocolate Popcorn, and Mural Discovery

SAM News

Patricia Belyea of Okan Arts, a textiles and tours small business, wrote about Ikat: A World of Compelling Cloth at the Seattle Art Museum. You’ve got two weeks left to see this dazzling show, which closes after Monday, May 29.

“There is much to see at SAM—from glances across whole galleries to up-close inspections of the threads and patterns!”

For Alta Journal, multimedia artist Perri Lynch Howard reflects on the many meanings she’s found over the years in Gloria Tamerre Petyarre’s Leaves (2002), a beloved work in SAM’s collection (that’s now on view). 

“I remain transfixed by Leaves, a monumental work informed by totemic geography, dreamtime, and ancestral wisdom rooted in the land.”

The American Alliance of Museums’ blog on “How Museum Stores Are Embracing Sustainability and Inclusivity”; they include a mention of SAM Shop’s featuring of works made by local Indigenous artists.

Curiocity shares “15 of the absolute best beaches you can find in and around Seattle,” including the Olympic Sculpture Park and its pocket beach.

“The Olympic Sculpture Park is just straight up one of the coolest spots in the city.”

Local News

“Renders new truths from old objects”: Hannelore Sudermann for University of Washington Magazine on Abstract Truth, Preston Wadley’s show now on view at Bellevue Arts Museum. 

As more works from the collection went on sale at Christies, Margo Vansynghel of the Seattle Times dove deep to find out “what happened to Paul Allen’s Northwest art collection.”

At the opening night of the 49th Seattle International Film Festival, the organization announced that it has acquired the shuttered Cinerama theater. Crosscut’s Brangien Davis shared the good news. 

As for the big question on Cinerama fans’ minds: ‘We will have chocolate popcorn, absolutely,’ SIFF artistic director Beth Barrett said in a phone call on the eve of the festival. ‘That was one of the first questions for all of us, too,’ she added with a laugh. ‘The deal did not hinge on it, but it seemed important emotionally.’”

Inter/National News

Jaeyong Park for Artsy on “10 Standout Artists at the 14th Gwangju Biennale,” including former Saturday University guest Yuki Kihara. 

Via Tessa Soloman for ARTnews: “Manet’s ‘Olympia’ Will Travel to the United States for the First Time This Fall.”

Via Eve M. Kahn for the New York Times: “Vanished Murals From the Empire State Building Rediscovered.”

“Bernard Goldberg Fine Arts gallery will offer these works, two oval murals of damsels engulfed in rainbows of blossoms and foliage, which the German-born artist Winold Reiss painted in 1938 for a Longchamps restaurant at the Empire State Building’s base. (It’s now a Starbucks.)”

And Finally

Via NPR: “Meet the father-son journalists from Alabama who won a Pulitzer and changed laws.”

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Photo: Alborz Kamalizad.

Muse/News: Calder Gifts, April Theater, and Ancient Fabrics

SAM News

Last week, SAM had exciting news to announce: Thanks to the generosity of Jon and Kim Shirley, one of the most important private collections of Alexander Calder’s artworks will make its way to SAM!

The gift of the Shirley Family Calder Collection includes 48 of the iconic American sculptor’s works and is supported by a $10 million endowment and an annual financial commitment to support Calder-related exhibitions and research. Maximilíano Durón of ARTnews and Margo Vansynghel of The Seattle Times broke the news on Tuesday morning, including a front page appearance. The Art Newspaper, Geekwire, Artdaily, and local TV and radio were all among those who joined the chorus. 

Stay tuned for November, when the inaugural exhibition of all 48 works goes on view! Until then: there’s so much to see at SAM, including Ikat: A World of Compelling Cloth, on view through May 29.

For Seattle Magazine, Sean Meyers explored “100 Years Of Seattle Modernism” in architecture and design, including Jim Ellis Freeway Park, the William B. Tracy House, and, of course, the Olympic Sculpture Park designed by Weiss/Manfredi in 2007.

Local News

Via the City’s Art Beat Blog: Seattle’s Office of Arts & Culture is in the midst of a national search for its next director. Read up about what they’re looking for in this critical role and share your thoughts via the community survey link at the end.

Crosscut’s Nimra Ahmad invites you to “meet 3 young PNW writers”—Azura Tyabji, Sah Pham, and Matthew Valentine—in honor of National Poetry Month.

