- Valerie Silver/Courtesy of the artist
- PHOTO-DOCUMENTATION OF AN AGITPROP PERFORMANCE IN 1983 He’s naked and flinging chunks of limestone at the World Trade Center, each chunk blasted with the word “PURGE.”
After a few years of trying to track down Buster Simpson, I've finally managed to write a full profile of the Seattle artist. He's really pretty interesting. On the day when his first big museum retrospective opened last month at the Frye Art Museum, the 70-year-old was out in the streets tacking up a guerrilla piece on a construction site near the museum. It looked like this before it was torn down by the authorities in a matter of hours.
There's another indoor Simpson exhibition this summer, in addition to the big show at the Frye: When Buster Lived Next Door at Seattle's 1980s art tavern, the Virginia Inn. If you take that in, don't miss his temporary installation nearby outdoors. Slightly north of Pike Place Market on Post Alley, Simpson has remade a piece he first created in 1978 in the exact same location, when the condo building was new.
- Courtesy of the artist
- CLOTHESLINES IN POST ALLEY, 1978/2013 On one side of the alley is fixed-income housing. The other side is condos. After the piece was first installed, a resident who took offense to it cut down all the lines.
After more than 30 years doing public art in Seattle and around the world, Simpson has stories and stories to tell. Like the time he had to tear down the art portion of Woodstock to become a security guard to the druggy hordes. That was his first public installation.
And now he's the artist working on the rebuild of what may be Seattle's most vital structure: the seawall.
This is a guy you might want to know, basically.