Tuesday, April 28, 2009

IHOP Art Klatch

Like a few other folks, I attended my first IHOP art klatch* this morning.  Held at Cafe Presse (originally at IHOP), every Tuesday morning, and led by Scott Lawrimore, these discussions have been happening for the past two years.  Today's klatch must have set attendance records.  I'm guessing there were at least 55 folks crammed in the backroom of Presse.  I heard the hallway was also packed and several folks couldn't get in and just had coffee at the bar.   

The topic? "The group will discuss the decline of the staff critic and art coverage in traditional media, the prospects for online publishing, and the growth in art writing by artists. They will also discuss the quality of online debate, with Jen Graves' recent article, “The Vancouver Problem” as a test case."  

A fantastic group of speakers (Eric Fredericksen, Jen Graves, Regina Hackett, Matthew Offenbacher) sparked a very lively discussion.  Some points discussed included the responsibility of a critic, talking to ourselves versus talking to the larger community, and the various merits of an online presence contrasted with the sweetness of a La Especial Norte (available in print only). 

I'm really loving the elevated level of chatter and discourse lately.  And based on all the coverage (originally in The Stranger, then Another Bouncing Ball, Translinguistic Other, Getting to Know You Better), I think lots of other folks are eager to keep this discussion going. And I didn't get to say it today but I just wanted to give Matt Offenbacher big props for creating La Especial Norte.  His spirit of community has been very influential in setting the tone for this blog.  Nice guys don't always finish last, Matt.

BIG thanks to Scott Lawrimore for organizing this, and to all the attendees and speakers!

*"The IHOP Art Klatch at Cafe Presse is a free-form, open-topic, open-invitation gathering that brings together the major players in the Seattle art scene every week. The Klatch has also played host to a number of visiting artists, curators and collectors." via

Introducing Kelly Rae Cunningham

If you don't already know her work, let me introduce you to Kelly Rae Cunningham.

Triplicate, 2009 (image via kellyraecunningham.com)

Hi Kelly Rae!

You're currently finishing up your largest project to date. Would you talk about that project?

My most recent work is a commission of thirteen paintings by Harbor Properties for a new apartment building in West Seattle called
Mural. The commission includes twelve 20" by 20" acrylic and mixed media paintings for the six residential floors of the building (two in the hallway of each floor), along with a 12’ by 10’ acrylic and mixed media painting to be installed in the building’s main lobby entitled fantango.

This was by far the most challenging piece I have ever done, due to its sheer scale and size. With my existing studio not nearly large enough for something of this size, I finally found a location in the International District to work on the commission. The new studio alone changed how I create; with room for six 6’ by 5’ sectional canvases along with exceptional light and space, I found myself trying new styles and techniques and taking new risks with my work.

(image via artist)

How is your approach different when you're doing a commission versus your regular art practice? Do you find there's more pressure in a commission?

I was nervous with this project because there was a due date for the commission (I do tend to push the limits of a deadline). I started talking with Harbor Properties about this project in November 2007…What if what I am doing now is different from what I was doing then… What if they didn't like it? What if I didn't like it? I like to leave paintings alone for a while before I call them "done,” – I have a habit of bringing them home and living with them for a while before I let them go, which was not possible with fantango. I reworked the 12 smaller paintings many times, and even thought the designer liked them in the beginning stages, I didn't, so I painted over them. Ultimately, I loved having the time and space to work on so many different pieces at the same time. You can look at the progress of the commission on my blog. It will be installed at Mural in West Seattle in early May 2009.

(image via artist)

You can check out more of Kelly Rae's art at:

4521 California Avenue S.W.
April 2009

Juniper Flowers
308 W. Republican

Twilight Artist Collective
4306 SW Alaska / 1530 Post Alley # 4 Seattle

Monday, April 27, 2009

Whiting Tennis / Everywhere

WHITE MOUNTAIN, 2007 (image via Greg Kucera Gallery)
Currently on view at Kirkland Art Center.

Whiting Tennis seems to be everywhere this month.  First he popped up in the group show Dimensional Invention, curated by Cable Griffith, at Kirkland Art Center.  The show also includes art by Claire Cowie, Tim Cross, Patricia Hagen and Ben Hirschkoff.  The Henry Art Gallery is hosting a talk this Thursday.  The panel will include both curator and artists.  

COULDA-SHOULD-WOULDA, 2009 (image via Greg Kucera Gallery)
Currently on view at Ambach & Rice.

