Electric Coffin: Future Machine (Through Sept 10): Known for their almost painfully über-hip and high-concept interior-design work that elevates hand-drawn, street-art-inspired murals and Pacific Northwest kitsch to a new level in office spaces and restaurants around the city, Future Machine at Bellevue Arts Museum is Seattle creative design studio Electric Coffin's first foray into the realm of fine art in a museum. Future Machine is an evolving installation that will unfold over seven months of collaborations with artists, industry leaders, technology innovators, nonprofits, and other "creatives." The installation's transformational phases will loosely follow the process of an idea materializing into reality to create "new forms, and functions, and technologies" that embody their vision of the future. AC
Cut Up/Cut Out (June 30–Oct 22): Organized by the Bay Area's Bedford Gallery, Cut Up/Cut Out is a traveling survey of international artists using decorative cutting and piercing to transform ordinary materials like paper, plastic, metal, and rubber into astonishing works of art. From the delicate Mexican folk art tradition of papel picado employed by Carmen Lomas Garza to the filigreed oil drums and land mines of Cal Lane, the range of scale, materials, and techniques exhibited make Cut Up/Cut Out a must-see for anyone who loves seeing impressive feats of creative labor. EP
Amie Siegel: Interiors (Through Sept 3): Working in film and other media, New York artist Amie Siegel creates meticulous, self-aware studies of objects and architectural spaces that investigate the mechanisms behind the accumulation of social and aesthetic value. Her recent work Fetish (2016), filmed at the Freud Museum in London, depicts the annual cleaning of Freud's collection of archaeological artifacts, offering parallels with the process of the excavation of the psyche through analysis. Fetishization is a recurring theme in Siegel's work, from the subject matter to the treatment and presentation of her chosen media, often using physical formats like film to add layers of meaning. EP
Storme Webber (Aug 5–Oct 29): 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. EP
Jacob Lawrence: Eight Studies for the Book of Genesis (Through Oct 1): It's been 100 years since American artist Jacob Lawrence was born, and Seattle is celebrating appropriately. Seattle Art Museum's gigantic, unprecedented exhibit of all 60 panels from his Migration Series drew large crowds in the spring, and now there's an exhibit of silkscreen prints at the Henry. These works explore the Genesis creation narrative and are based on Lawrence's experience listening to sermons at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem.
Kraft Duntz featuring Dawn Cerny: Fun. No Fun. (Through Sept 10): For Fun. No Fun, 2015 Genius Award nominee Dawn Cerny and artist/architectural team Kraft Duntz (i.e. David Lipe, Matt Sellars, and Dan Webb) filled the Henry's open lower level gallery with a maze-like structure of staircases, walkways and elevated platforms. It's a playful installation that toys with themes of expectation and disappointment as it simultaneously delights and confounds. EP
Doris Totten Chase: Changing Forms (July 8–Oct 1): This summer, the Henry presents the first retrospective of Seattle/New York artist Doris Totten Chase (1923-2008). Chase started out as a painter and sculptor—one of very few women associated with the Northwest School. In 1968, she shot a video of dancers interacting with her sculptures, and soon she was using Boeing's computer imaging technology to produce early and influential computer-generated video art. Chase lived and worked in New York during the '70s and '80s, and today her video and film works are in the collection of MoMA. Now is your chance to see them in the other city Chase called home. EP
The Jim Henson Exhibition (Ongoing): There was no true show business precedent for Jim Henson's innovative combination of hip, humanist wit, and streamlined puppet design and operation, and there are no true descendants of his ability to hybridize the legacy of vaudeville with the modern possibilities of TV and cinema. Henson's ability to be utterly hilarious, genuinely warm, and actually educational made him a radical figure in the arts, and as Hamlet said about his late father, we shall not look upon his like again—which makes this exhibition of puppets, sketches, storyboards, scripts, photographs, video clips, and costumes from Sesame Street, The Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock, The Dark Crystal, and Labyrinth (among other Henson projects) an indispensable opportunity to celebrate his genius. SEAN NELSON
David Bowie: Starman (Opens July 1): The day after David Bowie died, Stranger music and arts editor Sean Nelson wrote the following: "Bowie's music and presentation calibrated my consciousness to look beyond the obvious, to expect layers, to get that there should be something to get. My feeling for Bowie was never theoretical, as it is with a lot of artists I admire. It was love, though I didn't ever believe that love was returned or acknowledged. Or needed. Which made it the correct response. Such was the power of his charisma, his talent, his utter commitment to the conception and performance of himself." As you wander through this collection of 65 photographs of David Bowie taken by renowned British photographer Mick Rock, rare performance footage, and oral history interviews, you can love David Bowie deeply. Just because you want to.