The Seattle Times’ Jerald Pierce has you covered with “6 theater productions to add to your April calendar.”

“…you’ll have a chance to take a trip down the yellow brick road, make an appointment with a demon barber or perhaps watch as a group of actors tries to tackle Shakespeare without knowing which character they’ll play until the night of the performance. You’ll also be able to see carefully crafted conversations centered on a collegiate debate, mixed-race relationships and the legendary August Wilson’s life.”

Inter/National News

Via Artforum: RIP to photographer Kwame Brathwaite, who died last week at the age of 85. In his work, he popularized the phrase and idea of “Black is beautiful.”

Also announced in ARTnews last week: the 171 scholars and artists who will receive 2023 Guggenheim Fellowships

Via Artnet’s Min Chen: A piece of fabric discovered in a peat bog 40 years ago has finally been analyzed and revealed to be the “world’s oldest piece of tartan,” dating back to the 16th century. (Fun fact: a fragment of Peruvian ikat on view at SAM dates back to the 9th century!)

“‘The Glen Affric tartan is clearly a piece of national and historical significance. It is likely to date to the reign of James V, Mary Queen of Scots, or James VI/I,’ said John McLeish, chair of the Scottish Tartans Authority. ‘There is no other known surviving piece of tartan from this period of this age.’”

And Finally

Marian Anderson sings at the Lincoln Memorial on Easter Sunday 1939.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Photo: Jon and Kim Shirley with Mountains (1:5 intermediate maquette, 1976). © 2023 Calder Foundation, New York / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo courtesy Jon and Kim Shirley.

Muse/News: Remix Time, Herbal Voids, and Great Waves

SAM News

Seattle Met recommends our “stunning” exhibition of textiles from around the globe. Ikat: A World of Compelling Cloth is on view through May 29.

A great time to see Ikat? How about during SAM Remix, our after-hours art party with music, art, tours, and more? The Seattle Times includes it in their “what to do around Seattle this week” feature, and The Stranger marks it down as one of their “top events” for the week. 

“What better way to beat SAD than with SAM?” We see what you did there. The Stranger recommended SAM Body & Mind, a free new program at the Olympic Sculpture Park. Don’t miss the final edition of the series on April 29 as we say farewell to winter.

Local News

Kurt Schlosser for Geekwire heads to WNDR to take you “inside the new immersive museum that blends art and tech.”

The Seattle Times’ Michael Rietmulder interviews the new organizers of an old fav: Bumbershoot Festival. Read up on what they’ve got lined up.

Crosscut’s Brangien Davis visits the National Nordic Museum’s new installation by Jónsi, and also checks out some other immersive shows (including a mention of Ikat). 

“A mysterious scent filled the air: something organic and soft, slightly herbal with a whiff of the coast. It was hard to discern where the room began and ended.”

Inter/National News

A two-minute listen via Brianna Scott for NPR: “How these art sleuths reunited a family after centuries apart.”

Karen K. Ho for ARTnews speaks with curator Leonardo Bigazzi, who had to convince lenders that their artworks would be safe… in a movie about an art thief

Chadd Scott for Forbes interviews Sarah Thompson, curator of Japanese art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, about what makes Hokusai’s Great Wave such an enduring image, seen on emojis and mugs and t-shirts. You can see the legendary print itself when it travels to SAM for Hokusai: Inspiration And Influence.

“Images in general that are a big hit often have something mysterious about them, or something that you can interpret in different ways, and that’s definitely true of the Great Wave.”

And Finally

And how about a Great Wave made from Legos?

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Photo: L. Fried.

Muse/News: Ikat Adventures, Building News, and Wiley’s Chapel

SAM News

Every week, KUOW reporter Mike Davis shares his “adventures in art.” Last week, he spoke with Kim Malcolm about some recommendations, including Ikat: A World of Compelling Cloth, SAM’s exhibition of textiles now on view. 

“…whisks you away from the world of fast-fashion into a global tour of fabric art and textiles.”

Spring fever is here! Seattle’s Child shares the “best Seattle parks for playgrounds, beaches, views or nature,” including the Olympic Sculpture Park. 

“Wander the zig-zagging pathways and contemplate monumental sculptures while the life of the city and the harbor goes on around you.”

