Archive for the ‘art’ Category

Opening night: Northwest Masters: Jay Steensma & Ree Brown

The late artist Jay Steensma was considered part of the second generation of the “Northwest School”, a Seattle art movement that peaked in the 1930s and 40s. Steensma was best known for his stark, expressionistic landscapes and portraits into which he often incorporated mystical references like chalices and snakes. He worked with mixed media including house paint and mixing oils, acrylics, crayons and pencil on scraps of paper bags the size of a postage stamp to large canvasses.

Ree Brown is another Seattle artist, a highly regarded “naive” or outsider artist without formal training whose works are often “charmingly awkward”. Like his friend Steesma, Brown has worked with a variety of media besides the traditional, creating art on such canvasses as scraps of paper, cardboard, bits of matting and brown paper bags.

Local art gallery and wine bar Vermillion is currently hanging a retrospective of the works of both these artists, opening tonight with a reception that includes music by the Toy Boats and including Ree Brown in attendance. If you’re unable to attend tonight, do make a point of stopping by at some point during the show which runs through April 25.

Call for Art: First Hill Streetcar

Hot on the heels of the call for art for the Cheshiahud Trail Loop, the Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, in association this time with the Seattle Department of Transportation, has a call for artists for a project close to my heart: the First Hill streetcar.

Construction doesn’t even start until 2011 for a project expected to be completed all the way in 2013 but I’m very excited about being able to take a single streetcar down to the International District; instead of the current take the route 60 to 12th & Jackson and then wait for another bus or walk down to Uwajimaya, I’ll be able to get there much faster and more conveniently which means I’ll be able to indulge my Beard Papa habit at a moment’s whim.

Anyway, the call for art and details on how to enter can be found here. This call is open to all professional artists living in the United States, but I’d like to put out a special plea for local artists to submit their work, particularly those who live in the area and most especially those who understand that First Hill ISN’T Capitol Hill and ISN’T the ID, but is its own unique neighborhood with its own special character.

Seattle seeks artist for Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop artwork

Cheshiahud Loop photo by Flickr user M and B via Creative Commons.

Since I had a hand in naming it, I take a particular interest in anything related to the Cheshiahud Lake Union Loop. As a fan of art in general, particularly public art, I’m excited about the City of Seattle’s call for art for the Loop. Professional artists in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, British Columbia and California have two weeks left to submit a proposal to create a new media project that draws on either the history or the context–or both–of the loop site. The city suggests that media could be podcast or cellphone based audio work, some other sort of audio and/or video installation (maybe guided tours?) or Web interactive events. The whole point is to create work that engages the visitor to the trail in connecting with the trail in a more than physical way.

The sky’s hardly the limit with a mere $18K budget, but that’s still enough to create something memorable and meaningful. (And, hey, artists: make it cool enough and I’ll take you out to dinner or something, okay?) Submission guidelines are available online and if you need more information on the trail itself, check out its Seattle Parks page.

The World Falls Down for the New Year

“Labyrinth, the Game” by the ever-creative Seattle School

What are you doing New Year’s Eve? Cramming yourself into some bar that’s just jacked the price on their drinks 300 percent? Staying at home watching next year’s has-beens shriek on TV as if the ball drop in Times Square is the most unique, original and exciting event EVER? Well, if you don’t have something actually fun to do, the Seattle School, The Adventure School, and Wexley School for Girls are getting together to give you something super fun: AS THE WORLD FALLS DOWN, a Labyrinth-themed New Year’s Eve Party that doubles as a fundraiser for the Lifelong AIDS Alliance.

On hand will be a fantabulous cornucopia of local art talent including:
TARL art collective featuring Eli Hansen
The Beta Society
Degenerate Art Ensemble
Miss Trannyshack Anna Conda as The Goblin King
Ben de la Creme as Sarah
Fuchia Foxxx as The Noble Fox
Iva Handfull as the Fire Bird
Gale Force as the White Owl
Stella Rose & Girl Jo as puppet go go girls.
The Bog of Eternal Sexiness
and Dance Magic by Lisa Dank, DJ Frankenheart, DJ Riff Raff, and DJ Darek Mazzone

The Seattle School performs an installation/performance piece. It could be “Peach Gluttony”. It could be “David Bowie Reassignment Machine (75% accuracy)”. It could be “Hall of Hands” or it could even be “Jennifer Connelly Chain Gang”. It could even be something else, but you won’t know until you go and see it. You will not be disappointed.

VERY IMPORTANT: Tickets will not be sold at the door and must be bought in advance, which you do by visiting Brown Paper Tickets. Tickets are $125 (or $99 if you know the secret code. Type Bowiespackage in the discount window when buying online.) Your ticket price gets you an open bar! installations! performances! puppets! art! a Bog of Eternal Sexiness Dance Floor! food by Skillet! AN ACTUAL LABYRINTH!

The party starts at 8 and runs til 2 at the Oddfellows Hall. Happy New Year.

Literary Death Match! this Wednesday

Break the Hump Day doldrums by heading out to Rebar for the second annual Literary Death Match, a wild cross-disciplinary shootout, with readers like Stacey Levine (who won the PEN/West Fiction Award for My Horse and Other Stories) and Aaron Dietz (author of Reserved for Emperors) and performers Kelleen Conway Blanchard (playwright of “Small Town”) and Danbert Nobacon (lead singer of Chumbawumba).

Judges for the event are Paul Constant (of The Stranger), Maria Semple (This One Is Mine), and Jonathan Evison (All About Lulu), the host is Todd Zuniga of Opium Magazine.

