Tabaimo: Utsutsushi Utsushi (Through Feb 26): Utsutsushi Utsushi, by acclaimed Japanese artist Tabaimo, is the third in a series of solo exhibitions by already well-known contemporary Japanese artists who nevertheless have not shown much in Seattle, presented by the Asian Art Museum. (The series began with Mr. in 2014 and continued in 2015 with Chiho Aoshima.) Each exhibition has been distinguished by not just being a prepackaged touring show but rather for including premieres of new works. Of the eight video installations in Tabaimo's Seattle show, she created four particularly for this exhibition. For inspiration, she used pieces in the museum's own personal collection, including the famous gold crows screens. The historical works are presented in a display adjacent to the new pieces in an exploration of the Japanese concept of "utsushi"—the emulation of masterworks as a form of artistic education. JG
Terratopia: The Chinese Landscape in Painting and Film (Through Feb 26): To demonstrate that landscape has been a consistent and prominent feature in Asian art beginning in the third century and continuing through today, this juxtaposes classic pastoral depictions of rural China with a modern film by Yang Fudong.
Those Who Remain: Concerto for Installation and Improviser (Jan 26–Feb 5): The installation of Those Who Remain: Concerto for Installation and Improviser is the second in a two-part tribute to the Northwest poet Richard Hugo, based on two of his poems. This part—on view during museum hours at Seattle's Asian Art Museum—will be animated by four separate performances, each with different artists and musicians. The piece was created by Seattle's Wayne Horvitz with the Japan-based artists Suzuki (dancer/choreographer) and video artist/VJ Yohei Saito. JG
Divine Ammunition: The Sculpture of Al Farrow (Dec 16–May 7): In introducing this exhibition—in which Al Farrow creates sculptures of reliquaries, cathedrals, synagogues, mosques, mausoleums, and devotional objects using guns and ammunition—the press release says delicately that Farrow "denigrates no one belief in his work, being mindful, discriminating, and probing toward all." But the simpler fact is that all of his objects are as terrible as beautiful, and they suggest that our strongest devotions inspire our greatest blind violence. The implications are painful and real, and the ornate pieces are a sight to see, more likable than we might wish them to be given their materials. Certainly don't miss the artist talk on December 17 at noon. JG
To: Seattle | Subject: Personal (Through Jan 8): There are two kinds of objects at a museum, the ones that are borrowed and the ones the museum has decided to commit to by owning them. That commitment is just about as "personal" a decision as a museum makes, and Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker, on the occasion of her departure as the Frye's director last month, organized a show called To: Seattle | Subject: Personal, devoted entirely to works of art that have come into the collection of the museum, by purchase and by gift, since Birnie Danzker began in 2009. It's her last hurrah of support for locally based, and locally born, artists, often working collaboratively, who address the social conditions of contemporary life. In this vision, she was supported strongly by Scott Lawrimore and Robin Held, who also got some of these artists into the collection and into the galleries in concentrated form. Under Birnie Danzker, the Frye has mounted several big group shows, this one including Kahlil Joseph, C. Davida Ingram, Black Constellation, DK Pan, Implied Violence, Isaac Layman, Susie J. Lee, and Buster Simpson, among many others. Plenty of those artists were in previous exhibitions; each one has built on the last. That violates the golden rule of museum exhibitions: novelty. You might ask, do we need another group show at the Frye? But the works are certainly worth your time and the museum's space. And one basic difference between this show and any other? These are the works that will remain at the Frye regardless of who sits at the head. But this show also gets a person thinking about the role of "exhibitions" versus works. Why can't a museum like the Frye remix its contemporary collections as vigorously and continuously as it does its historical holdings? And what if a museum refuses to play by the usual international rules—that sure, you can show local works, but only if they're vetted globally can you actually show them more than once. That treats art as a global commodity rather than devotional object. I like seeing these again, together, speaking to each other in yet another rich configuration. Especially now, we need to see Lee's video portrait of the older woman barely breathing in her bed, the chloroform machine by Implied Violence, Mark Calderon's tiny black hoodie made of medical tape, Ingram's video of Black women atop Seattle, Inye Wokoma's intergenerational family portraits, and Cris Bruch's glowing horizon, promising something else, anything else but here and now. JG
Jim Woodring: The Pig Went Down to the Harbor at Sunrise and Wept (Jan 21–Apr 16): Jim Woodring's meticulous and inventive comics earned him a Stranger Genius Award in literature in 2010. About his first full-length graphic novel, Weathercraft, Paul Constant wrote, "Because of Woodring's dense, obsessive line work—the man can't even draw a sky without adding 37 meticulous squiggles dancing from the top of the panel to give the impression of a distant haze—his stories feel longer, and maybe more involved, than they really are." This solo exhibition will feature a series of large ink drawings created using a comically oversize fountain pen (that Woodring made himself).
