The Art Fair Phenom
This year’s iteration of the Seattle Art Fair (August 4th—7th) will feature talks with rock legend Kim Gordon, Jill-of-all-trades Carrie Brownstein, and FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper from Twin Peaks (aka Kyle MacLachlan). Not the usual art fair suspects, but some welcome personalities nonetheless. In addition, performances and site-responsive sculpture around the city will expand the fair beyond its four walls.
You can thank L.A.–based writer and curator Laura Fried for many of the innovations. Last February, the Seattle Art Fair announced that she would fill their newly created role of artistic director. Here, Fried spoke to us about the fair and her thoughts on the city.
Which Seattle Art Fair projects or booths are you especially excited about?
From what I’ve seen, the galleries are bringing really incredible, interesting work by regional and international artists. This will be such a vibrant weekend packed with activity. Conversations, performances, and projects will both span the space of the fair alongside the gallery booths and integrate into the fair’s surrounding neighborhoods.
There is so much to say here, and I encourage visitors to visit our website (seattleartfair.com/projects-talks) to learn more. But I’d like to say that I’m very honored to be working with the Claire Falkenstein Estate on a selection of historical work. She is such an important figure in postwar sculpture and abstraction coming from the West Coast. The Japanese Mono-Ha artist Kishio Suga has selected a beautiful, spare, large-scale sculpture. Lauren Mackler, founder of Public Fiction, is presenting a rigorous exhibition that explores the history of artists using broadcast television as a medium; this show will take place both at the art fair and the Henry Art Gallery. Of course everyone should try to sign up for one of Glenn Kaino and Speed Levitch’s otherworldly tours.
The Fair will extend into the city’s neighborhoods with site-responsive projects in Pioneer Square and Chinatown. What impact do you hope the work will have in these areas?
It has been really exciting to build a program where nearly half of the projects live off site. An important part of our mission is to build an ambitious public program; by design these projects will be encountered by a broad and diverse public. This is such a beautiful time in Seattle, when tourists, commuters, sports fans, and families all descend upon the city. It’s interesting to imagine the ways that we can create a variety of meaningful encounters with art that are integrated into daily experience.
You’ve lived in Massachusetts, California, and Missouri. What has most surprised you about Seattle?
I’ve enjoyed a totally different relationship to each city in which I’ve worked. I have to say that the enthusiasm and collaborative spirit I’ve met in Seattle is unparalleled. I credit that in part to the palpable support I’ve seen for the fair among colleagues and collectors alike, though I’ve met such amazing, brilliant practitioners in a variety of fields here. Really fruitful, fascinating conversations have emerged.