Take Me To the Art – Seattle, Washington
“We use our minds and our hands to create our world.” Jonathan Borofsky
The Seattle Art Museum (SAM) was designed by Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown. It is one of Seattle’s privately owned public spaces. The city of Seattle offered developers the right to build larger developments in return for certain public amenities. As this is not advertised, most people do not know that certain lobby space, restrooms and rooftop gardens of downtown buildings are open to the public. The lobby space of SAM is fun, light and airy – good place to catch up on email.
Jonothan Borofsky’s Hammering Man towers in the front of the museum. The hammer swings back and forth from mind to heart. His original concept was to have Hammering Men, hammering all over the world. There are many indoor hammering men of different sizes. The outdoor ones are in Seoul, Frankfurt, Basel , Dallas, Los Angeles and Seattle.
SAM’s cultural statement is “ we connect art to life.” Art is displayed in similar groupings while juxtaposing with different cultures and time periods. The Seattle Asian Art Museum and the Olympic Sculpture Park are all part of SAM.
I loved one of the current exhibits called City Dwellers. It is a glimpse of India from the eyes of twelve modern Indian artists. The photographs were taken from an Indian perspective instead of a tourist one. India’s pop culture, history and religion has made it a place of contradictions. The artwork highlights this in the private and public sectors. (India Shining V – Gandhi with Ipod by Debanjan Roy)
The Olympic Sculpture Park is part of the Seattle Art Museum. It was built on land that was once on the environmental cleanup list. On my first visit to the park, I felt that it was about beautifying the urban landscape. The architectural space and scenery were much larger to me than the art. The park is free from dawn to dusk on beautiful waterfront property near downtown Seattle. (Seattle Cloud Cover by Teresita Fernandez)
An art collector friend pointed out that it was an interesting, high quality outdoor collection. So i had to go back and see it again. She was right and it is noteworthy. The Eagle by Alexander Calder stands guard over Elliot Bay.
Among other sculptures are the serpentine steel plated Wake by Richard Serra, Bunyon’s Chess by Mark di Suvero, Echo by James Piensa and Father and Son by Louise Bourgious. The sculpture is a lot more impressive in person than in photographs. The combination of setting, architectural concept and art seems to fit with the Seattle aesthetic. (Serra, di Suvero Bourgious)
The gallery scene in Seattle includes many Pacific Northwest artists and affordable art. Seattle is not known as a city of art collectors so if you go to a gallery and show some interest in an artist, they are happy to talk it. They will take you in the back and show you more work. I spent a long time at the Foster White Gallery.
After seeing the small but thought-provoking exhibit at the not for profit alternative art space Soil, I was told about more galleries in the area.
I had a plan but took gallery personal recommendations instead including restaurants and coffee places. (Roq La Rue Gallery)
There is an eclectic mix of contemporary art in Seattle and all the gallery people were welcoming and informative. Other cool galleries include Greg Kucera, Prole Drift, Punch, Bryan Ohno, Roq La Rue and James Harris. (Bryan Ohno Gallery)
The art in Seattle ranges from serious to fun and quirky. Maybe it is the weather that influences the artists. It rains a lot which makes you appreciate a beautiful day. I felt that appreciation when I went into a gallery on a rainy Seattle day and found an unexpected piece of art that touched me and connected me to my life. (always my favorite art)