Seattle Art Fair to Host Engaging On-Site Projects, Talks & City-Wide Public Programming, Activating Unexpected Sites Beyond the Fair

Seattle Art Fair
Jun 28, 2017 4:16PM

The third edition of Seattle Art Fair, presented by AIG, ​returns with dynamic programming spread throughout the neighborhood, with large-scale works by local and international artists, and daily artist dialogues. This year, the installations and experiences will examine the many ways today’s artists engage with architecture and design, public space, and the histories and conditions of social activism.  

An exciting and ambitious collection of solo projects will be on-site at the fair presented by an intergenerational group of artists invested in blending installation and performance. The CenturyLink Field Event center will also be the site of discussions between artists and creative leaders with deep connections to the West Coast and the Pacific Northwest. The off-site Projects—site-specific works dispersed throughout the surrounding neighborhood, address the visual language of public signage and public and consider these nodes of common citizenship.  

For the most updated information information about programming, please visit Seattle Art Fair's official Projects & Talks page.

Image courtesy of Seattle Art Fair


Curated by Laura Fried​, the Artistic Director of the Seattle Art Fair, the robust program will include talks, films, performances, immersive installations and experiences:  

- Seattle will host the first installation of multiple works in a public urban setting from Jenny Holzer’s​ iconic The Survival Series (1984), integrated into the architecture at Pioneer Square, the city’s original neighborhood.  

- Nancy Rubins​, whose monumental assemblages are typically presented formally in institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art, will present a selection of studies of her large- scale sculptures at the fair. She is presenting a meta study of her work, scaled down for the viewer—in the work, 1 ½ inch equals 1 foot.  

- Sculptor Sean Townley​ will install his large floor-based sculpture, 7 Diadems (2016), at the fair. Visitors will have the opportunity to interact with these boulder-size copies of partial head molds made from a monumental ancient sculpture of the Roman Juno.  

- Los Angeles-based Dylan Mira​ and Erika Vogt​’s Pool (2017) will transform Seattle’s historic Union Station into a multifaceted installation of sculpture, video and performance inspired by the train station itself as well as Korean spas, creating a space for rest and resistance for the public.  

- Gerard​ & Kelly​ will host the world premiere of their new film, Modern Living (2016- ongoing), a choreographic, two-channel installation at the fair. In conjunction with the installation, they will sit down with art historian Miwon Kwon to discuss their shared interest in performance, film, and architecture, and their evolving artistic practice.  



Seattle Art Fair’s Projects  

The weekend serves as a launchpad for artists and thinkers to move beyond the conventional booth model, reaching a wide and diverse audience by activating historic sites around the neighborhood, and spotlighting Seattle as a vital cultural capital.  





Seattle-based design practice Civilization has devised an immersive space for children and their families to explore and interact with concepts in art and design. This playful exhibition consists of five activations which correspond to the five design principles: scale, color, type, symbols, and structure. Each station includes a brief description of an iconic artist and graphic designer who has influenced culture and shaped the current state of art and design, along with corresponding activities to encourage curiosity and play. A continuation of the Seattle Art Fair’s commitment to reaching an audience of all ages, this collaboration offers a dynamic activity space for children ages three and up, in a play-based learning environment that engages with artists and ideas.

Gerard & Kelly  

Modern Living

The Seattle Art Fair and the Frye Art Museum co-present the world premiere of Brennan Gerard and Ryan Kelly’s new film in a choreographic, two-channel installation at the fair. Modern Living (2016-ongoing) began as two site-specific choreographed performances: at the R.M. Schindler House in Los Angeles, the site of an early experiment in communal living, and the Glass House in New Canaan, where the architect Philip Johnson and his partner David Whitney lived for over 40 years. Represented by site-specific events, videos filmed on location, drawings, and performance scores, Modern Living explores intimacy and queer space within legacies of modernist architecture. Structured in chapters, the project is driven by the question, “what would a home have to look and feel like today to protect and produce intimacies and relations that don’t fit within dominant narratives of family, marriage, or domesticity?” The film features performances by L.A. Dance Project, and original scores by SOPHIE (Glass House chapter) and Lucky Dragons (Schindler House chapter). At the fair, Gerard & Kelly present the first two chapters of the film, as they posit questions around the livability of queer space – its pleasures, tensions, and impossibilities – and reimagine iconic architecture as sites of experimentation in living.

