Seattle’s oldest neighborhood is home to dozens of art galleries. The First Thursday art walk in Pioneer Square began in the early 1960s and is still going strong today. On First Thursday galleries often showcase new exhibits from 6 to 8 p.m.
First Thursday parking is free from 5 – 10 p.m. at Frye Garage (117 Third Ave. S.), Butler Garage (114 James St.) and 450 Alaskan (450 Alaskan Way - entrance on King Street). To redeem, pick up a voucher at participating Pioneer Square stores, restaurants or galleries.
Here are a few show you may want to check out April 5.
“Contract/Release” at SOIL gallery
Contract/Release” is a group show bringing together the works of Christine Atkinson, Lucy Wood Baird and Diana Jean Puglisi, who is also the curator.
From the gallery: “‘Contract/Release’ challenges how we perceive a piece of art within the context of the gallery. Christine Atkinson, Lucy Wood Baird and Diana Jean Puglisi are brought together by a common interest in experiential making. The works breathe in and breathe out, evolving as the viewer navigates them with their bodies. Each work included in the exhibition provides a visual jolt, challenging the traditional stagnancy of the gallery exhibition. Instilled in these sculptural works, is a sense of constant conversation between object, maker and viewer of dimensionality, relational space, and time. ‘Contract/Release’ is responsive and playful, evoking experience instead of pure looking.”
WHEN: Runs until April 28, First Thursday, 6 – 8 p.m.
WHERE: SOIL Gallery, 112 Third Ave. S, Seattle
“Calcadia” at Foster/White gallery
"Calcadia” is a solo exhibition of Chase Langford’s paintings where he blends cartography and fine art.
From the gallery: “Langford’s latest body of work delivers an idiosyncratic survey of places re-imagined. Abstract forms and rich textures merge in otherworldly portrayals of real geographic forms, rendering landscapes at once familiar and elusive. Reminiscent of sedimentary cross-sections, Langford’s canvases are confidently tactile. Generous paint application paired with a bold, earthy palette evoke the rich strata of the Earth’s crust while speaking to the incipient creative act of the artist. In Calcadia, Langford brings focus to the physical landscape of the American West Coast just as so much of it is changing. In doing so, he asks us to see that landscape not only for the wonder it is, but for what it has been and what it might be — years, centuries, eons from now.”
WHEN: Runs until April 21, First Thursday, 6 – 8 p.m., artist will be in attendance
WHERE: Foster/White Gallery, 220 Third Ave. S, #100, Seattle
“Limbo Lounge” at BONFIRE gallery
If you’re a fan of graphic novels or are interested in giving them a closer look “Limbo Lounge” is the show for you.
From the gallery: “BONFIRE Gallery presents LIMBO LOUNGE, a graphic novel by acclaimed artist and illustrator Dave Calver. Limbo Lounge exhibits selections from some of the 420 art pieces published in the graphic novel, released February 6th and already on Amazon’s list of best-selling graphic novels: This trippy, surreal, full color adventure brings us from the hot, swirling sands of hell to the colorfully bizarre ‘Limbo Lounge,’ filled with the recently deceased as well as bored oddball interlopers from hell. Meet flower-headed freaks, Bud and Lou. Root for their friend, a spry, elderly nun, Sister Eunice, as she works remotely in Limbo continuing to rid earth of despicable dirt bags. And, by all means, avoid the knife-wielding little pageant-princess-gone-bad as she plots for anything she can get at anyone’s expense.”
WHAT: “Limbo Lounge”
WHEN: First Thursday 5 – 8 p.m.
WHERE: BONFIRE Gallery, Panama Hotel, 603 S Main St., Seattle
“Basquiat—Untitled” at Seattle Art Museum
A few blocks north of Pioneer Square, Seattle Art Museum (SAM) is offering a rare opportunity to see a highly acclaimed painting from Jean-Michel Basquiat. Last spring collector Yusaku Maezawa acquired “Untitled” (1982) for a whopping $110.5 million, a new record for an American painting, at a Sotheby’s auction. The painting is now on an international tour that began at the Brooklyn Museum. sam is the second stop of the first public viewing since the unveiling in 1982. Basquiat is one of the first Black artists to reach international stature in the art world.
Basquiat was born in New York City’s Brooklyn borough in 1960 to a Haitian father and Puerto Rican mother. He began as a graffiti artist in the late 1970s and worked under the pseudonym SAMO spray painting sayings on walls in Lower Manhattan. His popularity skyrocketed when he participated in the group exhibition “The Times Square Show” in 1980. Three years later he became one of the youngest artists to participate in the Whitney Biennial. He occasionally collaborated with Andy Warhol on projects and his work traveled the world. Basquiat died of a drug overdose in 1988 at the age of 27.
Years after his death Basquiat continues to influence creatives. Among them is Barry Johnson, a Seattle area visual artist who works across several mediums from abstract paintings to photography to performances. Johnson studied Basquiat’s writing, music and paintings. The way in which Basquiat moved through different creative outlets gave Johnson the confidence to become a multi-disciplinary artist.
Basquiat’s work taught Johnson that there are no rules in art and the power of reduction, “He knew exactly when a piece of art was finished and what should and shouldn’t be on the canvas. He was never afraid to take away from a painting if it did not belong there. I arm myself with that idea every day.”
When asked why “Untitled” is worth viewing, Johnson is direct: “It’s a global treasure, and to witness it in person is historic.”
“Basquiat—Untitled” complements the exhibition “Figuring History: Robert Colescott, Kerry James Marshall, Mickalene Thomas.” The intergenerational exhibition addresses Black culture and representation.
From SAM: “The visceral painting is dominated by a dramatically rendered skull-like head wearing a three-pointed crown. Fiercely alive against a bright blue background, the disembodied head appears to be talking or screaming. The painting captures a dynamic sense of flux and change, with the re-workings, redactions, and erasures of Basquiat’s vital artistic process remaining in the finished piece.”
WHEN: Runs until August 13, First Thursday 6 – 8 p.m.
WHERE: Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Ave., Seattle
Lisa Edge is a Staff Reporter covering arts, culture and equity. Have a story idea? She can be reached at lisae (at) realchangenews (dot) org. Twitter @NewsfromtheEdge, Facebook
Tacoma Art Museum's 'Native Portraiture' deconstructs myths and stereotypes of Native people in art
Archival Art: C. Davida Ingram talks centering Black womanhood, her solo art show at UW and growing up in Chicago
Melanin Poppin': ‘Everyday Black’ at NAAM celebrates and exalts Blackness
Wait, there's more. Check out the full March 28 - April 3 issue.