“[Mary Ann Santos] Newhall noted that just as languages can be lost from oral tradition, dances can likewise disappear. ‘It has to be passed on from body to body, or we lose our language.’ she said. ‘What Hannah [C. Wiley] is doing is preserving our language of dance.’”
“The performance can be understood as artistic consciousness-raising, which has been one of two main historical rationales for eco-oriented art (the other being more direct environmental remediation). Yet it’s a quite particular kind of consciousness-raising, one that offers sensory immersion rather than abstract information.”
“She says she wants to ‘keep doors wide open’ in the museum to communities that might not see the museum as a place they belong, in the way she felt comfortable roaming the halls of MoMA when she was younger. ‘For me, every citizen of Seattle owns the art museum,’ Rice says. ‘I want them, when they walk in, to feel like I felt years ago as a kid: welcome.’”
“Arguably the most popular seafood spot in the North End…expands to downtown Seattle with a 60-seat restaurant inside the Seattle Art Museum. All of its greatest hits are here: lobster rolls, fried soft-shell crab, seafood chowder and fish and chips.”
“There are stories and ideas in “mymothersside,” currently occupying several rooms at Frye Art Museum, but we only catch fragments and echoes, like we’re overhearing something — or being permitted to overhear little bits of something that isn’t ours to fully comprehend.”
Artnet’s Melissa Smith has the first major interview with Naomi Beckwith since she became chief curator and deputy director of the Guggenheim; Beckwith talks about why she’s exactly where she needs to be.
“I heard ‘Psalm’ first,” he says, “and I was blown away, because I knew it was rare, that he never played it in public, except in France. But then when I turned the tape over and realized here’s Joe Brazil doing his matinee set, then it ends, then the next thing is the opening fanfare [of “Acknowledgment”], and — Oh my God, I realized the whole suite is here!”
“They remain relevant, and become increasingly more so as time passes,” [Rebecca] Romney said. “One of the cards depicts a scientist interacting with microbes; another shows something very akin to a Zoom session…Looking at these cards is a bit like catching up with a friend you haven’t seen since high school—that contraction of time in which it feels as if you experience two time periods at once, thinking of all that was different in the past, and how much has changed now.”
“The 10 different publishers ‘sometimes have different mindsets, different politics, and they live in different parts of the country’…said [Nick] Charles. ‘But their affection and love for communities are what binds them. Collaboration is going on because people realize that to survive and to meet our mission as journalists, we have to band together.’”
“These paintings have their amusing aspects as images; their enthralling, startling qualities as fields of manipulated paint; and their painful auras as ridiculous yet heart-rending pictures of the hell that is being an artist, or maybe just the hell that was being Philip Guston.”
“It also sends an important signal, [Vivian Phillips] says. ‘With the severe reduction of Black residents in the Central Area, part of what this represents is that we were here, and we are still here, and we will be here, in some form. We’re making our mark … through art, to make sure that people cannot forget or erase us.’”
Artnet’s Caroline Goldstein on the doctor’s orders: museum visits. That’s right: Doctors in Brussels are prescribing visits to museums for patients coping with pandemic-related stress. (So, everyone?)
“Numerous studies have confirmed the benefits of art in raising patient’s spirits, even when they are confined to hospitals. The World Health Organization even operates an entire program dedicated to the study and support of arts as vital components of maintaining well-being.”
“[SAM] is a surprisingly kid-friendly excursion, especially on weekday mornings, when you pretty much get the galleries to yourself. Two hours is the perfect amount of time for a museum walk-through and a snack. After that, you can head home for a nap—and art projects.”
“‘There are the stories that made America and there are the stories that America made up,’ said [curator] Bernard Kinsey. ‘Everything we learned in school was made up, because [Black Americans] weren’t in it … We’re here, we’re just not part of the narrative and we should be.’”
“‘This is my first social-political body of work,’ she says. The first Resist appeared in a 2018 three-artist show at the Seattle Art Museum, alongside Robert Colescott and Kerry James Marshall. ‘I was so honored to be chosen for that show,’ she tells me. ‘These artists created a platform for artists like me to freely make whatever the f*ck I want to make.’”
