You can tell it's a mockup because of the blue sky.

I'm not sure it will be so pretty in real life. A couple days a year, maybe.
Continuing the SAM tradition of prominently displaying terrible, bland public art. The only interesting public art SAM has ever had on display was the ball and chain Subculture Joe added to The World's Third-Largest Hammering Man (tm), and so of course SAM had it removed ASAP.


Yes, could that be the famed "Czech Sky" often derided by Seattle Bubble Blog for its use in local area R/E photos?

Speaking of which, The Tim just started a raging debate across his blog and Seattle Transit Blog by publishing some very revealing numbers about the Queen City.

Enquiring minds want to know!…
I can't add much to the insightful SONG 1 commentary, but I was glad to have spent forty minutes walking around the museum, looking at it from different sides, and spending some time sitting in the grass while it played when I was in DC last week. By 11, the mall was near-dead. Almost the only people around were wandering in to see the installation: alone, in clusters, on dog-walks or dates. While it may be shallow, it was definitely an affecting spectacle and the song has been flitting in and out of my head ever since.
I get what you're saying, Jen, but I don't really see how anyone is going to do anything that ISN'T cool and corporate on what is in fact an ultracontemporary corporate skyscraper facade. The setting is going to define the piece. There isn't any conceivable way to give that building a soul.

@2, I hope you're talking about outside, because there's some spectacular stuff in the galleries. I do wish God would come and take those Ford Tauruses away. Scale isn't the only thing wrong with them.
Looks like the sort of generic neon lights that buildings and other architecture are decorated with in any contemporary sci-fi movie or game; what actually gets projected on the displays seems to be a distantly secondary concern to their minimal design.
@5: I hope and pray that Banksy finds and accepts that challenge.
It's pretty, and in a way, perfectly appropriate for the Scandinavian, semi-puritanical aesthetic we so love here. It's like you boiled Times Square for 24 hours until it was inoffensively bland.
I am indeed referring to the art outside the turnstiles (the art outside the building and the tauruses), not to the collections in the galleries, which certainly contain treasures (and dross). Even the older, classic stuff (the camels and lions that were at Volunteer Park) have been destroyed, at least as the icons they once were: first they removed them and replaced them with concrete replicas, for their protection, then they banned kids from climbing on the replicas, which was part of growing up in Seattle when I was a kid. Next they'll ban climbing on the installations at Gasworks.
be really something bold if they commissioned a work by Claude Zervas
Oh, and my favorite bit of art outside the turnstiles was a (almost certainly completely unintentionally) deeply ironic, even bitingly satirical plaque in the lower lobby of the old downtown SAM (I don't know if it's still there) thanking all the civic-minded rich folk who dug deep to put that ridiculous facade on the museum saying "Seattle Art Museum". As the plaque tells the story, the great artist whose life's vision was nearly realized as the museum neared completion suddenly realized that his masterwork needed one capping achievement: the facade saying "Seattle Art Museum". So the Patrons came up with the additional money for this esthetic breakthrough and transformation to happen.

As I recall it, the masterminds on the committee who'd approved the plans (honestly: a quarter of the publicly accessible floor space taken up by a grand indoor staircase from the first-floor cloakroom to the second-floor cloakroom, with windows all along it so the people mounting the stairs can see the people making the exact same trip on the sidewalk outside?) realized at pretty much the last possible minute that the architect had reused plans he'd already used for another building; to make it distinctive the architect wrote "Seattle Art Museum"on the side of the building. Remember, this is the same committee that, living in the city of George Tsutokawa, Bill Holm, and Marvin Oliver, decided the big installation outside the museum should be The Third Biggest Hammering Man In The World.
@11, yes, the original downtown building was a travesty. Wasn't that Robert Venturi? Wasn't it supposedly the greatest architectural wonder of the city's postwar age, rivaled only by the Space Needle? Those giant letters were not only ridiculous, but he managed to find a way to make the stone look like vacuum-formed plastic. Possibly flocked.

