Muse/News: New SAM Leader, Artist Discovered, and Seurat’s Ambiguities

SAM News

Last week, SAM shared the exciting news that José Carlos Diaz will be joining the museum as its new Susan Brotman Deputy Director for Art. Formerly Chief Curator at The Andy Warhol Museum, Diaz is passionate about contemporary art, multidisciplinary programming, and connecting with artists and communities. You can learn more about him in this interview in the Seattle Times, or elsewhere on this blog. The news was also shared in The Stranger, Artdaily, and Artnet. Diaz’s fraternal twin–from his very artistically inclined family!–was also excited.

“As Diaz noted, museums across the country are challenged by relevancy, battling perceptions that they’re either archaic or not for everyone. It’s important to remember that museums, he said, are ‘living, breathing institutions that have to evolve.’”

Local News

The Seattle Times’ Moira Macdonald shares a moving tribute to her film critic predecessor John Hartl, who died recently at the age of 76. 

Comic artist Jake Slingland draws the Seattle monorail that could have been for the Stranger.

Crosscut’s Margo Vansynghel on Victor Kai Wang, a Chinese-American artist in his late 80s whose work has never been exhibited in a gallery or museum–until now, with his inclusion in a group show at the Wing Luke Museum, thanks to curator Lele Barnett. 

“‘It was like stumbling upon buried treasure,’ Barnett recalls. With her decades of experience placing art in private and corporate collections, she could easily imagine some of these swirling, semiabstract landscape paintings on the walls of a major museum. But most of the works had never left Wang’s home.”

Inter/National News

ARTnews’ Natalie Frank writes an obituary for feminist painter Paula Rego, who died last week at the age of 87.

Via Time Out New York: “New Met exhibit highlights art works by the museum’s employees.” 

Artnet’s Katie White goes below the sunny surface of Georges Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte to explore its ambiguities.

“The painting has been interpreted as revealing the essence of modern existence and its double-edged sword of social spectacle and isolation. A butterfly hovering in the middle left of the painting reinforces this reading. A symbol of fragility, during the Industrial Revolution the butterfly was used in art as motif for the environmental and social consequences of progress. Indeed, this scene of bourgeoise leisure had only recently been enabled by the factory life existing just beyond the painting’s frame.”

And Finally

Via Vulture: “The Highs, Lows, and Whoas From the 2022 Tony Awards.”

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Image: Alexis Gideon.

Muse/News: Date at SAM, New Leader at Wing Luke, and Cultural Data Rescue

SAM News

We love art, and we love love: Thrillist rounded up their picks for “where to go on a date this spring in Seattle,” including “spend a rainy afternoon at Seattle Art Museum” and “go on a self-guided tour of Olympic Sculpture Park.” 

Lauren Halsey’s solo show at SAM in which she “brings together the ancient and contemporary to celebrate Black culture” is a “top pick” in the Stranger

Rosa Sittg-Bell of The Daily at UW interviews SAM curator Natalia Di Pietrantonio about Embodied Change: South Asian Art Across Time, now on view at the Seattle Asian Art Museum.

“I find the body an interesting repository for different changes,” Di Pietrantonio said. “Many artists are really thinking about … [the] emotion of the body and expanding the body as part of the landscape or rethinking the parameters of the body. I felt that the body and thinking about emotions was very important to connect to activism.”

And Seattle Met includes Our Blue Planet: Global Visions of Water on their list of “things to do in Seattle”; the special exhibition opens to the public this Friday at SAM.

Local News

The Seattle Times has you covered with “what you need to know about mask, vaccine rules at Seattle-area arts and music events.” SAM’s policies continue to align with public health guidelines.

Crosscut’s Brangien Davis commemorates the two-year anniversary of pandemic closures with a return to pandemic art walks, visiting a new ecological installation along the Duwamish River by Sarah Kavage.

Seattle Magazine shares the news that Joël Barraquiel Tan is the new executive director of Seattle’s Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience.

“To me, this opportunity comes in the middle of the pandemic, in the middle of API (Asian Pacific Islander) hate, you have January 6,” he says. “It is about ‘what are you going to do in this moment?’ The cultural capital, the social capital (of the Wing Luke) is the Batmobile. What is going to happen in the next year? It is going to take strong institutions like Wing to get through this.” 

Inter/National News

ARTnews reports: Opening this week at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is the latest site-specific installation commissioned annually for the museum’s rooftop; this year’s creation is by Lauren Halsey, whose work is also on view at SAM!