Chuck Close Photographs (Through Apr 2): Very little freshness has been revealed of the portraitist Chuck Close in the last few years. I'm not sure what unquenched curiosity is satisfied by this exhibition, of 90 of his photo-based pieces over the years, from maquettes for paintings to Polaroids and daguerrotypes. (Without seeing anything, I can say that I'd prefer that almost half a year at one of Seattle's major art museums be devoted to a more pressing artist or concept, but maybe I will be convinced.) What I do recommend on the occasion of this show is to read Wil S. Hylton's recent story in the New York Times Magazine, "The Mysterious Metamorphosis of Chuck Close," which is the freshest thing to happen to Chuck Close in years. It goes, "One of the things you hear people say about Close now, with the supposed benefit of hindsight, is that the medical catastrophe he suffered in 1988, which took his mobility and nearly killed him, also revolutionized his work... forced him to abandon the conventions of realism and develop a novel way of painting: dividing his canvas into a grid and then filling one square at a time to create a dynamic neo-pointillist effect. This is a tidy, bow-wrapped narrative, which should be the first indication that it's wrong. Something about Close seems to invite this sort of pop-psych exegesis." JG
James Turrell's Light Reign (Every Wed-Sun): James Turrell's "skyspace" is on always-and-forever display at the Henry, but it's always and forever changing. It's an outdoor room with an opening in the ceiling so you can sit and watch the sky go by.
MOTHA and Chris E. Vargas present: Transhirstory in 99 Objects (Through Jun 4): First came the British Museum's The History of the World in 100 Objects in 2010, then the Smithsonian's The History of America in 101 Objects as a response, and now, here, is Trans Hirstory in 99 Objects, organized by the Bellingham-based artist Chris E. Vargas under the auspices of his "imaginary" Museum of Transgender Hirstory and Art (MOTHA). Quantifying, simplifying, and boasting are three of the tenets of institutional life, and they're three that suit particularly badly a "hirstory" of people defined by changing definitions of gender, gender identity, and sexuality—and this is why Vargas set out on this quixotic but fascinating project. What's on display are videos, archival materials, and garments focused on the experiences of transgender people living in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest through time, including Nell Pickerall, whose life was a media hit and a personal struggle (also known as Harry Allen and Harry Livingston), and Ingersoll Gender Center Founder Marsha Botzer. Vargas's work is an experiment in pushing against the problems of categorization and memorialization. JG
Paul McCarthy: White Snow, Wood Sculptures (Through Jan 15): White Snow is a grouping of finely crafted black-walnut wood sculptures between 4 and 15 feet tall, arranged in a large open gallery at the bottom level of the museum like a knotty root system exposed to the air. His work is "a program of resistance," he says, and the sculptures are the unmissable middle fingers pointed at the whole unchecked patriarchal capitalist enterprise. But McCarthy has enough money today that he bought a thousand acres in California to build his own B-movie studio, to become his own anti-Disney. Though I'm mistrustful of Paul McCarthy: White Snow, Wood Sculptures at the Henry, I see that it's also an epic display that can't help but make an impression. I'm not telling you not to go. Each blown-up tchotchke distorts and perverts characters that originated in the Brothers Grimm fairy tale that Disney sanitized into its first full-length animated feature film, 1937's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Every once in a while as I looked, my mistrust dropped, and I felt real, familiar, female pain emanating off of those debased tangles, recognizing me. I longed for those moments, not to be distracted by so much belabored, white-cube transgressing. JG
Black Bodies in Propaganda (Through Jan 15): These 33 posters dating back to the founding of the United States and from all across the world depict Black bodies in order to convince just about anyone of anything. They're motivation to watch for vicious, racist imagery crusading as patriotic in the weeks and months to come. JG
Victoria Haven: Blue Sun (Through Mar 5): This dramatically large wall drawing was inspired by artist Victoria Haven's video project about the transformation of South Lake Union, in which she saw the sun appear as a blue dot reflected through the lens.