Supramundane, curated by Elizabeth Burke, opened up Saturday at Ambach & Rice.  Along with Whiting, that show also includes Tomoo Gokita, Robyn O'Neil, Sara Greenberger Rafferty and Alison Elizabeth Taylor.  

Friday, April 24, 2009

Roy McMakin / Santa Monica

Untitled (2009)
Enameled mahogany, powder coated aluminum/bronze, found objects

Artist Roy McMakin recently completed a new public commission for the Marion Davies Guest House in Santa Monica. The guest house is part of the Annenberg Community Beach House located at Santa Monica State Beach. The brand new facility has its grand opening tomorrow.

all photos by Ryan Shinn
Roy is probably best known locally for his installations at Olympic Sculpture Park. If you're unable to make it down to Santa Monica for the opening tomorrow, why not head down to OSP instead and check out his great art!

Updated 4/27/2009
I told my friend Wendy about the opening and she cruised over to check it out. Based on her pictures, it looks like Roy's installation is already getting lots of love.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Molly Moon / Capitol Hill

Molly Moon's Ice Cream opens up their new Capitol Hill store this Saturday at 3pm*. The new store will be on Pine Street in the Oddfellows Building (right around the corner from Oddfellows Cafe + Bar). I can't wait!
*according to their Twitter feed.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

New Breeders

The Breeder's new video, Fate to Fatal. You can buy the single online.

Learn more at Breeder's Digest (I love that name).

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Day by Hachivi Edgar Heap of Birds (1991), enamel on steel

I've always loved these pieces by Hachivi Edgar Heap of Birds.  They are located in Pioneer Square (near the Pergola) right behind a bust of Chief Sealth.  The front side is written in Lushootseed and the back side in English. 

I think they must trigger some white shame in me because a couple of years ago, I started to look through them, instead of at them.  Recently, I was walking by with a friend and he commented on how great he thought they were.  It was a nice reminder and it brought them back into my forethought.  

Night by Hachivi Edgar Heap of Birds (1991), enamel on steel

Edgar Heap of Birds received his MFA from Tyler University.  He has shown at the Whitney, MoMA, Smithsonian Institution (NYC) and the National Museum of the American Indian.  

The title, Day/Night, comes from a Chief Sealth quote, "Day and night cannot dwell together. The red man has ever fled the approach of the white man, as the changing mist on the mountainside flees before the blazing sun."

Monday, April 20, 2009

House Party

From this...

...to this. 

The CLAY PROJECT fundraiser

Director Peter Olsen and instructor Joey Chiarello draw names for the raffle.

We swung by the CLAY PROJECT fundraiser on Saturday night. I had never been to the University of Washington Club before. I could sure get used to the view.

I love how you can totally recognize Harold Hollingsworth's plates. My bear plate is on the right.

Peter Olsen (and team) put together a great fundraiser. Hope they made lots of money for the studio.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


While spring might be here, I'm still kind of wanting all the sun that was promised to us!

In the meantime, I'll gladly settle for this. Linda and company have been playing around with a new steak salad for the Oddfellows menu.  They were running it as a special this week, so if you see it in the future, make sure to order it.  Mixed greens, marinated tomatoes, caramelized onions, Stilton blue cheese in a delicious balsamic dressing.  The best part is the steak.   They lightly cook the steak medallions, take them off the heat and them let the rest. The slices are so tender, they're like steak butter.  I'm predicting this will be my next new favorite dish.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Henry Open House

 James Turrell Skyspace, Light Reign, 2003

Henry Art Gallery threw a great party last night! In fact, it might have been the most fun I've had there yet.  We showed up right at 6, grabbed a table in the courtyard and stayed there most the night. 

Who can turn the world on with her smile? Bestey can!

Lark did the food, Jody and the Cupcake Royale gang provided salted caramel/peanut brittle cupcakes.  Sol Hashemi and Betsey set up fog machines and lasers.  And, oh yeah, free beer and wine. 

We did go inside to check out LEENI's awesome performance.  8bit happiness!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Second Peoples Opening / Helm Gallery

Matt Offenbacher, Gretchen Bennett, Heide Hinrichs, Jenny Heishman

Jeffry and I drove down to check out the final show at Helm Gallery in Tacoma last night.  If you're checking out the Some Things and Their Shadows closing party on Saturday (3-5pm), for sure swing by here (or vice versa).  The Helm Gallery is open on Saturdays from noon to 6.  