Local News

Ikat was also recommended in The Stranger’s Art + Performance (A+P) magazine, which makes its triumphant return to glorious print! Catch up with its stories and listings online or find it near you and get some newsprint on ya. 

Nimra Ahmad for Crosscut profiles “six Seattle programs for young performing artists.”

In her second story for the Seattle Times, Margo Vansynghel gets the story on the recent purchase of the Seven Seas building (AKA the Lusty Lady building) right across the street from SAM. What will its future be?

“[Entrepreneur Andrew] Conru said his purchase of the building, which sits across from the Seattle Art Museum, was informed by his love for the city, the building and its history. ‘I go to SAM,’ he said, ‘and then you look across the street, and that building just cries out for help … I’m like, ‘Well, how can I help?’”

Inter/National News

Via Artdaily: “Contemporary Arts Museum Houston and adidas Basketball announce CAMH COURT, the first-ever playable basketball court in an art museum, commissioned and designed by Houston-based artist Trenton Doyle Hancock.” 

Artnet’s Katie White deep dives on Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun’s famed portrait of Marie Antoinette. Good prep for the new PBS series!

Via Dionne Searcey for the New York Times: “Kehinde Wiley’s New Exhibition Is a Chapel for Mourning.”

“The exhibition by Wiley…embraces a solemn vibe: dark and almost chapel-like with bright lights on individual pieces. Viewers can fill out response cards to write about the exhibit, which also will have multiple exits for anyone who needs a break.”

And Finally

RIP, Lance Reddick.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Photo: Chloe Collyer.

Muse/News: Color Festival, Archive Dives, and Cultural Preservation

SAM News

“Support Seattle Art Museum’s year-round cultural programming at this lavish gala,” says The Stranger in their “Top 63 Events in Seattle This Week” round-up, recommending The Colors of Holi Gala at the Seattle Asian Art Museum this Saturday night. You can also celebrate the festival during the day at the free Holi Family Celebration

A recommendation from 425 Magazine: Ikat: A World of Compelling Cloth, an exhibition exploring over 100 dazzling textiles, opens next week at SAM. 

Alison Sutcliffe for Tinybeans shares “25 Things to Do with a Baby in Seattle,” including mentions of the tranquil setting of the Seattle Asian Art Museum and the fresh air and sculptures of the Olympic Sculpture Park.

Local News

The Seattle Times’ Jerald Pierce with “6 exhibitions you need to see for Women’s History Month.” 

Theron Hassi for UW Daily on the Art as Activism show at the Jacob Lawrence Gallery, which “highlights four local Iranian artists and their responses to the crisis enveloping their home country.”

Whitewall interviews Wendy Red Star on her artworks created for bus shelters in Boston, Chicago, and New York City. Red Star also mentions her commission for SAM, Áakiiwilaxpaake (People Of The Earth), which is on view now in American Art: The Stories We Carry

“She takes us along in her pursuit of history and knowledge in an effort to gain and share access to that which has been taken, stolen, lost to time, or hidden away in high-walled institutions.”

Inter/National News

Robin Pogrebin for the New York Times: “To expand the scope and reach of its collection, the Philadelphia Museum of Art is creating a new center dedicated to the study, acquisition and care of art from continental Africa and the African diaspora.”

Francesca Aton for ARTnews reports that Ghanaian artist El Anatsui has received the Hyundai Commission at Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall. 

Via Eileen Kinsella for Artnet: “Winterizing Monuments, Digitizing Archives: How Ukraine Is Fighting to Preserve Its Cultural Heritage a Year Into the Russian Invasion.”

“[World Monuments Fund’s Kateryna] Goncharova stressed the importance of cultural heritage preservation, saying: ‘Restoring a monument that was destroyed gives people a reason to withstand whatever the circumstances we have to face, whatever challenges may come. It gives us something to look forward to. So continue believing in Ukraine, continue believing in our future.’”

And Finally

Kung Fu Nuns of Nepal.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Photo: Robert Wade.

Valentine’s Day 2023: Love at SAM Through the Decades

Happy Valentine’s Day! For the last seven days, we’ve been highlighting expressions of familial, romantic, and platonic love at SAM during our #SAMWeekOfLove on our Instagram. As part of the series, we shared photos and stories from four couples for whom SAM has played a significant role in their relationship. To give you an extra dose of love this holiday, we’ve rounded up all four of the love stories we previously shared on our social media below. Scroll below to learn how SAM played Cupid in all of these relationships!

