Due to last Thursday (the first Thursday of the month) being Independence Day (do de do de do), tomorrow is the convergence of two of the biggest recurring art events in city: Pioneer Square Art Walk and Capitol Hill Art Walk are happening on the same goddamn day. Which is a little overwhelming to an art lover like me, but there’s art to be seen! Also, tomorrow looks like it’ll be less humid and sunnier, so it’s really the perfect day to put on your trainers, glitter eyeshadow, and hit all the best galleries in town.
Zanele Muholi: Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness at Seattle Art Museum
Babhekile II They are watching, 2015 Jasmyne Keimig
Listen—I went to the press preview for this yesterday and it fucked me up. In the best way possible. Sprawled across two galleries and a long hallway, Somnyama Ngonyama, Hail the Dark Lioness at SAM features 76 staged self-portraits of South African “visual activist” Zanele Muholi. This ongoing series explores blackness, with Muholi fashioning garments using found materials like pads, cowrie shells, and washing machine tubes, connecting them to parts of their own identity.
I studied Muholi when I was in college, mostly their ongoing Faces & Phases project, which depicts black lesbian and transgender people in South Africa, rewriting the visual history of that particular community. It is a Big Fucking Deal that Muholi has a show here. To demonstrate how important black queer art is to the Seattle community, y’all have to go! Document it! Submit a comment card! Tell everyone and their gramma to go see this shit! Data/feedback absolutely counts in terms of money put towards and given to black artists, but we have to do our part and show up. SO SHOW UP. I’ll be writing a more depthy review of the show later. Stay tuned.
Offerte: Photographs by Steven Miller at The Factory
Steven Miller shot the gorgeous Ms. Briq House for the cover of our 2019 Queer Issue, which we passed out at the Pride Parade. It was sexy and moody and I think one of my favorite covers that we’ve done during my (short) tenure as visual arts critic here at The Stranger. You have a chance to see his work again at the Factory in Capitol Hill in his show, Offerte. Meaning “offering” in Italian, Miller calls on a specific episode from his childhood where he burned his stash of gay porn mags out of shame, thinking this action would stop him from being gay. It didn’t.
For this series, Miller burned gay porn mags from the ’70s to the ’90s in a fire pit, documenting the images being consumed by fire in a tribute to “love and loss through the AIDS years.” In revisiting this moment from his childhood, the fire comes to mean something different—less Christian hell fire and more passion, desire, and power. From what I’ve seen, the pictures look gorgeous: nude bods getting eaten up by flame.
Amjad Faur and Paula Rebsom: In Our Absence at SOIL
Paula Rebsom, “Absence of Time” Courtesy of the Artist
My backyard kind of scares me. A couple of days ago, someone slept in it, and stole my roommate’s bike. Really anything could happen. The local artists of In Our Absence, SOIL’s latest show, would like to know what’s going on, though. Amjad Faur and Paula Rebsom are interested in exploring what happens in environments they feel intimately connected to when they are not there. Using infrared motion-sensor camera traps, Faur documents a hunting reserve just south of Olympia, while Rebsom documents her backyard in Greenwood. Both look to highlight parallels between their own experiences in these spaces and what happens when neither of them is around.
There’s a thousand more shows you can check out here. Please go! And see ya there
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