Thank you to Mithun for co-sponsoring ARCADE's website and e-newsletter.
This Wednesday 2 Dec
by Seattle Art Museum
7 – 9pm
Local chef Renee Erickson and artist Jeffry Mitchell discuss the connections between food and art
This Thursday 3 Dec
by SEGD Seattle Chapter
6 – 8pm
Presentation about designing and building the 14 Hands Tasting Room, followed by a tour of NW Building Tech
This Friday 4 Dec
by AIGA Seattle, CreativeLive
7 – 10pm
Holiday celebration for the creative community, benefiting the Pour Back Fund
Saturday 5 Dec
by Mount Baker Community Club
10am – 4pm
Home tour of Seattle neighborhood Mount Baker
Saturday 5 Dec –
Sunday 3 Jan
by The Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture
Open daily 10am – 5pm
Witness the revival of a lost art as workers construct a traditional Native boat made by Alaska's Alutiiq peoples. Hands-on activities & holiday shop
Saturday 5 Dec
by Mighty Tieton
10am – 6pm
Holiday bazaar featuring only handmade and vintage items
Tuesday 8 Dec
by The Washington Trust for Historic Preservation
5:30 – 8:30pm
Holiday party features the announcement of the 2016 Valerie Sivinski Washington Preserves Fund grant recipients
Wednesday 9 Dec
by AIGA Seattle
12 – 1pm
Lunch presentation about visual communications, the science behind visual storytelling, & how to succeed in this emerging new world of design
Thursday 10 Dec
by Docomomo WEWA
Annual holiday cocktail party celebrating Northwest Modernism
Friday 11 Dec
Doors at 6:30pm
Lecture by renowned graphic designer Paula Scher. April Greiman leads a discussion with Paula following the lecture.
Friday 11 Dec
6 – 8:30pm
Join us as we celebrate the release of ARCADE 33.3, The Creative Space-Time Continuum: Histories and Futures Inside the Rainier Oven Building
Tuesday 15 Dec
by SMPS Seattle
4 – 7pm
Panel discussion on business development, marketing, leadership and career progression, with networking, food and drinks
Thursday 17 Dec
by Seattle Art Museum
6 – 9pm
A winter evening of art, music and lights with dynamic programs connecting art and the environment for all ages
Wednesday 13 Jan –
Friday 5 Feb
by Seattle Architecture Foundation
Opening Reception, Wednesday 13th Jan, 6 – 8pm
Exhibit open Tuesday – Saturday
Architectural model exhibit engages the public in the work of local designers, giving visitors an inside view into how architectural design happens
Through Friday 11 Dec
by Suyama Space
Artist reception: 28 August, 5–7pm; Artist talk: August 29, 12pm. See website for exhibition hours.
at Suyama Space
Installation exploring the idea that there are "rules of the game” in the production of art.
Through Friday 11 Dec
by Suyama Space
Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm
at Suyama Space
Art installation on the floor allows visitor to interact with it as a game board
Through Sunday 10 Jan
by Frye Art Museum
Tuesday – Sunday 11am – 5pm
Open Thursday until 7pm
A celebration of exceptional artistic practice in Seattle in the 21st century, featuring the work of over 65 artists across all disciplines
Through Sunday 24 Jan
by Vancouver Art Gallery
Daily 10am – 5pm
Tuesdays until 9pm
Conceptual design presentation by Herzog & de Meuron, the design architects for the new Vancouver Art Gallery
Through Friday 4 Dec
by AIA Seattle
Each session 8am – 12:30pm
Workshops explore cross-disciplinary approaches essential for planning, regulations, financing, and operations for net zero design
Through Sunday 24 Jan
by Henry Art Gallery
Art exhibition reinterprets spacial qualities of a structure with painted graphics and a matrix of multi-colored acrylic yarn
Through Sunday 13 Dec
by Frye Art Museum
Tuesday – Sunday, 11am – 5pm
Thursday, 11am – 7pm
Film with stop-motion animation covers that drastic changes that have come to Seattle
Through Saturday 19 Dec
by UW School of Art + Art History + Design
Reception: Wednesday, 18th Nov, 5 – 8pm
Jacob Lawrence Gallery hours are Tue – Fri, 10am – 5pm, and Sat, 1 – 5pm
Art exhibition on how smaller-scale actors are becoming more prevalent/powerful in the manufacturing sphere
Artists work to build an audience, then withdraw to places where they can simply be human. Backstage, greenrooms are the hideaways that bear their wildest celebrations, embrace their failures and hide their flaws. The rooms shift in character through a range of human interactions, from the pulse of connection with artists and friends, to an interview, to the sanctuary of quiet moments before going onstage.