African Renaissances (Through Jul 16): This exhibit highlights the power of the African continent by imagining a futuristic renaissance, featuring regalia and furnishings that were originally seen in the courts of the Benin, Asante, Kom, and Kuba kingdoms, alongside art created by Maasai, Fulani, and Ndebele women, as well as contributions—including a music video—from Baba Tendai, a contemporary musical leader living in Seattle.
Go Tell It: Civil Rights Photography (Through Jan 8): This summer, a Reuters photographer snapped his shutter at the moment when a young Black nurse named Ieshia Evans stepped out in front of a line of riot-gear-laden police officers and appeared to repel them—and was arrested immediately afterward. She was a peaceful protester in the Black Lives Matter marches taking place in Baton Rouge on July 9. The photograph immediately went viral, and everybody but everybody—including me—wrote about it. So there's extra-good reason during this moment to revisit historical photography of the work of people arguing simply that Black lives have not mattered as much as they should, and that it's time for the iniquitous inequity to end. SAM has organized this small display of Jim Crow and civil rights photographs for that reason. You'll see images by Dan Budnik, Danny Lyon, Roy DeCarava, Robert Frank, Garry Winogrand, and Marion Post Wolcott. You'll also see a new 45-minute video by the Philadelphia artist Shikeith called #blackmendream, in which nine Black men are interviewed with their backs facing the camera. "When did you become a Black man?" is one of the questions. What are we all becoming? JG
Jennifer West (Through May 7): This large-scale installation by Los Angeles-based artist Jennifer West is made up of a series of manipulated 70mm filmstrips hung from the ceiling.
Yves Saint Laurent: The Perfection of Style (Through Jan 8): The Perfection of Style features highlights from legendary fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent's 44-year-long career, during which he helped redefine the world of women's fashion by introducing menswear-inspired garments like the trench coat and the pantsuit. The exhibit's US premiere features new acquisitions by the collection of the Foundation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent that have that have never previously been shown publicly, as well as a variety of multimedia elements from the archive that demonstrate the development of the YSL style, from sketches to completed garments.
Jacob Lawrence: The Migration Series (Jan 21–Apr 23): Last year around this time, I was so excited about the Museum of Modern Art's exhibition of all 60 of Jacob Lawrence's paintings of the Great Migration that I wrote about it, even though I couldn't get there to see the art in person. But now all 60 panels—all 60 panels!—are coming to Seattle Art Museum. This is the first time they've been seen all together on the West Coast in two decades. Lawrence lived the last decades of his life in Seattle, teaching at the University of Washington, so the venue makes good sense. At MoMA, it was the first time in two decades they'd been seen together on the East Coast. It nearly takes an act of heaven itself for it to happen, since half of the series is held at the Phillips Collection in Washington, D.C., and the other half at MoMA. MoMA's iteration included included works of poetry, music, and photography, to place the 23-year-old Lawrence, whose own parents fled north, in the creative context of his peers. The exhibition was appealing and in-depth, unlike the all-too-often "uniformly flat-footed and sentimentalist uses of Jacob Lawrence," described by Darby English. Let's hope it's as good at SAM. At least one fascinating historical aspect will be that the show will include both Lawrence's original captions for the paintings and his later changed writings, for comparison. JG
John Grade: Middle Fork (Opens February 3): John Grade's gigantic sculpture Middle Fork is shaped like a tree and made from bits of old-growth cedar. It also grows like a tree—it's currently 40 feet long, and will become more than 80 feet long by the time it's installed in the Brotman Forum at SAM. Like a broken mug with sentimental value pieced together with glue, Grade will repair something important that we've lost.
30 Americans (Through Jan 15): In December 2015, at the time when the protesters behind the campaigns #StopErasingBlackPeople and #DieInAtTAM laid their bodies down in the galleries at Tacoma Art Museum's exhibition Art, AIDS, America, the museum had already booked the show 30 Americans for this fall. 30 Americans is an exhibition of works in many mediums by established Black artists including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Kehinde Wiley, Glenn Ligon, Rashid Johnson, Nick Cave, Kalup Linzy, Robert Colescott, Lorna Simpson, Carrie Mae Weems, Barkley L. Hendricks, Hank Willis Thomas, Mickalene Thomas, and Kerry James Marshall. The show was organized in 2008 by private collectors Don and Mera Rubell in Miami, and it's traveled to 10 museums around the country since. The show is more than 50 works of painting, sculpture, photography, installation, and video. In the eight years since the election of President Barack Obama and the creation of this show (which the Obamas reportedly attended in D.C.), it is fair to say that much has changed about race in America, and yet nothing has changed about race in America. It will be important to see what 30 Americans can mean for the issues around #StopErasingBlackPeople and Black Lives Matter today as well as an administration ago. JG
Everything has been material for scissors to shape (Through Apr 16): This exhibit explores textiles and textile-making through works by contemporary artists of Asian heritage, commenting on "myth and the everyday, commodity cultures and identity, and evidence and narratives of women's labors."
