Heather Dewey-Hagborg and Chelsea Manning collaborated on Probably Chelsea, which you can see at the Seattle Art Fair.

This weekend—or rather, Thursday through Sunday—is one of the biggest and busiest periods for the Seattle art scene, thanks to the excitement of the massive, fourth annual Seattle Art Fair at the CenturyLink Field Event Center. This year's event will "explore identity, modes of play, and technology," with monumental machines, performances based in indigenous ceremony, and talks on cultural spaces of the future hosted alongside visual displays. And there's action away from the fair, too: the First Thursday Art Walk will be full of scrappy and stately artistic riches, and many independent organizers are producing satellite fairs—but don't worry, we're here to guide you through all of it.

Below, we've compiled the special Art Fair projects and talks and First Thursday gallery openings and events that you shouldn't miss—complete with handy maps!—along with details about a few other excellent exhibitions in town that are closing soon, so you can fit in a visit before they're gone. If you need even more art in your life, check out our complete First Thursday calendar, our complete Seattle Art Fair calendar (with listings for projects & talks and satellite events plus a full list of the galleries that will be at the event, complete with recommendations), and everything else in the visual art calendar.

Jump to: First Thursday | Seattle Art Fair | Satellite Events | Other Exhibitions


Hump 2021
On Sale Now!

Anthony White: Tier 2: Sold Out
If you haven't come across work by (or curated by) Anthony White at one of the city's art walks in the past year, you have been missing out on a very talented up-and-comer. The curator behind the local exhibition series While Supplies Last, White has also shown his own fused PLA portraits, which resemble plastic tapestries. His subjects are frequently selfie-taking youths framed by opulent mirrors or cast against space-flattening, intricate wallpaper patterns. This time, he'll "investigate the intimate interiors of people’s private spaces all captured and catalogued with a digital device" through the juxtaposition of the everyday with the ornate and fantastical. Expect something soulful, sexy, impressive, and slightly (but unabashedly) kitsch. JOULE ZELMAN
Glassbox Gallery

Becoming American
The "Pig War" of 1859, so called because it flared up over the shooting of a pig on San Juan Island, marked the last time the UK and US fought over territory. With no humans killed or shots exchanged, the episode has become something of a historical joke. Twenty artists organized by the nonprofit cefalonia drew inspiration from this once ambiguous borderland, creating on the very site of the bloodless conflict. It's worth taking the ferry out to the English and American Camps in the piney San Juan Island National Historical Park to discover the results. But if you prefer to stick closer to home, you can see works by Stranger Genius Award winner Barbara Earl Thomas, Dori Scherer, Rodrigo Valenzuela, and 11 others at Seattle's studio e, with a solo exhibition by Korakrit Arunanondchai at Specialist. In September, the 24 members of the SOIL collective will respond with an exhibition of their own. The diversity of artists yields an abundance of themes, but race, frontiers, barriers, immigration, and history all figure large. JOULE ZELMAN
First Thurs, Sat–Sun

City Arts and Blue Moon Present: CHILL
Celebrate the art festival season with a bar provided by Blue Moon, art installations, and music by great local acts Stas THEE Boss, Afrocop, and DJ Toya B.
AXIS Pioneer Square
Thurs only

Claire Sun
Claire Tianyi Sun's diaphanous, ghostly mixed media combinations of symbols and portraits reference "conflicting fragments of various cultures."
Linda Hodges Gallery

Colleen RJC Bratton: Good Mourning
Bratton, a member of the gallery and curator of last year's Tech Support, muses on an unformalized grief over a lost love.

Destinations' Wedding Chapel and Wig Sales
This exhibition unites two great minds of Seattle's DIY-aesthetic arts scenes: Mount Analogue's Colleen Louise Barry and Party Hat's Mary Anne Carter. Their wedding chapel is not an artsy imitation—it's the real thing, with "an ordained wedding officiant on the premises during open hours." Other necessities on hand: "A grotto, alligator leather, faux fur walls, an altar, mints." Oh yeah, and there are wigs.
Mount Analogue

London-born street artist and designer D*Face will have his first show in the Pacific Northwest ever, accompanied by a mural in Belltown and a print release.
Treason Gallery

