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Muse/News: Otherworldly Sculptures, a Complex Holiday, and an Uprising Anniversary

SAM News

Now on view on SAM: Dawn Cerny: Les Choses, the solo exhibition of the winner of the 2020 Betty Bowen Award. The Stranger and Crosscut both shared an early look of the artist’s intimate sculptures.

“…like something aliens might make if tasked with replicating a human abode by hand.” 

Local News

Special to the Seattle Times, here’s Thomas May on “how Seattle Opera came to film its newest production at the Museum of Flight.” 

Northwest Film Forum’s Vivian Hua for South Seattle Emerald on the Seattle Black Film Festival, which kicked off last Friday and closes April 26—plenty of time to tune in!

Juneteenth was named an official Washington State holiday on April 9, joining many other states and organizations (including SAM, for the first time last year) who already recognize the day. Crosscut invited author Clyde W. Ford to reflect on the “long and troubling” history of the holiday.

“W.E.B. DuBois described the time period of Juneteenth succinctly, ‘The slave went free; stood a brief moment in the sun; then moved back again toward slavery.’ Each of DuBois’ three moments are inextricably linked. We need a holiday that commemorates them all.”

Inter/National News

ARTnews’ Angelica Villa on Robert Colescott’s satirical painting, George Washington Carver Crossing the Delaware: Page from an American History Textbook (1975), which is “set to break [the] artist’s auction record” at Sotheby’s in May. The painting’s inclusion in SAM’s 2018 exhibition Figuring History is mentioned. 

The New York Times’ Glenn Kenny on the “powerful medicine” of Bill Traylor: Chasing Ghosts, Jeffrey’s Wolf’s documentary on the artist. 

April 19, 1943 was the first day of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Hyperallergic recognizes the anniversary with scholar Samantha Baskind’s reflections on the permanent exhibit devoted to the uprising at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and its complicated aims. 

“I was conflicted about its sensationalizing the ghetto’s story through its persistently honorific presentation. But I now better understand why the museum indelibly impresses upon us, in a very public and influential instance, the reprieve of physical and spiritual resistance mounted in the sealed city within a city.”

And Finally

Takuji Yamashita, Esq


– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Installation view of Dawn Cerny: Les Choses at Seattle Art Museum, 2021, photo: Nina Dubinsky.

Muse/News: SAM Prepares to Reopen, Local Jazz Struggles, and New Museum’s New Show

SAM News

The downtown Seattle Art Museum reopens to the general public on March 5, just in time for the opening of the special exhibition, Jacob Lawrence: The American Struggle. The Seattle Medium shares the news

Crosscut’s Margo Vansynghel previews five shows to see now that museums are reopening, including Barbara Earl Thomas: The Geography of Innocence, the beloved artist’s first solo exhibition at SAM. And in her ArtSea weekly newsletter, Brangien Davis spotlights The American Struggle and Lawrence’s “fiery, vigorous and engrossing paintings.”

More SAM stories: Alison Sutcliffe of Red Tricycle shares “13 Places to Learn About Black History in Seattle,” including SAM; Interior Design Magazine posts about Barbara Earl Thomas’s show at SAM; and Gemma Alexander of the Seattle Times highlights “kid-friendly venues” reopening, including SAM (and the always-open outdoor spaces of the Olympic Sculpture Park). 

Remember the snow days? (All two of ‘em?) The Stranger’s Charles Mudede had the wonderful idea to spend it with John Akomfrah’s The Last Angel of History, which is streaming on the Criterson Channel as part of its Afrofuturism collection.

ICYMI: On February 11, SAM hosted a virtual event with artist Saya Woolfalk and SAM Curator of African and Oceanic Art Pam McClusky on the SAM installation Lessons from the Institute of Empathy. Victor Simoes of UW’s The Daily shares a recap of the conversation.

Local News

The executive director of the nonprofit writers organization Hugo House has resigned, reports the Seattle Times, amid calls for change and racial equity. 

“Tariqa Waters and Anthony White Win the 2020 Neddy Awards,” reports Jasmyne Keimig of the Stranger. You’ll be able to see their work, along with the runners-up, in a Neddy exhibition opening in March at the University of Washington’s Jacob Lawrence Gallery.

Glenn Nelson with an opinion piece for the South Seattle Emerald on “why local jazz must survive.”

“The pandemic has laid bare and amplified the issues that have eaten away at jazz far before the novel coronavirus’ first sour note. Those challenges include a daunting and shifting economic model, widespread lack of understanding among Americans about one of their few truly indigenous art forms, and underlying causes steeped, unsurprisingly, in race.”

Inter/National News

The New York Times reports that the president of Newfields, home to the Indianapolis Museum of Art, has resigned, after the organization posted a job posting for a new director that would  attract a more diverse audience while maintaining its “traditional, core, white art audience.”

Artsy interviews Bryan Stevenson about the Equal Justice Initiative and its National Memorial for Peace and Justice and the Legacy Museum in Montgomery.

Artnet’s Brian Boucher on the New Museum’s new exhibition, Grief and Grievance: Art and Mourning in America, one of the final projects of curator Okwui Enwezor. A high-profile group of artists, curators, and scholars came together to achieve his vision.