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.
David Jaewon Oh: Combatants (Jan 5–Jan 26): The "combatants" in the photographic series by that name from David Jaewon Oh are women participating in combat sports. Jaewon Oh traveled up and down the West Coast from Canada to Palm Springs, and visited Chicago, too, to document women fighters training and battling at their home gyms. This show will feature those photographic portraits in large scale, reversing the expectation that women are small, and a small part of the combatant world. JG
Chris McMullen (Feb 2–Feb 23): Seattle artist Chris McMullen creates interactive, moving sculptures. This time, his piece will fill the entire room while encouraging "kinetic engagement"—"meant to encourage face-to-face communication and grounding in our increasingly digital world."
Christopher Shaw: The Tea Library III (Through Jan 21): This exhibition is a collaboration between sculptor and ceramicist Christopher Shaw and visual and performance artist Red Square—each artist inspired by tea, its rituals, and its fluidity.
Kiss Fear (Through Jan 28): Kiss Fear is a multimedia exhibit with poetry, sculpture, video, and performance—by poet Daemond Arrindell and artists Mary Coss and Holly Ballard Martz—that will present "touching, powerful and sometimes darkly humorous ruminations on America's weapon of choice," guns. Supported in part by a grant from 4Culture.
Kat Larson: The Ghost From Vega (Dec 7–Dec 30): Artist Kat Larson works in diverse media including printmaking, painting, and sculpture, as well as video-painting and performative installations. This show will explore "identity, race, and femininity" through video paintings, telling the story of "a being from another planet who crash lands on Earth and, over time, becomes a ghost with no means to return home."
Many Lands (Jan 11–Feb 4): Artist Ben Gannon (who recently had an exhibit of sculptural, folded, dripping paintings at SugarPill) is the guest curator for this group show. Gannon writes, "This show is an attempt to situate abstract and abstracted landscape artworks together in the context of 'world-building.' Historically, this idea takes place in science fiction and fantasy writing as mythopoetic works, but also potentially inhabitable material spaces. This connecting thread fosters connections between genres and styles in contemporary mark making, and between the speculative media of contemporary art and genre fiction."
Sue Danielson (Feb 8–Mar 4): Sue Danielson (one of the founders of the informal summer artist residency on the Duwamish River) makes layered paintings and mixed media featuring warped grids and delicate, endlessly tangled line work. This exhibit, featuring work on paper and panel, will continue "her exploration of maplike forms and treatise on memory and mark-making."
John Grade (Feb 2–Feb 26): See sculpture, etchings, and drawings by John Grade, the artist whose enormous reconstruction of an old-growth tree will be installed in Seattle Art Museum's main lobby in January. At 100 feet long, it will soar through the air; here, you'll see his smaller, more delicate works.
Psychospatial (Jan 12–Feb 5): See new digital artwork by Reilly Donovan (one of the creators of Illuminous Analemma, the virtual reality exhibit that absolutely captivated Charles Mudede last spring) and Joseph Gray (who had a digital exhibit at e4c titled Aether's Reverie).
Monica Lisette-Sanchez: Explorations from an In-Between Place (Through Jan 13): This exhibit will feature artist Monica Lisette-Sanchez's oil paintings about family history, identity, and living in a cultural "in-between place," inspired by her parents' Mexican and German heritage.
Visual Abuse: Jim Blanchard's Graphic Art, 1982-2002 (Through Dec 8): See graphic and comic art created by Jim Blanchard between 1982 and 2002—also compiled in the new book Visual Abuse.
We Told You So: Comics as Art Exhibition (Dec 10–Jan 11): This exhibit will celebrate the 10th anniversary of Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery (and the 40th anniversary of Fantagraphics Press) with an "oral-story" exhibit featuring memorabilia from the Lake City publishing house. (Paul Constant lovingly called the residence a "creepy serial-killer-looking house.")
Sarah McRae Morton: Mapping Stars at Noon (Through Dec 24): A solo show of scenic, often historical paintings by Sarah McRae Morton, who had her first lessons in chiaroscuro by watching the Amish by candlelight in rural Pennsylvania where she grew up.