Maybe performers still think about that one evening when everything that went wrong came together perfectly with everything that went right, and they came back to the greenroom sweating, glowing, shouting, drinking, hugging—touching the walls and writing their dreams on the ceiling. Greenrooms see so many things, and then they are left alone: someone’s empty living room, a strange hotel suite in the back of a building, cleaned after every guest but acquiring a buildup of indelible marks from each.
Town Hall, a multidisciplinary venue housed in a former church, hosts an unbelievable variety of musicians, speakers, authors and politicians. Its greenrooms have accommodated Polish pop stars, Mongolian fusion musicians, Barack Obama, Margaret Atwood, The Magnetic Fields and Hustler publisher Larry Flynt, to name a few. One greenroom holds what the staff lovingly calls the “Nora Ephron Memorial Couch”; when the late writer spoke at Town Hall in 2007, she was so vocal about its ugliness that the staff mentioned it to her sister Delia, when she came to speak some years later, who found it hilarious.
Neumos has long been a launching place and stomping ground for young Seattle musicians. A well-worn stairway goes from the stage and load-in doors to the greenroom hallway. “Viking Tom” is usually at the top; Tom is the gracious gatekeeper between the artists’ space, the stage and the outside world, and has been for years. Neumos still prides itself on the same artist hospitality that once inspired an owner, having lost his keys, to get a boost over a wall to a walk-in fridge to get more whiskey for the band.
The Crocodile (a.k.a. the Croc) has been remodeled since its days as a landmark of the Seattle grunge era, but the bared ceilings of the greenrooms show an extensive lineage of local and touring musicians who have come through since the venue reopened in 2009. Just a few steps from stage left, these petite, warmly lit cubbyholes inherit so much audience roar that the backstage experience feels viscerally connected to being onstage.
Nectar Lounge, Seattle’s largest indoor/outdoor venue, draws an eager crowd on sticky summer nights. Nectar’s greenroom used to be a portable—essentially a windowless shed. Now it’s a one-room add-on that feels much like a clubhouse, with exactly the type of decor you’d expect to find in one. Even the couches (which, like many greenroom couches, will sink nearly to the floor when sat upon), are covered in names and notes.
Charles Tonderai Mudede
The 20th century’s leading German philosopher, Martin Heidegger, entered a gallery in 1930 Amsterdam and saw a famous painting of shoes by Vincent van Gogh that would later be featured in his essay “The Origin of the Work of Art” (“Der Ursprung des Kunstwerkes”). The goal of this essay is to explain, or “disclose,” the essence of a work of art. To Heidegger, “disclosing” something is to reveal its everyday functions and relationships to us and other things. Such “disclosure” is at the core of Heidegger’s philosophy: to understand existence is to understand how the world we find ourselves thrown into shapes our experiences. For Heidegger, there are things that are closed or lost in their operation (and usually this means that they work well or are doing the thing they were made to do and therefore are “ready-at-hand”), and things that are disclosed (things that are not working or are simply broken and therefore “present-at-hand”). To get at the essence of art, in the aforementioned essay he establishes three categories of things: equipment, nature and art. To explain art, he begins by getting at the essence of the first category: equipment. But Heidegger complicates matters by not referring to equipment that is real but equipment in a painting by van Gogh.
The shoes in this composition are very worn and, according to the philosopher, owned by a peasant woman. This piece of equipment “discloses” her world: she is poor, she makes a living from the land and she has anxieties about her poverty. Will the crops fail? Will there be enough to eat? Will the day end well?
Though the point of this description concerns “disclosing” what Heidegger imagines is the equipmentness of equipment (later in the essay he shows the natureness of nature and the artness of art), the philosopher’s mood is one of a person on the hunt for authenticity. And in this hunt, I think Heidegger reveals the ultimate source of all the species of authenticity that we find with us today.