Image courtesy of Seattle Art Fair

Jeffrey Gibson  


Presented with Roberts and Tilton In the multi-media installation, LIKE A HAMMER (2016), Jeffrey Gibson presents a wool and canvas robe intricately adorned with metal jingles, beadwork, and nylon fringe suspended from looming teepee poles. From afar, the installation reads as a collection of Inter-tribal and Indigenous objects; however upon closer inspection, the robe's materials are that of pastiche Native American adornments that effectively mix references to ceremonial and other transformational garments. Gibson initially performed improvisational ritualistic movement while wearing the 120-pound robe in a durational performance. His meditative movements are inspired by animals and thoughts represented in the seven text based drawings he made during the performance, questioning the reverberation of rites as they are affected by time, space, and context. In doing so, Gibson develops a cross-cultural process that mines the complexities of geopolitical tensions that exist throughout the Americas.

Image courtesy of Seattle Art Fair

Jenny Holzer  

The Survival Series  

Aptly titled The Survival Series, Jenny Holzer’s iconic, cast-aluminum plaques, which she produced beginning in the early 1980s, are integrated within the public architecture of Seattle’s historic Pioneer Square. Crafted to have the look of authority, the plaques are inscribed with pithy insights into the human condition and the nature of power. Visitors to the fair and the general public of Seattle are invited to discover Holzer’s inconspicuous but powerful works throughout this neighborhood, in the first public installation of multiple plaques in an open urban setting.

Image courtesy of Seattle Art Fair

Jessica Jackson  

Hutchins Reason to Be  

Portland artist Jessica Jackson Hutchins presents a new, large-scale outdoor sculpture. Drawing from the design of public rest spots, such as bus stops and park gazebos, the artist integrates panels of bespoke stained glass into the frames of a decommissioned public bus shelter. In a hybrid space invoking public citizenship and personal spirituality, the project continues Hutchins’ interest in the friction between the mundane and transcendent.

Image courtesy of Seattle Art Fair

Ellen Lesperance  


Presented with Adams and Ollman  

In an aisle of the fair, Portland-based artist Ellen Lesperance presents a new work: a collection of fabricated garments that celebrates the legacy and continuing significance of the feminist activist group Women’s International Terrorist Conspiracy from Hell (W.I.T.C.H.). This series includes textile designs and patches that are reproductions of a hooded cloak worn by a W.I.T.C.H. member at the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp. Founded in 1981, the camp was established in Berkshire, England to protest nuclear weapons being sited at the nearby Royal Air Force Base. Exclusively comprised of women, the protest – much like the W.I.T.C.H. group that predated it – believed that patriarchy itself was one of the root causes of war and had to be directly confronted. Throughout the weekend of the fair, a varied group of local artists, activists, writers, dancers, and actors will remove the garments from their display – designed and fabricated by Portland based designer Jason Rens – and stage a series of happenings in and out of the fair while cloaked in Lesperance’s apparel, vesting new agency in the garments in service of “untamed, angry, joyous and immortal” actions.  

Performance Times: ​Thursday, August 3, at 5:30PM; Friday - Sunday at 12PM.  

Note:​ ​Friday, Saturday, and Sunday performances will begin on-site at the artist’s installation and will lead the public off-site to Occidental Mall. Each performance in Occidental Mall will begin at approximately 12:30PM.

Image courtesy of Seattle Art Fair

Dylan Mira and Erika Vogt  


In the light-filled, tiled hall of Seattle’s historic Union Station, Los Angeles-based artists Erika Vogt and Dylan Mira present a new collaboration. Cruising the temporal drag they locate between the train station’s inherent conditions of waiting and movement, to the care and commons of the Korean bathhouse, the artists offer a space for rest and resistance. The public is invited to lounge in an installation of architectural models and sculptural platforms referencing medicinal spa materials, while videos and performance are presented to engage audiences in "language/object choreographies to reimagine knowing and unknowing together." Using ergonomics, organics, and perspective to disorient "the body as table as building as mist as dream," new positions form across time.