Marimekko, With Love (Through July 9): Marimekko is a Helsinki-based company specializing in fabrics, furnishings, and fashion, whose vibrant and cheery patterns rose to fame in the 1950s and '60s (and took off in the United States in 1960, after Jackie Kennedy bought seven Marimekko dresses at once and wore them on the campaign trail). This exhibit will feature Marimekko's significant fabrics and fashions from the '50s through the '70s, in addition to archival material "highlighting the personal stories and social relationships at the heart of the company's international impact."
Daniel Minter: Carvings (Through Sept 17): Daniel Minter's whole body of work deals with history, prioritizing cultural iconography whether depicting Blackness in the American South or portraying the African Diaspora across the world. At this exhibit, see Minter's painted woodcarvings and linoleum block prints, created originally for use in children's books. These are the memories and symbols he's passing on to a new generation.
Inye Wokoma: An Elegant Utility (Through July 27): Using everyday artifacts from his grandfather's life—a catcher's mask, family photographs, legal ledgers, and old magazines—artist and filmmaker Inye Wokoma has created a poignant sanctuary at the Northwest African American Museum for the enduring legacy of an African American family's daily life in Seattle's (now almost completely gentrified) Central District. Wokoma's work explores the complex space where ancestry, identity, and displacement meet. Now, with An Elegant Utility, Wokoma becomes the artist-as-ethnographer, gracefully recontextualizing his personal and family history into the larger context of structural racism, redlining, and the story of African Americans in Seattle. AC
Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor (Through Sept 4): When the first emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang, was buried, he wasn't entirely alone—less than a mile from his mausoleum stood a flock of life-size terracotta warriors, offering protection for the afterlife. Eventually they were slowly swallowed by the earth, and went unnoticed for thousands of years...until 1974, when they were rediscovered by local farmers. Since then, a few of the warriors have been on tour (the British Museum in London had its best attendance in 2008, when 12 of the figures and assorted artifacts were displayed there) and now, some of them are at the Pacific Science Center. It's a great chance to learn a little history while observing large, unique, and very old (210 BCE) sculptures.
Denzil Hurley: Disclosures (Through Nov 5): UW professor Denzil Hurley creates paintings that are almost sculptural—and perfect for a period in which committed citizens are taking to the streets with signs every other weekend. His monochrome canvases mounted on sticks and poles will challenge the way you think about communication, and how it relates to both artistic expression and the way we interact with the world at large. Look forward to a thoughtful take on signage and meaning conveyed through dark, layered blocks of color.
Yayoi Kusama: Infinity Mirrors (June 30–Sept 10): When Infinity Mirrors opened at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, DC, in February 2017, it drew more than 32,500 visitors in a week—the museum's greatest attendance for those dates in decades. The show's next stop is Seattle Art Museum, and anticipation is already running high in the city that hosted her first US exhibition 60 years ago. The playful accessibility of Kusama's work, paired with its genuine expression of cosmic wonder, has made her one of the most successful and iconic contemporary artists in the world. Infinity Mirrors promises to be a blockbuster exhibition for SAM and one of the must-see experiences of the summer. EP
Zhi Lin: In Search of the Lost History of Chinese Migrants and the Transcontinental Railroads (June 27–Feb 18): Seattle artist and UW professor Zhi Lin's work has drawn on Chinese-American history to explore uncomfortable truths as well as quotidian realities. Christopher Knight at the Los Angeles Times described some of his work in 2009: "At Koplin Del Rio, most of Lin's landscape drawings are made on sketch-pad-size paper using pencil and thinned Chinese ink. Their modest scale and simple materials yield a sense of the artist sketching on-site, as if taking pictorial rather than written notes of what he sees... Lin could have used a camera (period photographs of the Chinese laborers at work are not scarce), but drawings connect eye to mind to hand in a powerful and thoughtful way."
Teardrops That Wound: The Absurdity of War (Through April 15): Portland artist Yukiyo Kawano is a third generation hibaku-sha—a survivor of the 1945 bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Her life-size replica of "Little Boy" (the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima) is crafted from kimono silk and strands of her own hair—containing DNA bearing witness to this history. In Teardrops that Wound, curated by SuJ'n Chon, Kawano's work stands in dialogue with the work of other Asian Pacific American artists who use transformative strategies to deconstruct the horror associated with the imagery of war. EP
We Are the Ocean: An Indigenous Response to Climate Change (Through Nov 12): The timely exhibit We Are the Ocean: An Indigenous Response to Climate Change uses art, poetry, and more to explore climate change and water rights from an indigenous perspective—as well as demonstrating the ways in which Pacific communities are leading global environmental conversations.
