Frye Art Museum First Hill
June 1–Sept 1, Tuesdays–Sundays
Recommended by Jasmyne Keimig
On my way out of Cauleen Smith's Give It or Leave It, a tweet I'd seen recently sprang to mind. Reflecting on something her friend had said, New York journalist and critic Jillian Steinhauer tweeted, "Just retract all my mixed reviews and replace them with 'almost kind of a commentary on something.'" Give It or Leave It is almost, kind of a commentary on something. That doesn't mean that it's bad or unenjoyable. Smith's show is a vibrantly hued but messy altar. Riffing off the phrase "take it or leave it," she weaves together films, banners, multimedia pieces, and site-specific light installations from four distinct sources of inspiration: Alice Coltrane's California ashram, Bill Ray's 1966 photo at Simon Rodia's Watts Towers, Noah Purifoy's desert assemblages, and Rebecca Cox Jackson's Shaker community in Pennsylvania. Everything is so spread out—two of the three galleries contain a short film and one other smaller piece. It is pretty, vibey, somewhat sparse, and shooting off in a thousand different directions.