The New York Times’ Holland Cotter on Fictions of Emancipation: Carpeaux Recast, a new show at the Metropolitan Museum organized around a single marble sculpture.

Via Artnet’s Sarah Cascone: “Ukrainian arts organizations are striving to protect the nation’s cultural heritage—including the websites and digital archives of its museums and libraries.”

“The new initiative Saving Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Online (SUCHO) has been working around the clock to back-up and preserve data and technology, all of which are threatened by the war.”

And Finally

Dial 1-800-PEP-TALK (actually, it’s 707-998-8410).

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Image: Natali Wiseman.

Muse/News: Monet’s Struggle, Return of Live Music, and Old Women Artists

SAM News

Coast in to see Monet at Étretat, now on view at SAM. Huma Ali for the UW Daily has an overview of the focused exhibition, including remarks from curator Chiyo Ishikawa.

“We tend to think of somebody like Monet as successful all his life,” Ishikawa said. “But with a career of that many years and of that many different concerns, decade by decade, it’s very interesting to me to think more about the kind of struggles that he had and the way that he had to work out these problems on his own.”

And Julie Emory of UW Daily highlighted a collection show also on view at SAM: Northwest Modernism: Four Japanese Americans. Emory focuses on the sculpture by beloved Seattle artist (and UW alum) George Tsutakawa that is included in the show.

Local News

Here’s Crosscut’s Brangien Davis with her weekly ArtsSEA letter: she remembers Seattle glass art legend Benjamin Moore and highlights the Wing Luke Museum’s self-guided walking tour of works by the Tsutakawa family (with a mention of Kenzan Tsutakawa-Chinn’s installation, Gather, at the Seattle Asian Art Museum).

Mark Van Streefkerk for South Seattle Emerald on the three local artists tapped to create original designs for limited-edition Orca cards.

Melinda Bagreen for the Seattle Times on the “weird and wonderful” return of in-person concerts with the Seattle Chamber Music Society.

“In a preconcert interview, [festival artistic director and violinist James] Ehnes had remarked, ‘We’re really hungry for live performance,’ and that hunger showed in the zest and urgency of the music-making.”

Inter/National News

The Medici Were History’s Greatest Patrons—and Also Tyrants. The Met’s New Show Tackles How Art Served Power”: Eleanor Heartney for Artnet.

Emily Wilson for Hyperallergic on Dana King’s Monumental Reckoning, an installation of 350 sculptures in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park representing the first Africans kidnapped and sold into slavery in 1619.

Jillian Steinhauer for Believer on old women artists.

“These women come from vastly different backgrounds and have made widely disparate types of work, but they’ve often been treated the same way: as an archetype, like the wise crone in fairy tales. And though the old-woman artist has spent her whole life building her own agency, when she finally makes it to the mainstream, she gets presented primarily as an object of fascination.”

And Finally

“It’s constantly reinventing itself, just like me”: Holly Regan on Pike Place Market.

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Image: Claude Monet, 1890, Theodore Robinson, American, 1852–1896, charcoal on paper, 27 × 13 in., Seattle Art Museum, Partial and promised gift from a private collection, 2005.163

In Solidarity with Our Asian Communities

SAM stands united with Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) and Asian immigrant families, friends, colleagues and communities locally and across the country, in the wake of rising violence against these communities over the last year and in the aftermath of the recent horrific shootings in Georgia that left eight people dead, six of whom were women of Asian descent. We join the larger Atlanta community and the country in mourning Soon Chung Park, Hyun Jung Grant, Suncha Kim, Yong Ae Yue, Delaina Ashley Yaun, Paul Andre Michels, Xiaojie Tan, and Daoyou Feng.

In recognition of these lives taken so violently, we invite you to take a moment of silence on the steps of the Asian Art Museum. A community memorial will be available for the public to contribute to and visit from Noon on Saturday, March 27, through 5 pm Sunday, March 28.

American history reveals countless examples of systemic anti-Asian racism, from the Chinese Exclusion Act in 1882, to the 1924 Immigrations Act, to Executive Order 9066 in 1942. All of these federal actions had a major impact on Asian communities in Washington State and the Seattle region, resulting in loss of life, livelihoods, and property, and they are just a part of longstanding patterns of harassment and intimidation. A study on anti-Asian prejudice conducted this month by the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism, University of California, San Bernardino shows a 150% increase in hate crimes targeting Asian people, based on data from America’s largest 16 cities. Seattle and King County officials also report on this rise. Anti-Asian racism is a part of white supremacy that we must all work to defeat.

