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Seattle for art lovers

22 Apr 2007  Seattle transplant from Washington DC and art lover
4.5 of 5 bubbles based on 6 votes

Seattle has a great art scene check it out.
*Note. I have removed Wright Exhibition Space which closes August 2014.

  • Category: Best of
  • Traveler type: Culture, Sightseeing, Never been before, Repeat visitors
  • Appeals to: Business travellers , Couples/romantics, Honeymooners, Singles, Families with small children, Families with teenagers, Large groups, Seniors, Students, Budget travellers , Tourists
  • Seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall
  • 1. Seattle Art Museum

    Seattle's preeminent downtown art museum has recently undergone a huge expansion (118,00 sq.ft. in the first stage) with a striking new building by Allied Works that integrates the adjoining Robert Venturi/Denise Scott Brown structure. In an exciting recent development SAM has also received 1000 new pieces (reportedly worth over $1 billion) from major collectors. These collections will significantly bolster SAM's strengths in modern and contemporary art and Northwest artists. In recent years they have had some excellent exhibits ranging from Picasso and Gaugin, the Elles exhibit of women artists from the Centre Georges Pompidou and old masters from the collection of Kenwood House to exhibitions on media works by Andy Warhol and Japanese fashion.

  • 2. Olympic Sculpture Park

    This Weiss/Manfredi designed park, which has been internationally recognized, is free to the public. The architects transformed a series of brownfields crossed by railroad tracks and a road into a stunning uninterrupted Z-shaped green platform evoking key features of the northwest landscape: temperate evergreen forest, deciduous forest and intertidal zone. The park affords amazing views of the city and the art is pretty good too: knockout pieces by Alexander Calder, Claes Oldenburg/Coosje von Bruggen, Richard Serra, Louis Bourgeois, Jaume Plensa and more. Don't miss special exhibits in the Paccar pavilion, season pieces, occasional guerilla art (like the Eaglets of Calder's "Eagle"). Also don't miss the Neukom vivarium.

  • 3. Chihuly Garden and Glass

    A museum and garden featuring the works of Seattle's internationally acclaimed glass artist Dale Chihuly. The museum has a good cafe, Collections Cafe, which is filled with Chihuly's varied and fascinating collections and features good modern Pacific NW cuisine in a very appealing dining room.

  • 4. Henry Art Gallery

    An important and respected art institution at University of Washington, acclaimed for hard hitting and thought provoking exhibitions. The Henry is perhaps best known for modern/contemporary art. Past exhibitions have featured Maya Linn, Roy Lichtenstein, Lynn Hershman Leeson and more.

  • 5. Frye Art Museum

    A museum endowed by Seattle industrialist Charles Frye includes his personal collection but also features widely varying (and some quite risky) exhibitions. Past exhibits have included retrospectives of the Northwest School painter William Cumming and Seattle agitprop process artist and urban/environmental activist Buster Simpson, and modern and contemporary works by Trimpin, Henry Darger, Claud Cahun and Marcel Moore, and Candida Hofer. A great space post an Olson Sundberg building expansion and renovation. Free all the time.

  • 6. Center for Contemporary Art

    CoCA has some thought provoking exhibitions of contemporary artists in its Georgetown space.

  • 7. Suyama Space

    Experimental contemporary exhibition space in the Belltown office of George Suyama Architects. 9-5 weekdays but only open when there is a current exhibition. There are typically three installations a year (January to April, May to August, and September to December), each lasting about three months with about a month between exhibitions

  • 8. Iconic public art downtown

    Seattle has a wealth of public art. Check out the above site which seems to thoroughly catalog most of the public art in the city. The site gives location information and groups the pieces by neighborhood and type. Also check out http://www. imagesofseattle.org which is also a valuable resource.
    The following are some of the best known pieces downtown.

    "The Hammering Man" -- Jonathan Borofsky. Seattle Art Museum, First Ave. Mechanized painted steel sculpture is maybe the one piece of public art every Seattleite thinks of first.

    "Mirror" -- Doug Aitken. A video installation on the facade of the Seattle Art Museum. From the NY Times Style Magazine: "Mountain ranges. Airplane hangars. Trains and lakes. In Doug Aitken’s latest video art project, “MIRROR,” images of city and country dissolve into graphic patterns. The work, Aitken’s first permanent installation, is displayed on a giant LED screen that’s wrapped around the facade of the Seattle Art Museum. It’s part video, part light display: columns of light brighten the building in time with the film, which highlights the beauty of Seattle and Washington State. The video feed is said to respond to conditions outside the museum — weather, traffic and the like."

    "Rachael the Pig" -- Georgia Gerber. Pike Place Market. Bronze pig has become a beloved symbol for the market. Rachael has inspired "Pigs on Parade" where various groups decorate pigs for a fundraiser.

    "Totem Pole"-- Charles & William Brown. First Ave. Pioneer Square. Tlingit style pole represents the NW Native American tradition. There are poles of various styles all over town as well as other Native American art.

    "Fallen Firefighters Memorial" -- Hai Ying Wu, Occidental Park, Pioneer Square. Bronze firefighter figures.

    "The Fearsome Whistling Tsonoqua” and “nightmare bringer” -- Duane Pasco, Occidental Park, Pioneer Square. Native American carved totems.

    "Seattle, Chief of the Suquamish", James Wehn. Fifth and Cedar. In honor of the namesake of Seattle.

    "The Mitt" Gerard Tsutakawa's, Safeco Field. One of the great NW artists he has incredible pieces all over town but the whimsical bronze mitt in front of Safeco field is a well loved piece.

    "Ivar Feeding the Gulls" -- Richard Beyer. Waterfront on Alaskan Way in front of Ivar's seafood restaurant. Ivars is a Seattle instituion. Note that the cast aluminum gulls are heroically sized with an almost art-deco appearance while Ivar himself is realistically cast in bronze. Beyer's work is all over Seattle. Notably he created "Waiting for the Interurban" in the Fremont neighborhood, one of the best known sculptures in Seattle.

  • 9. Galleries featuring Northwest masters and contemporaries

    Seattle is a top place to acquaint yourself with works by Northwest masters (sometimes called the Northwest School or the Mystics) and contemporaries including Morris Graves, Guy Anderson, Ken Callahan, William Cumming, Mark Tobey, George Tsutakawa, John Cole, Thomas Wood, Ed Kamuda and more. Woodside Braseth Gallery, Foster White Gallery and Lisa Harris Gallery are among the best private galleries in town for seeing and picking up works by these artists.

    http://www. woodsidebrasethgallery. com
    http://www. fosterwhite.com/

  • 10. Seattle galleries

    Seattle has a burgeoning contemporary art scene largely centered downtown and especially in the Pioneer Square area.
    SOIL (112 3rd Ave S, Pioneer Sq.)
    http:// soilart. org
    Platform (114 3rd Ave S, Pioneer Sq.)
    www. platformgallery. com
    Davidson Galleries(313 Occidental Ave S, Pioneer Sq.)
    http://www. davidsongalleries. com/home.php
    Greg Kucera (212 3rd Ave S, Pioneer Sq.)
    www. gregkucera. com
    James Harris Gallery (604 2nd Ave, Pioneer Sq.)
    www. jamesharrisgallery. com
    Winston Wachter, (203 Dexter Ave N, South Lake Union)
    http://seattle. winstonwachter.com/
    Prole Drift (523 S. Main St, Pioneer Sq.)
    A directory of Pioneer Sq. Galleries
    http://www. pioneersquare.org /directory/art-galleries
    *Spaces in links inserted because max word length (outside of the URL field for each numbered item) is set to 25 characters.