Find a complete list of art shows in Seattle this spring on our Things To Do calendar.
Paradox of Place: Contemporary Korean Art (Through Mar 13): To try to represent contemporary art in Korea with a single exhibition that includes only six artists would be absurd, so that is not the goal of this show—the first major exhibition of Korean contemporary art in Seattle in a decade. Rather, the focus is on the concept of paradox, referring to the split nature of the country, although it often emerges in the work less as paradox and more as plain old dualistic conflict. Jung Yeondoo photographs people first as they are, and then as they wish to be. Lim Minouk builds a faux television studio that's a phantasmagoric restaging of media coverage of the funerals of Kim Jong Il of North Korea and former president Park Jung-Hee of South Korea. Lee Yongbaek camouflages soldiers in heaps of flowers in his videos. And Noh Suntag installed himself on the border of North and South to photograph, in striking black-and-white images where nature and technology merge and mingle, a U.S. military Radome, or radar dome, which sometimes, at night, looks like the moon itself. JG
Forbidden Fruit: Chris Antemann at Meissen® (Through May 29): Ceramicist Chris Antemann presents a series of works in porcelain, referencing (as she usually does) the classic Baroque Meissen figurines.
Cris Bruch: Others Who Were Here (Through Mar 27): Cris Bruch has been making multimedia art in Seattle for more than 30 years. In this solo exhibition, the Frye gives over most of its galleries to him, and he delivers an elegy in large-scale sculpture for the hardscrabble lives of his farmer ancestors in Colorado and Kansas, where he visited for inspiration. One room is like a cemetery where the gravestones are beautifully cast miniature silos and other agricultural buildings; they are stark white and each sits under a spotlight. Bruch's work is as materially ingenious as ever, but this time it feels as if he is mourning an entire lost civilization, one he didn't live and distantly romanticizes. See what you think of this Seattle artist's Others Who Were Here. JG
Noah Davis, Kahlil Joseph, The Underground Museum: Young Blood (Apr 16—Jun 19): This is big news: The Frye Art Museum in April, working with guest curator Maikoiyo Alley-Barnes, is mounting an exhibition of the work of two brothers who grew up in Seattle and then moved to LA, Noah Davis and Kahlil Joseph. Davis was still alive when planning for this show started. He died so young, of cancer. His paintings, including the last ones he made, will be part of this exhibition, along with Joseph's also-stunning video works, which are very different but share a sort of grounded dreaminess with Davis's imagery. There will also be a meditation on the Underground Museum, the independent space that the brothers founded and ran in LA. And the Frye is commissioning a new video work from Joseph. JG
Franz Erhard Walther: The Body Draws (Through Mar 6): The German artist's first major exhibition in the United States will examine the role that drawing played in his sculpture.
The Brink: Jason Hirata (Mar 26—Jun 26): 2015 Brink Award recipient Jason Hirata presents a series of sculptures and drawings that take on the corporate state and food industry, inspired by two works: an early 19th-century print by Francisco de Goya, and a 1981 speech by General Electric CEO Jack Welch.
Paul McCarthy: White Snow, Wood Sculptures (Mar 5—Sep 11): This exhibit by provocative American artist Paul McCarthy features a series of sculptures from four up to 15 feet tall, inspired by the 19th-century German folktale Schneewittchen (Snow White) and Walt Disney's animated classic Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
Appassionata: The Art of Jacqueline Barnett (1990-2015) (Through Mar 17): Curated by longtime Seattle gallery owner Francine Seders, this exhibit features Barnett's oil paintings from the last 25 years.
Here and There: Topographic Conversations with Morris Graves (Through Mar 17): This unique show explores the work of Morris Graves not only through his art, but also through artists who worked and lived close to him. Here and There brings in eight regional artists (four from Skagit County, WA, and four from Humboldt County, CA) provoking conversation about regional art and the relationship to one's environment.
Beyond Aztlán: Mexican and Chicana/o Artists in the Pacific Northwest (Mar 26—Jun 12): MoNA presents this group exhibit dealing with themes of shared experience and ancestry, featuring 15 Chicano/Mexican artists who have lived in the Pacific Northwest.