Image courtesy of Seattle Art Fair

Mary Ann Peters  

the world is a garden…  

Presented with James Harris Gallery  

Seattle artist Mary Ann Peters presents a new monolithic sculpture, the world is a garden... (2017), comprised of an internal white cube coated with flowers and seen through the veil of a honeycomb patterned screen. An interpretation of a phrase from the 14th century North African Arab historian Ibn Kaldun, "The world is a garden, the walls are the state" – and the result of her research and observations of the Syrian exodus in the generation of her grandparents and today – Peters’ installation is the foundation for an ongoing series titled "impossible monuments," which aim to give voice to "small influential narratives within migration histories that deserve reverence."

Image courtesy of Seattle Art Fair

Nancy Rubins  

Selection of Work  

Presented with Gagosian Gallery  

Nancy Rubins is known for her large-scale assemblages of found objects. This selected presentation of studies allows for an intimate consideration of an iconic body of work. The boat forms in these configurations are organic and seemingly precarious, presented in a scale of 1 ½ inch equals 1 foot. The studies refer to a system of compression and tension utilized in the large-scale sculptures (Buckminster Fuller labeled this system tensegrity). Rubins’ maquettes and sculptures alike enjoy the ability to cantilever through space.

Image courtesy of Seattle Art Fair

Sean Townley  

7 Diadems  

Presented with Night Gallery  

The serial sculpture by Sean Townley, 7 Diadems (2016), comprises seven fragmentary copies of a monumental Roman Juno in the collection of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. To create the piece the artist appropriated a mold originally produced by conservators at the museum in the mid-20th century. Through use of a technology designed to create copies and reconstruct losses, Townley presents a new suite of multiple diadem heads, emphasizing mechanical reproduction and nodding to a modernist seriality of forms.

Image courtesy of Seattle Art Fair

Naama Tsabar  


Presented with Shulamit Nazarian  

Closer (2014), by New York-based Naama Tsabar, is a hybrid of installation, sculpture, instrument and performance. Two conjoined walls, standing in the aisle of the art fair, form a freestanding corner that has strings and microphones fused to it and connect to amplifiers and speakers. Tsabar shifts the fairs architectural support structures from the display of art to the propagation of sound and gives articulation to the preexisting acoustics embedded in the structure. Throughout the weekend, the artist and the musician Fielded will collaborate in a performance composed on the corner activating its acoustic qualities.  

Performance Times: ​Thursday, August 3, at 4PM and 7PM; Friday - Sunday at 5PM.

Image courtesy of Seattle Art Fair


Seattle Art Fair Talks  

The fair will present daily programming of two-person dialogues foregrounding the ways a distinct sense of place can create a powerful cultural context. Speakers will include artists and creative leaders with deep connections to the West Coast and the Pacific Northwest. All talks will take place at Sotheby’s Theater  




1:30PM Gerard & Kelly + Miwon Kwon  

On the occasion of their installation at the Seattle Art Fair, the world premiere of their film Modern Living, Brennan Gerard and Ryan Kelly sit down with art historian Miwon Kwon, to discuss their ongoing project and the shared interest in performance, film, and architecture.  


1:30PM Oscar Tuazon + Jennifer  

West Los Angeles-based artists Oscar Tuazon, who often employs industrial materials in his sculptural installations, and Jennifer West, whose practice is immersed in material and conceptual explorations of film, sit down to discuss their respective work, a shared interest in DIY, and their deep roots in Seattle and the Pacific Northwest.  

3:30PM Jenny Gheith + Nancy Rubins

SFMOMA curator Jenny Gheith speaks with Nancy Rubins on the artist's prolific career of transforming industrial, manufactured objects – such as mattresses, appliances, and boats – into physically commanding monumental sculptures.  


1:30PM​ Clyde Petersen + Tariqa Waters

Artist, musician, and filmmaker Clyde Petersen talks with artist and curator Tariqa Waters, founder of the art space Martyr Sauce, about their past collaborations and their respective engagement in the Seattle arts community and beyond.  

3:30PM Helen Mirra + Amie Siegel  

Helen Mirra and Amie Siegel, artists and friends, converse about things they care about, including locations and non-sites, rocks and crystals, the ur- and the copy.


**Please visit Seattle Art Fair's official Projects & Talks page for the most current information

Image: Artist Tariqua Waters; Courtesy of Seattle Art Fair

Seattle Art Fair