Better than the comfort of a grilled cheese sandwich

Edvard Munch, rhymes with lunch.

I can’t figure out which is more compelling, the fact that an Oslo museum heist has made it into hourly circulation on the CNN/FOX NEWS circuit today, or the fact this very news is mispronounced, mispronounced, mispronounced on the hour every hour.

Those muggy snapshots of the thieves ramming the Munchs into the back of their car add a new layer of meaning to modern lowlife.

It’s raining out today, better than the comfort of a cheese sandwich.

I made a trip over to the Francine Seders Gallery this afternoon for the Big and Small exhibit. I was very much in the mood for some quiet abstract and minimalist paintings and very much enjoyed this show. I love this gallery- you enter a very church like first floor, and then the exhibits either continue or an artist has a small show in the tiny rooms upstairs. I always feel sneaky peaking behind doors to see if art is installed behind them. I guess I’m always satisfied if I soak up some good painting, so I was very appreciative this galley was open today on a Sunday. Francine herself should be applauded for running her gallery in the quiet neighborhood it sits now for 38 years. Always worth a trip up to Phinney Ridge to see what is on the walls.

When I was leaving, I picked up a gallery card announcing one of their painters James Dietz is currently having a show in NYC at the Cedar Tavern Gallery. Wow, I haven’t seen Jim since I lived in Seattle a long,long time ago, but I own two of his drawings which are staring down at me right now [which I’ve faithfully lugged with me through all of my moves]. I asked if he was slated to have a show anytime soon, and yes in a year. It’s always good to know people are still working.

I went to the Cedar Tavern the first summer I lived in the vicinity and I remember being pissed when I found out it wasn’t the original (the original was a few blocks down the street).

Good review today in the S. Times regarding the work up at Greg Kucera right now.

All right,on to Tacoma which as previously stated I went to earlier in the week. Poor Tacoma is being decimated by construction right now, which I think colored my visit a little too much.

But first the good stuff. It was a Wednesday and I lucked into it being a special day (officially titled, Midweek at the Museums, catchy) where I could visit all three of Tacoma’s museums for one price. I went for it. This included The Tacoma Art Museum, The Museum of Glass and the Washington State History Museum.

I stopped at the Tacoma Art Museum first. Their Northwest Biennial: Buildingwise and Andy Goldsworthy are the two shows up. I completely neglected to remember the Biennial was a juried exhibit until about halfway through it when I was scratching my head, it’s a pretty uneven show. I did find some pieces I liked (Robert Jones’ figurative paintings come to immediate mind, not the same Robert Jones I just saw at Francine Seders b/t/w)

Ilya and Emilia Kabokov were the curators of the show, which brings a second collaboration between them and TAM. An amazing show of Contemporary Soviet work which I was mesmerized by came to Tacoma in 1990 (okay, that was a long time ago).

The Andrew Goldsworthy exhibit featured some pretty photographs and a few examples from when he worked in Japan. I am appreciative of his well thought out use of color, and he has a good sense of humor that shines through the sincere overtone of his work. Example A: making a huge snowball in the mountains and driving it 2 hours to the sea and leaving it on some rocks, repeat. I wish there had been more on-site examples of his work, although in reality I don’t know how possible that is.

On to the Museum of Glass. I’ve got to pause here though to mention two points of frustration. I am cheap and thus could not find anything outside of 1 hour parking, prompting a repark between each museum. Annoyance factor [self inflicted]: HIGH. Driving round and round construction detours: SUPER HIGH.
Point two, extraordinarily stupid, but I could not figure out where this MofG was. The last time I was in Tacoma this occurred too and I ended up just getting back on the highway after a visit to TAM. Good thing I had my Midweek at the Museums ticket burning a hole in my pocket.

I finally realized after some coaching from a nice government worker in an office building on the main drag, that I had to go through one building and out-to walk to the “Bridge of Glass. This would then carry me to the museum. Okay, I am retarded. So I walk one block to the Bridge of Glass, which is an additional block long shrine to Dale Chihuly (he is a hometown boy here), this took me down an extended set of stairs when a reflecting pool finally announced my arrival at the MoG. And this is where I should probably shut up. It is a grandiose building showing casing a popular regional art form and it was all a little too a little over the top for me. Especially the Hot Shop which is a grandstand set up for museum goers to watch glass blowers in real time(new age music cued overhead). For the most part, not my cup of tea.

There was however an exhibit there, by Gregory Barsamian which I thought was really cool!! Barsamian makes huge kinetic ” scenario sculptures synchronized with strobe lights that give a fantastic illusion of live animations. The title of the show is Solid Cinema, which is appropriate. Check out his web site, he has small videos featured in flash that give you an idea of what he does. I was really impressed with the originality of his work, and it was pretty wild to recognize that you were actually looking at a incredibly fast twirling objects. Oddly reminiscent of the Brothers Quay.

My last stop was at the Washington State History Museum, which I don’t need to tell you about. I’m a history buff and enjoy the unpretentiousness of an institution like this. Lewis and Clark are big this year, so there was plenty of that. A nice place to calm my brain before heading back to Seattle.

So there you have it, my big summer pitstop in Tacoma.