Celeste Koonings cut-paper banners.
  • Celeste Kooning's cut-paper banners.
This weekend's Capitol Hill Block Party was the first time there's ever been a visual art program along with the music, and while at times it was hard to find the art—Specs Wizard's promised mural at 11th and Pine never seemed to materialize, Cait Willis's fuzzy-Youtube-still banners on the fence surrounding the VIP zone were overlooked in the crowd, Nicole Rathburn's soft sculpture Catacomb was lost in a corner above a trash can, and several other pieces listed here were just plain difficult to locate in all the action—there were also highlights. Derek Erdman's painting You Are Under Arrest (above), for one. White cut-paper shapes echoing the trees by Celeste Kooning.

A mural made out of moss and paper and set high on the wall facing Havana, by Allison Kudla, was sufficiently weird enough to be interesting. It was an upward-growing family tree of processed foods (picture), all stemming from a sign that read "BRYO" something. Bryophytes? I could not put it all together, but I was intrigued. (Unfortunately it was not quite strong enough for its environment: It went up Saturday, and by the evening, its paper sections were hard to read because they were detaching from the wall and flipping around in the wind.)

Did you steal the central segment of Meghan Trainors Animus Carpentry, which expressed in wood how fast she punches?
  • Photo by John Strickland
  • Did you steal the central segment of Meghan Trainor's Animus Carpentry, which expressed in wood how fast she punches?
Also intriguing but not quite functioning at capacity: Meghan Trainor's two-by-fours attached to a fence on 11th, each one bearing rows of notches that get farther apart moving vertically up the wood. They are a visualization of the artist's rate of declining speed punching a boxing bag; each two-by-four represents one session of boxing, and there are seven because she measured her rates for one week. But I only know this because I talked to the artist (the piece itself was pretty noncommunicative), and inexplicably, on the first night, somebody stole one of the boards (Wednesday's data, the middle, was gone).

Overall: a decent beginning, plenty of room for growth next year.

Last weekend's annual open studios at Inscape (the former immigrations building on Airport Way) and Noodleworks were also cross-sections of Seattle artists at work.

Noodleworks is by far the smaller of the two buildings, and a few of its studios were closed when I was there, but I did catch an artist new to me: Devon Midori Hale, whose portraits sometimes look as frozen as perfect still lifes. She shares a studio with Eric John Olson, an artist magnificently interested in pigeons, tunnels, and memories of childhood.

Devon Midori Hale
  • Devon Midori Hale

Eric John Olson
  • Eric John Olson

Inscape is huge and almost full now. It's got fashion designers, architects, painters, sculptors, artist collectives, and the Northwest Museum of Legends and Lore, all layered on top of its own still physically present history as a former detention center for people about to be deported. (Last weekend, an installation that used parts of former cages to build a walkable maze felt a little exploitative).

Pigeon Vision is a bunch of young artists—they built a fort. Yup, a good one, where folks hung out and talked and reminisced about the living rooms where they were once kids. They also played records, ate snacks, and wore a pigeon head sometimes. It was pointless, which was the point.

Pigeon Vision
  • Courtesy the artists
  • Pigeon Vision

Also at Inscape were Michael Harrison's sculptures made of discarded furniture and building parts (especially, lovably, table legs), which he calls "modern folk."

Michael Harrison
  • Michael Harrison

Two young artists named Taylor Pinton and Caleb Shafer, who said they had labor on their minds, had built two walls of bricks mortared with a sugar mix. One was flooded with a torrent of destructive water every few minutes. The other was sprinkled constantly. The artists waited to see which wall came down first.

Seth Damm's rope regalia series Neon Zinn is meant to be worn as ritual jewelry. Each necklace is made of soft cotton rope. The artist handprinted and spraypainted the strands of fabric with words from texts by Howard Zinn, then twisted the rope so the words aren't readable anymore. They range from simple single or double strands to pieces resembling body armor. (They were on display at the SOIL new members' show in June, too.)

Detail of a necklace by Seth Damm.
  • Detail of a necklace by Seth Damm.

Damn you for owning this, American Beauty, but there was a lovely installation that wasn't an intentional installation at all out on one of the courtyards formerly used as a prisoners' rec yard. Some Inscape artists built an outdoor "room" there out of plastic sheeting, where people were intended to listen to music while sheltered from the rain. But the wind was so strong last weekend that the room was quickly in tatters. Beautiful tatters that people kept walking around and marveling at. It looked like this.

Just another afternoon in the place where the inmates used to get recess.
  • Just another afternoon in the place where the inmates used to get recess.