The Atomic Frontier: Black Life in Hanford, WA (Through Mar 6): In 1943, the federal government established a project in Hanford, Washington, that provided many working-class Americans with something they desperately needed: jobs. A good number of the people who came to Hanford to do jobs like welding, cutting, digging, hammering, typing, serving, and cooking were black and from the South. They too needed jobs, had American dreams, and wanted a piece of the wartime pie. This exhibit is devoted to their stories and includes recruitment posters, oral histories, maps, declassified photographs by the federal government, and more. CHARLES MUDEDE
The Harmon & Harriet Kelley Collection of African American Art: Works on Paper (Through Apr 17): It was the mid-1980s when Harriet and Harmon Kelley walked through the San Antonio Museum of Art to see the proud exhibition Hidden Heritage: Afro-American Art 1800-1950—and emerged ashamed. The shame came from the fact that they'd never heard of the artists. They started collecting works by African Americans immediately, and they kept on for decades. Now they have one of the world's best collections of African American art on paper, and 68 pieces ranging from the early days of the 20th century up through 2002 are here at the Northwest African American Museum, including familiar names (Jacob Lawrence, Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett) and plenty of names that should, and may someday, be better known. JG
Sam Vernon (Through Mar 6): Vernon's black-and-white illustrations inhabit, in some way or another, the Olympic Sculpture Garden. Vernon's installation is centered on the pavilion—"drawings that defy immediate recognition, but resemble smoke, marble, webs, and fractured bits of textiles and characters waiting in the shadows and crevices of the building."
Ai Weiwei: Fault Line (Through Apr 11): Yes, this is the same Ai Weiwei who makes headlines just about every month as a dissident and an artist in China—and yes, this is a sleepy museum in the middle of a chain of islands off the coast of Washington state just below the Canadian border. But Ai Weiwei: Fault Line, with work responding to the 2008 Sichuan earthquake and the shoddy government oversight that led to the deaths of 5,000 schoolchildren, relates implicitly to our Cascadia Subduction Zone. There are three main sections of the show: eight sculptural coffins containing marble replicas of the twisted rebar pulled from the rubble of the government-built schools; Ai's collected Names of the Student Earthquake Victims Found by the Citizens' Investigation, which lists, across an entire wall, all 5,196 names; and a video titled Little Girl's Cheek, which documents disturbing elements of the Citizens' investigation and the immediate aftermath of the deaths. Prepare, if you can. JG
The Duchamp Effect (Through Aug 14): A great little show from SAM's collection, of work inspired by and peripherally related to the legendary readymade creator—the man who put the urinal in the art gallery. Whatever object he plucked out of the world to call art, he "created a new thought" for it, and that thought was the art as much as the object itself. His influence was immense. Artists here include Robert Morris, Robert Gober, and Sherrie Levine. The handformed Gober urinal is the most beautiful urinal the world has ever known. JG
Brenna Youngblood: abstracted realities (Through Apr 17): Youngblood is the 2015 winner of the Gwendolyn Knight | Jacob Lawrence Prize, awarded by SAM biennially and curated by Sandra Jackson-Dumont, SAM's former education director (who is now head of education at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York). In eight works in photo-based collage, painting, assemblage, and sculpture, Youngblood cleverly toys with abstraction and direct sociopolitical reference. She's dealing with what is unknown by using what is familiar—everyday objects, seductive washes of color, letters and numbers. JG
Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic (Through May 8): Kehinde Wiley has a strong take on appropriating and subverting the old masters. A New Republic comes to Seattle via Texas from the Brooklyn Museum, and delves deep into ideas about portraiture. By putting young, black men and women into the poses and styles of 18th century European rulers and aristocrats, he makes deft observations about culture and presentation, as well as art and appropriation.
Emblems of Encounter: Europe and Africa Over 500 Years (Every Wed–Sun): This exhibit features 10 works of European and African art from SAM's collection, including a fascinating artistic and cultural object: 10-year-old Charlotte Turner's needlepoint sampler, which Jen Graves investigated in a series of articles. Turner probably came from present-day Nigeria, became a so-called "Liberated African" as she was taken off a slave ship by the British navy, was relocated to a missionary school in Sierra Leone, and there created this fascinatingly complicated piece of art. At the time Jen Graves wrote about Turner's sampler, SAM had no plans to display the work—and if it was to be displayed, the question of where to put it (in the European or African collection) was unanswered. Emblems of Encounter now offers a space for artwork that is a product of this centuries-long (mostly exploitative) intercontinental exchange, art that can't be neatly categorized by region.
Martha Rosler: Below the Surface (Through Jul 4): During the Vietnam War, the young artist Martha Rosler took to the streets with the rest of the horrified protesters watching what the United States was perpetrating. She noticed people ignoring the flyers that were being handed out, because they were walls of text, impenetrable. She decided to make flyers that were nothing but images, just using a Xerox machine and pictures from magazines and other media. Much later, those became "fine art" objects displayed in museums and titled House Beautiful: Bringing the War Home, as they are here at SAM, in their exhibition in collaboration with The New Foundation Seattle. (Her follow-up montage series is also on display). Just don't forget where they come from. JG
Northwest Art Now @ TAM 2016 (May 14—Aug 21): Tacoma Art Museum invites artists to address the ways in which the current pace of economic growth is affecting the PNW's collective sense of self.