James Martin: Lion Around (Jan 5–Jan 21): See new, less new, and never-before-seen work by James Martin, known for his colorful, disorienting paintings and Bosch-like scenes populated by characters with a certain grimacing crudeness and features that recall Punch and Judy puppets.
Winter Gymnastics (Through Jan 7): Winter Gymnastics is a group show, a survey of works that pick up on the charms of a chill in the air, from Susanna Bluhm's large, thick, confectionary recent paintings of New York in snow to Doug Keyes's 2014 portrait of the artist Roni Horn as though she's seen through a block of ice, and stark-freezing photographs and paintings by Eirik Johnson, Mary Iverson, Robert C. Jones, Mark Thompson, Cable Griffith, Julie Blackmon, and Michael Kenna—plus works of historical photography by Marion Post Wolcott, Ansel Adams, Alfred Stieglitz, and Jacques-Henri Lartigue. This is the gallery's first show after moving from its longtime Pioneer Square location up north to lower Queen Anne, where it now sits on the same block as the great theater On the Boards. It's always worth it to show up for G. Gibson, whether it is conveniently located for you or not. And this gallery, the also-indispensable literary-contemporary-art venue INCA, and On the Boards are forming a vital little cultural bloc on that corner. JG
Thuy-Van Vu (Jan 12—Feb 25): Good news: artist Thuy-Van Vu has another solo exhibit at G. Gibson Gallery. About her show in 2014, Jen Graves wrote: "The palette of Iron Chink [a piece built around an image of a derogatorily named salmon-canning machine] matches exactly the tones of Vu's own skin in the nude self-portrait that she insisted hang next to it. Their familial tie is another of Vu's hints of race and gender, which reveal that her paintings are embedded in relationships. It's why, despite being cool, they're relatable. They're committed, on more than just a technical level. She builds in little moments of quiet in the form of flat abstract sections. You can find one right at the center of Iron Chink, and it feels like a meditative stopping spot in the midst of all the other perfectly worked details."
2nd Annual Holiday Small Works Sale (Through Dec 9): Stock up on holiday gifts at this affordable small works sale. Because buying art is so much better than buying... most other things.
Annual Holiday Mini Art Extravaganza (Dec 8–Feb 5): Enjoy hundred of examples of miniature art—and stock up on affordable gifts for art lovers—at this exhibit featuring works by local and global artists. Don't holiday-shop without this place.
JD Banke and Lora Baize (Through Dec 17): See paintings and sculptures depicting modern conspiracy theories in the For Whom the Bell Tolls exhibit.
Jeff Gerber: It Seemed Endless (Jan 5–Jan 28): A solo show by Jeff Gerber, who has created paintings with intensely layered black paint, portraits on alcohol bottles, and sculptures made of resin respirators.
Jeffrey Simmons (Through Dec 23): Recent watercolors by abstract precisionist Jeffrey Simmons.
Mark Calderon (Through Dec 23): Seattle artist Mark Calderon's lovely sculptures can be subdued, but new pieces made of mica are political. They're hands, based on an example from the prehistoric North American "Hopewell" culture of a hand made from cut mica. One pair of hands rises to amplify a voice. It's called Cry: Cry, then cry out. JG
Juventino Aranda: Weed the Lawn and Feed the Roses (Jan 5–Feb 18): This is Walla Walla artist Juventino Aranda's first solo exhibition at Greg Kucera Gallery, and it's well-deserved, and exciting for the gallery. Aranda was included in Tacoma Art Museum's NW Art Now in 2016, in Out of Sight at King Street Station, and in the electric What You See Is What You Sweat exhibition at CoCA during Seattle Art Fair. He makes sculptural installations, paintings, textiles, and videos that are pointed embodiments of his experiences as a Latino man in a blinkered white culture. In one video, he spent a protracted time snipping blades of grass with handheld scissors, performing a laborious task with pride and precision. In large wall textiles, he takes discarded yardage from the Pendleton mills, where manufactured blankets mimic indigenous trade items from the Southwest and Mexico, and paints fields of color on them so they resemble the high art of Mark Rothko's color fields. With titles like When All You Have Left Are Limes, Make Margaritas, Nod and Smile; Old and Faithful Since 1848 (Yellowstone), the pieces contrast his family's hard history of migrant work with the grandiosity and sublimity of art and landscape. They reject the presumption that we all share the same Northwest. JG
Michael Knutson: Symmetrical Fields (Jan 5–Feb 18): Symmetrical Fields is a series of colorful, overlapping images of geometric shapes by Michael Knutson—a terrific, devoted abstractionist and regular of the gallery over the years.