Crosscut’s Brangien Davis reflects on “how ‘what ifs’ become realities” in her weekly editor’s letter, exploring acts of collective imagination happening now, as well as those by Black artists and cultural workers long in the works such as Wa Na Wari, Africatown, Natasha Marin, and more.
“A cry for action from the inside out and the outside in”: The director of the Oakland Museum of Art, Lori Fogarty, writes an opinion piece for Artnet, laying out their ongoing equity efforts—social impact evaluations, board representation benchmarks, paid internships, and community collaborations—as well as “how much further [they] have to go.”
“The artifact actually stands as a metaphor,” Aaron Bryant, curator of photography and visual culture and contemporary collecting at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. In many ways, it becomes a portal by which we can connect our visitors with the story we are trying to tell.”
The May/June issue of Hong-Kong based magazine Orientations is out, and the reimagined Asian Art Museum is the cover story. “Flip” through the digital edition to page 46 to read the essay by SAM curators Foong Ping and Xiaojin Wu, along with consulting curator Darielle Mason.
This week, Stay Home with SAM sends love letters to Seattle’s Chinatown-International District, explores the major-ness of Kehinde Wiley, and gathers under the light installation of Kenzan Tsutakawa-Chinn.
“The piece was captivating. This sentence put what I originally thought were just a couple whimsical cement radios into a bizarre and uncanny context, something that, without an entire article to accompany it, a run of the mill museum exhibit could not have done.”
“Opening the online platform has helped with the isolation of the lockdown, giving structure to a week when days blur together in a miasma of monotony. ‘It’s a consistent thing we look forward to in our days,’ Amina said. ‘It’s been hard, but they’ve been making it easier, for sure.’”
“It has largely been up to the institutions to iron out the details, including whether to require masks. For museum directors, this involves balancing public safety against the desire to allow people to freely engage with art; for visitors, this means navigating a patchwork of new rules.”
This week, Stay Home with SAM offered Earth Day tips and an art project inspired by El Anatsui, introduced the SAM Book Club’s latest pick (Octavia Butler!), and explored the in-between identities of Aaron Fowler’s Amerocco.
“At chapter breaks, I’d glance up to check in on my fellow book nerds, who were reading while sipping a drink, rocking a baby or petting an insistent cat. It felt so nice to go to a party — even one that’s silent and virtual — where people allow a camera into their private rooms, just to read and be together.”
“This experience has stimulated my thinking about the role that museums can play for those who are not physically able to visit them, whether for health, economic, or other reasons. I wholeheartedly believe in the transformative experiences by a physical encounter with a work of art, but when that is not feasible, how else can we offer authentic engagement to our visitors near and far?”
“It’s a good batch of films guaranteed to transport you out of your living room, whether it’s to the glamour of the Mediterranean coast, to the excitement of a contemporary art auction, to the otherworldly ecstasy of a Sun Ra concert, or even to the squalid claustrophobia of Edvard Munch’s Norwegian adolescence.”
During the temporary closure of SAM locations, we hope you can safely continue to enjoy the Olympic Sculpture Park, carefully following physical distancing guidelines by staying six feet away from other park visitors. SAM will continue to align with any City guidance on parks usage.
Stay Home with SAM continues to take your imagination outside. Last week, we investigated “The Case of the Weeping Buddha,” got macro with the photography of Imogen Cunningham, and offered a virtual curator talk of the Georgia O’Keeffe exhibition with Theresa Papanikolas. Join us!
Seattle Met’s Stefan Milne on the fight to fund Seattle arts, focusing particularly on nightlife and performance venues who are particularly reliant on people in seats.
Rich Smith of the Stranger reports on the forthcoming launch of Northwest Arts Streaming Hub (NASH), a “Netflix for local performances” created by a coalition of Seattle art world heavies.
Crosscut’s Brangien Davis takes in ever-retreating horizons as Seattle’s art world responds to a situation with unknown ends; finally, former Seattleite Yann Novak’s video piece Stillness: Oceanic offers a more substantial anchor.
“The congregational aspect of the arts scene has been boxed up for later. Stillness abounds. But, just as in Novak’s video, the atmospheric conditions are causing changes. Artists are shifting slightly every day, in ways we might not perceive until we see the composite picture.”