Constructs: Installations by Asian Pacific American Women Artists (Through Apr 17): Among six new installations by artists who are Asian Pacific American women, two have locked-up interiors that beckon. Lynne Yamamoto's house made of white silk is doorless and windowless. You circle its sealed body, hoping it will reveal itself another way. In another room, Kaili Chun's small metal cages are double-locked, and you must unlock both (keys are given) to release the voices of birds and people and musical instruments recorded and just waiting to play from interior speakers. Each is a mysterious broadcast, and you can DJ by releasing more than one at a time. JG
I Wasn't Just Saying What You Wanted To Hear (Mar 5—Apr 9): This installation features video and sound works by Katherine Behar, Constance DeJong, Ellie Krakow, Jaeeun Lee, and Elise Rasmussen.
Sketchbooks (Through Mar 9): This exhibit encourages open sketching; see inside the minds and notebooks of artists.
TECTONIC (Mar 9—Apr 2): This multimedia group show dealing with ideas of "location, dislocation, identity, repetition, and time" features a lineup full of Seattle favorites: Julie Alpert, Tim Cross, Sue Danielson, Emily Gherard, C. Davida Ingram, Dave Kennedy, Kat Larson, Ashleigh Robb, and Krista Svalbonas.
Ashleigh Robb (Apr 6—Apr 30): LxWxH presents a solo show of work by Ashleigh Robb, a Seattle-based artist from Los Angeles who uses faint lines to mark time, creating a minimalist yet impressive effect that spans the exhibit.
Julie Alpert (May 11—Jun 4): Her paintings are not paintings and her sculptures are not sculptures. They're fashion, fabric, wallpaper, figurines, tchotchkes, gifts wrapped up in shiny paper and bows. Subtly but consistently, they're from the lived experience of women and girls.
ESSENTIAL SKIMMING (Jun 2—Jun 5): Forrest Perrine and Common Area Maintenance present ESSENTIAL SKIMMING, a group art show/fast-paced film festival focused on a quick glimpse, a cursory scan, and the shared experience of short moments of confused intensity.
George Rodriguez (Mar 3—Mar 31): George Rodriguez (an artist specializing in clay and prints) presents a new show.
The Photograph (Mar 16—Apr 30): Selected works from the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries.
Gala Bent (May 5—Jun 11): New work (drawing, painting, sculpture) by Seattle artist Gala Bent, known for her intricate sketches intertwined with geometric abstractions.
Koren Christofides: A Modern Medieval Bestiary (Mar 3—Apr 2): New ceramic pieces and paintings that depict Christofides' experience with animals on a farm in Southern France.
Pat De Caro: Foreign Shores (Jun 2—Jun 30): Memory and time are the themes in Pat De Caro's Foreign Shores, featuring a large-scale wall drawing and a vast collection of charcoal drawings.
Tessa Hulls: In the Eye of the Storm (Through Mar 6): This solo show features a new series of gouache paintings and papercuts by Tessa Hulls, exploring the idea of a single safe space in a world of nightmares.
Yoona Lee: Running Race Ragged (May 12—Jun 5): Yoona Lee will use mixed media and collage work to discuss contemporary race relations.
No Touching Ground: You Still Feel Like Home (Apr 7—Apr 30): No Touching Ground is a street artist who occasionally provides Seattle with reflections of its own spirit, for better and worse. The police-beaten face of Maikoiyo Alley-Barnes, larger than life on a building not one block from the police precinct, a building that would soon be turned into luxury residences. On that same spot before the construction, the visage of John T. Williams, the Native American carver killed by police. We can hope that in addition to this solo gallery exhibition, NTG will grace the city with some large murals, too. Look for all of it. JG
Klara Glosova: Caddy Shack (May 5—May 28): Klara Glosova presents a robust analysis of two short moments from Caddyshack, with which she'll demonstrate the general unpredictability of life.
Rafael Soldi: Life Stand Still Here (Jun 2—Jun 30): "Five years ago," Rafael Soldi writes, "my partner disappeared." He does not elaborate. Or his elaboration, rather, is a series of quiet, searching altered photographs, digital creations, and sculptures in response to the immediate aftermath of the disappearance, when he himself withdrew. JG
Lynne Woods Turner (Through Apr 2): Oddly refreshing abstract paintings by Lynne Woods Turner.
