2017 Projects & Talks

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Seattle-based design practice Civilization has devised an immersive space for children and their families to explore and interact with concepts in art and design. This playful exhibition consists of five activations which correspond to the five design principles: scale, color, type, symbols, and structure. Each station includes a brief description of an iconic artist and graphic designer who has influenced culture and shaped the current state of art and design, along with corresponding activities to encourage curiosity and play. A continuation of the Seattle Art Fair’s commitment to reaching an audience of all ages, this collaboration offers a dynamic activity space for children ages three and up, in a play-based learning environment that engages with artists and ideas.
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Artist, musician, and filmmaker Clyde Petersen talks with artist and curator Tariqa Waters, founder of the art space Martyr Sauce, about their past collaborations and their respective engagement in the Seattle arts community and beyond.

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In the light-filled, tiled hall of Seattle’s historic Union Station, Los Angeles based artists Erika Vogt and Dylan Mira present a new collaboration. Cruising the temporal drag they locate between the train station as site of waiting and movement to the care and commons of the bathhouse, Pool considers a travel for end times. The public is invited to lounge in an installation of sculptural platforms referencing spa materials, ancient baths, architectural models, memorials and spells while a specially formulated herbal mist spreads through the space. Here a multi-channel video is displayed alongside live performances by Mira of her ongoing video essay on "Orientation and Orientalism", Duty Free, as well as a final participatory somatic writing score for audience members. Using ergonomics, organics and perspective to disorient "the body as table as building as mist as dream," new positions form across time.
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Ellen Lesperance, <em>Can't Beat it Alone</em> (film still), Amber Affairs Unit, 1985. Courtesy of the artist.
Presented with Adams and Ollman
In an aisle of the fair, Portland-based artist Ellen Lesperance presents a new work: a collection of fabricated garments that celebrates the legacy and continuing significance of the feminist activist group Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell (W.I.T.C.H.). This series includes textile designs and patches that are reproductions of a hooded cloak worn by a W.I.T.C.H. member at the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp. Founded in 1981, the camp was established in Berkshire, England to protest nuclear weapons being sited at the nearby Royal Air Force Base. Exclusively comprised of women, the protest – much like the W.I.T.C.H. group that predated it – believed that patriarchy itself was one of the root causes of war and had to be directly confronted. Throughout the fair weekend, a varied group of local artists, activists, writers, dancers, and actors will remove the garments from their display – designed and fabricated by Portland based designer Jason Rens – and stage a series of happenings in and out of the fair while cloaked in Lesperance’s apparel, vesting new agency in the garments in service of “untamed, angry, joyous and immortal” actions.

Note that the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday performances will begin on-site at the artist’s installation and will lead the public off-site to Occidental Mall. Each performance in Occidental Mall will begin at approximately 12:30pm.
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On the occasion of their installation at the Seattle Art Fair and world premiere of their film Modern Living, Brennan Gerard and Ryan Kelly sit down with art historian Miwon Kwon, to discuss their ongoing project and the shared interest in the spaces of performance, film, and architecture.
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Gerard & Kelly, <em>Modern Living</em>:<em> Glass House,</em> 2017. Video still. Courtesy of the artists.

The Seattle Art Fair and the Frye Art Museum co-present the world premiere of Brennan Gerard and Ryan Kelly’s new film in a choreographic, two-channel installation at the fair. Modern Living (2016-ongoing) began as two site-specific choreographed performances: at the R.M. Schindler House in Los Angeles, the site of an early experiment in communal living, and the Glass House in New Canaan, where the architect Philip Johnson and his partner David Whitney lived for over 40 years. Represented by site-specific events, videos filmed on location, drawings, and performance scores, Modern Living explores intimacy and queer space within legacies of modernist architecture. Structured in chapters, the project is driven by the question, “what would a home have to look and feel like today to protect and produce intimacies and relations that don’t fit within dominant narratives of family, marriage, or domesticity?”. The film features performances by L.A. Dance Project, and original scores by SOPHIE (Glass House chapter) and Lucky Dragons (Schindler House chapter). At the fair, Gerard & Kelly present the first two chapters of the film, as they posit questions around the livability of queer space -- its pleasures, tensions, and impossibilities -- and reimagine iconic architecture as sites of experimentation in living.

This project is made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project, with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional production support and residency provided by EMPAC / Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Performances of Modern Living were originally co-produced by L.A. Dance Project, and presented by the MAK Center for Art and Architecture at the Schindler House and the Glass House, in association with Art Production Fund.

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Helen Mirra and Amie Siegel, artists and friends, converse about things they care about, including locations and non-sites, rocks and crystals, the ur- and the copy.

