Across the Trailor Park

Read local art critic Regina Hackett's review of current curatoral trends at SAM[Art To Go], and found myself getting in the thick of it over a work that I'm excited the Seattle Art Museum purchased.

Regina's article follows...

"Contemporary art curators tend to leave the Seattle Art Museum before we can take them for granted. Once they're gone, we forget them. When they're back for a visit, they can say in the immortal words of Raymond Chandler that "nobody came, nobody called, nobody cared if I died or went to El Paso."
Michael Darling took the job last April. It's too soon to get a sense of him, as he's been busy behind the scenes working on exhibits for SAM's reopening in May and playing midwife to Lisa Corrin's baby, the art she chose for the Olympic Sculpture Park.
One of his local purchases, however, has raised both cheers and eyebrows: Whiting Tennis'
"Bovine." In the linked image, this sculptural hovel has a dusky glamour it lacks in life. Although Greg Kucera's website says its dimensions are 8.5 x 14 x 7.5 inches, make that feet. It's not a toy. Some hard-scrabble hermit might have built it from scraps and lived in it for decades, picking his nose and peeing out the door.
I'm in the raised eyebrows camp, among those who are not cheering. I doubt Corrin would have chosen this sculpture for SAM, not because it's challenging, but because it isn't. It reeks of frontier nostalgia and trades in wild West stereotypes. It's shabby chic without the chic.
Here's a sculpture Corrin liked, Claude Zervas'
"Nooksack," which Corrin's admirers purchased in her honor for SAM. It was a going away present, museum style. She went away, and we kept the present.
"Nooksack" is a river of light, a lean, latter-day Dan Flavin with landscape roots.

"Bovine" is one thing, but isn't Darling responsible for Pedro Reyes' "Evolving City Wall Mural" in the park's pavilion? Reyes sees it as a tribute to Mexican muralists early in the 20th century, but it lacks their passion, politics and point.
It's not fair to judge Darling on a few early choices, but I'll admit to being concerned. Another thing: He's nice, and nice curators finish last at SAM.
Trevor Fairbrother (before Corrin) is brilliant, but he's mild-mannered. Inside a year or two at SAM, he looked like St. Sebastian riddled with arrows.
Corrin is cheerfully insensitive. SAM's arrows might have had her name on them, but they bounced off. She went her merry way, confident that she was going over gangbusters even when she wasn't.
Before Fairbrother, Patterson Sims had the job. If his name comes up now, somebody is sure to say, What did he do, exactly, besides go to parties?
He lacks Fairbrother's visual brilliance and Corrin's unstoppable and savvy energy. And yet, he was the most important curator to hold that job. He inspired new generations of collectors and donors. When he got here, SAM's key supporters were in their late 60s. Sims saw need to build behind them. With his inspired encouragement, dozens of people became collectors or redoubled their efforts.
I'll mention three. Jon and Mary Shirley, and Bill True. Without the Shirleys, we might not have the
Olympic Sculpture Park. Without True and his wife Ruth, we wouldn't have Western Bridge.
Sims can take credit for the park and the bridge. Thank you, Patterson, for going to all those parties."

And my response...

"I suppose again I'm on the outs with current trends and ideas regarding artwork that merits in my realm, but I think that the purchase of Whiting Tennis's "Bovine" was a brilliant purchase. Whiting's Bovine was the center punch to what I still hold a one of the best shows in Seattle held by a gallery for 2006. It is a muscular, singular homage to all things Western and Suburban. Created from the leftover scraps of wood that the deceased owner of a house Whiting had just purchased, it was a dare. When offered by the Realator to have the wood taken away, Whiting kept it and made a beautiful symbol, a subtle icon of the "All American" backyard. I get it. To compare it to Zervas's work is to compare a runway model to construction worker. Zervas is cool, skeletal, anorexic, and yes very Flavin-esque; yawn. I part with many these days,I recognize it. I need that hands applied feel, a sense of a worked, crafted, skilled, yet original artwork. Bovine haunts me, probably will for quite sometime. I for one am glad it will be at the Museum, to visit, study, and dare me to take what is around me, and apply it."

It seems in keeping with something that Dennis Hollingsworth just wrote about...




