The weekend of the Seattle Art Fair, which starts tomorrow, is one of our city's most exciting for local art. It's not just because of the hundreds of galleries that will be represented in booths spread out across CenturyLink Field Event Center and all the alluring special projects and talks at the Fair, but it's also thanks to all the amazing gallery openings and satellite events that will be happening at the same time across the city. You've got a full weekend of art ahead of you—here's what you absolutely can't miss. For more options, check out our Seattle Art Fair calendar or our regular visual art calendar.
Seattle Art Fair
The first Seattle Art Fair was aspirational, with the lofty goal of establishing Seattle as an art destination. The second tested its staying power: Would the dealers find reasons to keep returning after the novelty had worn off? Fortunately, the answer appears to be yes. 'When an art fair has made it into its third year, it's officially established,' says Marcella Zimmermann [of Cultural Counsel, the New York–based firm handling PR for the Seattle Art Fair]. 'Third time's a charm!' The third edition of the Seattle Art Fair is more international and robust than ever, with a total of 100 exhibitors, representing 10 countries, including 60 galleries from the Pacific Rim. EMILY POTHAST
(Read Emily's full review, which includes five things she's excited to see at the Fair, ranging from Yayoi Kusama to Kurt Cobain.)
CenturyLink Field Event Center, Pioneer Square, Thursday-Sunday
Out of Sight
Established in 2015 as an unofficial addendum to the Seattle Art Fair, Out of Sight is an annual survey of Northwest art that thrives, as the name implies, in the margins outside the commercial gallery system inscribed by the official fair. As a result, it's a place for artists to take risks and show edgier, more exploratory work. But it's also a great chance to catch emerging artists destined to be scooped up by galleries—(before Seth David Friedman was represented by Season Gallery, his intimate, biomorphic sculptures were featured at Out of Sight). Curated by Greg Lundgren, Ben Heywood, S. Surface, and Justen Siyuan Waterhouse, this year's Out of Sight promises to be a destination in its own right, full of promising young artists, seasoned veterans, and just about everyone in between. EMILY POTHAST
(Read Emily's full review, which includes things that are high on her list to check out, ranging from Twin Peaks Town to a Jim Woodring piece.)
Vital 5 Productions, Pioneer Square, Thursday-Sunday
First Thursday Art Walk
Once a month, Seattleites flock to the streets in Pioneer Square for a chance to stroll, sip on booze, and attend as many art openings as possible at First Thursday. It's the city's central and oldest art walk, and takes place in a historic neighborhood known for its abundance of galleries. Wine and hobnobbing will steal the scene for some, but at its core, it's an impressive communal unveiling of new artwork. And the August 2017 edition might just be one of the best of the entire year: galleries and arts venues are pulling out all the stops in honor of Seattle Art Fair. Some highlights include the opening party for X Y Z (a very exciting new collaborative arts/publishing space), the opening reception for a series of satirical collages by Deborah Faye Lawrence, and an opening reception for eerie, ominous, and playful works by Einar and Jamex de la Torre.
Pioneer Square, Thursday
Pedro Lasch and other Pacific Northwest artists will use various media to delve into "nationalism and belonging." See works from the City of Seattle's collection by Anida Yoeu Ali, Ryan Feddersen, Satpreet Kahlon, Henry Luke, Ries Niemi, Crystal Schenk, C.A. del Rosario, and Inye Wokoma. At the opening reception on August 3, Au Collective, Remix, and Cirrus Circus will perform dance and acrobatic pieces, while SassyBlack will DJ and Anida Yoeu Ali will execute a durational work.
King Street Station, Pioneer Square, Thursday-Sunday
Out of Sauce
Tariqa Waters' energetic art gallery, Martyr Sauce, will host a series of events during Seattle Art Fair weekend: excellent music (the lineup includes DoNormaal), art, and surprises during First Thursday Art Walk, a freestyle figure drawing class with live models on Saturday, and a screening of Clyde Peterson's emotional and amazing film Torrey Pines (plus music and art from Love City Love) on Sunday.
Martyr Sauce, Pioneer Square, Thursday-Sunday
Unity at the Bemis
In tandem with the nearby Seattle Art Fair, a juried art show called Unity will display affordable artwork from about half a hundred regional artists. The goal, besides helping Seattleites bring a little curated beauty into their homes, is to raise money for the homeless (they're hoping for $25,000 or more).
The Bemis Building, Sodo, Friday-Sunday
Inscape Open Studios are always fun, edgy, and full of variety—a great way to peek inside the minds and workspaces of some of Seattle's most exciting artists. This edition, happening on Saturday, promises an installation by artist-in-residence Yuri Kinoshita, works by several guest artists, and a video projection by Stranger Genius Award nominee Klara Glosova. Then, on Sunday, Inscape will host their first annual Arts Mash, an all-ages all-day festival in celebration of Seattle's arts and music community with more than 40 acts performing on four different stages, a locally made arts and goods pop-up market, live mural painting and art installations, and food trucks, with all ticket profits going straight to the participating artists.
Inscape, Sodo, Saturday-Sunday
Fantagraphics Yard Sale
If you're a devotee of comics, graphic novels, weird art, and maybe even cartoon erotica, you can't miss this bonanza of Fantagraphics rare, out of print, and just plain odd selections. They're advertising "$1 and $5 books and $25 you-fill-em bags," so you may be able to fill that sad, yawning chasm in your bookshelves.
Fantagraphics Publishing Office, Green Lake, Saturday
Storme Webber: Casino: A Palimpsest
Storme Webber is a Two-Spirit First Nations (Alutiiq/Black/Choctaw) interdisciplinary artist, curator, writer, and performer who creates socially engaged texts and images at the intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality, memory, and spirit. Through the exhibition of archival photographs, installation, and experimental storytelling, Webber uses the pre-Stonewall working-class LGBTQ history of the Pioneer Square neighborhood as a point of departure to shed light on the hidden stories of the marginalized people in Seattle's present and past. Expect to see the historical made timeless, and the timeless made tangible. EMILY POTHAST
Frye Art Museum, First Hill, opens Saturday