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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Quick FYI About Bumbershoot Visual Art

Posted by on Sun, Sep 4, 2011 at 4:30 PM

It is disappointing, and small (recall the old joke about the man who complains the food is bad at a restaurant, then adds, "And such small portions!"—but I felt it my duty to warn you anyway). A crammed tent, a scattered pavilion, and a handful of underwhelming constructions in the skate park.


Comments (18) RSS

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Guh? I respectfully disagree. The wheel, the wheelchair, the chair, the video of the man covering himself in disappearing cream, the christmas trees spinning and unspinning... Granted, I was a few beers in. And granted, the words on the wall were terrible. But, but...
Posted by Christopher Frizzelle on September 4, 2011 at 5:53 PM · Report this
djh 2
It's a total dick move by the artist who decided to close the skatepark to show his bogus "Sculptures",
Posted by djh on September 4, 2011 at 5:56 PM · Report this

the United Colors of Bumbershoot:…
Posted by Supreme Ruler Of The Universe http://_ on September 4, 2011 at 6:10 PM · Report this
I Heart Flan! 4
Do they have the Rock Star energy drink half pipe again this year? The lack of art and dubious sponsorship like Rock Star make this a must skip event, year after year these days...

Don't care how "hip" it is...
Posted by I Heart Flan! on September 4, 2011 at 10:25 PM · Report this
seandr 5
Quick FYI About Burning Man Visual Art - it fucking blew my mind.
Posted by seandr on September 4, 2011 at 11:18 PM · Report this

I was not a few beers in and I was underwhelmed. I was far more moved by the visual art that was the deep fried twinkie/candy bar/peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich booth. Now *that's* art & social commentary galore. I stood there for a good 10 minutes observing Amurka live in action.
Posted by Confluence on September 5, 2011 at 1:39 AM · Report this
Catalina Vel-DuRay 7
People go to Bumbershoot for the art? Really? I thought they just tacked that on the end to make it sound more respectable.

You want art? Go to Folklife. Stock up on dream catchers and inspirational pastels of the Mount Rainier.

Although now with the Chihuly Museum coming in, you'll be able to buy tacky glass one-offs of an artist who reached his apex twenty years ago at the same level of pricing available in the Center House, almost every day of the year! The tourists will simply FLOCK to it, I tell you! I think they should plow ahead with the plans to put in the "Frasier" and "Sleepless in Seattle" museums where the Intiman now stands.
Posted by Catalina Vel-DuRay on September 5, 2011 at 8:00 AM · Report this
Yes, Catalina, some of us go to Bumbershoot to see art (interesting, new, unusual art; not dreamcatchers and tacky glass one-offs) which is why this year's installations were so disappointing.
Posted by Luckier on September 5, 2011 at 8:50 AM · Report this
The Visual Arts at Bumbershoot have been sliding downhill ever since Bumbershoot was begun, way back in the early 70's, as a ARTS festival. At the beginning, it was run by the Seattle Arts Commission, and it was ABOUT art. Then Norm Langill and One Reel took it over, and it became a money making proposition, which mainly features popular music.
One Reel may have their heart in the right place, but they always make their decisions based on paying their own salaries next year- which means more butts in seats, or at least, feets on grass.
To compare Bumbershoot, where maybe ten or twenty grand is spent on art, to Burning Man, which spends more on art than the State of California does, just points this out. Burning Man routinely gives away $500,000 a year for temporary art pieces.
Added to that, the Center itself keeps selling off the temporary exhibition spaces. I love NWFF and VERA, but those rooms used to be available for Bumbershoot, and now they arent.

With virtually no money available, no spaces, and no administrative interest, its no surprise that fewer and fewer good artists make proposals for Bumbershoot.
Posted by CATSPAW666 on September 5, 2011 at 8:52 AM · Report this
"It is disappointing, and small." God, Jen, you sound like my ex.
Posted by minderbender on September 5, 2011 at 8:58 AM · Report this
Roma 11
It was the most disappointing I've ever seen, although I did like the piece where you peered through the peepholes in plywood to view the facial parts on the rotating globes and where, for a split-second, they all aligned to make a face. Nothing as cool, though, as the bit two or three years ago where people could participate and create things out of small pieces of white paper or the igloo-like structure (last year, I think) made out of popsicle sticks.

