Current Artists’ Projects (by neighborhood)
Somewhere Out There
The Publix Hotel
504 5th Avenue South through summer 2013
- photo by R. Everson
Ryan Everson is a Boulder, Colorado artist showing in Seattle for the first time through the Storefronts program. His work responds directly to the environment where it’s sited, and was developed after site visits to the old Publix Hotel and to South Lake Union, where we hope to install the piece later in the year.
The work consists of two large freestanding marquee signs, announcing the phrase “Somewhere Out There.” The letters (in Jersey font, in case you were curious) are cut from solid wood and inset with several hundred light bulbs.
“I chose the phrase ‘Somewhere Out There,’” says Everson, “because of Seattle’s history, and the Publix Hotel’s history, of harboring seafarers. Thinking of a life at sea and the boat being a sort of untethered, moveable island lead me to think of uncertainty of place.”
RSVR visual research (Ian Campbell and Benjamin Gray)
409 Maynard Avenue South (overlooking the park) through Summer 2013
The piece is extremely site-specific, reacting to the size and shape of the space that houses it as well as the park over which it sits. The artists (an architect-and-visual-artist team) sought to activate the space for both pedestrians and cars, for daytime and nighttime, and in a non-literal way that spoke to the neighborhood’s Chinese community and visitors alike.
The piece plays with perspective, and with the ideas of empty space, and unfinished space. The roughly torn squares of sheetrock echo the unfinished mid-construction feel of the empty storefront, while the clean, glowing lines of the string pierce them like laser light, offering a crispness of line and a dazzle of color that play against the raggedness of the rest of the piece.
Utilizing a combination of colored and ultraviolet light, the installation jumps out from the background to grab the public’s attention. It also changes shape subtly as you walk past it, and is visible either length-wise or end-on, offering various ways to interact with it.
Massive Monkees Studio: The Beacon
The Beacon is lit! The Massive Monkees have launched Storefronts’ newest downtown space, a beautiful and gigantic 4,000 square foot retail space – turned – dance studio. The space, in the Milwaukee Hotel in Chinatown, has already started hosting dance classes for kids of all ages (they’ve got a toddler class for kids 2-5!!).
The Monkees are Seattle’s most celebrated breakdance crew. They’ve won the Mayor’s Arts Award. They’ve won the World B-Boy Championships. They’ve won the international b-boy competition R16 Korea 2012 (whatever, yes, it’s a real thing that I didn’t just learn about on Wikipedia). Mayor Nickels declared April 26 the official Massive Monkees day in Seattle. They’ve danced with, and choreographed for, 50 Cent, and Beyoncé, and Public Enemy, and Jurassic 5, and De La Soul. They’ve been featured on MTV a gazillion times. They’re the real deal.
And as of last night, they’re the newest addition to the Storefronts Seattle line-up of pop-up projects. To celebrate the opening of the new studio, they’re offering FREE classes all week to show off the space and to get to meet you, their audience. Drop in and take a class, or drop off the kids and have a slice next door at World Pizza (potato gorgonzola BEST SLICE EVER). Support your neighborhood, because this is an example of your neighborhood supporting you in the best way we know how. Storefronts looks forward to seeing you, and your kids, there this winter!
Artist Meghan Trainor spent a bunch of last year with electrodes stuck to her head. These electrodes were creating an electroencephalogram, recording her brain patterns as she read poetry (Rudyard Kipling’s The Secret of the Machines) and listened to music (Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No 5). She ended up with hours of recordings of what her brain looked like on poetry and music.
When she wasn’t reading poetry and recording her brain, she was building mechanical devices that, based on electrical inputs, could open or close apertures, or spin dials, or lift and release sections of netting… I think you see where we’re headed.
Combining the two projects (they were never really separate) she uses the brainwave recordings as a control track to drive her kinetic sculptures, and the audience sees these objects opening, closing, lifting, dropping, turning, and spinning in response to the electroencephalogram. We are seeing robotic “bodies” respond to the way the artist felt (felt here with all of its emotional connotations) while reading and listening to music.
They do so in the cold, raw setting of 411 South Maynard Street, an unfinished storefront in Chinatown, a contextual reminder of the meeting of the harsh coldness of the constructed environment and the emotional warmth of these two works of poetry and music.
Just in case you think Storefronts has been sitting on our hands during this holiday break, we bring you a brand-new splash of color, and a meticulously crafted installation in Chinatown, for your new year’s celebrations.
Eva Isaksen has spend the past week installing (and will spend the next six months cutting, re-hanging, and generally tweaking) her newest work at 505 5th Avenue South. Isaksen’s abstract arrangements of hand-printed papers represent a new body of work for the well-shown artist (first presented at Foster/White last year) and something of a departure. Her beautiful printings (usually front-and-center in her installed work) are almost completely hidden here, each one obscured by the next printed piece, which is obscured by the next printed piece, which is obscured by the next printed piece… The installation teases the eye as much as it pleases it, offering color, composition, and collage, but ultimately hiding more content than it shows. It’s intriguing, you could spend hours in front of it.
Perri Lynch Howard
112 Third Avenue South, through Spring 2013
Perri Lynch Howard’s photographic work is stunning. Her images are lush and rich, the subject matter at once completely urban and restoratively bucolic. Her current installation in the Storefronts program consists of five gigantic images, filling a series of windows along Third Ave South in the Tashiro Kaplan Building in Pioneer Square.
South Lake Union
1000 Thomas Street, through February 2013
Michael Harrison has created a series of abstracted skyscraping spires from the detritus of urban life. His towers are scavenged together from old piano legs, banister spindles, yardsticks, and scrap wood. Clustered together in this intimate South Lake Union window, they seem to be huddling for safety, reflecting the city’s intimidating scale back to itself.
1010 Thomas Street, through March 2013
Working with a mix of realistic and fantastical elements, Susan has created a still-life puppet stage where skeletons dance through a scene influenced by its South Lake Union context. Watch the piece evolve as she updates and moves the puppets every week.