As a global museum, we always turn to art and artists to contextualize challenging moments and examine our history and society. Experiencing and engaging with art brings new perspectives to light and broadens understanding across cultures. SAM’s collection was founded in Asian art by the museum’s first director, Dr. Richard E. Fuller. After expanding to downtown Seattle, the original home of SAM was rededicated in 1994 as the Seattle Asian Art Museum and a center of Asian art and ideas. SAM’s Asian Art Museum is the only one of its kind in the Pacific Northwest. We understand our role as stewards of not only art, but also as an important place for Asian communities to come together and where people from all backgrounds can experience and appreciate a wide range of rich Asian cultures. 

In June 2020, following the killing of George Floyd and a massive social justice movement for Black lives, we were compelled to increase SAM’s commitment to combating institutional racism by establishing an Equity Task Force. This group of SAM board, staff, and community members worked over six months to conduct a self-assessment and provide recommendations for initiatives in specific operational areas. This work is ongoing as we continue to build on SAM’s commitment to fostering equity, diversity, and inclusion throughout the museum. 

The recent shootings in Georgia and escalating incidents of anti-Asian violence in Seattle and elsewhere strengthens SAM’s commitment and resolve to becoming an anti-racist institution. This is some of the most pressing and important work we are undertaking. As we take steps towards evaluating where we can improve and how we can better support the communities around us, the large and diverse Asian populations in Seattle and the surrounding areas, in addition to those on staff at the museum, are a crucial part of our conversations. SAM belongs to the communities it serves. 

Support Asian cultural organizations in the Seattle area and get involved.

API Chaya
Asian Counseling and Referral Service
The Future Ancient
International Examiner
Northwest Asian Weekly
Pride Asia
Stop AAPI Hate
Tasveer
Wilderness Inner-City Leadership Development
The Wing Luke Museum
Seattle Asian American Film Festival
Seattle Chinese Post
Seattle Chinese Times

Muse/News: Tomorrow Is Here, Candy-Colored Art, and Aftershocks

SAM News

The current episode of Seattle Channel’s Art Zone was hosted from the Seattle Art Museum; Nancy Guppy takes viewers on a tour of City of Tomorrow and cellist Lori Goldston fills the empty galleries with music. Here’s the full episode.

The Seattle Times’ Moira Macdonald previews “Reflections,” a virtual dance festival presented by Seattle Public Library, Friends of Waterfront Seattle, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, and Seattle Art Museum. The free festival features Indigenous and Black artists, all of whom consider the question: “If you could sum up 2020 with a dance, what would it be?”

Local News

After Kamala Harris became Vice President-Elect, Seattle Times columnist Naomi Ishisaka speaks with Black women and women of color about the historic win, including Priya Frank, SAM’s Director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, who said, “Today I get to see my mom, my aunts and myself reflected in our vice president of the United States.”

Seattle Magazine shares an excerpt from Ron Chew’s new memoir, My Unforgotten Seattle, ‘a deeply personal memoir about the tight-knit Asian American community in the region.” Chew is the former editor of the International Examiner and a former director of the Wing Luke Museum.

Crosscut’s Margo Vansynghel on artist and Martyr Sauce-owner Tariqa Waters, who curated an “immersive, candy-colored show” now on view at Bellevue Arts Museum. The article also mentions Waters’s recent Kayla Skinner Special Recognition Award, part of SAM’s annual Betty Bowen Awards.

“I want the space to look like a children’s museum,” Waters says. “I want it to be all immersive where it’s a bit disorienting. It’s almost like we’re having a whole conversation with each other through our work, and people are walking into this conversation.”

Inter/National News

“Meret Oppenheim’s fur-lined porcelain teacup, Object (1936), made her an international art star,” begins Artnet’s Katie White, in this exploration of the now-celebrated surrealist work.

Hyperallergic’s Valentina Di Liscia provides a rundown of the many ballot measures voters took up that will impact arts and culture.

Artforum invites artists—including Glenn Ligon, Christine Sun Kim, Paul Chan, and more—to share a text, video, or image for a series of posts responding to the election called Aftershock.

“What stands between Democracy and mass deception is the genuine experience of art, because aesthetics heightens epistemic fitness if and when art is practiced and experienced with more than a return-on-investment or tastemaking in mind.”

And Finally

What is, “grief”?

– Rachel Eggers, SAM Associate Director of Public Relations

Installation view of City of Tomorrow: Jinny Wright and the Art That Shaped a New Seattle at Seattle Art Museum, 2020, photo: Natali Wiseman.
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