Year of Remembrance: Glimpses of a Forever Foreigner (Through Feb 11): Former Stranger visual art critic Jen Graves wrote that Roger Shimomura's 2009 exhibition Yellow Terror contained "art that he hopes will lose its power." Unfortunately, his work (paintings crowded with snarling Japanese stereotypes, prints about American concentration camps, and collections of racist objects) has become intensely relevant. Shimomura's pop-art social critiques are highlighted alongside Lawrence Matsuda's poetry in Year of Remembrance, a show that fits an impossible amount of history, writing, video, and visual art (centered on Shimomura's and Matsuda's own experiences of internment) in what is essentially two short hallways. There's also a binder stuffed with current news clippings. In this moment, at the Wing Luke, stare straight at an ugly American truth. Remember that Roosevelt is not a perfect liberal hero and that a busy schedule is not an excuse for apathy.
From Which We Rise (Through June 19): Seattle artist Satpreet Kahlon has explored history, vulnerability, and power through fiber and mixed media—now, she's curated this group show that examines "the legacy of fiber, matriarchal tradition, and craft through intergenerational connectedness." Each of the 15 pieces was crafted by a different artist, and with the intergenerational ties in the show roster itself, the works explore the histories of seven different families.
Singularity Now (Through June 24): In Jonathan Wakuda Fischer, Jazz Brown, and Gabriel Marquez's science-fiction visions of the future, the concept of a monumental intelligence, eventually revealed to be love, has inspired artistic reflections on nature and the interconnection of things. Check out their varied and colorful graphic works.
Deborah Faye Lawrence (Aug 3–Aug 6): In 2014, Jen Graves wrote, "Lifelong, die-hard leftist Deborah Faye Lawrence tends her politics like a gardener and a folksinger: with her hands and her voice. The Seattle collage artist has an alter ego named Dee Dee, a high-foreheaded pre-modern creature who wreaks subversion across Lawrence's brightly cobbled together landscapes. Together they commandeer and remake maps, histories, and laws written and unwritten in bravura performances—but the means couldn't be more humble, just bits of paper cut and glued to form mandalas, new galaxies." This new exhibit will feature works in which Deborah Faye Lawrence (or Dee Dee) will use "satirical collage as a political and psychological tool."
Angelica Maria Millán Lozano and Sofía Córdova: Thrown (June 8–July 1): angelica maria millán lozano is a fibers and performance artist whose work questions the ethical implications of injustices that affect Latinas in the home, and Sofia Córdova is a new media artist concerned with the problems that face othered bodies in the context of global-industrial capitalism. Curated by Ashley Stull Meyers, Thrown is an exhibition of sonic and sculptural works by both artists, proposing new poetic language for de-colonized, de-gendered utopian futures. EP
Gretchen Bennett (July 6–29): Gretchen Bennett is the artist behind Crazy in Love, the large installation on Broadway in 2010 that examined queerness, Beyoncé, femininity, music, and light/dark, as well as color drawings of Kurt Cobain that Jen Graves described as "attempts to salvage bits of real character from the shipwreck of Kurt's destruction, to find something real and lasting in all the glinty reflections left behind." If this exhibit is like her previous work, it will be at once timely and nostalgic, digging into pop culture references to uncover meaning that existed all along but was hard to spot through all the flashbulbs.
Patrick Kelly (Aug 10–Sept 2): See dark, oily, and suggestive drawings made from layers of black graphite by artist Patrick Kelly.
Lightning Snake (June 10–July 5): Cartoonist and zine distributor Jason T. Miles will mark the publication of a new book, Lightning Snake, with a book release party and a gallery exhibition.
Paul Komada (Through June 29): Paul Komada has worked in a variety of media, including hand-knit yarn and acrylic on canvas, watercolor, photo, and video, thematically tied together by abstraction and an emphasis on process. Interestingly, he managed to add a high-tech, multilayered approach to the soft, pliable world of fiber arts. This exhibit highlights his photographs (layered with chroma-key technology) and audio pieces, which "preemptively memorialize" the Alaskan Way Viaduct.