Heidegger admires the shoes because they “vibrate with the silent call of the earth.” They represent for him a way of life that is real and honest. Living as a peasant is not like living as a city person (a mode of existence he despises); peasants cannot hide from hard work, long winters, the harsh earth, the mud of nature. They must live with it and within it, not by theorizing their existence, but by grappling with the physical world—the real. There are no distractions for the peasant because there is no distance between her self and her place. This authentic way of existing is “disclosed” by the shoes: “In the stiffly rugged heaviness of the shoes there is the accumulated tenacity of her slow trudge through the far-spreading and ever-uniform furrows of the field swept by a raw wind. On the leather lie the dampness and richness of the soil. Under the soles slides the loneliness of the field-path as evening falls.” Around the time Heidegger was writing these lines, he became a Nazi.
Those familiar with this philosopher’s work know that he described inauthenticity as verfallen, a state of not being open to one’s self and what he described as the thingness of things. Authenticity is “disclosure” of the self as it is in and as it is shaped by the world; inauthenticity is not.
But as sophisticated as Heidegger’s philosophical thinking may be, he never really stepped beyond what I think is the founding feeling of what is and is not authentic. This fact is made clear by the way he saw and read van Gogh’s shoes. His reading is useful because it points to what I believe is primordial “authenticity,” a concept we establish when we recognize the split between what we perceive as human (artifice) and nature (original). Whatever is closer to the latter is authentic. “Heidegger’s preference for the rural over the urban is clearly visible in his writings and in his own life,” writes the leading American Heideggerian, Graham Harman, in Heidegger Explained.
This split is as old as the city itself. We find it in the Bible (between cosmopolitan Paul and pastoral Jesus) and Plato’s Phaedrus (a Socratic dialogue about ideas and love set in the countryside outside of the walls of the city). We in the city have not and may never escape the raw power of this primary feeling; we want our food fresh off the farm, we praise the virtues of farmers’ markets, we have a religion of home cooking, we want vegetables grown and animals raised as naturally, as authentically, as possible—and indeed, by someone who wears muddy peasant boots.
Speaking of those shoes: they were not owned by a woman but a man, who was not a peasant at all but an artist living in Paris. Van Gogh bought those shoes at a flea market and purposely muddied them for the painting Heidegger would admire in the Dutch gallery.
Thank you to Nussbaum Group for co-sponsoring ARCADE's website and e-newsletter.
Books occupy an ancient niche in the world of graphic design. Often misunderstood and occasionally maligned, the design of books at university presses holds an important place within the field. With a mission to find, develop and publish worthy scholarship through a rigorous peer-review process, university presses may not create books as glamorous or profitable as those from their commercial counterparts, but they remain reliable beacons in the ever-deepening pool of human knowledge.
The core of scholarly publishing is the monograph, a long-form argument intended for a specialized audience. As a result, these books present their designers with a unique set of challenges. Designers must determine how best to visually convey often esoteric subject matter to both scholars and, increasingly, the general public. Book interiors with dense, complex content must be carefully typeset for optimal comprehension; typographic nuance and variety is welcome, but clarity is paramount. Also, concessions must frequently be made to accommodate tight schedules and lean budgets. However, despite these constraints, scholarly book design has adapted, evolved and thrived, often in parallel with the design work of commercial publishers.
In the first half of the 20th century, book design was often an afterthought due to the complexities of production methods. Dust jackets were still uncommon and considered disposable. However, production artists at commercial presses began to explore new ways to attract the attention of potential readers. Modernists such as Paul Rand and Alvin Lustig explored forms of artistic self-expression previously absent from book cover design, while traditionalists such as William Addison Dwiggins advocated high standards for typography. In particular, the decades following World War II saw an explosion of influential creative output. Thanks to advances in printing techniques, visually rich cover designs became increasingly common, while the countercultural influences of the ’60s and ’70s presented opportunities for designers to experiment with new graphic styles.