Diane & David
July 22, 2022
Olympic Sculpture Park

“We were searching for a venue that had both an indoor and outdoor space and was both modern and simple. The sculpture park fit that search perfectly! I am a wedding calligrapher and event designer by trade, so working with the different areas of the venue was so much fun. The spaciousness of the park was also great—from our wedding album it looks like we went to several locations, but they’re all taken from different areas of the park!” – Diane

Tiffany & Aaron
October 3, 2003
Seattle Asian Art Museum

“I had my wedding at the Seattle Asian Art Museum. From childhood to adulthood, the museum and its camels will forever hold a special place in my heart. Pictured are me and my bridesmaids: my two sisters, and my two best friends.” – Tiffany

This photo and story was shared to us by SAM’s very own Director of Membership and Annual Giving Tiffany Tessada. Tiffany has been a part of the SAM family for over 24 years and our membership program wouldn’t be what it is today without her tireless work and dedication. Considering everything she’s done for SAM, we’re honored to have been a part of her love story!

Ciera & John
August 7, 2021
Olympic Sculpture Park

With most of their guests coming from out of state, Ciera and John wanted a venue that celebrates Seattle and the life they’ve built together in the city. With views of their home in West Seattle, the Olympic Mountain Range where they ski and backpack, and the iconic Space Needle, the park served as the perfect location to host their nuptials. Their most cherished wedding memory? Read it in their own words below:

“Our favorite memory was having the opportunity to sneak away to take quiet sunset photos around the park while our guests enjoyed cocktail hour overlooking the Puget Sound.” – Ciera

Tina & Greg
October 14, 1989
Seattle Asian Art Museum

A few weeks before their wedding, Tina and Greg dressed in their most glamorous and practical attire—her, red Converse hightops and him, green bowling shoes and a Puyallup Fair hat—and visited several Seattle locations that had a special meaning to them. With their photographer Shel Izen in tow, they captured fun and scenic moments across the city, including at the Seattle Asian Art Museum (then just called the Seattle Art Museum) where they had spent one of their first dates as a couple.

– Lily Hansen, SAM Marketing Content Creator

Photos: Sam and Sola Lee. Courtesy Tiffany Tessada. Joe Tobiason. Courtesy Tina Koyama.

Goodbye, 2022: Looking Back on an Unforgettable Year at SAM

We’re closing out another amazing year at SAM and want to thank each and every one of you for your continued support over the last year as we connected art to life in new ways across the Pacific Northwest. From beach cleanups at the Olympic Sculpture Park, Summer at SAM, endless gallery tours, SAM Remix, new exhibitions and installations—including Frisson: The Richard E. Lang & Jane Lang Davis Collection, Imogen Cunningham: A Retrospective, Embodied Change: South Asian Art Across Time, Lauren Halsey, Our Blue Planet: Global Visions of Water, Indigenous Matrix: Northwest Women Printmakers, Beyond the Mountain: Contemporary Chinese Artists on the Classical Forms, Giacometti: Toward the Ultimate Figure, Anthony White: Limited Liability, American Art: The Stories We Carry, and Dawoud Bey & Carrie Mae Weems: In Dialogue—educational lectures series, community celebrations, and so much more, we couldn’t have done it without you. Browse the slideshow below for a recap of all the memories we’ve made with you this year.

Here’s to a happy and healthy 2023—cheers!

– Lily Hansen, SAM Marketing Content Creator

Photo Credits: Alborz Kamalizad, Chloe Collyer, L. Fried, and Natali Wiseman.

Rosa Sittig-Bell: An Emerging Arts Leader’s Look at SAM

Growing up in Seattle, I spent many years skipping school on the first Thursday of every month to wander the ever-changing exhibitions at SAM, picking out my favorite paintings and developing a personal relationship with them. I always knew that I wanted to be a part of creating the magic that happens when you enter a museum and experience the way one artwork can transform your perspective on the world and yourself. Through my internship at the museum, I was able to get closer to recognizable and historic artworks—many of which I have been enamored with for years—than I had ever imagined I would, as well as getting to intimately investigate, work with, and develop new relationships to new pieces in SAM’s collection. 

