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GRAY’s Guide to the Seattle Art Fair

The Seattle Art Fair returns this summer to the CenturyLink Field Event Center where, for four days, modern and contemporary art lovers can take in performances, talks, special exhibits and works from more than 100 galleries from around the globe. As for Pacific Northwest participants, expect art world standouts such as Seattle’s Greg Kucera Gallery, Winston Wächter Fine Art, and Linda Hodges Gallery; Portland’s Elizabeth Leach Gallery and PDX Contemporary Art; and Vancouver’s Elissa Cristall Gallery.

Seattle Art Fair artistic director Nato Thompson said he hopes the program is “dreamy, bizarre, yet tangible,” and sparks excitement for people new to art. “I want to create space for different forms of art, reflect on the city of Seattle, highlight local voices, and, of course, be political. We’re considering the future from many angles, from a first-nations perspective to a robotic, tinkering one.”

To get the most out of your arty experience, we’ve highlighted a few can’t-miss events and pieces (a model of a space-bound sculpture! 14-foot-tall female pioneer puppets!) that will be on view throughout the fair.

Space out over artist and MacArthur Fellow Trevor Paglen’s satellite sculpture, Orbital Reflector. The scale model is made from a Mylar-like material and represents the piece Paglen and the Nevada Museum of Art will send into space this fall using a CubeSat miniature research satellite. After reaching a low orbit, the CubeSat will release the self-inflating sculpture, which will move slowly in the sky and reflect sunlight like an artificial star, thus providing what the artist calls a “telescopic mirror of ourselves.” On Sunday, August 5, at 3:30 pm, Paglen and Seattle Art Fair artistic director Thompson will discuss the satellite project.

Thirty different 3D portraits of activist and former US soldier Chelsea Manning were algorithmically generated by analyzing her DNA, bringing to light the many ways a person’s DNA can be interpreted as data, not to mention the subjective nature of it all.

It’s not often you get a chance to peek a new work by an Emmy Award-winning artist who also designed the set for the wacky 1980s children’s program Pee-Wee’s Playhouse. So here it is: Wayne White’s Here Come the Boren Sisters features two 14-foot-tall moveable puppets of iconic Seattle pioneers Mary Ann and Louisa Boren. Viewers have the chance to move the puppets via large ropes and “participate in a recollection of the hard work done by these early female settlers.”

Seattle conceptual artist C. Davida Ingram’s multimedia installation examines how Seattle is changing and evolving within the global economy and features a “poetic revisitation” of the 1999 World Trade Organization (WTO) protests. On Sunday, August 5 at 1:30 p.m., join Ingram for Examining Seattle’s Global Economies Past, Present & Future, as she facilitates a conversation among local scholars, artists and community organizers about the city’s past, present, and future and how it all relates to the upcoming 20th anniversary of those protests.

The Seattle gallery is presenting works from Pacific Northwest artists, including sculptor Julie Speidel, multimedia artist Etsuko Ichikawa and glass artist Ann Gardner.

On view August 2-5 and situated adjacent to the Seattle Art Fair at the Alvalara Hawk Tower (255 S. King St.), this salon-style exhibit, à la the Salon des Refusés, will feature more than forty Studio e Gallery and other Pacific Northwest artists such as Brian Beck, Saul Becker, Sue Danielson, Molly Magai, and others. An opening reception will be held on Thursday, August 2, 7-10pm.

Seattle Art Fair, CenturyLink Field Event Center, August 2-5, times vary.


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