“For Satterwhite, world-building is a form of self-care. Speaking to Art21 back in February, his words ring true today: ‘Art became a form of escapism for me to reroute my personal traumas. And now I think I’m trying to pursue something more present.'”
continues to inspire. We’re getting bewitched with Korean artist Jung Yeondoo,
looking to the helpers with a 19th century Japanese fireman’s coat, and walking
towards the light with Seattle artist Barbara Earl Thomas. Scroll, listen, and
make to your heart’s content.
“There is a
special delight in discovering that what seems to be a premodern piece was in
fact created in the 2000s, and what looks to be a contemporary work was in fact
created centuries prior. Asia is pulled from the shadows of essentializing
stereotypes and refashioned as a multidimensional entity that is in dialogue
with the past instead of being confined to tradition.”
“What is it — artist
project, kunsthalle, community hub, pop-up museum?” Mr. [Glenn] Ligon said. “It
has a spirit and energy unlike other art spaces I’ve ever been to and once I
was there I wanted to be part of it, even though I wasn’t sure what ‘it’ was.”
“What do you create or do in life that brings you
happiness? The question we asked locals — just before Washington state’s
stay-at-home order — takes on new meaning now that individuals and communities
are coping with the coronavirus crisis.”
Last week, Congress
passed a $2 trillion aid package in response to the coronavirus. Cultural
organizations had requested $4 billion; Artnet’s Eileen Kinsella reports on how “they
got, well, less.”
“A fridge full of seafood, a cabinet full of beans, and
regular trips to the coffee shop while we still can. Prepping for the worst,
but can’t leave this city! So far, pizza is still delivering, so totally OK.”
SAM is temporarily
through the end of March, to help limit the spread of COVID-19 and protect the
community. To keep connecting you to art, we have launched Stay Home with SAM, with regular
emails sharing videos, interviews, and art news from SAM Blog. Join us!
“’This is 9/11
meets The Great Recession meets the snowstorm,’ Randy Engstrom, director of the
city’s Office of Arts and Culture (OAC), said during an online public meeting
Tuesday afternoon. ‘We know we’re going to get through this together — and this
is our time.’”
How Can We Think of
Art at a Time Like This? asks a just-launched online exhibition from writer-curators Barbara Pollack and Anne
Verhallen, recruiting artists and building a website over 48 hours.
“‘It’s always been
an intriguing contradiction between how important art is and how trivial it can
be at the same time,’ said Pollack. ‘When crises come up, I think it’s a
question we all ask ourselves…There is always something going on in the world
that seems to overshadow creative effort, and yet it’s so important for
creative effort to continue.’”
Following a series of progressive steps taken in recent weeks, SAM
announced last Thursday that it has
temporarily closed through the end of March, to help limit the spread of COVID-19 and
protect the community.
While the museum is closed, we hope you’ll enjoy Gayle Clemans’ lovely review of John Akomfrah: Future History, which notes that
even with the closure, “the artist and his work, nonetheless, is well worth
“For Akomfrah, that
cinematic approach is like philosophy, a way of comprehending the world. ‘As
opposites have conversations, or as they are persuaded to at least potentially
sit at the table in preparation for conversation, something miraculous
happens,’ he says. ‘Life itself happens.’”
– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations
Image: Alfred Stieglitz, American, 1864–1946, Georgia O’Keeffe (in a chemise), 1918, gelatin silver print, 9 1/2 x 7 1/2 in., Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe, New Mexico, Gift of the Georgia O’Keeffe Foundation, 2006.6.1432, photo: Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe / Art Resource, NY
“It’s obviously a
really exciting thing,” said Barbara Brotherton, a curator of Native American
art at the Seattle Art Museum, of the recent exposure. The museum has a long
track record of showing Native American art ranging from historical to
contemporary periods. “We’re just in this modern moment where it’s gaining
cachet from venues like art fairs, contemporary galleries, and biennials.”
announced this week that it
is under new ownership, having been acquired by startup entrepreneur
and Geekwire chairman Jonathan Sposato.
“A Place for Meaningful Cultural Conversations” declared the headline
for art critic Lee Lawrence’s thoughtful
review of the reimagined Asian Art Museum,
which appeared in the February 25 print edition of the Wall Street Journal.
bululs, or rice deities, from the Philippines once watched over terraced
paddies, and they’re among the museum’s most modest yet most powerful works.
