Let Them Eat #Cake: Today, Shabazz Palaces, the winner of the 2010 Genius Award for music, supplied cyberspace with a new track, "#Cake," from its forthcoming full-length album Lese Majesty—Sub Pop Records drops it on July 29th. It's a gorgeous piece of music, one that feels like it was made in another, more cosmopolitan city than Seattle. But indeed it was recorded not only here but at the Old Rainier Brewery.
Whoa—“Contemporary Art and Cultural Center in the Works for Pioneer Square”: Word was released today that art collectors John and Shari Behnke, who are behind The New Foundation Seattle, which has been fairly quiet since its establishment just a few years ago, plans to build something called the JANDS Center (the name is not explained) across from the TK Building in Pioneer Square. There will be two buildings, not just one—an existing building at 123 Third Ave S, and one to be built in the adjacent parking lot. The existing building will open in early 2015, the other in 2017. There are no details on design yet, and it’s unclear whether art will be shown here, or whether the buildings will more be spaces for nonprofits and artists to live. For now, check out the web site with full press release, including more info on architects and designers. From the release:
By providing space for arts and cultural organizations, JANDS Center will bring renewed energy and vitality to Pioneer Square. It’s an intentional effort to draw more individuals and organizations back to a neighborhood that has historically been a center for art and cultural activity. The first tenant to jump on board is Seattle Arts & Lectures (SAL), who will leave their current office space in Georgetown to take advantage of everything JANDS Center will offer.
"I Saw My Mother Seven Years Ago": Seattle writer (and former Hugo Houser) Brian McGuigan wrote a lovely piece about maternal abandonment for Gawker.
We Know, We Know, Summer’s Only Just Begun: But someone today asked us when our fall arts guide deadlines are, so we figure we’ll start spreading the word.
To get an event listed in the fall issue of A&P-covering September 10 through November 25-send details by August 1 to firstname.lastname@example.org. For advertising information, contact email@example.com or 206-323-7101.
A Musical Great Steps Down:
We can hardly believe the news that Christophe Chagnard, the genius musical director and co-founder of Northwest Sinfonietta, will conduct the orchestra for the last time this coming season. (Get tickets now for the all-Mozart concerts that will echo his first-ever with the orchestra in 1991, February 20th through 22nd in Tacoma, Puyallup, and Seattle.) The Northwest Sinfonietta has, for 24 years, been the best Seattle orchestra you’ve never heard of. It is tremendous, but mid-sized—30ish players, usually—capable of a level of aural nuance that is both unbelievable and totally reliable. You hear every note, every section, every intention. It’s full of professional Seattle musicians who work for the opera and the ballet and teach in local universities; these are not hobbyists and this is not a “community” orchestra. The musicians now will come together under a joint artistic directorship featuring rotating guest conductors, in a model like the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. Here’s a YouTube video of an impromptu performance the group once did during a delay at the airport in Cuba (!); the Sinfonietta's late-'90s recording of Mozart’s Jupiter Symphony is up there with any music ever recorded locally. Seriously. Chagnard is still director of the community Lake Union Civic Orchestra, which performs at Town Hall, and he is a composer in his own right.
A Curatorial Great Steps Down: Pretty much the coolest thing ever to happen to Seattle Art Museum is the Porcelain Room, which is the least museum-y marvel of excess ever. The walls are so packed with gleamy porcelain pieces that they’re like a sky packed with stars. The visionary behind this? Julie Emerson. She’s been at the museum for almost 40 years and now she’s retiring. She’s also responsible for the Italian room, another immersive environment that distinguishes SAM by being so much damn imaginative fun. And she was behind the acquisition of the spectacular elevator screen by Louis Sullivan, from the old Chicago Stock Exchange. Plus, Julie Emerson is just a nice person. She will be so missed. The museum plans to hire another Curator of Decorative Arts, spokeswoman Wendy Malloy says, but does not yet have a timeline.
Another Good Gallery Closing: Room 104, the light-filled corner space in the TK building in Pioneer Square that featured terrific local artists like Linda Davidson, David C. Kane, Bill Whipple, and Molly Magai, is on its way out. Two years ago, artist Laurie Le Clair and Dave Logan started the gallery, in part so that Logan could show the work of his late, beloved wife, the marvelous theater and visual artist Edie Whitsett. The project was intended to last for two years, and while Le Clair hoped to continue it longer, she can’t carry it on her own, so two years it is. The final exhibition, a cash-and-carry sale where all the art costs less than $180, will open on First Thursday July 3 and last through July 19. Thanks for good things, Room 104.
Skate Art: Pro skaters, fans, and artists spent yesterday at Jefferson Park, where a giant new red skateable sculpture called Red Bull Skate Space was officially ribbon-cut and welcomed. It’s a joint project between Seattle Parks, 4Culture, and Red Bull. In 2013, they put out a call for artists to create a skateable public work, and they selected Oregon-based artist C.J. Rench, whose piece is 11,000 solid pounds of steel. At more than 50 feet wide, it’s longer than Alexander Calder’s also-red-and-monumental Eagle in the Olympic Sculpture Park—but Eagle is taller.
A Second Pollinator Pathway!: 2012 Stranger Genius in Art Sarah Bergmann won for her creation and implementation of the huge social sculpture/environmental restoration project Pollinator Pathway. She’s a powerhouse. It’s no surprise that she’s found a partner for another Pollinator Pathway for flowers, birds, and butterflies in the urban core: Capitol Hill Housing. The plan is to connect Seattle University’s campus with Volunteer Park, preferably along 11th Avenue. This is part of the new Capitol Hill EcoDistrict, and it joins the effort to create a Capitol Hill Arts District, too. Why? Because otherwise, Capitol Hill will be turned entirely over to the assholes and millionaires, folks. YAY FOR NON-ASSHOLES. From the press release:
“It’s an interesting design challenge,” says Nancy Rottle about the north-south route. Rottle, a landscape architect and director of the University of Washington Green Futures Lab, will encourage Master of Landscape Architecture students to assist with pre-design and community engagement activities associated with the second Pollinator Pathway®. In a letter of support for the project, Rottle connects it with Seattle’s Olmsted legacy.
The Olmsted Brothers firm of Brookline, Massachusetts was hired in 1902 to create a comprehensive plan for parks in the young City of Seattle. Many of Seattle’s most beloved parks were designed by the firm, including Capitol Hill’s Cal Anderson and Volunteer Parks. The Olmsted Plan emphasized “naturalistic parkland” and a series of boulevards that would connect Seattle’s parks as a city-wide network of green spaces.
A Pollinator Pathway® on 11th Avenue would add an ecological layer to the Olmsted strategy: reconnecting two Olmsted Parks and creating beautiful habitat for people and pollinators, while creating an iconic project within the heart of Capitol Hill.
“Will the neighborhood embrace the second Pollinator Pathway®? We think so,” says Sisolak. “Who doesn’t like flowers, birds and butterflies?”