As university presses introduced affordable paperback editions and tentatively approached the world of general readership, like their commercial peers, they began to prioritize design. Though the primary markets for most scholarly books were libraries, a compelling cover was becoming increasingly critical to a book’s success in other outlets. In 1965, the Association of American University Presses (AAUP) recognized the creative advances taking place in scholarly publishing and initiated a book-design competition, now in its 50th year, judged by respected and established designers.
However, a bias continued to persist that university press book design was somehow inferior to that of commercial publishers. Though scholarly presses often lacked the resources and talent of larger trade houses, many AAUP judges were dismissive of their efforts. In the 1980 AAUP book show catalog, for example, Massimo Vignelli vented, “I find [university press books] extremely depressing and irritating. … Most university presses are cranking out books stereotyped in a range of wacky-sentimental typefaces floating through the pages in a disorderly magma of design styles.”
In the following decades, scholarly presses oscillated stylistically as designers struggled to navigate trends and influences. By the early ’80s, book design took a conservative tack, and as university presses grew and turned increasingly corporate in structure, scholarly covers became particularly staid. Orderly grids and Swiss-style typography percolated throughout, and publishers with an eye on budgets and an ear to author demands were less likely to approve “risky” designs. Then, in the mid-’80s, the proliferation of personal computers enabled a fresh expansion of graphic styles. Suddenly patterns, gradients and textures could be made with the click of a button. Type was stretched and distorted, images were layered and collaged. By the late ‘90s, design had become fragmented by possibility, triggering another conservative contraction as computer-fueled trends ran their course. At the turn of the 21st century, scholarly cover designs again became more formal and literal, relying heavily on photography and stock imagery. In response to an increasingly competitive publishing landscape, designers were pulled in many directions as they balanced the input of well-intentioned authors, editors hoping to attract new writers and marketers with ambitious sales goals.
Recent years have seen a remarkable shift in scholarly book design, as forces affecting the publishing industry and graphic design in general have impacted this fragile field. Economic crises and an unreliable sales market have forced presses to become even more resourceful. The Internet has introduced new ways to share knowledge and creative ideas while gradually improving the visual awareness of the general public. Free and open-source fonts, imagery and software are democratizing access to media and tools while fostering a DIY attitude. Though the times and circumstances continue to change, designers at university presses continue to find ways to effectively connect readers to challenging academic topics through conceptual, innovative and occasionally humorous design solutions. In scholarly publishing, the place of design seems covered.
1971 was a good year for Seattle. Starbucks was founded, and so was The New School of Visual Concepts, as it was called back then. Located on the corner of Mercer and Highway 99, this school for commercial arts was built on the premise that designers, illustrators and advertising students learn best from working professionals in their industries.
Fast forward to 1998, a good year for me. I walked under the 99 overpass to the School of Visual Concepts (SVC) to meet with Linda Hunt, the school’s codirector. There was no swanky South Lake Union back then, just empty warehouses, Bucca di Beppo and the old J. T. Hardeman hat factory that housed the school. I was working in labor relations, my first job out of college, but was far more passionate about typography than workplace safety.
My artsy side drew me to SVC. I researched want ads for creative directors, planning my future: build a portfolio, then go to grad school. SVC made that possible. The school offers no degrees or certificates, avoiding academic bureaucracy and keeping the barrier to entry low. At SVC you come as you are but leave as you want to be.
Today, the school’s original approach—students are taught by top industry professionals during hours that allow both to keep their day jobs—is kept alive by SVC’s codirectors, Linda Hunt and Larry Asher. Together, they’re nicer than Mother Teresa and the Pope combined.
But to tell the story of Linda and Larry means telling the story of another couple first: Dick and Cherry Brown, SVC’s founders. Cornish graduates, they were both popular illustrators, with clients including Boeing and Frederick & Nelson. Dick Brown inspired many in Seattle, including Ted Leonhardt of the design firm The Leonhardt Group. “Dick Brown drew and painted like Bernie Fuchs and Albert Dorne, masters of the magazine era,” Ted explained. “Boy, did I want to paint like him. This was just as I imagined—art that persuaded, art that was sought after in the corporate world.” Training students to create art like that was why Dick and Cherry founded SVC and why Linda and Larry passionately carry on this vision.