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<p>Jeffrey Gibson, <em>LIKE A HAMMER,</em> 2016. Mixed media installation, dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist and Roberts & Tilton. Photo by Peter Mauney.</p>
Presented with Roberts & Tilton
In the multi-media installation, LIKE A HAMMER (2016), Jeffrey Gibson presents a wool and canvas robe intricately adorned with metal jingles, beadwork, and nylon fringe suspended from looming teepee poles. From afar, the installation reads as a collection of Inter-tribal and Indigenous objects, however upon closer inspection, the robe's materials are that of pastiche Native American adornments that effectively mix references to ceremonial and other transformational garments. Gibson initially performed improvisational ritualistic movement while wearing the 120-pound robe in a durational performance. His meditative movements are inspired by animals and thoughts represented in the seven text based drawings he made during the performance, questioning the reverberation of rites as they are affected by time, space, and context. In doing so, Gibson develops a cross-cultural process that mines the complexities of geopolitical tensions that exist throughout the Americas.
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SFMOMA curator Jenny Gheith speaks with Nancy Rubins on the artist's prolific career of transforming industrial, manufactured objects -- such as mattresses, appliances, and boats -- into physically commanding monumental sculptures.
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Jessica Jackson Hutchins,<em> Reason to Be,</em> 2017. Courtesy of Seattle Art Fair. Photo by Joe Freeman.
Situated prominently within the North Plaza at CenturyLink Field, Portland artist Jessica Jackson Hutchins presents new, large-scale outdoor sculpture. Drawing from the design of public rest spots, such as bus stops and park gazebos, the artist integrates panels of bespoke stained glass into the frames of a decommissioned public bus shelter. In a hybrid space invoking public citizenship and personal spirituality, the project continues Hutchins’ interest in the friction between the mundane and transcendent.
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Mary Ann Peters, <em>the world is a garden</em>, 2015. Courtesy of the artist and James Harris Gallery.
Presented with James Harris Gallery
Seattle artist Mary Ann Peters presents a new monolithic sculpture, the world is a garden, the walls are the state (2017), comprised of an internal white cube coated with flowers and seen through the veil of a honeycomb patterned screen. An interpretation of a phrase from the 14th-century North African Arab historian Ibn Kaldun, "The world is a garden, the walls are the state" -- and the result of her research and observations of the Syrian exodus in the generation of her grandparents and today -- Peters’ installation is the foundation for an ongoing series titled "impossible monuments," which aim to give voice to "small influential narratives within migration histories that deserve reverence."
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Naama Tsabar, <em>Closer</em>, 2014. Wood, metal, microphones, microphone stands, tuners, guitar strings, and PA system. 54.5 x 54.5 x 108 inches. ©Naama Tsabar and courtesy of Shulamit Nazarian.
Presented with Shulamit Nazarian
Closer (2014), by New York-based Naama Tsabar, is a hybrid of installation, sculpture, instrument and performance. Two conjoined walls, standing in the aisle of the art fair, form a free-standing corner that has strings and microphones fused to it and connect to amplifiers and speakers. Tsabar shifts the fairs architectural support structures from the display of art to the propagation of sound and gives articulation to the preexisting acoustics embedded in the structure. Throughout the weekend, the artist and the musician Fielded will collaborate in a performance composed on the corner activating its acoustic qualities.
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Nancy Rubins, <em>Monochrome for Paris, 2012</em>​. Handmade painted wood model boats, epoxy putty, and steel armature, 65 x 63 3/4 x 52 inches. ©Nancy Rubins. Courtesy of the artist and Gagosian. Photo by Thomas Lannes.
Nancy Rubins is known for her large-scale assemblages of found objects. This selected presentation of studies allows for an intimate consideration of an iconic body of work. The boat forms in these configurations are organic and seemingly precarious, presented in a scale of 1 ½ inch equals 1 foot. The studies refer to a system of compression and tension utilized in the large-scale sculptures (Buckminster Fuller labeled this system tensegrity). Rubins’ maquettes and sculptures alike enjoy the ability to cantilever through space.
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Los Angeles-based artists Oscar Tuazon, who often employs industrial materials in his sculptural installations, and Jennifer West, whose practice is immersed in material and conceptual explorations of film, sit down to discuss their respective work, a shared interest in DIY, and their deep roots in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest.
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Sean Townley, <em>7 Diadems,</em> 2016. Courtesy of the artist and Night Gallery. Photo by Jeff Mclane.
Presented with Night Gallery
The serial sculpture by Sean Townley, 7 Diadems (2016), comprises seven fragmentary copies of a monumental Roman Juno in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. To create the piece the artist appropriated a mold originally produced by conservators at the museum in the mid 20th-century. Through use of a technology designed to create copies and reconstruct losses, Townley presents a new suite of multiple diadem heads, emphasizing mechanical reproduction and nodding to a modernist seriality of forms.
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