Gary Hill: Linguistic Spill ([un]contained)
Gary Hill's piece at last year's Out of Sight was tucked away in a dark corner of the basement, marked by a sign warning of flashing strobe lights. In the center of the room was a bench where viewers could sit and take in a slow-paced yet high-intensity experience that pushed the liminal boundaries of perception. Linguistic Spill ([un]contained) promises a similar audiovisual overload. "The immersive installation is not for the faint of heart," warns CoCA's promo text. Using electronic audio signals and a pile of video projectors, the artist aims to approximate pre-linguistic structures of perception—the “space where hieroglyphs are born.” EMILY POTHAST
Center on Contemporary Art

Joseph Goldberg: The Earth is a Lamp: Memorial Survey
Commemorate the Seattle artist, long represented by this gallery, at a posthumous exhibition following his tragic death in an automobile accident last year. It's an occasion to celebrate the mourned painter's creativity: He fused sculpture and painting in unusual ways, like working with encaustic on unusual linen shapes or stringing a nexus of coke cinders within a square frame. With these gentle subversions, his work invites you to examine your own expectations of symmetry and form.
Greg Kucera Gallery

Marcus McDonald: Ephemeral Panic
If the Seattle Art Fair starts getting overwhelming, drop in on this photo exhibition for a jolt of adrenaline from "plush demons, sex dolls with skin, a real insane clown posse," and other messengers of the strange.
Party Hat
Thurs only

M.C. Escher: Transformations
The Dutch artist Maurits Cornelis Escher (1898-1972) appeals to math nerds, psychedelics, and anyone who likes impossibilities, systems, and metamorphoses. Vastly influential, he's inspired everyone from surrealist artists to logicians to authors. Astonishingly enough, given his fascination with tessellations, fractals, and impossible objects, he had no mathematical training.
Davidson Galleries

Natalie Ball: grab a plate
The objects of Natalie Ball are enigmatic, potent, and visually stunning. Erratic patches of fabric stretch and drape across rough-hewn armatures. Knobby, anthropomorphic sticks are outfitted with shoes, wrapped with tule ropes, and adorned with deer fur. Born and raised in Portland, Ball studied Maori art in New Zealand and is currently earning an MFA in painting from Yale. "I work to move 'Indian' outside of governing discourses to complicate an easily affirmed and consumed narrative and identity without absolutes," she says of her work. grab a plate will lend new texts to this ongoing discourse through figurative sculpture, assemblage, and sound. EMILY POTHAST
METHOD Gallery
First Thurs, Fri–Sat

No Theme, Anything!
The lineup of this theme-less exhibition curated by Brandon Vosika is almost too long to include in entirety, but too impressive not to. So here goes: See art by Ben Beres (of SuttonBeresCuller), Kelly Björk (who's done work for The Stranger), Marie Bouassi, excellent abstract painter Jazz Brown, queer artist and curator Mary Anne Carter, Tom DesLongchamp, Shaun Kardinal, Brittany Kusa (another Stranger contributor), Sara Long, Dane Nicklas, Forrest Kahlil Perrine, Jessica Phoenix, Travis Ritter, Timothy Rysdyke (oh my god, another Stranger friend!), Andrew Lamb Schultz, Vosika himself, and Anthony White (initiator of While Supplies Last). The final reception will host Gillian Nordlund's Artistic License Department: For $5, take a "simple test" and receive an art-making license (processing time a couple of weeks).
Thurs only

Ryohei Tanaka: Etchings
This Japanese artist makes magnificently detailed etchings of trees, rural houses, and other rustic subjects, often in black and white or sepia. His "Persimmon" series combines these palettes with vivid spots of color representing fruits that add the tiniest hint of irreality. His prints breathe peace, mystery, and lush life.
Davidson Gallery

Shohei Otomo: Back and Forth
This show features hyperrealist illustrator Shohei Otomo’s contemporary take on kakejiku—traditional Japanese hanging scrolls made of delicate paper and kimono fabric. With some inherited talent and an eye toward the dystopian from his dad, Katsuhiro Otomo (creator and director of Akira), Shohei Otomo’s work has a Man in the High Castle vibe. Japanese and American West Coast cultures mash into Dia de los Muertos geishas and cops smoking pot from a crushed Asahi beer can. Local hiphop act 52Kings and Japanese dub/electronic artist Cutsigh will perform at the opening reception. KATIE KURTZ