Given the nature and small size of its Philippine holdings, the Seattle Asian
Art Museum probably would have kept them in storage had it opted for a
traditional installation. But in another benefit of thematic groupings,
they—and other long-warehoused treasures in the museum’s collection—now have a
role, enriching the new installation not just with their stories but with their
Susie J. Lee is making a short video about what makes a museum “interesting and
cool.” The Seattle Times’ Alan Berner captured
photos of the recent shoot at the Asian Art Museum.
“As a trained
anthropologist, Hurston traveled down the East Coast and sat on stoops and
corners, the storytelling stages and communal gathering spaces of Black
communities, where, with academic rigor and a loving gaze, she listened,
studied and collected the stories Black folk tell.”
Holland Cotter of the
New York Times on
MoMA’s Donald Judd survey that opens on Sunday, noting that his work
“can now be seen to offer pleasures, visual and conceptual, that any audience
with open eyes, can relate to.”
“It is not often a
new category of art historical research is proposed as a solution to these
persistent problems, but The
Allure of Matter: Material Art from China makes a compelling case for the
usefulness of a new analytical structure around Chinese art.”
Virginia “Jinny” Wright, a pillar of the SAM family, passed away last week at the age of 91. The Seattle Times obituary of the collector and philanthropist noted that she “lived for art—and dedicated herself to sharing it with others.” KUOW and ARTnews also shared remembrances of her legacy. She will be greatly missed.
KEXP’s Hans Anderson interviewed SAM curators Foong Ping and Xiaojin Wu about the reimagined Seattle Asian Art Museum for their Sound & Vision show; head to their archive for Saturday, February 15 for the story, which started at 7:49 am.
“So the piece, like
Parker’s music, is full of extremes, pushing the voice’s boundaries,” [tenor
Joshua] Stewart says. “When you have a piece this difficult, you have to bring
to it everything you have to offer. You have to go on the full journey.”
“This is coming at
a time when museums and other cultural institutions are really trying to make a
case for their existence,” says the OMCA’s associate director of evaluation and
visitor insight, Johanna Jones, who led the project. “We know we make a
difference in people’s lives, now we need to really demonstrate it through
With a heavy heart, we share the news of the passing of Virginia Wright, a pillar of the SAM family. Virginia and her late husband Bagley played pivotal roles in the development, vibrancy, and accomplishments of the Seattle Art Museum for more than half a century. Beyond being generous contributors, the Wrights’ greatest impact on SAM is seen in the art of the collection and in the art shown. Virginia was among a very small group of people who, in the 1960s, pushed SAM to create its first modern and contemporary art program. Virginia and Bagley also contributed to the purchase of many important acquisitions over the years. Above all else, the Wrights amassed one of the most important collections of modern and contemporary art in the world (over 200 works), all purchased with SAM in mind as the collection’s eventual home. When the bulk of it came to SAM in 2014, forming the backbone of its modern and contemporary collection, SAM was transformed from a great institution into a truly remarkable one.
Earlier this month,
Virginia said, “When I think about the future of the Wright Collection at SAM, I
put my trust in the artists. I trust that future generations will value their
work, that SAM will continue to provide meaningful access to it, and that the
conversations that their work has inspired will continue.” We are honored by
her faith in Seattle’s museum and, because of her support over the last 60
years, we are confident that we can live up to the legacy she established.
Born in Seattle and raised
in British Columbia, Virginia went East for college and majored in art history.
Out of college, she worked for Sidney Janis Gallery in Manhattan and began
collecting art. Mark Rothko’s abstract painting Number 10 (1952) was one
of her early, daring purchases and it is now part of SAM’s collection.
Virginia has been a SAM
member since 1951. She began docent training in 1957 and led her first public
tour in 1959. In 1959, the Wrights made their first-ever gift to SAM’s
collection: Room with White Table (1953) by William Ward Corley. That
year they also provided funding for SAM to acquire Winter’s Leaves of the
Winter of 1944 (at the time titled Leaves Before Autumn Wind) by
In 1964, she and a group of friends persuaded then-director Richard Fuller to let her start the Contemporary Art Council (CAC), a group of collectors at the museum. For the next decade, it functioned as the museum’s first modern art department. The CAC sponsored lectures and supported the first exhibitions of Op art and conceptual art in Seattle. It also brought the popular Andy Warhol Portraits exhibition to Seattle in 1976, among many other important exhibitions. Her role in bringing great art to the Seattle Art Museum also involved the curation of two solo exhibitions for Morris Louis (in 1967) and William Ivey (in 1975).