Like a child being pulled away from a candy shop, as my Emerging Arts Leader Internship at SAM concludes, I want to look back on how transformative and fascinating working with the conservation team has been as I focused on conservation projects at the Olympic Sculpture Park and on objects in the museum’s reinstallation of its American art galleries, which debuted this October.

In the ever-increasing heat of Seattle’s newfound summer, I spent days running around the Olympic Sculpture Park with Senior Objects Conservator Elizabeth Brown as we treated the various sculptures that inhabit SAM’s outdoor location. This work ranged from re-waxing Louise Bourgeois’ Father and Son, to painting Alexander Calder’s The Eagle, to treating George Rickey’s kinetic sculpture Two Plane Vertical Horizontal Variation III. I was struck by the public’s fascination with our process, stopping on their strolls with their Australian Shepherds to inquire about what we were doing. I would stop—blow torch and wax in hand—and explain these routine art treatments. These interactions made clear to me that the public is invested in the art around them, and that this work contributes to dialogues on accessible art. 

The conversation around what it means to work in conservation tends to be slim outside of the museum sphere, and I believe it’s a majorly overlooked aspect of the processes artworks go through before they are sent across the world to various museums, acquired from collectors, or have been sitting on display for months. How do we interact with artworks in a way that will allow them to be experienced in the future? Conservation is a field that combines investigation in so many different directions: the hand-skills needed to replicate the movements of practicing artists, the chemistry knowledge that informs how to interact with various materials, and the knowledge of art history that is needed to investigate the unique mechanisms of every artwork. My understanding of how multifaceted conservation is has grown immensely during my time here at SAM. 

Working at SAM has also revealed to me how museums and other art institutions can work toward greater equity. As part of my internship, I attended a few sessions of the American art project’s advisory circle, a group of 11 members of the community who advised on the reinstallation. These sessions were eye-opening. I was able to see and be a part of how SAM is working to eliminate an echo chamber of only museum staff in reflecting how communities would like to be represented themselves in the galleries. 

I will look back longingly on my experience, wishing I could use the XRF machine (essentially a handheld X-ray) one more time or attempt to clean a 19th-century elevator screen using a CO2 gun with Objects Conservator Geneva Griswold and fellow conservation intern Caitlyn Fong again. I will forever cherish being able to work so closely with objects from around the world. Becoming so personal with the art that I grew up visiting in the museum and investigating it on a whole new, and sometimes molecular level, has been one of the greatest learning experiences I could have imagined.

In concluding my internship, I look forward to seeking out more opportunities in the conservation field and to make sure that the art that touches us can be seen for years to come.

– Rosa Sittig-Bell, SAM Emerging Arts Leader Intern in Conservation

Photo: Chloe Collyer.

Become a SAM Volunteer!

SAM is now in search of passionate and outgoing volunteers to help in all aspects of the museum’s operations. SAM volunteers support the museum and its programming through their love of sharing art experiences with visitors, staff, and each other. Volunteer responsibilities include welcoming visitors at SAM’s downtown location, leading tours at the Olympic Sculpture Park, making art with families at the Seattle Asian art Museum, researching our collections, and more!

Apply today to become a SAM volunteer and join a team of dedicated volunteers who support SAM in its mission to connect art to life.

But, don’t just take it from us, hear it directly from a SAM volunteer! Kimber Bang, a longtime volunteer with over 1,300 hours of service donated since 2013, about her experiences as a SAMbassador, libraries volunteer, and member of SAM’s Volunteer Association Executive Committee spoke with SAM about why everyone should become a SAM volunteer.

Being a SAM volunteer for the past several years has led me to develop a new appreciation for museums and how they operate. Having no previous or formal arts education, it is a rare and enriching educational experience to receive training by SAM curators and staff on ongoing exhibitions and installations. The staff are always very friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful, and I always look forward to coming in and seeing their familiar faces. It’s been a treat to engage with visitors and staff while roaming the galleries and being one of the first to see all of the fabulous art on view.

As a volunteer, I also hear about upcoming programming before anyone else and get to attend for free. It is easy to plan ahead and join in in all of the great activities the museum has to offer. I have attended several events including SAM Remix, Party in the Park, curator lectures, and opening night celebrations. I encourage everyone to consider becoming a SAM volunteer and immerse themselves in Seattle’s arts community.

– Kimber Bang, 2013–2022 SAM Volunteer

– Danie Allinice, SAM Manager of Volunteer Programs

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