Jenny Holzer’s iconic, cast-aluminum plaques, which she produced beginning in the early 1980s, will be installed throughout Pioneer Square.
Jenny Holzer’s iconic, cast-aluminum plaques, which she produced beginning in the early 1980s, will be installed throughout Pioneer Square. Jenny Holzer/Courtesy of Seattle Art Fair

The third Seattle Art Fair—which takes place August 3 through 6 at the CenturyLink Field Event center—will feature "dynamic programming spread throughout the neighborhood" and "large-scale works by local and international artists," according to organizers. I love Holzer's text art, and "Protect me from what I want" is one of my favorites, although I always thought of it as something that was printed on condoms during the AIDS crisis. I didn't realize it was also a plaque.

According to festival organizers, the plaques from Holzer's The Survival Series will be "integrated within the public architecture of Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square. Crafted to have the look of authority, the plaques are inscribed with pithy insights into the human condition and the nature of power. Visitors to the fair and the general public of Seattle are invited to discover Holzer’s inconspicuous but powerful works throughout this neighborhood, in the first public installation of multiple plaques in an open urban setting."

This year's fair is curated by Laura Fried, and other highlights organizers are excited about include:

Nancy Rubins presenting a selection of studies of her large-scale sculptures.

• Sean Townley installing his large floor-based sculpture, 7 Diadems (2016), consisting of boulder-size copies of partial head molds made from a monumental ancient sculpture of the Roman Juno. Looks like this:


(Yes, you will be able to interact with these huge partial heads of the jealous wife of Jupiter.)

• Dylan Mira and Erika Vogt's transforming Seattle’s historic Union Station into "a multifaceted installation of sculpture, video, and performance inspired by the train station itself as well as Korean spas" with a work called Pool (2017). It's supposed to create "a space for rest and resistance for the public."

• Gerard & Kelly hosting the world premiere of their new film, Modern Living (2016- ongoing), a choreographic, two-channel installation that "explores intimacy and queer space within legacies of modernist architecture."

Mary Ann Peters is showing a new monolithic sculpture with James Harris Gallery.
Among the things I'm most excited about: seeing what Mary Ann Peters is going to show. Kelly O

I can't wait to see the "new monolithic sculpture" by Mary Ann Peters, presented with James Harris Gallery. Two years ago at the satellite art fair Out of Sight, Mary Ann Peters, winner of a 2015 Stranger Genius Award, installed this rug made entirely of flour, a clever and unassuming piece I've never gotten out of my head. Here's a fuller description of what she's going to show this year:

Mary Ann Peters
the world is a garden…
Seattle artist Mary Ann Peters presents a new monolithic sculpture, the world is a garden... (2017), comprised of an internal white cube coated with flowers and seen through the veil of a honeycomb patterned screen. An interpretation of a phrase from the 14th century North African Arab historian Ibn Kaldun, "The world is a garden, the walls are the state"—and the result of her research and observations of the Syrian exodus in the generation of her grandparents and today—Peters’ installation is the foundation for an ongoing series titled "impossible monuments," which aim to give voice to "small influential narratives within migration histories that deserve reverence."


Three more pieces to expect in 2017 that sound intriguing:

Jessica Jackson Hutchins
Reason to Be
Portland artist Jessica Jackson Hutchins presents a new, large-scale outdoor sculpture. Drawing from the design of public rest spots, such as bus stops and park gazebos, the artist integrates panels of bespoke stained glass into the frames of a decommissioned public bus shelter. In a hybrid space invoking public citizenship and personal spirituality, the project continues Hutchins’ interest in the friction between the mundane and transcendent.

Jeffrey Gibson
LIKE A HAMMER
In the multi-media installation LIKE A HAMMER (2016), Jeffrey Gibson presents a wool and canvas robe intricately adorned with metal jingles, beadwork, and nylon fringe suspended from looming teepee poles. From afar, the installation reads as a collection of Inter-tribal and Indigenous objects; however upon closer inspection, the robe's materials are that of pastiche Native American adornments that effectively mix references to ceremonial and other transformational garments. Gibson initially performed improvisational ritualistic movement while wearing the 120-pound robe in a durational performance. His meditative movements are inspired by animals and thoughts represented in the seven text based drawings he made during the performance, questioning the reverberation of rites as they are affected by time, space, and context. In doing so, Gibson develops a cross-cultural process that mines the complexities of geopolitical tensions that exist throughout the Americas.

Ellen Lesperance
W.I.T.C.H.
In an aisle of the fair, Portland-based artist Ellen Lesperance presents a new work: a collection of fabricated garments that celebrates the legacy and continuing significance of the feminist activist group Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell (W.I.T.C.H.). This series includes textile designs and patches that are reproductions of a hooded cloak worn by a W.I.T.C.H. member at the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp. Founded in 1981, the camp was established in Berkshire, England to protest nuclear weapons being sited at the nearby Royal Air Force Base. Exclusively comprised of women, the protest—much like the W.I.T.C.H. group that predated it—believed that patriarchy itself was one of the root causes of war and had to be directly confronted. Throughout the weekend of the fair, a varied group of local artists, activists, writers, dancers, and actors will remove the garments from their display—designed and fabricated by Portland based designer Jason Rens—and stage a series of happenings in and out of the fair while cloaked in Lesperance’s apparel, vesting new agency in the garments in service of “untamed, angry, joyous and immortal” actions.

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The performance times for that last one are Thursday, August 3 at 5:30 pm, and Friday - Sunday at 12 pm. "The Friday, Saturday, and Sunday performances will begin on-site at the artist’s installation and will lead the public off-site to Occidental Mall. Each performance in Occidental Mall will begin at approximately 12:30 pm."

Additionally, the Seattle design firm Civilization is devising "an immersive space for children and their families to explore and interact with concepts in art and design" called SEE/SAW. There will be five stations, each corresponding to a different design concept—scale, color, type, symbols, and structure—each including "a brief description of an iconic artist and graphic designer who has influenced culture and shaped the current state of art and design." The fair says this play space is for children ages 3 and up.

A full list of the galleries exhibiting work at the 2017 Seattle Art Fair can be found here. More info about the fair itself here.

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