Virginia joined SAM’s board in 1960, making 2020 her 60th anniversary with the Seattle Art Museum. She temporarily stepped away in 1972 when her husband Bagley joined the Board and rejoined in 1982. She served as President of the Board from 1987–90. Virginia was President of SAM’s Board of Trustees from 1986–1992, years that coincided with the construction and opening of the downtown Robert Venturi building in 1991—the museum’s first major transformation since its opening in 1933 and a major shift in Seattle’s cultural life to downtown First Avenue (with the Symphony soon following).
In 1999, SAM mounted an
exhibition of the Wright Collection (The Virginia and Bagley Wright
Collection of Modern Art, March 4–May 9, 1999). The Wrights’ entire art
collection—the largest single collection of modern and contemporary art in the
region—has been gradually donated (and the balance of the collection promised)
to the Seattle Art Museum. A significant portion of the collection came to the
museum in 2014 when the Wrights’ private exhibition space closed.
When the Seattle Art Museum opened the Olympic Sculpture Park in 2007, many works from the Wrights’ collection were installed there, including Mark di Suvero’s Bunyon’s Chess (1965) and Schubert Sonata (1992), as well as works by Ellsworth Kelly, Tony Smith, Anthony Caro, and Roxy Paine.
SAM’s ongoing exhibition Big Picture: Art After 1945draws from the Wrights’ transformative gift of over 100 works and is a reminder of their incredible generosity.
Virginia was an active board member up to the end of her life, regularly attending meetings and advising the museum in many important endeavors. About SAM Virginia said, “It’s always been the main arena. I never wanted to break off and start a museum. I wanted to push the museum we already had into being more responsive to contemporary art.” And SAM would like to acknowledge that she did just that, leaving an undeniable mark on the cultural landscape of the entire Pacific Northwest.
As Amada Cruz, SAM’s
Illsley Ball Nordstrom Director and CEO, says, “Even having only been in
Seattle for a short time, it’s clear that Virginia Wright’s impact on the city
and on SAM is beyond measure. Her legacy, and that of her late husband Bagley,
is seen in both the very walls and on the walls of the downtown museum, and it
fills the Olympic Sculpture Park’s landscapes. I’m honored to have been able to
know her and of her hopes for SAM’s continued future.”
“And given Seattle’s complicated history of changing attitudes
toward immigrants and visitors from the rest of the Pacific Rim, Foong [Ping,
curator of Asian art] notes, ‘It’s very meaningful to have an Asian art museum
in this city.’”
This week’s edition of Real Change features the Asian Art Museum, with this story
from Kelly Knickerbocker.
“With the renovated
building came an opportunity to start completely from scratch,” Foong said.
“People kept asking, ‘Did you just go on holiday when the museum closed?’ It’s
quite the opposite.”
The Stranger’s Jasmyne Keimig often takes a look at what’s “Currently
she is on Faig Ahmed’s Oiling, which is now on view in Be/longing:
Contemporary Asian Art.
The New York Times’
Elizabeth A. Harris reports on repercussions from the coronavirus hitting
the art world.
Artnet’s Katie White from
the frontlines of “bro-ramics”; apparently, Hollywood dudes are
really into making ceramics? Of course, it’s a medium that has been dominated
by women for centuries.
“The popularity may
wax and wane, but I don’t think we’ll return to anything like the material biases
that existed in the late 20th century…and Seth Rogen will turn to underwater
Seattle Asian Art Museum is officially reopen! Thank you to the thousands
of people who streamed through the reimagined galleries at the free
housewarming event last weekend. The museum starts regular hours on Wednesday,
“I felt freed, well, just to look”: Stefan Milne examines Boundless at the Asian Art Museum and The American War at ARTS at King Street Station, which both “explore how we see Asia.”
Seattle Refined shot a recent episode from the museum, including a fantastic segment
with SAM curators Foong Ping and Xiaojin Wu (starts at :40).
“Your eyes and mind
enter them easily and roam through the different layers of brushwork and narrative
suggestion. There’s an unexpected optimism to all this. The paintings also
dwell in silence, slow us down and hypnotize.”
