Silva Thinks Outside (and Inside) the Box

On-Site, the second summer exhibition at SAM’s Olympic Sculpture Park, brings together new sculptures by Gretchen Bennett, Nicholas Nyland, and Carolina Silva.

Silva titled her sculpture Air Below Ground. The wooden platform and frame, as well as a series of actions the artist has composed to take place in, on, around, or underneath the sculpture were conceived specifically for the Olympic Sculpture Park.

Silva, who will create a number of installations in the structure throughout the summer, is interested in the process by which sculpture is defined, engaged with and realized. An evolving work, her activities will engage a variety of materials, including lights, sound, fog, clay, and balloons that will expand viewers’ interaction with a sculptural object, one that is in a constant state of transformation.

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A Call to Color

If you haven’t been to the Olympic Sculpture Park lately, you should go. Not only is it summer in the park but Trenton Doyle Hancock’s, A Better Promise—an art installation in the PACCAR Pavilion—is especially mesmerizing and animated when the bright sunshine manages to peek out of the clouds and shine into the pavilion. Ironically, this is partly because of its numerous colorful raindrops but partly it’s because of the giant vitrines full of plastic lids that sit below the installation.

As part of the work, Hancock issues a “call to color” by encouraging visitors to bring their own morsels of color—in the form of plastic bottle caps—to the park and drop them into the work of art. Nine large-scale “earthbound” vitrines have been placed on the floor in front of the hand sculpture. On the face of each of these nine containers, there is a teardrop cut-out where plastic bottle caps can be deposited by color. Visitors are encouraged to bring plastic bottle caps ranging in all shapes and sizes from detergent bottles, to clear water bottles to the black and white caps from drink bottles.

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Thank You

This is my final week as the museum’s Director.  When I inaugurated SAM’s blog in September of 2009, I imagined that this would become a place for demystifying the inner workings of an art museum.  I hope it has served this purpose on a few occasions.  My colleagues have certainly made good use of SOAP as a space for sharing their deep expertise as well as their great enthusiasm for what is happening everyday at the museum.  I’d like to use this, my last SOAP contribution, as a chance to offer reflections on what has transpired at SAM recently and why I am humbled by the experience of having served as a leader here.

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Spend Your Summer with SAM

People in Seattle make the most of the all-too-short summers and so does SAM! We’ve got a diverse array of art exhibitions, events and experiences at all three of our sites this summer. Whether you’re interested in Bollywood, baseball, yoga or landscape painting, we’ve got you covered.

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Beauty Shot Fridays!

From the PR Office at SAM comes a new and fun project called “Beauty Shot Fridays.” In order to promote Beauty & Bounty and Reclaimed, we are asking our Facebook Fans to send us photos in response to a weekly question that is based on themes in the exhibitions.

We will update our question on the SAM Facebook page every Monday by 3pm and submissions will be uploaded to the page every Friday by 4pm. If you’d like to send a photo submission (captions are welcome too!), please email beautyshots@seattleartmuseum.org

Our question this is week is: where do you find beauty and bounty in your day?

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GiveBIG Donors Contribute $30,000 to SAM

THANK YOU to everyone who participated in the GiveBIG campaign, to all who donated to SAM, and to The Seattle Foundation for making this incredible day of philanthropy possible.

Generous donors contributed more than $30,000 to SAM on GiveBIG day. These dollars will be stretched even further by The Seattle Foundation’s matching funds. WOW!

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Winning, SAM style

The Seattle Art Museum won first prize in the 2011 American Association of Museums Publications Design Competition for our “Kurt” exhibition poster designed by SAM graphic designer Rebecca Nickels.

While a certain actor’s career took a nosedive, SAM won a number of awards recognizing the outstanding work of our Communications team.

American Association of Museums Publications Design Competition
May 2011

  • Posters category: KURT poster
    First Prize
  • Educational Resources category: SAM Kids Events Campaign
    Honorable mention
  • Invitations category: PICASSO Suite of Invitations
    Honorable mention Read More

On June 23, GiveBIG!

On June 23, The Seattle Foundation is asking people in King County to GiveBIG to local nonprofits and will match a share of every contribution made through the Seattle Foundation online Giving Center on June 23 from 7 am until midnight.

Today you have the opportunity to be part of one of the biggest days of giving in King County. Take the GiveBIG Challenge, and your gift to SAM will be stretched even further!

