On the first Thursday of every month, Seattleites flock to the streets of Pioneer Square for the city's central and oldest art walk, which offers opportunities to stroll, sip on wine, and attend as many gallery openings as possible. But, in most cases, the shows are up for longer than just one night, and the historic neighborhood is a great place to check out art any day of the year. So, below, we've compiled the most promising exhibits that are having opening receptions on May 3—complete with a handy Google map at the bottom. You can also find more options on our First Thursday calendar or our complete visual art calendar.
Two major stars to keep your eye on at this Seattle-inspired exhibition of "empathetic voices and word-based creations": Tommy Pico and Leena Joshi. Pico is the most entertaining poet in the scene at the moment. Read any of his three books—IRL, Nature Poem, or the forthcoming Junk—if you want to spend a few hours laughing/crying uncontrollably about love, sex, life on and off the rez, and snacks. Joshi is a multidisciplinary artist with unparalleled storytelling abilities. In half a paragraph, she can effortlessly transport you from a front lawn in Seattle to a busy alley in India and back again. It's some kind of magic. Pico and Joshi—along with Alexandra Bell, Yrsa Daley, Laura Sullivan Cassidy, Martine Syms, and Alyson Provax—will create public audio and visual installations "experienced throughout the city of Seattle"; find the maps of the exhibitions at Mount Analogue. RICH SMITH
Come Back with a Warrant
Ten acclaimed artists, including Museum of Modern Art and Met-exhibited Tony Fitzpatrick, Terry Gilliam-beloved Lou Beach, and Chicago Art Institute alumna Yulia Kuznetsova, will exhibit collages that range from cartoonish to mystical to pop cultural, all showing diverse possibilities for the medium.
Do You See Me?
This series from 2017 Betty Bowen award winner Jono Vaughan and Robin Arnitz makes use of vibrant colors, juxtaposed patterns, and visual narrative to reflect how social media attempts to "define us in singular dimensions."
Bryan Ohno Gallery
Gosha Levochkin: Overworshipped
Meet Gosha Levochkin's humanoid, string-cheese-shaped characters in paintings that evoke classic Nickelodeon, outsider art, and surrealism.
The word "interregnum" refers to the chaotic period between two regimes. The Scottish/American Yuck 'n Yum zine collective, which stopped publishing its quarterly in 2013, returns to release a Zine Compendium and to spotlight artists "currently navigating this strange new world and trying to make sense" of turmoil across nations. Alongside the release, the magazine—represented by Morgan Cahn, Ben Robinson, and Alex Tobin—has chosen 10 multimedia artists to reflect upon Brexit, Trump, and other upheavals both personal and global. Darren Banks, Greer Pester, O.B. De Alessi, Thomas Moore, Valerie Norris and Lada Wilson, Holger Mohaupt, Janie Nicoll, Kirsty McKeown, and Lizz Brady will offer diverse pieces inspired by robots, linguistics, myths, newspapers, gender roles, and queerdom. If you're free the morning of Thursday, May 3, join the gallery for a streamed launch party across the Atlantic with Generator Projects in Dundee, Scotland. JOULE ZELMAN
Iole Alessandrini: Your Own Halo
Artist Alessandrini's "printable halo" project in the back gallery is an exploration of the sacred aura and the difference between saintly beings and ordinary people. It asks the question: "What if we were a byte away from materializing the spirit?"
SOIL (back gallery)
Jiro Yonezawa, Ann Wolff
Jiro Yonezawa crafts sculptures out of woven metal, thread, and bamboo that succeed in evoking folk craft and conceptualism. Ann Wolff is a German-born, Sweden-based sculptor and studio glass artist whose work has been exhibited all over the world.
Karey Kessler: A Portable Homeland
Karey Kessler creates colorful, conceptual maps of areas like "Almost Majestic" and "Infinite Light." Her exhibition means to tease out an internal landscape that reflects on the immigrant experience as well as individual spirituality.
Kelly Bjork: Gentle Cravings
Kelly Bjork begins her domestic portraits by going into her friends' homes and photographing them with their everyday surroundings. She then translates these photographs into dense interior worlds of floral patterns, blocks of color, and great leafy shapes. Her figures are simplified into a playful, distinctive style with an illustrator's eye for detail. We see them lounging, hugging, and sometimes even engaged in physical acts of love; the warmth of emotion translating into a vibrant palette of primary colors, cool pastels, and gridded contrasts. Bjork is the cofounder of stationery company Pilgrim Paper, and it's easy to see how her charming images translate into handmade cards and other tokens of affection. EMILY POTHAST
Reflections of Our Ancestors: Lillian Pitt & Dan Friday
The collaborative creations of artists Lillian Pitt (Warm Springs/Wasco/Yakama) and Dan Friday (Lummi) primarily feature basket or vessel forms but also include silver jewelry, bronze maskes, and statues. Their mix of traditional images and experimental shapes and colors yields some gorgeous new forms.
Robert Hutchison: Memory House
For Robert Hutchison, architecture reflects the course of life and death through "typologies such as dwelling, chapel, lighthouse, and memorial." See intricate models, drawings, and writing tied together by the theme of memory.
Rufino Tamayo: Selected Etchings
Mexican painter and printmaker Rufino del Carmen Arellanes Tamayo, whose work spanned the 20th century, drew on abstract trends, indigenous art, figurative traditions, and European surrealism. His stint as head of the Department of Ethnographic Drawing at the Museo Nacional de Arqueología deepened his interest in pre-Columbian visual traditions. An anti-revolutionary, unlike other Mexican artists of his generation, Tamayo was discouraged both by the disregard of his more political contemporaries and by racist attitudes toward indigenous-descended artists, and as a young man left his home for New York and then Paris. Eventually, though, he won worldwide recognition and acclaim from intellectuals like Octavio Paz, and there is now a contemporary art museum named after him in Mexico City. This is a vital opportunity to discover the work of a major 20th-century artist. JOULE ZELMAN
Tim Cross fashions elegant, canvas-filling floral designs whose intricacy induces calm and contemplation.
Linda Hodges Gallery
Tony Fitzpatrick: Selected Etchings
This iconographic art by the boxer Tony Fitzpatrick combines typogragraphy, animal images, and tattoo-inspired symbols in "etchings, lithographs and collages." His works dispense with perspective and realism in favor of bold graphics in webs of related images. Recommended for lovers of cartoon and comics aesthetics.
Viola Frey: The Future of Yesterday
This solo exhibition brings together six drawings and three sculptures by the late artist Viola Frey, who worked largely in ceramics. The retrospective spans from 1975 to 1997, representing the changing themes and styles in the artist's work. In some of her most striking images, her figures resemble battered pantomime puppets in the throes of existential angst and recall a less benign Marc Chagall.
James Harris Gallery