Brilliant animator and artist Clyde Petersen (the maker of the autobiographical cutout film Torrey Pines) and printmaker Darius X have made some sick guitar-shaped art featuring animals and cartoon characters, currently hanging in the Cold Cube Press space.
Thurs only

Timea Tihanyi, Peter Gross
The eminent ceramicist Timea Tihanyi—former Stranger critic Jen Graves called her "a structural engineer who puts her forms in the service of history"—will be joined by painter Peter Gross, whose thickly layered abstract paintings also evoke architectural shapes.
Linda Hodges Gallery


See a full list of galleries that will be at the Art Fair, complete with recommendations, here.


C. Davida Ingram: Rootsystems and Ley Lines
Stranger Genius Award Winner C. David Ingram's two-channel video installation features local black luminaries in a poetic and fictive reflection on the anniversary of the 1999 World Trade Organization protests nicknamed the "Battle of Seattle."
CenturyLink Field Event Center

Charlene Vickers and Maria Hupfield: Jingles and Sounds For Speaking To Our Grandmothers
Vickers and Hupfield, two Anishinaabe collaborators, perform with giant hand-sewn cardboard megaphones in a piece honoring their ancestors and illustrating "the socio-political conditions that draw people together and apart."
CenturyLink Field Event Center

Support The Stranger

Heather Dewey-Hagborg and Chelsea E. Manning: Probably Chelsea
Using Chelsea Manning's DNA, Heather Dewey-Hagborg has created 30 "possible portraits" of the whistleblower's face in a reflection on the uncertainty of the interpretation of data.
CenturyLink Field Event Center

Mark Pauline: SRL Live Machine Demos
Mark Pauline will demo some huge and impressive Survival Research Laboratory industrial apparatuses.
CenturyLink Field Event Center

Trevor Paglen: Orbital Reflector
It's a satellite the artist will launch later this year in partnership with the Nevada Museum of Art. Floating in the night sky for several weeks will be a giant nonfunctional sculpture reflecting us back to ourselves. Reflect is the operative word here. Do we like what we see? KATIE KURTZ
CenturyLink Field Event Center

Wayne White: Here Come the Boren Sisters
Gesturing toward earlier "robotic" technology, the public will be able to interact with Wayne White's 14-foot-tall puppets of Seattle pioneers Mary Ann and Louisa Boren. (Fun fact I found on the internet: Louisa married her stepbrother David Denny.) KATIE KURTZ
CenturyLink Field Event Center


Examining Seattle's Global Economies Past, Present & Future
C. Davida Ingram is a performance artist who's concerned with "counter-narratives about Otherness and identity." We gave her a Genius Award in 2014 for "flip[ping] social norms in performances until you barely recognize them." On this afternoon, she'll share glimpses of a new project commemorating the 20th anniversary of the WTO protests, and she'll be joined by fellow artists and activists Alix Chapman, Chris Jordan, Soya Jung, DK Pan, Tracy Rector, and Matt Remle.
CenturyLink Field Event Center



1 Room
This group exhibition stars 40 Northwest artists. Some of these artists are unmissable: Dawn Cerny, Emily Gherard, Nancy Guppy, Whiting Tennis, Gabriel Stromberg, Gillian Theobald, and many others. If you're coming from the much bigger and more expensive Art Fair, there's even a golf cart shuttle supplied by the organizer of 1 Room, studio e!
Open on First Thursday

On the High Wall: Tracy Rector
The Stranger Genius Award winning filmmaker Tracy Rector, who co-founded Longhouse Media and has curated many exhibitions and screenings emphasizing Native cultural life, will have a new piece, You Are On Indigenous Land, projected onto the high wall.
Open on First Thursday


This Noble Work
Ten Seattle artists sculpt light at this neon art show, a tribute to the noble gas's "particular American quality." Curator Tania Kupczak has been accorded a Jack Straw New Media residency and two Artist Trust GAP awards, and her exhibition, which includes Alleson Buchanan, Kendall Cortese, Kelsey Fernkopf, Koko Jamison, Dani Kaes, Ramie Kraun, Inna Peck, Kristen Ramirez, and Renee Shure, should be a good and cheap alternative/complement to the Seattle Art Fair.