Joe Rudko: Photographs (Feb 23–Apr 1): This exhibit will feature photographs by artist Joe Rudko, known for his creative manipulations.
Susan Skilling: Paintings (Feb 23–Apr 1): This show will feature layered and earthy paintings, always delicate, often in gouache on Thai mulberry paper, by Susan Skilling.
Robots Building Robots (Through Dec 10): Robots Building Robots is a multimedia exhibit exploring "consciousness in the digital age" and the self-reproductive nature of technology, featuring works by international artists Adam Basanta, Tyler Coburn, Caroline Delieutraz, Oliver Laric, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Sara Ludy, Jon Rafman, Evan Roth, Sebastian Schmieg, and Silvio Lor-usso, and organized by Amanda Donnan.
Jennifer Mehigan: Watch Yourself Rot (Through Dec 17): Jennifer Mehigan (from and based in Cork, Ireland) is known for her multimedia works and paintings. In this show, she presents "skins" of large vinyl decals on the walls, and they're gross and sexy at the same time. A three-channel video projection is futuristic and gothic, involving female wrestlers, fembots, and stilettos destroying pretty cakes. "Queer femme desire," as the gallery describes it, is getting a workout, and it's a mighty thing to see.
(in)compatible (Jan 14–Feb 25): This exhibit of new works will explore "post-internet"—a movement that moves beyond the novelty of the internet, breaking it down and using it in art—through sculpture, video, and installation by media artists Kathleen Daniel, Carla Gannis, Faith Holland, and Dylan Neuwirth.
Dean Wong: New Street Photography (Every Mon-Fri): If you don't know Dean Wong's name already, he is the photographer who has most doggedly and beautifully documented Seattle's Chinatown, and he has a new book out, Seeing the Light: Four Decades in Chinatown. It includes photographs also taken in Chinatowns in San Francisco and Vancouver, BC, but Wong's heart is where his home is, here in Seattle, where he grew up in his family's home tucked into the streets of what we now call the International District, where he learned to develop his first roll of film at Cleveland High School in a black-and-white photo class taught by the biology teacher, and where, at the University of Washington, he developed a conscious practice of resistance toward the racist mainstream. Here at Jack Straw, you'll see a selection of the photographs and a copy of the book, which includes images and also Wong's stories. His voice is vivid and no-nonsense, sometimes smackingly so. He is a powerful image-maker and storyteller. Another small exhibition of his work is currently at Kobo at Higo in the ID, where he shopped for toys when he was a boy. You can still find Wong out there in the ID taking pictures pretty much every Saturday and Sunday. His work is not finished. This is a show you want to see, and a book you need to have. JG
Utopia Neighborhood Club (Through Dec 23): Jacob Lawrence Gallery will look forward on the 100th anniversary of (the person) Jacob Lawrence's birth. Utopia Neighborhood Club promises a series of exhibits and programs that emphasize participation, and imagining the possible (even utopian) future of this art gallery. They write: "The series is a unique opportunity for many voices to freely imagine what a university gallery should be, unencumbered by traditional concerns about what it can't possibly be."
Akio Takamori and Efrain Almeida (Feb 16–April 1): This exhibit will feature work by Efrain Almeida (whose previous solo shows at James Harris Gallery have featured carved wooden pieces, as well as small bronze sculptures of birds, butterflies, and moths) alongside highlights from Akio Takamori's Apology series: drawings and sculptures of men apologizing, that are informed by both the Donald Trump era and Takamori's own battle with cancer. About the apologizers, Jen Graves writes, "What were these men feeling? Why did they believe in the ritual of public apology? And what did we think of them? What did we want from them?"
Unsettled~Resettled: Seattle's Hunt Hotel (Every Mon-Fri): The first permanent exhibit at the Japanese Cultural & Community Center of Washington will explore the post-World War II history of the Hunt Hotel, a Seattle Japanese school turned makeshift hostel. They promise an artistic and cultural exploration of this tumultuous period in American and Japanese American history.