Norman Lundin (Through Apr 2): Norman Lundin taught painting for years at the University of Washington, and in retirement he's founded Prographica Gallery, remaining in dialogue with and offering support to the artists he loves. But we haven't seen a new show of his still, calm, studied paintings in a while. What has he been working on? JG
Matika Wilbur: Project 562 (Through Jun 11): Natural Wanderment: Stewardship. Sovereignty. Sacredness. is a series by Matika Wilbur, based on her Project 562, which explores and documents the lives of Native Americans today.
Mario Lemafa: last_resort (Through Apr 2): Mario Lemafa will explore "erasure, whiteness, colonization and the physical/metaphorical qualities of cleansing" and ask: Will the death of inequality render vacations obsolete?
Jueqian Fang (Apr 9—May 22): Jueqian Fang (also known as Ripple, or one half of Mystical Orchid) presents this solo show.
Amelia Saul: Empire of Empires (Mar 9—Apr 2): New York-based artist Amelia Saul presents an exhibition featuring the premiere of her new video Empire of Empires.
Roy Dowell & Xavier Toubes (Through Apr 2): This group show features print pieces by multimedia artist Roy Dowell and new work by ceramicist Xavier Toubes.
Kamrooz Aram and Xavier Toubes (Apr 7—May 14): This show features contemporary multimedia artist Kamrooz Aram and Xavier Toubes.
Gary Hill (May 19—Jun 30): A solo show by Gary Hill, a Seattle artist with nationally respected work in wide variety of disciplines, including metal sculpture, video art, and performance art.
TURN (Through Jun 28): You've heard of an exquisite corpse drawing, probably, or if you haven't, you've probably still been part of making one in an art class at some point—it's a drawing where one person puts down a part, then the next person, without looking at the first, adds her own part, and on and on until the paper is filled with a segmented beast of a thing. Turn, this year-long collaborative series, is something like a sculptural exquisite corpse. It was artist Shaun Kardinal's idea, and he selected the participants. How it works is that a different artist takes a turn transforming a single piece each month. Stop by once a month to see the results of rebirths. JG
Giant Steps: Artist Residency on the Moon (Mar 3—Apr 3): What might the first artist residency on the moon look like? Artists submitted proposals for intergalactic art, and their ideas will be rewarded with publicity and a $10,000 first prize.
Andrea Joyce Heimer & Justin Duffus (May 5—May 28): This exhibit presents new art: "biting narrative work" by Bellingham painter Andrea Joyce Heimer, and blurred figures by Seattle painter Justin Duffus.
Fabrice Monteiro: Maroons (Through Mar 12): Fabrice Monteiro's viscerally uncomfortable photographs feature Beninese models wearing shackles that Monteiro designed to match examples depicted in historical documents. For the location, he chose Ouidah, Benin—a city that served as a major port along the "Slave Coast" in West Africa. Monteiro's Maroons firmly and calmly recognizes that those real horrors, seemingly distant, are far too bright and close to look at.
Christopher Shaw: Mending (Apr 7—May 22): A site-specific, geometric installation by sculptor and ceramicist Christopher Shaw.
Salt/Water (Through Apr 2): PCNW presents Salt/Water, featuring work by photographer Daniel Hawkins.
Riffs (Apr 14—Jun 15): In the exhibit Riffs, PCNW aims to highlight noteworthy Seattle photographers, demonstrating the talent and vision this region has to offer photography as a discipline.
Ross Sawyers: The Jungle (Through Mar 26): Chicago-based Ross Sawyers presents this photography exhibit featuring fictional structures that may or may not have inhabitants.
Adam Ekberg: New Photographs (Mar 31—Apr 30): Simple, innovative, and amusing photographs by Adam Ekberg (The Life of Small Things).
Patte Loper: From There to Here (May 5—Jun 18): A retrospective sampling of work from the four solo shows Loper has had at Platform Gallery since 2004.
Brandon Aleson: New Work (May 5—May 28): PUNCH's first exhibition by multimedia artist Brandon Aleson.
Nate Steigenga: The Underwater Hooha Show (Jun 2—Jul 2): Mixed media sculptures and black velvet paintings by Nate Steigenga will take you on a potentially unnerving, all-conceptual "underwater adventure."
Sign of the Times (Through Mar 11): Barry Johnson's Sign of the Times uses research and statistics to convey the misrepresentation of African-Americans in the media. By depicting rates of graduation and marriage by race, Johnson takes dry, ignorable data and shapes it into a social and artistic argument.
EVOLUTION: Art, Science & Adaptation (Through Mar 6): W.W. Seymour Botanical Conservatory (a Victorian-style hothouse) hosts this embedded group show on the nature of evolution, exploring its varied facets: physical, artistic, biological, and cultural.