You only see us when you're with us, 2009 by Gretchen Bennett

drawings (grey, orange, purple and green), 2009 by Matt Offenbacher

I think the show is great.  Jen Graves mentioned that the show reminds her of Call and Response at Crawl Space (based on the show statements).  I can definitely see elements of that. Based on content, I think the show has a lot in common with Some Things and Their Shadows. They might not be brother and sister, but they're definitely cousins.

Spring Collection, 2009 by Jenny Heishman

bound vista, 2009 by Heide Hinrichs

More pictures of the opening here.

Dirt on Delight / e-flux

e-flux listed Jeffry's show, Dirt on Delight, as their announcement of the day. This show has gotten some real nice press (including a review by Roberta Smith in the NYT).

If you're not already familiar with e-flux, you should check them out.

Via Tribunali Grand Opening - Belltown

alley entrance

Dave and I headed down to the Via Tribunali (Crocodile) grand-opening party last night.  We got there around 7:30 and the place was already packed!  

I love the logo (designed by Corianton Hale)

The new Croc has such a better layout.  I know a few people are nostalgic for the Crocodile in its dive-bar incarnation, but not one person misses that damn pole in the middle!

The cherry on the top, Dave actually managed to score us a pizza (prospects looked dim on opening night).  Dang, that pizza is good.  

Linda's magic touch!

photo via Kelly O (The Stranger)

I couldn't agree with Bethany Jean Clement more. Linda certainly does have a magical touch and when it comes to the new menu, Eliott Guthrie adds his magical deliciousness to the pot, too. Everything's coming up Smith! And soon it will be sunny and the roll-up door will be open.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Public Art / Harold Balazs

I've been thinking about public art a lot lately.  I don't really know why.  Maybe because it's under so much scrutiny during this recession.  I guess I view public art as essential as public parks.  In an urban environment, it's just such a bonus, like "WOW! I can come look at this piece of art whenever I want?"  

Seattle Project (1976, welded copper) by Harold Balazs

However, it's only recently that I've started to pay more attention to the great public art Seattle has scattered around.  There are tons of amazing pieces.  I walked by the piece above a while back and it struck a chord of familiarity.  Then it hit me, it was by Harold Balazs. He was the first artist that made me consider art as a legitimate profession.  I went to school with his grand-daughters.  I grew up with his art -- it's all over Spokane.  My favorite pieces are the ones that feel rooted in the 1970s.  

Rhododendrons (1976), vitreous enamel on steel by Harold Balazs

It was a nice surprise to see his art in Seattle.  In addition to his sculpture, he did some beautiful enamel pieces for the Kingdome (that have since been relocated the King County Administration Building).  

Rhododendrons (1976), vitreous enamel on steel by Harold Balazs

My favorite piece of Harold Balazs art lives in Spokane.  You may/may not be able to surreptitiously climb to the top of the 30 foot sculpture to be rewarded with a plaque containing some words of wisdom from Harold.  

An organization that's doing both great preservation and promotion of public art in Seattle is 4culture.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Susan Boyle / Britain's Got Talent

"I'm gonna make that audience rock." Susan Boyle

"The biggest yes I have ever given anybody." Simon Cowell

Despite the internet, there are still so few moments that are felt around the globe. Since yesterday, I've had several folks recommend the video of Susan Boyle singing on Britain's Got Talent. This YouTube video has received 4.6 million hits as of this posting.

I've avoided watching it (there are so many videos to watch!). I asked someone today what was so remarkable about it? They said that it makes you think the worst ("You're looking at this 47 year old woman thinking, what can she do?") and then she just opens her mouth and she's amazing.

As humans, I think it's easy to let our insecurities drive us. It's such a beautiful affirmation when someone is recognized based on their talent alone and not their persona. I think that this performance allows us all to let down our guard and say, "Damn! I wasn't expecting that! I'm sorry for judging you."

You know I'm a sucker for anything feel-good. And this is so sweet.

Everybody continue being amazing.


Gretchen Bennett, Jenny Heishman, Heide Hinrichs, Matthew Offenbacher

We have coined the name ’second peoples’ to describe the people who arrive late on the scene, after the beginning, after the abundance, after the traumatic event, after everything’s been said and done, after, even, the end. We are the second peoples. Chances are, you are too.

 Helm Gallery
 760 South Broadway
 Tacoma, WA

opening: April 16th, 7-9pm
show runs until May 14th

I can't wait for this show!!  

Driving directions:

From I-5
Take Exit 133 onto I-705
Take the A st. exit.
Follow A st. to 9th ave. and take a left.
Take a right on Broadway and we are 2 doors down on the left.