Linda Hunt, who studied psychology and sociology in college, met Dick and Cherry in 1982 when she moved from California to Edmonds, renting a house across the street from them; she and her husband had left behind a landscaping business to move to the Pacific Northwest. Dick had just fallen ill with a brain tumor. As Linda remembered:
"Dick was already wheelchair bound by this time, and Cherry was single-handedly running SVC. They were amazing, down-to-earth people who lived quietly and courageously with Dick’s many physical challenges. I vividly remember the first time I entered their multilevel home. It wasn’t the spectacular view of the sound that took my breath away—it was Dick’s amazing paintings."
Linda helped Cherry care for Dick, and after his death in 1985, she became Cherry’s assistant, helping run the school and eventually assuming ownership in 1994. Eighteen months prior, Cherry had fallen ill with cancer, and she died shortly after Linda took over the school with new codirector Larry Asher, a lauded copywriter and longtime SVC instructor. “When Larry and I took over SVC in 1994, we really didn’t know one another well,” Linda explained. “However, we were both committed to the Browns’ philosophy of providing customized learning taught by award-winning professionals. We were on the same page in wanting SVC to thrive.”
And thrive it has. Now, almost 45 years later, the school is in a new location on 7th Avenue, but its mission is the same: educate students via the honest, exuberant, generous transfer of knowledge from one caring person to another, just as Dick and Cherry wanted.
What has been one of your most memorable moments at SVC?
“The first time we hosted Jim Sherraden, the general manager of the historic Hatch Show Print of Nashville, Tennessee, in 2006. Jim put on a series of letterpress workshops … lugging three gigantic suitcases of vintage Hatch woodblock engrav-ings so artists here could print using these irreplaceable originals.” —Larry Asher
“When the Seattle arsonist Paul Keller threw a Molotov cocktail through a studio window on the first floor of SVC and tried to burn down the school. It caused a lot of smoke damage and freaked out the school cat, Abby. Fortunately, our old hat factory building was made of cement and cinder blocks, and we only lost a couch.” —Linda Hunt
Thank you to Mithun for co-sponsoring ARCADE's website and e-newsletter.
Artist Leo Saul Berk’s radiating, orange carpet looked like the coldest night I can remember. Growing up in Chicago’s suburbs, where school was frequently cancelled due to windchill, I was used to feeling the bite of a black winter night through our double-paned windows. Berk’s rug, titled Heat Signature, transported me back to an evening when I was 11 years old and our heater went out. When my father woke me, I could see a faint cloud at the end of his breath as he spoke. I wasn’t cold for very long because he dropped my sister and me off at an aunt’s for the night. Meanwhile, he stayed with the house, sleeping beside the fireplace as if it couldn’t be left alone.
I thought of that night as Berk told the story behind Heat Signature during a press preview for his exhibition Structure and Ornament at the Frye Art Museum, a show that comprised works exploring memories of his childhood home. Berk recounted how, when his family moved into the house in Aurora, Illinois, during a similarly harsh Chicago winter, they found the heating system inadequate. They slept on rugs, in sleeping bags, curling into the radiant heat that collected on the floors. Inspired by that memory and a return to the house as an adult, the artist mapped the floor’s warmth with a thermal imaging camera. The resulting orange and yellow pattern became Heat Signature’s surface of coils that blaze against its plush, black border. This collision of vibrancy and darkness pulsated between the rug’s fibers as I gazed into it, evoking the intense warmth we can only know after experiencing an unbearable kind of cold.
What Berk’s home lacked in heating it made up for in artistry. He grew up inside the semispherical glass and coal walls of a residence called the Ford House, designed by midcentury architect Bruce Goff. Upon realizing the effect that experience had on his life, Berk sought to re-envision it through the 13 works in Structure and Ornament that, at their best, question the human need to reconstruct the physical things of our past lives.
An undeniable nostalgia permeated the exhibition, much of which referenced architectural details Berk found in place at the Ford House just as he remembered them. Green glass marbles he recalled pulling from a cannel-coal wall are left as voids in Mortar and Marbles, a sculptural model of the feature he built to scale. In Specular Reflections, enlarged versions of the marbles floated atop the Frye’s outdoor reflecting pool, shiny and sweet in the sun, like the stories from our childhoods that parents never grow tired of telling. In isolation, such moments of the exhibition secreted an image of the Ford House as a permanent remnant of the artist’s youth that remained the way it was left, simply waiting to be found.
