The 2017 Seattle Art Fair debuts this week, open August 3-6 at the CenturyLink Field Event Center. Now in its third edition, the fair includes 100 exhibitors from 10 countries. Over half the galleries are from the Pacific Rim, joining blue chip participants like Gagosian, David Zwirner, and Pace. Whitewall spoke with Laura Fried, the artistic director of the fair, about what to expect this year.
WHITEWALL: It seems like something special to this year is a big focus on programming that involves the city of Seattle. Why was that something you wanted to expand on?
LAURA FRIED: Our mission has always been to showcase the Seattle’s culture and diversity, and offer new and unique ways for both locals and visitors to experience what the city’s arts community has to offer. We do this in a few different ways every year including, involving local artist, galleries and influencers in the Projects & Talks program and local galleries as exhibitors. This year we’re excited to welcome leading local galleries like James Harris Gallery, Greg Kucera Gallery, and Woodside Braseth Gallery and we’re looking forward to the discussion between artist, musician, and filmmaker Clyde Petersen and Martyr Sauce founder, Tariqa Waters on their past collaborations and their respective engagement in the Seattle arts community and beyond.
Also worth noting is local galleries will be open during the fair—First Thursday, the monthly event in Pioneer Square where art galleries open their doors to the public, coincides with our Beneficiary Preview, making Pioneer Square the place to be on Thursday!
WHITEWALL: What off-site programming should visitors be sure to check out?
LF: Artists Dylan Mira and Erika Vogt’s “Pool” exhibition in the iconic Union Station — an immersive installation of sculptural platforms, videos and performance that encourages viewers to linger inside the artwork—or to watch and follow a performance piece staged by Portland-based artist Ellen Lesperance and inspired by the feminist activist group Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell (W.I.T.C.H.), that will lead viewers from the fair to Occidental Mall.
WW: Civilization has created an immersive space for children and family to explore art and design, “See/Saw.” Can you tell us more about the project?
LF: It’s composed of magnetic textiles that can be moved, stacked, and combined to create new pictures, words and ideas. There will be coloring activity worksheets where children learn about influential artists and designers and a wall of moveable type where you can construct new words by breaking apart magnetic shapes that form the letters. They will learn how the world is made up of simple shapes by spotting the shapes found in pictures hidden on the walls. And they will construct their own city within a grid to learn the importance of structure.
WW: Who are some of the fair first-timers we should keep an eye out for?
LF: I’m looking forward to New York based Fridman Gallery presenting works by Summer Wheat, who is concurrently having a major solo exhibition at the Henry. I also have my eye on Los Angeles based Night Gallery, the Kurt Cobain paintings at UTA Artist Space, Seattle’s Koplin Del Rio and Traver Gallery are partnering to present an irreverent installation of works by international duo, the de la Torre Brothers, Einar and Jamex, and finally the Asami Maruyama’s embroidery works at Ohshima Fine Art from Tokyo.
WW: Aside from public programming to better engage with Seattle, are the museum or gallery shows that will coincide with the fair visitors should know of, as well?
LF: We’re very excited about Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirrors at The Seattle Art Museum, as well as Mwangi Hutter’s solo exhibition at Mariane Ibrahim, “Falling in Love,” Again.
WW: How would you describe the collector community in Seattle?
LF: Maybe there’s something in the balance of solitude and metropolitan life that’s made it such an attraction for both artists and collectors. So you have a cultural scene driven by incredible talent, from musicians to the minds behind the major tech community. All that makes for a dynamic, involved, creative collecting community that is now the fastest growing city in the US.