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Tag: Tacoma Art Museum


TAM’s sale of Chinese items is justified

A late Qing dynasty Manchu noblewoman's silk robe was sold for $15,000 at a December auction. (Courtesy Bonhams
A late Qing dynasty Manchu noblewoman’s silk robe was sold for $15,000 at a December auction. (Courtesy Bonhams)

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

Ever received a gift that was great at first, but down the road just didn’t fit into your decor or closet?

Your options: Throw it away, donate it to charity, regift it or sell it.

The Tacoma Art Museum has found itself in that predicament with some of the items donated to it over the years. It has chosen to sell several gifts made to its permanent collection to reach its goal of $2.5 million for acquisitions in line with its focus on Northwest art. This practice – called deaccessioning – is common with museums.

But the sale of a collection of Chinese robes and jades has raised some hackles. They were donated in 1976 by the late John and Mary Young, children of Chinese immigrants. The last time any of the collection was shown at TAM was in 1996. Read more »


A generous, important gift to TAM, South Sound

The Haubs’ extensive collection of Western art includes Thomas Moran’s oil “Green River, Wyoming.” (Courtesy of Tacoma Art Museum)

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

The local art community should be grateful that Erivan and Helga Haub love two things: Western art and Tacoma. Those two loves are dovetailing in spectacular fashion, thanks to the couple’s generosity.

The art world sat up and took notice when the Tacoma Art Museum announced that the Haubs  – a German couple who split their time between Germany and the Tacoma area – are donating their important 280-piece Western art collection to TAM.

The Haubs are also giving money to fund an endowment and help build a 15,000-square-foot wing south of the existing building – doubling the museum’s gallery space.  The $15 million project, which will involve some fund-raising by TAM, is scheduled to open in spring of 2014.

The Haubs obviously knew what they were doing as they amassed their collection of paintings and sculptures, considered one of the best of its kind in the world. All the big names in Western art are there: Frederic Remington, Charles Russell, Georgia O’Keeffe, Albert Bierstadt and top modern artists working in the genre as well. Read more »


‘Hide/Seek’ offers insights that couldn’t be more current

Berenice Abbott’s 1927 photo of Janet Flanner depicts the closeted lesbian writer as wearing masks, suggesting her need to hide her identity.

This editorial will appear in Friday’s print edition.

Last year at this time, the Tacoma Art Museum was showing works by Norman Rockwell. Some in the arts community sniffed that his nostalgic view of America was less art than illustration – even “kitsch.”

But that show, which was hugely popular, brought people to Tacoma who might not have visited otherwise. The same can be said of the current show, “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture,” in its only West Coast venue.

The show has only been open a few days, so it’s hard to gauge if it will draw as many visitors as the Rockwell by the time it ends June 12 – visitors who, we hope, will stay and see what else the area has to offer. But it’s a big show with an edgy theme, several provocative pieces and a bit of a notorious pedigree, having stirred up controversy when it was shown at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

That museum was pressured to pull a video, “Fire in My Belly,” which includes images some found distasteful, including ants scurrying over a crucifix. TAM visitors will be able to see that video, as well they should; it’s powerful and thought-provoking – as good art should be. Read more »


New museum great for kids (and OK for adults, too)

This editorial will appear in Tuesday’s print edition.

Tacoma’s museum district just got a whole lot more kid-friendly.

Sure, the other three museums in the neighborhood – the Tacoma Art Museum, the Museum of Glass and especially the Washington State History Museum – all have elements that reach out to children. But with the Children’s Museum of Tacoma, which officially opened Saturday just up Pacific Avenue from TAM, the name says it all: This is a place for kids, where they can get down and – if not necessarily dirty – at least a little wet.

At about 8,000 square feet, the facility is more than double the size of its previous incarnation in the Theater District. It is a kid’s dream come true, with four themed “playscapes” and an art studio.
Read more »


Tacoma Art Museum wears its 75 years well

This editorial will appear in Thursday’s print edition

Tacoma Art Museum (Staff file photo)

To future historians writing about Tacoma, let the record show: When others were giving up on downtown and moving out, the Tacoma Art Museum not only stayed, it dug in. And in doing so, it became a leading force in the city’s arts-based renaissance.

The museum, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary with exhibits by Norman Rockwell (ending May 30) and Dale Chihuly (beginning Saturday), has been a downtown fixture since 1958. That’s when it moved from Jones Hall (at what is now the University of Puget Sound) into rented storefront space at 742 Broadway.

From 1963 to 1971, the museum was lodged in “The Old Jailhouse” at 621 Pacific Ave. It took a giant step forward in its development in 1971 by moving into larger digs in the former National Bank of Washington building at 1123 Pacific. At a time when other old buildings were being torn down, TAM decided to give one a brand new use – a practice that would become a downtown Tacoma trademark in years to come. Read more »