Most people think live music when they think of Bumbershoot, Seattle’s famous Labor Day weekend arts festival in the Seattle Center. But if you have time in between the bands you came to hear, there’s plenty of visual art too.
“Skyward” is one of the headline visual art exhibitions at Bumbershoot this year, inspired by the 50th anniversary of the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair and the beginning of popular cartoon The Jetsons. Curated by Shelly Leavens of the Gage Academy of Art and metalsmith Jana Brevick, “Skyward” brings together a variety of artists envisioning a future lived in the sky. Media ranges from sculpture and installation to video and interactive work; artists include Britta Johnson, Dietrich Wegner, Emily Pothast and David Golightly, the Hair & Space Museum, Hannah Viano, Vaughn Bell and Iola Alessandrini, Heather and Ivan Morison, Hollow Earth Radio’s Garrett
Kelly and Amber Kai Morgan, Jana Brevick and Hahn Rossman, Cathy McClure, Ron Lambert, and Shelly and Mark Leavens.
“This is Glass” is a forward-looking glass art extravaganza curated by Traver Gallery’s Sarah Traver and Grace Meils. Artists like Edison Osorio Zapata, brothers Einar and Jamex De La Torre, Matthew Szosz, Jennifer Elek and Jeremy Bert, Paul Marioni, Robbie Miller and John Drury, Mark Zirpel and Nadege Degentez challenge viewers idea of what glass is and how it can be used, focusing on the singular place glass art has in the Pacific Northwest.
“Now” is a large-scale neon sculpture by in-your-face Seattle artist Dylan Neuwirth. Suspended four feet above the floor, its rainbow semi-circles of neon tubing cycle through grayscale to color to explore “our continuous cycle of personal change across time,” according to the press release.
Other art events include a tribute exhibit for Christopher Martin Hoff, an urban plein-air painter who was due to show this Bumbershoot but who passed away in March; Beth Sellars curates 15 years of Hoff’s work. Seattle Art Museum and Olson Kundig Architects collaborate to present the SAM Record Store, which is not in fact a record store but a curated collection of vinyl records on display as a “storefront of ideas,” together with listening parties throughout the festival.
“Elvistraviganza” celebrates all things Elvis to honor the fact that The King filmed “It Happened at the World’s Fair” in guess where, 50 years ago. No Elvis stone will be left unturned in a nostalgia party that includes impersonators, karaoke, a Vegas-style film viewing room, an Elvis topiary garden and recreation of the Jungle Room in Graceland and the Traveling Elvis Museum of Love, a minivan that has been transformed into a
mobile tribute and chapel. More than 75 Elvis-inspired works of art will be on show, including works by Ron English, Howard Finster, Jim Woodring, Charles
Burns, Diem Chau, Mary Iverson, Joe Park, James Crespenel, Scott Fife, and Bill Blair.
Finally, “7 Minutes in Heaven” is an improvised theater production by EXITheatre running twice a day at different locations in the festival. Eight actors will show up prepared to improvise on a show about speed dating – only they don’t know who the other characters will be, and to make matters more complicated the audience is encouraged to get up and walk around the actors.
Visual arts at Bumbershoot can be found mostly at the Seattle Center Pavilion (south of Key Arena) throughout the weekend. The Visual Arts Opening is free and open to the public, and follows the Mayor’s Arts Awards Ceremony today from 1pm-9pm in Fisher Pavilion and Seattle Center Pavilion. Bumbershoot runs Sept. 1-3 at the Seattle Center, 305 Harrison St., Seattle. Tickets from $55/day to $475/platinum three days. bumbershoot.org