The Seattle Foundation and GiveBIG sponsors will match a share of every contribution made through the Seattle Foundation online Giving Center on June 23 from 7 am until midnight.

Click here now to make your fully tax deductible gift to SAM! Donations at all levels are appreciated so please give $10, $50 or $100–whatever works for you. It all makes a difference! And everyone who makes a gift to SAM through GiveBIG will be entered to win two tickets to our summer exhibition, Beauty & Bounty: American Art in an Age of Exploration.

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A SAM Intern’s First Visit to the Seattle Asian Art Museum

Monks from Gaden Shartse Monastery in Fuller Room of Seattle Asian Art Museum for Mandala Demonstration

Within the Fuller room, visiting monks from the Gaden Shartse monastery were creating a mandala and will do so over the next few days. Mandalas are a Buddhist form of sacred art that carry spiritual significance. They are made by layering colored sands in an intricate design which usually relates to the dwelling of a diety. The monks vigorously run one chakpur (a bronze funnel that holds colored sand) over the ridges of another chakpur in order to direct the sand into the design.

Gaden Shartse monk making mandala as part of Seattle Asian Art Museum and Dechenling collaboration

Monk prepping chakpur for mandala making.

Once the design is complete, the monks will sweep the sand into a container which will be placed in moving  water such as a river or ocean. So four days of concentrated, intricate work gone in about thirty minutes. Quite a reminder of beauty and its impermanence.

Gaden Shartse monks using chakpurs and colored sands to make a mandala at Seattle Asian Art Museum in collaboration with Dechenling

Continuing through the museum, I repeatedly viewed objects made of nephrite. Upon later research, I learned that nephrite is one of two kinds of jade and usually comes in shades of green, grey, and brown with varying degrees of translucence. My favorite object was a dragon and tiger plaque, made of nephrite in the Ming period (1368-1644). It’s a decorative object, and it made me think about how there was a time that anything functional was expected to be beautiful, that functionality and beauty are not mutually exclusive.

Dragon and tiger nephrite plaque from Ming period at Seattle Asian Art Museum.

Dragon and tiger nephrite plaque.

The displays of ceramics, sculptures, and scrolls were lovely and accessible. The labels gave clarity to the objects they described but still left me with room to interpret and understand the works on my own. I most appreciated this when admiring a woman’s robe from China, ca. 1875-1908. The label mentioned that garments in this era were seen as descriptors of one’s true nature as well as indicative of socioeconomic status. I found this idea inspiring and refreshing as much of what I’ve studied with fashion discusses garments as an act of display of wealth or a purposeful effort to control how others’ interpret us, not necessarily as an indication of our nature.

Chinese, woman's robe from 1875-1908 at Seattle Asian Art Museum.

Woman’s robe.

I definitely enjoyed my time at the Seattle Asian Art Museum. It’s a manageable museum with space that facilitates easy movement from exhibition to exhibition and that contains a diverse range of work characterized by unique perspectives. I enjoyed something in each exhibition: plaques, robes, kimonos, prints, ceramics, and contemporary prints juxtaposed with sculptures and paintings. I plan on going back there and taking some people I know that will likely enjoy it as well.

Front entrance of Seattle Asian Art Museum with camels and art deco doors.

Seattle Asian Art Museum

 

 

Top photo: First camel ride ever.

Get Ready for Artistic Feats at Party in the Park

The day of Party of the Park is finally here, and we couldn’t be more excited! The weather is going to be great, and we have a full line-up of amazing entertainment and experiences.

Guests will enjoy beautiful beats from live bands Hey Marseilles, The Paperboys, Curtains For You and The Lumineers, as well as music curated by Dave Hernandez from the Shins and the DJ beats of DJ Aanshul and DJ ‘G.’ Bountiful eats will be provided by fabulous food trucks Dante’s Inferno Dogs, Maximus/Minimus, Molly Moon Ice Cream, Skillet, Street Treats and Veraci Pizza. And our hosted bar will serve Northewest beer and wine.

If that wasn’t enough, Party in the Park will feature a variety of artist-designed interactive play and experiences.

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Win 2 Tickets to Party in the Park!

Party in the Park is just a little over a week away – do you have your ticket yet? If not, here’s a great chance to win a pair of tickets for this fabulous event. All you have to do is describe what you would do in this box.