The Literary Death March takes place Wednesday, November 11; doors at 8:00, show at 9:00. $10 at the door, but $8 in advance at Brown Paper Tickets.

Where: Re-bar, 1114 Howell St. (map)

Cost: $10 at the door; $8 pre-sale at

Become the show at ACT

Local poet and artist A.K. “Mimi” Allen creates some genuinely interesting and provocative art; her installation at this year’s Bumbershoot was one of my favorite parts of the festival.

Currently she’s engaged in a new project with the help of ACT Theater. Daily through December (except Monday) from 5 to 6 pm on weekdays and 1 to 2 pm on weekends, Mimi sits in a window at ACT and views the world as if it really were the stage and all of its people performers. After an hour of watching, Mimi will review the “show” she’s just seen and post it in the window so that people walking by the next day can read her review from yesterday.

Anyone who is interested is encouraged to come down and join the act: dance, pantomime, act out a scene, sing, shout (she can’t hear you in either case), or do whatever feels right to you. Your performance will be incorporated in the show as a whole.

More Art Walking Tonight; Belltown!

Solace Room 03
Solace Room in the new City Hostel Seattle

If you don’t feel like driving or busing all the way up to Greenwood for art tonight, also consider the happenings in Belltown.
City Hostel Seattle (2nd Ave and Battery St.) will once again have it’s doors open to to public to check out the uniquely painted rooms, all of which were done by local Seattle artists. They are all worth a peek into, and most will make you wish you could stay the night in them. Seriously something not to be missed. But hurry up, word has it this is the last month the rooms will be open. After this the art shows will be restricted to just the hallways.
– The Whisky Bar (2000 2nd Ave) will feature artist 179’s new show along with live painting and plenty of booze.
Schmancy (1932 2nd Ave) has a show by Portland artist team APAK who has also created a line of plush dolls exclusively for Schmancy. (special thanks to PowFox for the heads-up on this show)
Roc La Rue (2312 2nd Ave) has a show by Jim Blanchard that is opening and looks like something not to be missed.
Halogen Gallery (2316 2nd Ave) has a show featuring the art of Justin Hilgrove, Ninjagrl, Soopajdelux. Always good stuff from these three artists!

Art walks tonight!

It’s been a while since you’ve been on an art walk, hasn’t it, maybe even one whole week or even longer? And now you find yourself thinking, “Wow, I should totally go on an art walk.”

Really, you should.

Tonight you can head up Capitol Hill for Blitz, an artwalk encompassing art of all types in galleries, coffee shops, private studios, street corners, and retail shops. There’s a ton of work to be seen, but you might especially want to keep your eye out for “Glitterporn” at Grey Gallery, a “tongue-in-cheek exploration of censorship, sex, and pornography” and “Whimsy Home Decor”, a mixed media work combining multi-level paintings and three-dimensional murals.

Friday night there’s the Art Up Greenwood Phinney Art Walk which features photography, painting, drawing, sculpture, books, spoken word, performance art, theater and food and drink specials from neighborhood merchants, not to mention the always-charming “living art” of the cats and kittens available for adoption at PAWS Cat City. While you’re there, you should definitely stop in to Taproot Theatre to view Sam Vance’s water lily series, studying the effects of light upon water. As a bonus for stopping in during the art walk, you’ll also get to observe Vance as he sketches a portrait of fellow artist Nikki Visel, a sketch which will then be used on-stage during Taproot’s upcoming presentation of Enchanted April.

bumberprep: arts extravaganza

kerfuffle, a glimpse at the bumbershoot arts program courtesy lele barnett. more in her photoset [flickr] via our group pool [#]

With the biggest names on the Bumbershoot poster typically dedicated to music (often of the confusing mainstage variety), the most visible lines at the festival composed of dedicated comedy fans, and the most frequent accessory a buttery stick or corn or deep fried dough, it’s often easy to forget that stashed away in the northwest corner of the festival is an exceptional set of art exhibits. If you’re worried that you’ll become so overwhelmed by bands, shortbread, skateboarders on energy drink vert ramps, scrambles to performance spaces, and other forms of exhaustion, then why not add to your schedule and drop in on the art exhibits a day early?

In ancient times, Bumbershoot was an even more massive, four day festival. Now with the magical Friday evening having fallen out of favor, the day is left open to peruse the visual arts programming. Even better, you can see it all, without the massive crowds and with no admission charge from noon to 7pm in celebration of the Mayor’s Arts Awards (presented this year to Artist Trust, Jesse Higman, Speight Jenkins, Northwest Tap Connection, Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras).

This year’s featured exhibits include four major presentation by some of Seattle’s finest: the Seattle-Moscow Poster Show, curated by Daniel R. Smith; Dada Economics, Greg Lundgren and Vital 5 Productions; the return of the Gage Drawing Jam; and Kerfuffle (or the Uneasy Relationship Between Humanity and the Environment) curated by Chris Weber and Lele Barnett. In addition, spectacles abound around the Seattle Center grounds. Press release with tons of information about the program after the jump.


Readings, signings, and other events vaguely literary for Monday, August 31, 2009

seattle art museum by faeryboots. from our flickr pool.

seattle art museum by faeryboots. from our flickr pool.

7:30 PM – Michael Darling: Target Practice: Painting Under Attack 1949 – 78
Elliott Bay Book Co.

The Jon and Mary Shirley Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Seattle Art Museum will discuss this summer’s big show. EBB will have copies of the catalog available.

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