PoMo was a tragedy all over the world but rarely as egregiously as here. Such fine theory, such abysmal results.

Don't forget that in addition to "Hammering Man", the opening exhibit in the new building (the 1991 one, not the current skyscraper next to it) was of Dale Chihuly glass.

The blandness of the current building next to it is in this case something of a blessing.

Thank you for pointing out that the Cai Guo-Qiang piece works well when presented well, which SAM's lobby prohibits.

The piece was fantastically potent when it originally appeared at Mass MoCA, and I've heard that it worked just as well suspended vertically in the Guggenheim. It helps to see it juxtaposed with its companion tigers --… -- or with some of his "gunpowder drawings" to give context to his playful fusion of Chinese themes with Western pop-culture spectacle.

It makes me sad that I hear so much whining about "the cars" every time I walk down First Ave, knowing how amazing Cai's work can be in an appropriate space!
That electronic mirror at MacArthur House- the one that created your reflection from a composite of every person that had been in front of it- that's what SAM needs to install.
It's good to hear that the cars aren't intrinsically bad art, but rather good art ruined by the SAM. In fact, it's fitting somehow.

Not ruined by SAM (the organization) as much as by the awkwardness of the SAM (the space). SAM either needed to design the space specifically for the piece, so that it could at least be seen at once, or not bought it.

Cai is one of my favorite installation artists working today. I still have some of the machine-vended tonics from this piece. Cost me all of 25 cents for work by a major international artist:……

It's funny to note that his Guggenheim show went up concurrently with the installation of Inopportune: Stage One at SAM. Which means there are actually 18 of those cars out there.
I didn't mean ruined by the SAM in the sense that it was physically destroyed, but so long as it's on display in their museum it is ruined as a work of art. Just one more terrible decision they've made, snatching disaster from the jaws of triumph. It is a serious question whether there is anything good about the modern SAM that results from their own decisions, as opposed to artworks bequeathed to them and traveling exhibits designed elsewhere.

And it's all the more fitting that according to what you wrote these aren't the same cars that were successfully shown at the Guggenheim, but rather another nearly identical version of the artwork, displayed so incompetently as to make the artwork widely hated.

Shades of the Hammering Man here. I wonder if they've made the parallels perfect: might this display of Cai's cars, like The Hammering Man, be the third-best implementation of this artwork in the world?
It looks like the Olive 8 on meth.
The immersive piece Aitkin did at regen projects in LA a few years ago was pretty amazing. Having video 40 to 80 feet above the street is point less unless you're droppIng 400 a night across the street at the four seasons.. Really, video of sky and boats. You have to be kidding.

An internet search reveals wildly different installations of it in Santa Fe, Beijing, Sydney, Teipei, and a small town in Quebec.

Every one of them appears to be more successfully installed than in Seattle.………

All appearances of the piece seem to be either "organized in collaboration with Mass MoCA" or "collection Seattle Art Museum," implying that those entities control the rights to the two copies of the piece. Interestingly, all other appearances of the work save the original Massachusetts incarnation have occurred while ours has been hanging undisturbed above First Ave, so one can presume it has been the other set of cars everywhere else.
Correction: When SITE Santa Fe imported the show from Mass MoCA, they chose not to include the Stage One piece rather than to display it poorly in their constricted space.

That second link above appears to be in Bilbao...…

Mirror: a new fragrance by Doug Aitken. It could be cool or it could be the elevator shaft from the deathstar, saddled by the old venturi stylings on the right-- of which the 1st floor tilework always makes me think of a Baha Fresh in a Bellevue stripmall. It definitely transcends something, but I don't know about style. Oh well, I love to hate it-- what's inside is more important. And that's what I love to love.
It's to bad this is going to be so boring. If/when I get a chance to do something of this scale.....well ...Watch Out World!! Keep an eye on Blue Phoenix Lites.....we'll show you how art and technology are supposed, to blend. -Just-N-illusion
I actually like Mr. Aiken's work a lot. lets fire that baby up and see how it looks. it won't be boring, even if it's a bit deathstar, yo.

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