Seattle Art Museums downtown location will officially re-reopen next month.
Seattle Art Museum's downtown location will officially re-reopen next month. Courtesy SAM
Greg Kucera is bidding adieu to Seattle and bonjour to a literal castle in France: The founder and director of Seattle's blue chip gallery for the past 37 years will retire starting sometime this year. But the space isn't going anywhere. Jim Wilcox, Kucera's employee of the past 21 years, bought the gallery along with his wife, Carol. Wilcox and Kucera will be co-directors of the space for several years, then Kucera's ownership will slowly decrease with time. In a blog post, Kucera said the gallery continued to have good business during the pandemic, "which is a good sign for our future." I'll have more on this later, but if you want to check out Greg's medieval new digs, watch this video (turn the volume all the way up for effect).

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Tune into Café Racer Radio: Crosscut's Brangien Davis recently wrote about the beloved café's foray into streaming local music 24/7 on their online radio channel, Café Racer Radio. Owner Jeff Ramsey also revealed that the spot—which closed their physical space last year—has found a new landlord close by who "gets it." We'll sit tight until they announce more details, but I'm relieved.

We find ourselves here, again: Gov. Jay Inslee's announcement last week that King County would move into Phase 2 means that museums are now allowed to re-reopen at 25% capacity. I've contacted a bunch of museums. Here's who I've heard back from:

Frye Art Museum: The museum on First Hill plans to reopen on February 11 at 25% capacity using timed ticketing and reduced hours (Thursday-Sunday, 11 am to 5 pm). This is your chance to check out Anastacia-Reneé's latest exhibition that opened last weekend.

Seattle Art Museum: SAM will re-reopen in one month on March 5, just as special exhibition Jacob Lawrence: The American Struggle officially debuts. The downtown museum will allow members to get in early on both February 27 and February 28. Open hours are Fridays through Sundays, 10 am to 5 pm and visitors can purchase tickets online. Both the Asian Art Museum and PACCAR Pavilion will remain closed.

Henry Art Gallery: I technically haven't heard back from the Henry, but they have been focusing on extending their reach outside the physical museum rather than reopening. Smart move.

Museum of Pop Culture: MoPop is jumping out ahead of everyone, with their grand re-reopening date set for this Friday, February 5. The museum will be open Friday-Sunday, 10 am to 6 pm. Grab your tickets here.

National Nordic Museum: The Ballard museum will announce their re-reopening dates in early February as well as a new exhibition schedule. I am told they will also announce new, extended closing dates for both The Experimental Self: Edvard Munch's Photography and La Vaughn Belle: A History of Unruly Returns, so keep an ear out.

The fate of some of SAM's film programming remains up in the air: Today, Moira McDonald reported that the museum permanently laid off Greg Olson, SAM's founding film programmer and curator for almost five decades. Though Olson signed an NDA not allowing him to talk about his termination details, it remains unclear whether SAM will continue with the series he helped curate when the program eventually gets the all-clear to return.

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Sub Pop flagship opens in, um, South Lake Union: Literally right across the street from Bezos's Big Ol' Balls is the Seattle record label's new flagship location, replete with sweet sweet merch and every single Sub Pop and Hardly Art release currently in print. The "tightly curated" store is open 11 am to 3 pm, so if you ever find yourself milling around the SLU ghost town, pop on in.

OK, this is how you do socially distant art: Emily Tanner-McLean's latest exhibition at Glass Box Gallery, Ghost Mass, doesn't require you to come inside. Rather, you're meant to view the art as a bystander on the street, through the gallery's glass windows. You can view the show from Thursday-Sunday after 5 pm until February 15.

Quick hit: Michaela Coel's beloved Chewing Gum went from unstreamable to streaming on HBO Max. Good for her :)