“‘Okwui’s framing of the project takes the idea of a political crime and transfers it to the register of psychological impact,’ said curator Naomi Beckwith, who worked on the show, in a Zoom conversation with Artnet News. ‘The show’s title alludes not to a historic event, but rather to a state of being.’”

And Finally

“With Tears in my Eyes, I’m Asking You to Act.”

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Image: . . . is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? —Patrick Henry, 1775, Panel 1, 1955, Jacob Lawrence, from Struggle: From the History of the American People, 1954–56, Collection of Harvey and Harvey-Ann Ross, ©️ 2019 The Jacob and Gwendolyn Knight Lawrence Foundation, Seattle / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Muse/News: Layerless freedom, #JayDoodles, and Art Boys

SAM News

In honor of Pacific Northwest Black Pride, Crystal Paul, Erika Schultz, and Corinne Chin of The Seattle Times presents a multimedia story exploring identity and freedom with 10 Black, queer Seattleites.

In a related story, they recreated an intimate conversation that Black, queer artists recently had with Zanele Muholi, talking through their reactions to the SAM show, Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness.

Here’s Gregory Scruggs for the Stranger, interviewing Brazilian artist Regina Silveira about her Olympic Sculpture Park site-specific installation Octopus Wrap, the goal of art, and the relative concrete jungles of Seattle and São Paulo.

Seattle Met’s September issue has hit newsstands. Their fall arts preview leads with a story on the new directors at SAM, the Symphony, and the Opera—and their visions for the future. SAM’s new director Amada Cruz starts in mid-September!

“The tradition of art museums is that they’re closed off repositories of precious works of art,” [Cruz] says. “How do we open ourselves up so that museums can become part of everybody’s daily life?”

Local News

The Seattle Times’ Alan Berner captured some terrific shots (as usual) of an installation happening at the Burke Museum: a huge mural by artist RYAN! Feddersen.

Watch this Crosscut video featuring cool footage of the viaduct “unmaking” and a conversation with architect David Miller about the future of the waterfront.

#JayDoodles: It’s a thing. SAM’s own Chiyo Ishikawa is among the art-world heavies offering their takes on Governor Jay Inslee’s lighthearted artistic practice in this Seattle Times story.

“The figure in the boat could represent his campaign: Rowing against the stream!”

Inter/National News

The MCA Denver has named Nora Burnett Abrams its new director, reports the New York Times. She’s been a curator at the museum for the last 10 years.

Alex Needham, an arts editor at the Guardian, tweeted this week that curators shouldn’t be named in show reviews. Artnet’s Naomi Rea reports on the ensuing Twitter storm.

Artnet’s Caroline Goldstein reports on the ABC casting notice that may bring so-called Art Boys to network television.

“The dashing Art Boy, on the other hand, is more of a rosé and tapas type. Who doesn’t want to watch a show about him?”

And Finally

Happy birthday, Dorothy Parker.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Image: Installation view “Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness,” Seattle Art Museum, 2019.



Muse/News: Muholi arrives, an unlovable tree, and monuments to rad Women

SAM News

Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness is now on view at SAM, and it’s not to be missed. Here’s Elena Martinique for Widewalls and Victoria Valentine of Culture Type on the South African visual activist’s work.

Jasmyne Keimig of the Stranger offered this sneak peek; keep an eye out for her feature story on the show.

Outside suggests “11 Alternatives to Crowded Outdoor Instagram Spots,” with the sculpture park handily beating the gum wall.

Give a read to Casey Arguelles Gregory of The Eye’s post about what we do with problematic art; Claire Partington: Taking Tea at SAM is given as an example of how to respond.

“[The installation] creates a stunning dialogue between the historical ‘porcelain room’ and our modern attempt to reckon with the colonialism and institutional racism that necessitated the creation of these beautiful objects.”

Local News

The Stranger doesn’t like our city flag. They’re throwing a design contest for a new one (non-binding). (SAM tickets are among the prizes!)

Crosscut’s Brangien Davis on Beili Liu’s new show at MadArt, which addresses the global refugee crisis with clothing frozen in place by cement.

The Denny Substation has a sculpture called Transforest—apparently the tallest public art in the City—that the Stranger’s Jasmyne Keimig calls “unlovable.”

“Obviously, Transforest can’t capture certain things about trees—their smell, the sound of leaves rustling in the wind, their sense of knowing. But as I stood underneath it, sweating under all that sun, trying to figure out this sculpture, I realized I was missing something simple, easily capture-able about trees—their shade.”

Inter/National News

Artforum reports on the ongoing controversy involving the proposed destruction of a mural at San Francisco’s George Washington High School; now 400 academics, writers, and artists have written an open letter opposing the plan.

Elsewhere in school murals: Dr. Maya Angelou is celebrated in over two dozen eye-catching murals throughout the campus of the Dr. Maya Angelou Community High School.

And elsewhere in rad women monuments: Zachary Small of Hyperallergic reports on the proposed monument on Roosevelt Island to the groundbreaking journalist Nellie Bly.

“Almost 132 years later, the intrepid reporter will return to the scene of the story that made her a hailed heroine of journalism as a permanent monument.”

And Finally

If you are not always eager to learn more about Bob Ross, then I just don’t know what to tell you.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Manager of Public Relations

Photo: Installation view Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness at Seattle Art Museum, 2019, photo: Natali Wiseman.