I have a few questions in relation to pop culture that tend to lay dormant for several years. One of those on my list was, "What happened to Paul Simonon of the Clash"?
Does he still wear cool hats?
Still play great bass?
Is he currently in Damon Albarn's newest creation, The Good The Bad, & The Queen?
Is it the same as the Clash, Blur, or the Verve, as all the members were part of those groups?
Yes and No.
Hooks like Blur's Parklife, and vibes like the Clash's Sandinista. It seems like a chaser, or a chilled out follow-up, to either one of those albums. Albarn, Simonon, Tong, and Allen make good around each other. Nice to find Simonon again.

The Good The Bad & The Queen - Kingdom Of Doom


Olympic Sculpture Park

Alexander Calder - Eagle [1971]

Tony Smith - Stinger [1967-1968]

Claes Oldenburg & Coosje van Bruggen - Typewriter Eraser [1999]

Today was the public opening of the Olympic Sculpture Park here on the Seattle waterfront. It was packed, but very exciting, a sculpture park open for free to the public. I feel like we suddenly, as a city, got placed on the Art Destination Map. I rode my Lambretta down to Belltown, traffic was a mess around there, and it was actually kinda warm today. Works by Tony Smith, Beverly Pepper, Roxy Paine, Richard Serra, Louise Bourgeois, and on and on. I'm looking forward to the spring and summer months, a place to sit, take in the wonderful views and surrounded by modern sculpture. Seattle got a nice injection of substance today.


If it ain't Scottish...

I stumbled upon a band from Scotland that I thought worthy of a listen, and since they play good on image as well as sound, double your fun!

Frightened Rabbit - The Greys



Open Season

Alex Schweder's Installation at Suyama Space[photo courtesy of Rachel Maxi]

Nate Lippens, Peter Gaucy and Regina Hackett at Alec Schweder's Installation at Suyama Space[photo courtesy of Rachel Maxi]

Erica takes in the room size inflatable work by artist Alex Schweder at Suyama Space

Alex Schweder's "A Sac Of Rooms 3 Times A Day" currently on view at Suyama Space 2324 Second Ave. in the Belltown neighborhood of Seattle. A room size inflatable that during the day inflates and deflates three times. I had the feeling of both being around a large lung and a room that a boy in a bubble perhaps would occupy. I found that I either wanted to enter the bubble or jump on it, all of this of course ties into a childlike feeling that I brought to the opening.
On another note it was fun to hang out with some of my old friends and see faces, that for quite sometime, I had not seen.


the sound

With ever the potential for snow, I'm reminded that the thing I enjoy the most from it, is the sound. Snow baffles sound, especially sharp sounds. I also start thinking of times around here in Seattle when we would actually have pretty regular days of snow. I've lived in the area since the early 70's, so I can recall with regularity, days and times, of significant accumulations of the white stuff. I hope we get a good day, perhaps more, of good quality snow around here. We could use a touch of softer Puget Sound...

The Legends - Air - from the album Public Radio



2006 Music Discoveries

After seeing Steve LaRose post his top music list for 2006, I thought long and hard and decided to throw down as well. Music is a really important component when I'm painting and so here are some of my finds in the 2006. I hope you all have a great 2007!

1. the Radio Dept. - Pulling Our Weight - from the EP Pulling Our Weight
2. the Radio Dept. - A Window - from the album Pet Grief
3. King Khan & BBQ Show - Fish Fight - from the album King Khan & BBQ Show[actually a 2005 release, but I just found out about this band this year, so...]
4. King Khan & BBQ Show - Blow My Top - from the 2006 release entitled What's For Dinner?
5. The Black Lips - Boomerang -
appears on the album Let It Bloom
6. The Black Lips - Not A Problem - also from the album Let It Bloom
7. The How - I Was A Boy - Slumberland single
8. The Shins - Taste Of Cindy - since the new record isn't out yet, cough here is a live cover of a JAMC song
9. Deer Tick - Hell On Earth - http://www.deertickmusic.com/
10. Sufjan Stevens - Sister Winter - appears on the album Songs For Christmas
11. Eux Autres -
Ecoutez Bien - appears on the album Another Christmas At Home
12. Beth Orton - Northern Sky - appears on the album Comfort Of Strangers
13. Reigning Sound - If You Can't Give Me Everything - appears on the album Too Much Guitar[another band discovered in 2006]
14. The Lovely Feathers - Frantic - appears on the album Hind Hind Legs
15. The Legends - This Hearts Not Made Of Stone - appears on the EP Lucky Star