¡Cuidado! The Help (Through July 15): This group exhibition featuring paintings, sculpture, and prints will explore the experiences of Americans who do domestic work, menial assignments, and entry level jobs. The gallery will feature 14 influential artists who deal with politics in their work, including Juventino Aranda, Roger Shimomura, and Kara Walker. They add, "This exhibition is, in many ways, a protest against Donald Trump and his battle against those at the bottom of the economic ladder."
Guy Anderson (July 20–Aug 25): This show will feature paintings by very prominent local artist Guy Anderson, known for his work in abstract expressionism and his role as one of the Northwest School artists, otherwise known as "Northwest mystics."
And Not Or (Through Aug 12): Every library, like every art collection, contains only a fraction of possible works—a reflection of curatorial choices that decide which narratives get told (or omitted). For And Not Or, a selection of artists (including Wynne Greenwood, Joe Rudko, and Ryan Feddersen) chose artworks from Seattle University's Lemieux Library to be rehoused at the Hedreen Gallery for the duration of the exhibition, to be accompanied by books chosen by artist Abra Ancliffe. In turn, these artists will replace the missing library objects with their own artworks, to be accompanied by "labels" crafted by poet Natalie Martínez. It's a complex maneuver, sparking dialogue about context, inclusion, and interesting accidents. EP
Mystical Orchid (Aug 31–Oct 14): Mystical Orchid is an excellent artistic duo (Jueqian Fang and Brit Ruggirello) that can be depended on for artistic splashes of drama and glamour. This show "debuts a new line of therapeutic clothing," and will explore "the intersection of corporate aesthetics and physical, mental, and spiritual self-care."
Untold Passages (July 7–Aug 18): Explore the unwritten histories of immigrant communities at this exhibit that merges poetry, visual art, and history to draw attention to previously repressed stories. Featured artists will include Mary Anne Peters, Zhi Lin, and Rodrigo Valenzuela.
Yadviga Dowmont Halsey (Through June 10): An exhibition of paintings by a woman who has had an illustrious career not only as an artist but also as a scientist.
Gaylen Hansen: New and Select Work from the Past (Through July 1): See new work as well as old favorites by Northwest artist Gaylen Hansen. Jen Graves wrote the following about Hansen in 2007: "Hansen is 85 years old, lives in Eastern Washington, and describes himself as having grown up in the 'horse age.' His paintings have been categorized as neoexpressionist and endlessly compared with Philip Guston, but they are much more varied and methodical than that makes them sound."
Mwangi Hutter: Falling in Love, Again. (Through July 21): Mwangi Hutter—born Ingrid Mwangi and Robert Hutter in Kenya and Germany, respectively—are an internationally renowned husband-wife artist team operating as a single entity to reflect on themes of identity and interconnectedness. Their work often incorporates video, installation, and performance, and in the case of this show, big, beautiful, figurative paintings.Their work has been shown across Africa, Asia, Europe, the United States and South America. EP
Amanda McCavour: Room (Through June 10): Amanda McCavour makes embroidered sculptures and installations—often in 3D, often large, and sometimes suspended from the ceiling. Many pieces look nature-inspired, like flowers on vines, swimming jellyfish, and snowflakes. One of her installations is a stitched version of a living room, with each piece of furniture hanging inches off the ground.
Markel Uriu: Detritus (Aug 11–Sept 20): Seattle artist Markel Uriu's work includes trippy, dreamlike, nature-inspired sketches and expansive, ever-changing installations featuring live plants. This exhibit, Detritus, will explore "concepts in Buddhism and Wabi Sabi of impermanence, decay, and a resulting wealth of growth."
PCNW 21st Juried Exhibition (Through June 11): Every year, Photo Center Northwest presents a juried exhibition with work chosen from submissions from around the world. This year, the show is juried by Sandra Phillips, Curator Emeritus of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. She's renowned in the Bay Area (and nationally) for her experience in curating photographic collections, and during her time as photography curator at SFMOMA, she helped the museum's photography department become one of the top 10 in the United States.
Kathy Liao: Lingering Presence (Through July 1): Kathy Liao (who used to live in Seattle, but now teaches painting and printmaking in Kansas City, MO) creates bright and unsettling paintings of people looking at their phones on the bus, FaceTime-ing relatives, and sitting on planes. This show will examine "how physical distance, psychological distance, and now cyber distance are experienced by herself and others."