The Seattle Asian
Art Museum reopens to the public this weekend with a free two-day celebration.
10,000 free tickets for the housewarming event have been claimed, but the
museum reopens with regular hours on Wednesday, February 12.
questions we’re asking for this reopening are, ‘Where is Asia? What is Asia?’”
says Xiaojin Wu, the curator of Japanese and Korean art at the museum. “We’re
showing how the borders are fluid throughout history.” –From The Art Newspaper
“When the Asian Art
Museum opens on Saturday, the architects hope that previous visitors will see
their museum in a new light. Says Amada Cruz, CEO and director of the Seattle
Art Museum, ‘We could not be more excited to open the doors of the museum and
welcome everyone back.’” –Elizabeth Fazzare, Architectural Digest
“With so much to
see and contemplate in the Seattle Asian Art Museum, there needed to be space
to let the mind wander into a void for a bit. The experience would not be
complete without it. The curators and architects all should be commended for
seeing through a new vision that will expand audience’s awareness of Asia, but
also remind them that the human pursuit of beauty and the sublime is, indeed,
timeless and boundless.” –T.s. Flock, Vanguard
“With works that
emphasized the immaterial, or the breakdown of matter, the exhibition begged
the question: how applicable is the term Material Art? It seems that at this
early stage, the label may conjure more questions than answers.”
“The concept of
their endeavor . . . is simple: Put together one show a year with a kickass
lineup, pay the performers royally, preach the gospel that working artists
deserve a fair wage, have a damn good time and repeat.”
“After a long pause
a nine-year-old said: ‘Objects have rights.’ The phrase has stuck. It captures
both the need to conserve objects and to consider them as active participants
in the museum experience.”
In February, SAM
reopens the doors of the Asian Art Museum. Galerie includes the opening on their list of “11 Major Art Museums Opening in
2020.” And The Stranger’s Jasmyne Keimig shares “four things you should know” about the reimagined museum.
SAM’s Community Gallery has been displaying work from artists of all ages located throughout Washington State for over a decade. Shows featuring photography, mixed media, sewing and textile arts, ceramics, and 2-D and 3-D mixed media have filled this space over the years. Youth, SAM staff and volunteers, community organizations, nonprofits supporting arts programming, and schools and classes have had their art displayed on the ground floor of SAM’s downtown location, serving as a colorful reminder of creativity and community building.
Before I worked at SAM, I installed a show in the Community Gallery representing a multitude of different artists who connected with the Yesler Terrace community and beyond. It brought many community members to SAM for the first time and the artists involved in the show expressed the feeling of importance that came with having their work displayed in the museum.
With the beginning of a new decade, SAM is taking a new approach to the Community Gallery. We are working to show art from communities and artists who are underrepresented in the museum world due to systematic oppression. We are looking for artwork by and for artists of color, queer artists, disabled artists, youth and elderly artists, immigrant and refugee communities, and low-income artists.
We now have a simple application that outlines our equity goals for the space and how the Community Gallery can be used. Take a look at our call for art to learn more and apply to hang your community’s artwork downtown at SAM.
We are also adding more Community Gallery space in a city where art spaces are becoming more and more tenuous. The renovation and expansion of the Seattle Asian Art Museum created a new, additional Community Gallery space. Once it opens in February, the Asian Art Museum Community Gallery will feature works by and for the Asian Pacific Islander community in Seattle throughout its inaugural year.
We’ll also be curating our first youth-focused gallery space downtown, featuring a Teen Arts Group-curated exhibition of youth artists for its premiere show. SAM is always working to extend and expand the accessibility and connections within our community and the updated Community Gallery guidelines are one way we can’t wait to share with you!
In case you missed it:
The Seattle Times’ December 21 print edition featured photojournalist Alan
Berner’s behind-the-scenes look at the Do Ho Suh
installation in progress with Liz Brown
David Carrier for
Hyperallergic on the
“endlessly inventive” Jörg Immendorff, whose solo show is now on
view in Madrid; his Café Deutschland 38. Parteitag, just added to SAM’s
collection in honor of Kim Rorschach, is now on view.
compelling aspect of the show is its focus on faces. Radiant faces loom out
from images on the walls. At a time when immigrants are being described as
dangerous, faceless people, these faces ask visitors to pause and look.”
