The city could have flinched and spent a million dollars on something safe and predictable for the biggest and most prominent public art commission in the history of Seattle. Instead, Seattle hired Ann Hamilton.

Hamilton can't say yet what she'll make. "I don't have an answer," she said. "What I have is a question: Is this possible? If you felt like you wanted to trust me with that question, we would be in that question together."

If that quote were all you knew of Ann Hamilton, you'd think she was a total flake.

The truth is, she's actually the most accomplished of the finalists, and she could be cocky if she wanted to be. For more than 20 years, she's been creating ingenious art around the world while managing to be, as New York Times critic Roberta Smith pointed out in 2012, one of the most self-effacing of our leading installation-performance artists.

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