August Collect: Seattle Art Fair Edition
This collectors' club will take you on a tour of various arts shows around the city: the Capitol Hill Block Party 2018 Poster Show, the studio of the prodigious John Grade (known for the giant growing tree sculpture in the Seattle Art Museum lobby), studio e's 1 Room show, a surprise pop-up, and in a split second (it happened). Your ticket includes unlimited champagne and yummy snacks by Tarik Abdullah.

A Nation Is a Massacre
The queer artist Demian DinéYazhi' (whose incisive work about uranium mines and gender is currently exhibited at the Henry) and the members of his R.I.S.E.: Radical Indigenous Survivance & Empowerment collective will screen-print indigenous activist-themed posters. Bring your own t-shirts, totes, etc. to be screen-printed on site.
King Street Station


Closing exhibitions around town


Kirsten Anderson continues to evolve Creatura House from its beginnings as an interior decor store with proceeds benefiting the wildlife conservation nonprofit she started, and this group show will be reminiscent of Anderson’s Roq la Rue days. Logan Hicks’s figurative works are created through what he describes as a “tedious” process that mimics his start in print-making where he uses stencils and then sprays a layer of aerosol. (He used 1,050 stencils for his NYC mural Story of My Life.) Symbolist painter Gail Potocki’s oil on linen portraits are contemporary takes on the old masters that center women as the primary subject. Other artists include Madeline Von Foerster, Laurie Lee Brom, Travis Louie, John Brophy, Flannery Grace Good, Claudia Griesbach-Martucci, and Brian Despain. KATIE KURTZ
Creatura House

Chris Crites: Australians
Ghost Gallery had to close its previous location early in 2018, but it’s back now with an opening show by Chris Crites, whose portraits of arrestees from decades ago, painted on paper bags, are fleshed out with individualistic detail and nonrealistic color. This exhibition focuses on accused criminals of the land Down Under in the 1920s, drawn from photos in Peter Doyle’s books City of Shadows and Crooks Like Us. Like his previous works, Crites’s approach is less prurient than humanistic. When you gaze at the two sheepishly grimacing men nabbed for Stealing a Large Quantity of Chocolates. 1921, or a placid woman wearing a matted fur stole in a portrait called Cocaine, you see subjects of stories, not pinned-down victims of the mug shot’s brute categorization. JOULE ZELMAN
Ghost Gallery

Gettin' Ghibli With It
Many artists pay tribute to the unmistakable style of Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki, who's brought you the monsters and spirits of My Neighbor Totoro, Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke, and more. Expect this to be a popular show as fans of Miyazaki's bewitching, childlike, sometimes ominous, sometimes deeply comforting world congregate.
True Love Art Gallery

Heather Marie Scholl: Reflections
Troubled by the role of women in white supremacy? So is Heather Marie Scholl, whose Whitework is a body of embroidery and text that interrogates white womanhood. The other part of this exhibition, The Self Portraits, features framed, embroidered pictures that evoke women's trauma and the experiences of femininity.
Virago Gallery

Towards Impressionism: Landscape Painting from Corot to Monet
This exhibition traces the development of French landscape painting from the schools of Barbizon and Honfleur through Impressionism, featuring over 40 works from the Musée des Beaux-Arts, Reims. One focal point of the exhibition is the brilliant artist Camille Corot, who exemplified the transition from idealized academic studies to paintings directly inspired by the French countryside.
Frye Art Museum


Jono Vaughan: Project 42
The winner of the 2017 Betty Bowen award is Jono Vaughan, an artist who works in printmaking, textiles, painting, drawing, and performance. Vaughan's Project 42 raises awareness about the extreme violence that transgender people face in the United States. Each work in the series begins with an image of a murder location, translated into a textile print which is used to create a garment. The garment is then worn by a collaborator in a performance, as a way to forge memories, create connections, and transmute violence into conversation and healing. EMILY POTHAST
Seattle Art Museum

Sean Barton: Dirty Laundry
Sean Barton shines light on the "pile up of emotional material" in daily life through visual art.
Gallery 4culture

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