Simple Means (Jun 2—Jul 2): A group show featuring work by Randi Ganulin, Ellen Garvens, and Mike Rogers; curated by Randi Ganulin. The backspace gallery will feature work by Jana Brevick.
Ben Gannon: Plastic Beach (Through Mar 6): Through 24 new sculptural, folded, dripping paintings by Ben Gannon, Plastic Beach is a commentary on the garbage-filled world we have created.
Joan Tanner: The False Spectator (Through Apr 15): For many years, based in California, Joan Tanner has created structures out of discarded materials that have their own stories of destruction, decay, rebirth, and resemblance. At Suyama Space she responds directly to the dramatic room of the gallery with vertical structures: "troughs, columns and step constructs made of wood, sheet metal, plastic webbing, and a variety of other materials." JG
Patte Loper: Seeking Higher Ground (May 20—Aug 19): Patte Loper takes on the ever-pressing issue of rising sea levels, while also engaging with Lebbeus Woods, known for his architectural drawings that can't be translated to buildings. In this exhibit, Loper creates structures that can't be sketched.
If You Lived Here Still: Home Front (Through Mar 26): What a data center! Somewhere in here, in all the videos and documents and photographs and charts and graphs that Martha Rosler collected related to housing, homelessness, and gentrification in New York in the 1980s and Seattle today, there must be answers. Or at least the right questions. Rosler is the first winner of The New Foundation Seattle's 100K Prize, which comes with a yearlong celebration of her work in several parts, this exhibition being only the first at The New Foundation's gallery. Rosler wants to deploy activism and discussion as forms of art, so don't just visit, use your visit to figure out what to do next about the fact that, all evidence to the contrary in our transmogrifying city, Housing Is A Human Right, as her year of events is titled. JG
Homeless: The Street and Other Venues (Mar 31—May 28): This exhibit continues Martha Rosler's year of Housing Is A Human Right events, this time focusing on homelessness, "both visible and hidden."
City: Visions and Revisions (Jun 2—Jul 30): This exhibit continues Martha Rosler's year of Housing Is A Human Right events, this time focusing on urban planning and development.
Martha Rosler: If You Lived Here Still (Through Jul 30): This exhibit continues Martha Rosler's year of Housing Is A Human Right events, this time focusing on tenant struggles and gentrification.
Dick Weiss & Cappy Thompson (Mar 3—Apr 2): See work in what some people consider the sexiest, most dangerous medium—glass—created by artists Dick Weiss and Cappy Thompson.
Surviving and Thriving: AIDS, Politics, and Culture (Through Mar 30): The Collins Memorial Library at the University of Puget Sound hosts Surviving and Thriving: AIDS, Politics, and Culture, a traveling exhibit featuring a variety of artwork and memorabilia that addresses AIDS both intimately and from a broader national perspective.
Trimpin: Hear We Are (Through Mar 9): Trimpin, famous local sound artist and sculptor, presents works at Winston Wachter Fine Art.
Susan Dory (Mar 8—Apr 27): Winston Wachter welcomes artist Susan Dory to display her artwork that is very carefully layered with pools of paint.
Surface City: A Participatory Workshop by Tivon Rice (Apr 16): At this Gift City workshop with artist Tivon Rice, participants will work with Rice to choose a location in Seattle that exemplifies both its past and its future. Then the class will relocate, and collectively document the place with hundreds of digital photographs.
Natalie Riha (Mar 19): This Art Encounter in the Park features an installation of socially engaged, interdisciplinary work about housing and community.
Pratt Fine Arts Center Open House (Apr 2): Get to know Pratt through live artist demonstrations, including glassblowing, pulling prints, carving stone, pouring molten bronze, and forging hot steel.
Seattle Makers Market (Fourth Sun): Enjoy live music and a full bar while you scope out beautiful paintings and jewelry from local artists and designers.
Backstreet Bazaar (First Sun): Hillman City Collaboratory throws a little street festival, featuring live music, food, and local artists.
Capitol Hill Art Walk (Second Thurs): Always worth checking out are: Photo Center NW, True Love Art Gallery, Ghost Gallery, and, on the outskirts but worth the trip, the Asian Art Museum in Volunteer Park and Gage Academy next to St. Mark's Cathedral.
Georgetown Art Attack (Second Sat): Once a month, the art that resides in the tiny airport hamlet of Georgetown ATTACKS all passersby. IIn more literal terms, it's the day of art openings and street wonderment.
Pioneer Square Art Walk (First Thurs): Exhibit openings, people watching, and (generally) free wine at the city's central and oldest art walk.