Since 1940, the Tacoma Art Museum has featured somewhat-regular exhibits of artwork by contemporary Northwest artists. The name and frequency of these exhibits have changed over the years, and this year’s showcase is no exception.
NW Art Now is TAM’s most recent exhibit featuring 47 varied works by 24 regional artists, including five Tacoma natives. The works cover a spectrum of media including: photography, paint, video, light, yarn, fabric, music, and wood.
This year nearly 300 artists responded to TAM’s open call for submissions. Each artist was asked to supply digital images of their work and a written statement about each piece to a juried selection committee. Rock Hushka, TAM’s Chief Curator and Curator of Contemporary and Northwest Art, along with Juan Roselione-Valadez, Director of the Rubell Family Collection, Contemporary Arts Foundation in Miami narrowed the list down to just 30 artists. The list was further tightened through studio visits and conference calls.
What is unique about the NW Art Now exhibit is that the collection can be found throughout the museum according to Stephanie Stebich, Executive Director at TAM.
“Once again Rock and his co-curator have been bolder in their building interventions, things that are outside the gallery, things that you would typically find in public spaces, entry spaces,” Stebich said.
Patrons will begin seeing pieces of the exhibit as soon as they drive past TAM along Pacific Avenue where they can catch a glimpse of Dylan Neuwirth’s neon Just Be Your Selfie banner, formerly displayed in Seattle’s Pioneer Square. Once patrons enter the parking garage they are greeted by a large sign proclaiming “NO DOGS”. This isn’t necessarily reflective of the museum’s animal policy, rather it is the artwork of Portland-based artist, Brad Adkins.
Passing from the parking structure, into the museum’s vestibule, patrons are greeted with peaceful music as they walk through a corridor lined with sheet music while a steady stream of cars on Interstate 705 are projected onto a nearby wall. Upon closer examination the viewer may notice that the music coincides with the passing of the cars, this is no coincidence, it is Lou Watson’s aptly-named Section of the I-705, on a Wednesday, for Electric Piano.
Outside NW Art Now’s main gallery, patrons will get the opportunity to interact with the art through Accounting for Public Interest by Guestwork, a creative team consisting of Travis Neel and Erin Charprntier. Patrons may elect to grab a ‘ballot’ and head into the election booths where they will find pencils and a survey pertaining to the future of Tacoma. Survey responses from engaged patrons surrounding social, political, and economic challenges will be posted in the final month of the exhibition.
“Given that it is an election season, I think the election booth by Guestwork–a Portland collaboration–reminds us the importance of voting,” Stebich said. “It is a very local vote (which is) sort of talking about the future of Tacoma which I appreciate.”
NW Art Now is open now through September 4th, check out TAM’s website for hours and ticket prices.
This year’s artists include:
Humaira Abid, Renton, Washington
Brad Adkins, Portland, Oregon
Juventino Aranda, Walla Walla, Washington
Oliver Doriss, Tacoma, Washington
Ka’ila Farrell-Smith, Portland, Oregon
Ben Gannon, Seattle, Washington
Dakota Gearhart, Seattle, Washington
Guestwork, Portland, Oregon
Karen Hackenberg, Port Townsend, Washington
C. Davida Ingram, Seattle, Washington
Eirik Johnson, Seattle, Washington
Christopher Paul Jordan, Tacoma, Washington
Paul Komada, Seattle, Washington
Lily Martina Lee, Boise, Idaho
Jeremy Mangan, Tacoma, Washington
Amanda Manitach, Seattle, Washington
Dylan Neuwirth, Seattle, Washington
SuttonBeresCuller, Seattle, Washington
Asia Tail, Tacoma, Washington
Rodrigo Valenzuela, Seattle, Washington
Joey Veltkamp, Seattle, Washington
Jamie Marie Waelchli, Tacoma, Washington
Lou Watson, Portland, Oregon
Robert Yoder, Seattle, Washington