Since I find the music lineup this year to be, for the most part, very uninteresting and acts that I thought might be good turned out to be drony and boring (I'm talking about you, Jessica Lea Mayfield) , I decided to check out two of the film programs yesterday and really liked both of them: Cupid Attack and Astonishing Tales. Especially funny was "Love & Other Unstable States of Matter" about a guy who created a tiny black hole which he then captured in a jar of mayo. I also liked the short-but-sweet "Connect", about the fleeting finger-brushing connection of two people on a London bus.

Posted by Roma on September 5, 2011 at 9:49 AM · Report this
It's long past time to separate the pop music festival from the visual arts/theater/books/film festival. The weekend before (or mid-September when its REALLY nice in Seattle) hold BumbershootARTS with a serious, better lineup of everything not pop music? Turn the Stranger Genius Awards into a weekend festival?
Posted by SoSea Resident on September 5, 2011 at 11:18 AM · Report this
Well...we could dunk a bunch of rags in bright green paint then throw them at a closed door, then tell you it symbolizes how artists are being shut out of opportunities to express themselves.

you'd write a 2 page pretentious screed about how groundbreaking it is and then retire with a glass of wine and congratulate yourself on how modern and edgy you are.
Posted by sonder on September 5, 2011 at 12:30 PM · Report this
I like the idea of a weekend visual art festival. It would draw a different crowd. but as an adjunct to visiting the restroom, I enjoyed the magic show. More disappointed to see toyota etc... took over half the performance space for barely concealed pitches. The paint by numbers exhibit was wonderful. The poster art was tired but great for those into that crap.
Posted by soggydan on September 5, 2011 at 6:20 PM · Report this
meowmeowkitty 15
The paint by numbers was great fun, but the Magic show was from hunger. Really disappointing this year.
Posted by meowmeowkitty on September 5, 2011 at 6:43 PM · Report this
Tracy 16
After being SO impressed with the visual arts last year (honestly, it was one of my favorite parts. The giant coffee-stirrer room, Shimon the robot playing jazz, the graffiti), I had high expectations that were not met. Wish I'd seen this post before we went.

The paint by numbers was a cool idea, but it was just one small tent. The magic show was pretty lame and anemic...there was nothing there! And while the orange balloons were neat, that hardly counted. I kept thinking we must be MISSING a room full of fun, carefully curated objects...but we never found that.

(The film and theatre were stronger this year. And the comedy lineup was insanely good, again. Wish ALL the pieces could come together one year)
Posted by Tracy on September 6, 2011 at 9:58 AM · Report this
Bumbershoot *definitely* was, Catalina, a place where people who gave a shit about art went to see great stuff -- once upon a time. Tracy uses the word "anemic," and: YES.

The actual square footage was slashed this year to a fraction of what it once was. Seriously. We're talking maybe an eighth of the real estate visual art used to get.

The Bumber by Number stuff was crammed into a tent, while the "Magic" show fell unbelievably short of magical -- and there were, I believe, maybe 10 pieces in that entire show? (I agree: Jason Puccinelli's spinning portrait that you peeked into was fun, but most of the rest was pretty banal to me, not to mention crappily presented, with about an acre of space between each work, putting extra pressure on mediocre works that they just couldn't handle.)

I've never seen W. Scott Trimble do such weak work as what appeared at the Skate Park. I have to believe something got scumbled in the process there.

Seriously: Bumbershoot Visual Art doesn't need its own weekend, it needs money. It used to do just fine. Not anymore.
Posted by Jen Graves on September 6, 2011 at 11:18 AM · Report this
keshmeshi 18
The disappearing man video was pathetic in artistic and technical terms. Visual artists should stay out of video if they don't know what they're doing, and that guy obviously didn't.
Posted by keshmeshi on September 6, 2011 at 11:24 AM · Report this

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