The New York Times’
Will Heinrich reviews the Brooklyn Museum’s reinstallation of its Chinese and
Japanese collections, calling it “5,000 Years of Asian Art in 1 Single,
American museum’s Asian wing is no mean feat. How to convey the very real
throughlines that make terms as broad as ‘Chinese art’ and ‘Japanese art’
meaningful, while also doing justice to the staggering variety of these
ancient, and hugely populous, cultures?”
The Seattle Review of
Books is asking local luminaries, “if you could give everyone in Seattle one
book as a gift this holiday season, what book would you choose and why?” Here
are selections from Amada Cruz, SAM’s Illsley Ball Nordstrom
Director and CEO.
people like Pratt or Mississippi activist Medgar Evers by erecting a bronze statue
or naming a park after them is also meaningful and important, there’s something
about the domesticity and “everyday-ness” of a face on a stamp that’s
just as appealing. It carries emotional power.”
In September 2019,
Kimerly Rorschach, SAM’s Illsley Ball Nordstrom Director and CEO, retired after
seven years of leading the institution and an illustrious 25-year career in the
arts. When Rorschach joined SAM in November 2012, she set her sights on
creating a schedule of exhibitions and programs for the museum’s three
locations that was compelling and timely and that would resonate with a rapidly
growing and diversifying Seattle community.
During her tenure, equity and inclusion also became top priorities. As part of a commitment to building racial equity, addressing institutional racism, and bringing forth real change, she led the museum’s participation in Turning Commitment into Action, a cohort led and funded by the Office of Arts & Culture in partnership with Office for Civil Rights in 2015. After taking part in this important cohort, SAM established a staff leadership team dedicated to these efforts, and hired Priya Frank as Associate Director for Community Programs in the museum’s Education department and also appointed her the founding chair of the newly established Equity Team.
Beginning in 2016, SAM established racial equity training for the staff, volunteers, docent corps, and Board of Trustees. The museum also created special exhibition advisory committees to ensure that diverse community voices are part of the exhibition, programming, and marketing planning processes. Equity was added to the museum’s official values statement and integrated into the institution’s strategic plan, which guides all departments’ goals. The Emerging Arts Leader internship was also established, a paid internship aimed at candidates who are underrepresented in the museum field. These are just some of the ongoing efforts that Rorschach led the museum in pursuing.
In honor of Rorschach’s extraordinary vision in guiding the museum’s dedication to equity work, the SAM Board of Trustees, along with friends of Rorschach, have created an endowment that establishes permanent funding for diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts at SAM. The Kimerly Rorschach Fund for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion helps ensure that these efforts will continue at the museum and paves the way for SAM to be a leader in this crucial area of the arts.
– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations
Amada Cruz, SAM’s Illsley
Ball Nordstrom Director and CEO, was interviewed
by Puget Sound Business Journal. She shared her vision for museums,
her morning routine of café con leche and public radio, and other fun facts.
“We should think of
museums as civic spaces where all kinds of people can meet, convene, have a
shared experience and celebrate our shared humanities. That’s more important
now than ever.”
“She speaks five
languages — ‘three of them badly.’”
How’s your holiday
shopping going? The Seattle Times recently shared their Holiday
Gift Guide; among their recommendations for gifts for men is a SAM
Shop-exclusive, a Seattle edition of the chic reusable water bottle,
Phil the Bottle.
“Scrambling up a
fig tree vine, he found his way into a small grotto. Its far wall bore a panel,
painted with a red ocher pigment. When Aubert saw it, he was astounded. ‘I
thought, wow, it’s like a whole scene,’ he says. ‘You’ve got humans, or maybe
half-human half-animals, hunting or capturing these animals … it was just
“Honestly, I wanted
to avenge them,” Martin said. “At Cascadia, you will never see wall text that
says ‘Morris Graves and his close friend’ like a lot of museums do — even in
New York and Los Angeles, even in Seattle. No. Here you will always see ‘Morris
Graves and his boyfriend’ or ‘and his partner.’
proliferation of dance in museums over the past decade, exhibitions focused on
the work of a single living choreographer remain rare. The America That Is to Be presents an
in-depth portrait of a bold, enigmatic artist.”