Photography by Christopher Reicks
Last Friday was one of those nights when everything seems to happen at once. There were a number of public openings, private parties and, of course, many performances. Faced with many promising invitations, we decided to divide our coverage of the night’s festivities between two art events: a big public opening at a museum and an intimate dinner party at a gallery.
Photog Christopher Reicks and I started at the friends-and-family opening of Cris Bruch‘s new exhibition, Others Who Were Here at the Frye Museum. The artworks span many media, but are all beautifully wrought. This show is particularly austere in its meditation on the hard life of subsistence farming on the Great Plains, but that didn’t dampen the celebratory spirit of the evening. It also inspired some truly delicious hors d’oeuvres. The teeny bison burgers were definitely a crowd favorite.
Bruch is a fixture in the local arts community, and younger artists and old-guard patrons alike came out in support. That included Leo Saul Berk, who just had his own solo show at the Frye last summer, and Claire Cowie. In the galleries, we found artist Paul Komada with son Enzo and sound artist Robb Kunz with his family. As we were leaving for the next party, we spotted Kira Burge of Seattle Art Fair and Guy Merrill of Greg Kucera Gallery, which represents Bruch and will present a solo exhibition of his works this year.
From there, it was off to GLASS BOX Gallery for an anniversary dinner party. Over the last year, gallerist Weston Jandacka has co-hosted dinner parties in the gallery with Kathleen Warren of Urban ArtWorks. Each dinner has had a different guest list of designers, writers, artists, tradespeople and bon vivants, brought together simply to learn more about each other and what is happening in their respective creative worlds. This anniversary dinner invited all previous guests back for one big party.
The entree was a massive seafood paella by chef Christian DiSanto, made in a large pan over a circular burner of his own design, specialized for the dish. While Warren and other guests volunteered as bartenders, Jandacka and wife Mona Radheshwar were preparing salads and setting out dishes between conversations.
Several artists represented by GLASS BOX were present, including JD Banke, John Sarkis and Forrest Perrine. Last year, Perrine presented a show that occurred at two venues: GLASS BOX and Two Shelves, the in-home gallery of artists Joe Rudko and Kelly Björk, who were also in attendance. This reminded me how nice it would be to be in two places at once, given how many events were happening that night, but even with full dance cards, there was a joy and ease to the party. Susan Surface, architect and program director of Design in Public, arrived from another dinner party hosted by The New Foundation in honor of artist Martha Rosler.
All of this was happening amid artist Julia Freeman‘s solo show, Quiet Alter, curated by Serrah Russell and Sierra Stinson. Greenway’s work was a cathartic response to corruption and human rights abuses by the pharmaceutical industry. It included a board game (co-created with husband Steven Miller) called Pharmakon, which was laid out similar to Monopoly but whose drawn cards illuminated the gross, deadly violations on unwitting communities, including but certainly not limited to the Tuskegee Experiments. The far wall of the foyer was draped with over a dozen portraits of leaders from the culpable companies, each rendered in a collage of decay. It’s thought-provoking work and it inspired conversation throughout the night.
GLASS BOX’s next show is a solo exhibit by Dylan Neuwirth, opening during First Thursday Art Walk, February 4. Check out the GLASS BOX website for teasers. Cheers to another year of great art and conversations in Seattle.