Push/Pull Book Club Annual Show (Through June 13): After several months spent discussing Nisi Shawl's steampunk sci-fi novel Everfair (which imagines an alternative history of the Congo, wherein utopian land bought from King Leopold II attracts native populations of the Congo and escaped slaves from around the world) artists will present work inspired by the book's themes.
Alexis Mata (Ciler), Rene Almanza and Isauro Huizar: Vessel (Through July 1): Vessel offers the chance to get a taste of contemporary art in Mexico, through the work of Isauro Huizar (who commented on consumption by creating a large, pretty sculpture made of used bath soaps—it looks like jewels glued to a canvas), Rene Almanza (who makes tortured and erotic line drawings and paintings), and Alexis Mata (aka Ciler, an artist who makes aggressive, sometimes Pop Art-inspired collages, drawings, and installations).
Christopher Buening: New Work (Guerrilla Ceramica) (Through June 30): See a selection of brand-new drawings, paintings, and ceramics by artist Christopher Buening, much of which will be from his project Guerrilla Ceramica (a street art take on ceramics). Buening had a thoughtful, vulnerable show called Hunter < Gatherer at 4Culture in 2015. Jen Graves described one of the featured pieces: "In It Was a Man's World, Buening used white-out to write those words in unmanly cursive on top of a found painting on a slice of wood. It was a man's world his father took him into all those years ago, so the piece is a nostalgic expression of a place from the past. But I also read it as a wish for a time when that past tense will apply to the whole world. A time when the relationships between women, men, and other animals are governed more by love than by power and dominion."
Robert Hardgrave: Pulp (Through June 17): If you've been following visual art in Seattle for any length of time, chances are you've come across the work of Robert Hardgrave, even if you didn't know it. He works in a variety of 2-D media—painting, drawing, toner transfers, the leftover "pulp" from those transfers—to create a body of work that is as colorful and effusive as it is distinctive. Visually, Hardgrave's style hovers somewhere between ancient petroglyphs and something you might see in a high-end skateboard shop, but like most images, these are things that are better seen than described. Pulp, an exhibition of new work at Studio E Gallery, is your chance to see them for yourself. EP
Adrien Leavitt: Queer Feelings (June 8–July 8): Adrien Leavitt has been working on this multifaceted project for several years—at this exhibit, see the cumulative results of this wonderful, queer, local, body-positive, sex-positive photography project that celebrates community and vulnerability.
Ethan Murrow: The Cowboy (Through June 20): In June 2015, Jen Graves wrote, "So many questions about Boston-based artist Ethan Murrow's drawings at Winston Wächter Fine Art this month. What are those men doing? Who do they work for? Why is there a painting underground? How big is that painting? What is the man inside the painting doing? ... Looking at it, I feel like I'm in a parallel universe where all I get to see of how the world works are these ultimately mystifying details." This new show of Murrow's, The Cowboy, focuses on stories of the American West, each encapsulated in a single picture.
Capitol Hill Art Walk (Every second Thursday of the month): Every second Thursday, rain or shine, the streets of Capitol Hill are filled with tipsy art lovers checking out galleries and special events.
Seattle Art Fair (Aug 3–6): This mammoth art fair began in 2015 under the auspices of Paul Allen. In terms of the quality of art and the enthusiasm of the gallery-goers, it's been a great success, drawing Seattle and West Coast galleries and 18,000 participants. This year's edition will also be immense, with at least 80 galleries representing 25 cities, from as close as Pioneer Square to as far as Seoul, Korea. Seattle exhibitors include Bridge Productions, Foster/White, Greg Kucera Gallery, Davidson Galleries, James Harris Gallery, and Linda Hodges Gallery, among many others.
Georgetown Art Attack (Every second Saturday of the month): Once a month, the art that resides in the tiny airport hamlet of Georgetown ATTACKS all passersby. In more literal terms, it's the day of art openings and street wonderment.
Party in the Park (June 24): Kick it with artists, chefs, and Sir Mix-A-Lot in the imposing yet relaxing Olympic Sculpture Park to mark its 10th birthday. In addition to hiphop, soul by Grace Love, and DJing by KEXP's Michele Myers, you can drink your way through artist-designed pop-up lounges and eat fancy snacks and desserts.
SAM Remix (Aug 11): SAM Remix is a recurring and ever-changing art party that includes performances, sculpture tours, and dancing. This one promises extra joyful pop trippiness, because it'll be based on the work of Yayoi Kusama, as seen in the new exhibit Infinity Mirrors at SAM.
First Thursday Art Walk (Every first Thursday of the month): 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.