The Bureau of Arts & Culture (Through Dec 18): Starting December 1, King Street Station will host 21 art proposals "designed to trigger a new enthusiasm for the direction of our city and how art can play a vital role in our future... tackling issues such as homelessness, gun violence, urban growth, cultural tourism, arts education, and human trafficking." Part of the show is the Give Gallery, where if you donate blood between November 28 and December 16 through Bloodworks, you can take home, free, a work of art by a local artist from the gallery, including Jeffry Mitchell, Crystal Barbre, Charles Peterson, June Sekiguchi, Warren Dykeman, and Amanda Manitach. JG
Truth B Told (Jan 8–Feb 4): Onyx Fine Arts' 12th annual juried exhibit, Truth B Told, will reveal the truth about Black artists: their strength and fragility, the variety of their styles, and the uncategorizable nature of a broad, diverse group of artists. A section of the exhibit will focus on the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, a labor organization that was instrumental in the Civil Rights Movement.
What's the Story? (Through Dec 29): So long, realism—this group show will feature work by 14 different artists that focuses on "less definitive content by adopting murky and/or fragmented bits of identifiable subjects."
Timea Tihanyi and Nicholas Nyland (Jan 5–Jan 28): Timea Tihanyi and Nicholas Nyland are brilliant minds who happen to express themselves in ceramics. Nyland, who also works on paper, is a colorist with a total sense of joy and play, while Tihanyi, mostly using porcelain, is a structural engineer who puts her forms in the service of history. (A past show at Linda Hodges was a series of tiny buildings that looked like the architecture of a sometimes scary, sometimes hopeful ideology.) Nyland's work—this may sound strange—has that sense of play but is always adult. I don't exactly know how to explain that or why it seems necessary. You'll see what I mean. JG
Judith Cooper Haden: The Women of the Milpa (Through Dec 15): These black-and-white photographs of Oaxacan women cooking are a testament to the wisdom of the elders and the fullness of time. The farmers and cooks have returned to indigenous traditions in the face of economic and environmental devastation, and their determination in these images is quiet and undeniable. JG
We Are a Crowd of Others (Through Jan 28): MadArt Studio resident artists Gail Grinnell, Sam Wildman, and Eric John Olson will create a gigantic, site-specific textile installation (made from hundreds of yards of spun material) accompanied by public programming including meals, performances, lectures, and reenactments.
A Closer Look (Through Feb 26): They write: "In this age of selfies, portraits have never been more common nor, in many cases, more superficial." At this exhibit, see the other side of the coin. They'll have a wide variety of portraiture from the Paul G. Allen Family Collection at this survey exhibition, featuring work by a number of renowned artists including Paul Gauguin, Pieter Hugo, Dennis Hopper, Arnold Newman, Ernest Bachrach, László Willinger, Francis Bacon, Guy Tillim, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Ansel Adams, David Hockney, and Georges Seurat.
Implied Fictions (Through Feb 26): Alongside the collection of Paul Allen's own holdings of portraits this winter, there's an exhibition of pieces by Northwest artists. Each work is a portal into another, mysterious world, and the artists include Marsha Burns, Scott Fife, Susie J. Lee, Akio Takamori, Storm Tharp, Tariqa Waters, and Alice Wheeler. That's a whole lot of other, mysterious worlds covered. Imagine a new year through the portal of this show. JG
Beautiful Trash 2: It's Twins! (Through Dec 8): Beautiful Trash 2 offers another tribute to B Cinema—this time, focusing on movies that feature sets of twins.
Precocious (Dec 10–Jan 17): See precocious kids ("young children extraordinarily skilled in adult mediocrity") in this group show featuring works by Krissy Downing.
Kate Protage (Dec 7–Jan 8): New work by SAM Gallery artist Kate Protage, who writes, "While my work is rooted in the real, it's the junction between sensation and fact that interests me. My paintings and drawings are meant to exist in that grey area between representation and abstraction, where light and solid form are given equal consideration and are almost interchangeable. The streets, the buildings, the sky, the cars—they're almost incidental as recognizable objects."
Northwest Nature (Feb 15–Mar 15): See visual art that investigates our relationship with nature by artists including Linda Davidson, Elizabeth Gahan, Mary Lamery, Ryan Molenkamp, and Kimberly Trowbridge.