Confused? Let me explain. As part of the Summer Season at the Olympic Sculpture Park’s art installations, called On-Site, artist Carolina Silva has created a work of art that is meant to be performed in called Air Below Ground, pictured here. Throughout the summer, you have the opportunity to see her perform in this space every week! The very first performance is going to be at Party in the Park, and I hear it involves a fog machine.

Back to the question – if you had the opportunity to perform in Silva’s box, what would you do? The best answer wins a pair of tickets to Party in the Park, where you can see Silva’s first performance. So in the comments section, let us know what you would do, but do it fast. We’ll be announcing a winner on the morning of Monday, June 13. And keep it clean, folks. We’re a family friendly organization.

-Calandra Childers, Associate Manager of Public Relations

Photo: Robert Wade

 

SAM Thanks Those Who Serve Our Country

SAM Downtown & the Seattle Asian Art Museum are participating with the National Endowment for the ArtsBlue Star Families and over 1,000 museums in the US by offering free admission to active military personnel and their families from Memorial Day to Labor Day. We will also offer free admission to any retired or non-active military personnel members during this time.

Since both Beauty and Bounty and Reclaimed close on Sunday, September 11, we will be extending the promotion through the end of the exhibits.

Blue Star Museum free admission dates at SAM and the Seattle Asian Art Museum are Wednesday, June 1-Sunday, September 11, 2011. Just show your military ID. The military ID holder plus up to five  immediate family members (spouse or child of ID holder) are allowed in for free per visit.

SAM is proud to be a Blue Star Museum and thanks the thousands of men and women across Washington state–and throughout the country and world–who protect and serve the United States.

Surprises and Delights

The man was in a hurry. He had his cell phone pressed to his ear and appeared to be having a very serious conversation. As he listened intently to the other person on the line, he opened the door to exit the office building.

The man came to an abrupt stop and blinked in amazement. Then a huge smile spread across his face.

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Marisa Sánchez Named Patterson Sims Fellow

Every year SAM singles out one curator for outstanding work in the previous year. The recipient is named the Patterson Sims Fellow, in honor of our former chief curator. The award comes with a $5,000 grant to spend as the recipient desires. It is a decision that is never easy, because of the consistently high level of excellence and dedication embodied by our curators.Please join us in congratulating the 2011 Patterson Sims Fellow, Marisa Sánchez.

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Volunteer Soiree Honors Generous Gifts of Time and Talent to the Seattle Art Museum

In April, during National Volunteer Week, SAM held our annual Volunteer Soiree, a very special event that celebrates all our volunteers across the museum (600-plus this year) and outstanding volunteers from various departments, committees and councils. In addition we present the Dorothy C. Malone Award to one exceptional volunteer who reflects the highest standards of dedication and service to the museum.

This year SAM honored long-time volunteer Marilyn Batali with the 2011 Dorothy C. Malone Award.

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Free Admission on International Museum Day

On Wednesday, May 18, we will participate in International Museum Day, an incredible world-wide day of free admission to museums sponsored by the International Council of Museums. This day is an occasion to raise awareness on how important museums are in the development of society. From America to Oceania; including Africa, Europe and Asia; this international event has grown in popularity. In recent years, International Museum Day has experienced its highest involvement with almost 30,000 museums participating in more than 100 countries.

Admission will be free all day Wednesday at the Seattle Art Museum and the Seattle Asian Art Museum. Both museums will be open from 10 am – 5pm. This is a great opportunity to see Nick Cave: Meet Me at the Center of the Earth or Modern Elegance: The Art of Meiji Japan.

Click here for more visitor information, including directions and parking details.

Seattle as Collector Opens at SAM

I had the pleasure of attending the opening for the Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs Seattle as Collector exhibition here at SAM last night. The exhibition is part of the celebration of the Office’s 40th Anniversary, and the show includes over 110 pieces from the city’s 2,800 piece collection. The city’s collection, garnered through the 1% for art program, is really pretty extraordinary. I had been looking forward to seeing the installation, but when I actually walked through it, I was really struck by the artists included. We’re talking Chuck Close, Jacob Lawrence, Gwendolyn Knight, Alden Mason…big names. And there were a bunch of artists that I recognized because of exhibitions and projects I’ve worked on at SAM over the last few years.  Read More

Important News about SAM

I am writing to inform you of my decision to resign as Director of the Seattle Art Museum effective June 30th. This was a difficult decision for me but with SAM today in a much stronger position than when I arrived, I believe the time is right for a change in leadership.

