Seattle Art Museum Downtown
June 13–Sept 8, Wednesdays–Sundays
Recommended by Charles Mudede
To understand exactly what makes the artists of 19th-century Britain radical, one must not first point at the art of that period but its economy. Industrial production was completely new to the world. That's important for two reasons. One, it transformed the structure of time. Under the industrial order, it was tied to the working (or factory) hours, which remained the same in spring, summer, fall, and winter. The other impact was the mass production of luxuries. The artist under these unprecedented conditions had to conform their work, and the materials they worked with, to this new temporality and class organization. This is what radical means in Seattle Art Museum's Victorian Radicals exhibit, which has 150 paintings, stained glass, sculptures, and what have you, from some of the leading art movements of the period. The artists represented in the show (Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Ford Madox Brown, Kate Elizabeth Bunce, and so on) were responding to an economic reality that was historically unique and specific.