Fernanda D'Agostino: Generativity (Through Dec 16): This is the final exhibition in the sacred room called Suyama Space, which has hosted site-specific installations for 19 years, curated by the great Beth Sellars. This brand-new work, Generativity, is by Portland-based artist Fernanda D'Agostino, whose last work of projected media and sculpture Stephanie Snyder in Artforum called "a feast of sensory experience and symbolic power." This one "explores the reproduction and proliferation of nature through sculpture, video projections, coding, and sound," and it features performance (later in the run) by Isabelle Choiniere. JG
Dick Weiss: Up and At 'em (Through Dec 23): Up and At 'em will feature a new series of leaded glass screens by artist Dick Weiss. If you've visited enough gallery shows in Seattle, you might recognize his work—but if you've ever flown in through SeaTac, you've probably seen his cascading works incorporated into windows at the airport.
Paul Marioni: Maybe (Through Dec 23): See new works by glass artist Paul Marioni (a founding member of the American Studio Glass movement). In his work, Marioni incorporates "humor, images of taboo sexuality, tribal masks, and visual puns."
American Painting Today (Through Dec 17): American Painting Today is a group exhibition of paintings organized by artist Matthew Offenbacher, who recently had an exhibit at INCA that featured a giant sculpture of a whale that was also a kind of musical instrument.
Coast to Coast - WEST (Through Jan 11): Coast to Coast features 100 juried works by the National Association of Women Artists and the Women Painters of Washington.
Artist Talk: Al Farrow (Dec 17): Sculptor Al Farrow currently has a show titled Divine Ammunition at BAM (Jen Graves writes, "All of his objects are as terrible as beautiful, and they suggest that our strongest devotions inspire our greatest blind violence") and today he'll sign books and speak about his work, as well as addressing the ways in which religion and violence are connected.
The Pancakes & Booze Art Show (Jan 28): Yes, there is a free pancake bar at this extravaganza. Yes, it has booze and art from over 60 participants, including some creators working before your very eyes, and you even can become a living canvas. No, you can't come if you're under 21, alas.
We Told You So: Comics as Art Release Party (Dec 10): This party will celebrate 10 years of Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery with the release of oral-story We Told You So: Comics as Art, an art exhibition of Fantagraphics memorabilia, and book signings with special guests.
Seeing Art: A Multidisciplinary, Critical Discourse on Twenty-First-Century Art Practice (Dec 10): Learn about the ways that artists engage with the larger world around them at this panel featuring Sharon Arnold (founder and curator of Bridge Productions), Michelle Dunn Marsh (Executive Director of Photographic Center Northwest) and artist Rafael Soldi, who recently had a moving show at Glassbox Gallery about the disappearance of his partner.
Root to Branch: Work of Ousmane Sembene, Gloria Rolando, Euzhan Palcy, and Julie Dash (Dec 15): For the final installment of the "Visual Culture of the African Continent and its Diaspora" series, Frye Art Museum Educator Negarra A. Kudumu will speak about the aesthetics and concepts used by these four influential artists (Ousmane Sembene, Gloria Rolando, Euzhan Palcy, and Julie Dash) and outline the social and political context of their works.
Curator Talk with Luis Croquer (Dec 10): Luis Croquer (the Henry's Deputy Director of Exhibitions, Collection, and Programs) will speak about provocative American artist Paul McCarthy's work and his exhibition White Snow Wood Sculptures.
My Favorite Things Tour (Dec 8, Jan 5, Jan 12, Feb 2, Feb 9): For several years now, Seattle Art Museum has quietly been doing My Favorite Things tours. I'm not sure whose idea they were—maybe Sandra Jackson-Dumont, the former head of education at SAM, now at the Met; they started under her watch, if I remember right. For My Favorite Things tours, SAM invites one person to pick one object and to talk about it in whatever way makes sense to them. There are no restrictions and no guidelines. There are so many secrets between people and art, and they only get out occasionally. If you see a sign for a My Favorite Things tour happening at SAM next time you're there, join it. JG
Art Collecting 101 (Jan 12, Jan 19, Jan 26): SAM Gallery and Shop Manager Jody Bento will go over the basics of beginning an art collection at this popular, free workshop.
Fantagraphics 40th Anniversary Party (Dec 10): This anniversary party (one in a series to celebrate 40 years of Fantagraphics) promises music, food, and refreshments.
Closing Up Shop? The Uncertain Future of Seattle's Art Galleries (Jan 21): It's no secret that galleries in Seattle have been struggling. Hear about why and how—and prepare to have some of those preconceived notions about the art world shaken—at this panel moderated by Gage Artistic Director Gary Faigin, and featuring four amazing people leading the arts scene in Seattle: gallery owners Greg Kucera and Mariane Ibrahim, artist (and Stranger Genius) Mary Ann Peters, and The Stranger's own awe-inspiring art critic Jen Graves.