When the fiscal year ends on June 30th, we will post what might well be the most successful year in SAM’s 78-year history:

  • More visitors than ever to Downtown SAM (projected to be nearly 600,000)
  • Membership at an all time high (more than 48,000 household members)
  • Increased levels of community engagement
  • Picasso exhibition which had region-wide impact
  • Stabilization of our financial situation and real estate dilemma

I am proud that SAM has achieved so much and I am confident that the institution will continue to build on this success.

I am eager for a break and for the chance to undertake my own projects. First, I aim to spend more time with my family and refresh my professional perspective.  My passion for art history has been on hold while I focused on the most urgent administrative and financial challenges here.  Now, I want to re-establish my personal connection with the artists, objects, and ideas that got me into museum work in the first place.  My family and I have fallen in love with Seattle and we expect to remain here, so I hope to see you often.

Please know that I am grateful for having had this opportunity to serve the Seattle Art Museum and this community.

Sincerely,

Derrick R. Cartwright

Illsley Ball Nordstrom Director

Free Admission and Activities at SAM Downtown and Seattle Asian Art Museum

The Seattle Art Museum is a new partner of Museums On Us, Bank of America’s nationwide program that provides greater access to museums, zoos, science centers and other cultural institutions. SAM is one of 153 participants who offer free admission to Bank of America cardholders on the first full weekend of every month. Get free admission to SAM Downtown May 7 and May 8 just by presenting your Bank of America debit or credit card.

Speaking of banks, Wells Fargo is presenting Free First Saturday at the Seattle Asian Art Museum. Bring your family and try your hand at making drawings with bamboo and ink 11 am-2 pm. There will also be a free showing of the Japanese animated film “Pom Poko” at 1:30 pm.

On Sunday, bring your mom, grandma, nana, bubbe, abuela, stepmom, mother-in-law, baby’s mama, etc. to SAM and the Seattle Asian Art Museum on Sunday. Moms get in free!

For more details, visit our calendar or Events on our Facebook page.

There Goes the Neighborhood

The businesses on First Avenue that we’re happy to call our neighbors are getting in the spirit for March to the Center of the Earth: Community Night Out on May 5. Be sure to visit them and thank them for their support!

  • BOKA at Hotel 1000 will be handing out bags of gourmet, house-made salted caramel kettle corn.
  • Mary Elizabeth and Cindi at Goldmine Design are decorating their windows Nick Cave-style and are hosting an open studio event.
  • JoJo at Pala Pala Dress Boutique will be handing out coupons during the parade and is generously donating items for the Community Night Out scavenger hunt.
  • At sandylew, they will be handing out maracas made of upcycled plastic water bottles.
  • Watson Kennedy will be extending their hours and will also be donating items for the Community Night Out scavenger hunt.
  • Fran’s Chocolates is donating three $15 gift cards to use as scavenger hunt prizes.
  • Ancient Grounds and The Alexis Hotel are spreading the word about Community Night Out to their customers.
Photo courtesy of Goldmine Design

Make Your Own Flag for March to the Center of the Earth: Community Night Out

I can’t wait to see the wearable art that people are creating for March to the Center of the Earth: Community Night Out on May 5. The evening will kick off with a fantastic parade that starts at the Hammering Man at 5:30 p.m.

If you want a quick and easy way to make something special for Community Night Out, click here now to download instructions and pattern for a DIY flag.

Or come to SAM’s Chase Open Studio at 4:30 p.m. (an hour before the parade begins) to whip up some wearable art of your own. It’s free!

Make Wearable Art at SAM’s Chase Open Studio

Of course you’re coming to March to the Center of the Earth: Community Night Out on May 5.

The question is: Are you prepared to look FABULOUS?

This evening stop by the Chase Open Studio 5:45-8:45 pm to create your wearable art for Community Night Out. We have TONS of things that would give your look some F-L-A-R-E including fabric, sequins, feathers and more.

If you can’t make it tonight, the Open Studio will be available at 4:30 pm on May 5 an hour before the March to the Center of the Earth parade begins.

For inspiration, check out these photos from a recent SAM Creates workshop with artist Mandy Greer.

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