A&E Pick of the Week
Welcome back to Arts & Entertainment Pick of the Week, in which our writers share some particularly interesting events, shows or something else that caught their eye.
With the state’s reopening in full swing, there’s never been a better time to start seeing visual art in person again. Here are two such shows to feast your eyes on this week — and one to put on the calendar for October.
See it now: A “Time Capsule” of quarantine
The state may be reopening, but we’re just beginning to process the collective trauma of the past year, and Photographic Center Northwest’s latest exhibition is here to help. “Time Capsule,” the space’s 24th annual juried exhibition, selected by Henry Art Gallery director of curatorial affairs Shamim M. Momin, features images either taken during the pandemic, or touching on themes of isolation and emptiness.
Lamar Graham’s “THIS IS JUST INTERMISSION” juxtaposes the placeholder words on the Paramount Theatre’s marquee with bike cops in full riot gear — a reminder of the collision between isolation and social activism that followed the murder of George Floyd.
Jennifer Zwick’s “Owen and Silvan in the Dining Room” is cartoonishly warm in its depiction of a remote school setup and kids in PJs, one set of eyes obscured behind a mawkish Day-Glo smiley-face balloon. But the deep-seated frustration bursts from the wall text. It’ll be familiar to anyone who had to manage both full-time remote work and full-time child care during a time of few certainties and even fewer social supports for families.
“I’ve read many articles about how women were the first to stop working,” writes Zwick. “I say ‘read’ but I really mean ‘skimmed while trying to get my 6-year-old to stop taking apart our filing cabinet where we keep many important documents and how did he even get the key? … I know that I’m supposed to feel grateful that I can afford to quarantine but I refuse to feel gratitude for an economic structure which endangers and stunts the majority of our lives while the wealthy do whatever they’ve always done.”
Even the pandemic’s puzzle phase is represented: In “Chess, Coffee, & Chocolate” and “Backgammon, Hibiscus, & Muffins,” Christos J. Palios considers the aesthetic possibilities of a humble tabletop, where so many of us fed and entertained ourselves — or struggled to — during the state’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” order.
Elsewhere, Meghan Crandall creates precise assemblages from everyday objects, and Danielle Quenell’s self-portraits fuse her body into her studio apartment, a state of being that will resonate with anyone who quarantined solo in a small space.
You may have felt isolated and odd over the past year. But these photos are a reminder that you weren’t alone.
Through August 12; Photographic Center Northwest, 900 12th Ave., Seattle; free; 206-720-7222, pcnw.org
See it now: Functional art from queer ceramicists
If rarely leaving my apartment for over a year taught me anything, it’s the value of a chunky handmade mug: I spent many a pandemic morning warming my paws and waking up my brain with a homemade latte in a cup covered in Funfetti-like squiggles.
A creation from The Beige Motel’s Ashley Corpuz Campbell, whose small-batch drinkware you can find throughout the Northwest and (of course) in Brooklyn, the mug was an Instagram-enabled gateway into the gorgeous, functional art of local ceramics makers.
To get a peek into this world outside a screen, check out “Queer and Dear,” an annual ceramics show at art and pottery studio Saltstone Ceramics, where Campbell is an instructor and gallery coordinator. The show spotlights work from queer-identified ceramicists across the country.
This year, Texas-based curator Courtney Hassmann brings together a colorful assortment, from Grant Ederer’s textural marbled tumblers to Ceramics and Theory’s vessels featuring scrawled words and drawings over bright splashes of orange, blue and red. They’re like cheeky margin notes for your morning coffee. You’ll also find asymmetrical pitchers, gold-flecked platters, delicate bowls and jars, and even plates emblazoned with stunned-looking animals — Mark Vander Heide’s sheep and turtles look like what would happen if you crossed Edvard Munch’s “The Scream” with the eyes emoji and Shaun the Sheep.
“Queer and Dear” is a popular show for Saltstone, which sells work from local artists at accessible price points. If you don’t normally think of drinkware as art, it’ll change your mind.
Through July 31; Saltstone Ceramics, 2206 N. 45th St., Seattle; free; 206-632-0826, saltstoneceramics.com
Put it on your calendar: Abstract Expressionist masterworks at SAM
When the pandemic shuttered arts spaces and emptied galleries, the Seattle Art Museum bucked the trend with the major acquisition of 20th-century Abstract Expressionist and European masterworks, a gift from the private collection of late Medina philanthropists Jane Lang Davis and Richard E. Lang.
The gift’s announcement came with another piece of good news for Seattle art enthusiasts: The newly donated pieces — including work from big-name artists like Jackson Pollock, Willem de Kooning and Joan Mitchell — would also be going on view at SAM in the fall.
Now we know exactly when. “Frisson: The Richard E. Lang and Jane Lang Davis Collection” will be on view at SAM starting Oct. 15. The exhibition is named for “the ‘frisson’ of excitement that arises from engaging deeply with art,” explains SAM’s news release, and will include 18 paintings, two sculptures and one drawing. Seventeen artists will be represented, including Francis Bacon, Lee Krasner and Alberto Giacometti.
“Frisson” will also feature two paintings the Langs previously gave to SAM: Alice Neel’s portrait of Richard E. Lang and Andy Warhol’s portrait of Jane Lang Davis.
“It’s thrilling to share with the public these formidable examples of Abstract Expressionism and postwar European art,” said Catharina Manchanda, SAM’s curator of contemporary art, in the news release. “The emotional current of these works, reflective of their specific time and context, runs from exuberant to contemplative, fierce to soaring.”
According to a third-party estimate from Sotheby’s, the Langs’ whole collection is worth about $400 million.
More info: seattleartmuseum.org