704 Terry Ave, 622-9250
* MARK RYDEN
In a giant and welcome leap, the Frye exhibits one of pop surrealism's finest painters. With Wondertoonel, Ryden goes well beyond easy kitsch, drawing on a tradition of underground art that nods to everything from Bosch and Dali to Little Golden Books. He produces painstakingly painted canvases of big-eyed children in environments rat-packed with nutty and telling details. Through Feb 13.
HENRY ART GALLERY
15th Ave NE and NE 41st St, 543-2280
* AXEL LIEBER
The German artist's awe-inspiring Release is on display and he will be creating new installations in the Open Gallery until Dec 17. Through May 1, 2005.
* W.O.W. (THE WORK OF THE WORK)
Chief curator Elizabeth Brown organized this spectacular new show, which features the work of Kimsooja, Steve McQueen, Catherine Yass, James Turrell, Hannah Villiger, and Gary Hill. The connective tissue between all the disparate strands of the exhibit is the viewer's response, which can move from meditative to agitated and back again, and Brown's unerring eye for the way art works us. Through Feb 6. SEATTLE ART MUSEUM
100 University Way, 654-3255.
SPAIN IN THE AGE OF EXPLORATION 1492-1819
See review above. The exhibition features more than 100 works of art and science, including sculptures, tapestries, maps, armor, and paintings by Hieronymus Bosch, Titian, El Greco, Gianlorenzo Bernini, Diego Velazquez, and Francisco de Goya. Through Jan 2.
* ANIMAL INSTINCT
Who doesn't love stuffed animals (and by stuffed I do not mean taxidermied)? Just in time for the Christmas season No Space mounts Animal Instinct, which features handmade stuffed animals by artists Jody Fausett, Ryan Lincicome, Anna Weber, Kevin Willis, Matt Moroz, and Bree Nichols. No Space, 534 Summit Ave E, 709-8780. Through Feb 3.
* CONTINENTAL TURMOIL
Dead Girls features photography from an event in February presented by Priceless Works and Vital 5 and conceived of by Nicole Grant and Ragan Peck. Francesca Berrini shows reconfigured maps. And Frigger Invitational is a display of humorous glass works. Priceless Works Gallery, 619 N 35th St, 349-9943. Through Dec 30.
* THOM HEILESON
Heileson creates richly layered, digitally altered photographs and video depicting scenes that hover between representation and abstraction. Gallery 4 Culture, 506 Second Ave, Suite 200, 296-7580. Through Dec 30.
* GARY HILL
The Seattle premiere of Language Willing, a recent installation by MacArthur "Genius" Gary Hill. 911 Media Arts Center, 402 Ninth Ave N, 682-6552 ext. 14. Through Jan 15.
This group show features works on paper, works about paper, and works made from or inspired by paper. If that sounds both loose and high-concept, you are right on the mark. The exhibition by eight artists from San Francisco, Brooklyn, and Seattle includes three locals--Debra Baxter, Mary Ann Peters, and Harriet Sanderson--who are not shown or appreciated nearly enough. Platform Gallery, 114 Third Ave S, 323-2808. Through Dec 31.
* TONY WEATHERS
Yes, Oui, S,; Waiting Room is a site-specific video installation about ownership. 1506 Projects, 1506 E Olive Way, 920-8618. Through Jan 9.
CHAD WENTZEL, RACHAEL OLSON
Fantastically Ordinary is the title for this two-person show featuring Wentzel's new sculptural work based in drawing and Olson's drawings on vellum, wax, and porcelain. Opening reception Sat Dec 18, 6-9 pm. Crawl Space Gallery, 504 E Denny Way, Unit 1, 322-5752. Through Jan 9.