Also, just since I can't stop listening to them, KHV is playing at the Helm Gallery tonight!

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Heroes present Baggage Claim

New Seattle arts organization, The Heroes*, presents its debut production, Baggage Claim.

"Written by four Seattleites, the play centers on Thomas, an insecure thirty-something who is seemingly the only bond keeping his circle of friends together. The group gathers for the first time in a decade in support of Thomas, who they learn is battling heart disease. Left to their own devices, the friends drown themselves in a weekend cocktail of infidelity, steak tips, overdue confrontations, death, panties and prayer."

Image via Charlie Clay

I think that this play is going to be really great. Can't wait to see it! More images here.

April 18, 2009 – April 26, 2009
Freehold Theatre, 2222 2nd Ave.
Saturday Evening: 8 p.m.
Sunday Matinee: 2 p.m.

Sunday Evening: 8 p.m.

Image via Charlie Clay

* The Heroes is an organization committed to realizing the artistic goals of performers, singers, dancers, designers, musicians, painters, writers and other working artists everywhere. Through cooperative effort and collaborative enthusiasm, The Heroes work to stake community resources in the service of participating members' artistic visions and enable artists to make a living from their craft. By producing courageous works, events and programs that lead from the heart, break through convention, support community, and participate in the larger world of ideas, The Heroes hope to engage, educate, and encourage the spirit of compassionate revolution through art.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Aw...it's that time of year again. My favorite Easter memories involve my cousins coming over to visit us. It's the only extended-family holiday my family ever celebrated. I loved dyeing Easter eggs (and later making deviled eggs)!

The ubiquitous Peeps.

This year, my buddy Dave and I went over to some friends' house for a great brunch -- complete with smoked animals (duck, chicken, lamb), a record player dj, bar, craft project and super fun friends.

The bear suit has been remixed into a bunny suit for Easter.

And, oh yeah, I was dressed up as a rabbit. More pics here. And a happy Easter to you and yours.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Smith's spring menu

Daily special: slow roasted pork belly with pea vines and bean ragu.  

I can't even count how many times I've said this before -- Smith is amazing!  It's always delicious.  It favors fresh, seasonal food.  I love the location.  I love the atmosphere.  I LOVE the service/staff.  

They launched a new menu this week -- full of long-time favorites and what are sure to become new favorites (Ramps and a Duck Egg!).   Some new items I can't wait to try:  clam dip and crackers, bresaola with pickled fennel,  spring lamb stew and golden beets with radicchio, hazelnuts and bleu cheese

Chef Elliot Guthrie just never gets he credit he deserves.  And no place in Seattle feels more like a 2nd home than Smith.  

Friday, April 10, 2009

Caution Kid / Noah Grussgott

I stopped by Noah Grussgott's show last night. Do yourself a favor and check it out. It's really great. There's a central installation piece (pictured above), some drawings, cut mirrored letters, a painting, a huge wall of foam core insulation and more. It's full of symbols like construction warning tape and band-aids relating to the show title, Caution Kid.  More opening pics here.

On Saturday, May 16th, Noah will give a brunch lecture at 1pm.

Join Grey Gallery and Lounge on Saturday, May 16th at 1pm for brunch and a lecture with Noah Grussgott. Grussgott will discuss his works exhibited in Caution Kid and will be available to answer questions about his sculpture, past and present, as well as his experiences working with various materials.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Thursday on the Hill

It looks like it's shaping up to be a busy Thursday night.  There's lot of great art to check out on the hill.  Blitz created this handy list of all the goings-on and Capitol Hill Seattle added locations to make it even better.  

Here are a couple that promise to be interesting.  

Noah Grussgott, Twinkle Twinkle, 2008 (image via artist website).

Caution Kid by Noah Grussgott opens up tonight at Grey Gallery and Lounge.  

image via artist

And the awesomely titled C O M P L E T E L Y R A T T L E S N A K E by Aaron Bagley opens up at Faire Gallery.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Dimensions Variable / SEAF

Ryan Molenkamp (with help) creating his SEAF piece.
Remember my interview with Sharon Arnold, SEAF guest curator from last month? She's returning the favor and interviewing the artists she curated into SEAF. During the month of April, swing on by her great art blog, Dimensions Variable, to read about what inspired the artists in creating their pieces for the festival.
She started the series with a great interview with Ryan Molenkamp. He had a very interesting approach to creating a piece of art for an erotic art festival.
Today, she posted her interview with me.