But the artist also darkened the pool’s water with a muddy pond-dye and rebuilt the house’s wall as an ominous, jet-black skeleton. He shared how at one point he considered creating a domed urn in the house’s shape for current owner Syndey Robinson’s future ashes, but Robinson declined. Berk used coal to sculpt a Ford House–like saltcellar instead, but standing before the piece, I couldn’t stop seeing it as the urn. I had become unable to untangle the owner’s mortality from this aging architectural wonder.
Maybe this is because I know our relationships with architecture to be as mortal as the people living inside it. My father recently left behind our childhood home, with the fireplace, with much resistance. A young couple planning a family moved in, while he downsized to a condo across town. Ever since he has been repainting his new home’s walls, retiling its floors, embarking on his own restoration process, trying to recreate the home that still exists but he could no longer keep.
The title of Berk’s exhibition, Structure and Ornament, came from a sunburst-like sculpture with the same name that filled an entire gallery. Constructed from plywood without any fasteners, the piece at first appeared strong and eternal. Standing beside it, however, you could see the tenuous angle at which it balanced. Like a cloud of breath, it seemed to hang in the air, its existence as subject to the test of time as the human hands and memories that brought it into being.
Leo Saul Berk: Structure and Ornament was on view at the Frye Art Museum in Seattle from 30 May through 6 September 2015.
For whom and for what is a city? Can any design be truly universal? Seattle’s current construction boom and strong economy beget many questions for citizens and elected officials—about what types of public infrastructure to build, what types of development to encourage (or discourage) and what kinds of programming to introduce into the public sphere. The phenomenon is certainly not exclusive to the Emerald City.
Last July, Urban Land Institute (ULI) Northwest hosted a photo-essay contest as part of the seventh annual Cascadia Regional Conference in Seattle, inviting entrants from around the world to share collections that speak to the theme of “access” in our era of rapid urbanization. Contestants were encouraged to interpret the subject liberally, training their lenses on critical issues such as mobility, affordability, technological bandwidth and natural resource capacity.
Submissions arrived from nearly 20 different countries. An expert panel of local judges representing various professions connected to photography, the built environment and design awarded top honors to the following selections, reproduced here with excerpts from the original essays.
West Bengal, India
Darjeeling, the most popular hill station in West Bengal, India, is a favorite tourist destination. As such, it is rapidly being urbanized, which has forced this community to sacrifice its treasured greenery. Deforestation is now common in Darjeeling as its population increases and more people settle there and visit for its scenic beauty and fresh air. However, the increasing population and vehicle exhaust are polluting the city, while deforestation is severing the conduit to clean oxygen. To overcome this crisis, the people of Darjeeling have started planting trees in innovative ways with the hope of rebuilding a healthy life in an urban setting.
Public bathing is a civil and social imperative in the urban areas of India; the public bathhouse movement was the largest civic effort to meet the growing concerns of squalor in the county.
Pulsating, alive, vibrant—this is Mumbai, the largest, most diverse, cosmopolitan, westernized and modern city in India. This photo-essay is dedicated to several unnoticed people in Mumbai known for their warmth, love, anger, boldness, determination and courage. The project shows life around Marine Drive, a 4.3-kilometer-long boulevard in South Mumbai. It’s the ultimate seaside promenade, where Mumbaikars come for a few moments of freedom from the stresses of commuting, the high cost of living and cramped homes. It’s a place that breathes possibility.
Yew Kiat Soh
The world is rapidly aging; according to a recent Pew Research Center report, Attitudes About Aging, “…the global share of the population that is 65 and older will double, from 8% in 2010 to 16% in 2050. And, more countries will find that they have more adults ages 65 and older than they have children younger than 15.” Healthy older adults are a resource for their families, their communities and the economy. Making cities more age friendly is necessary to promote the well-being and contributions of older urban residents; policies, services, settings and structures should support and enable people to age actively, anticipating and responding to aging-related needs and respecting lifestyle choices.