20 minutes ago I went to the Frye Art Museum.
Off and on for years I always return to this art museum due to—you know—it being free. Even in my darkest, poorest days of being a struggling artist, I knew I could go and enjoy art. I also enjoy their fairly posh cafe (last time I was there they had Martinelli’s apple juice with the glass shaped like an APPLE, you guys.)
The Frye also once upon a time had virtually-unheard-of-free-parking, but judging from the giant gaping hole in the ground plus all the construction, I assume it’ll be fancy condo units in no time. Sad!
Mostly though, The Frye sometimes really pull through on showcasing some interesting exhibits. The last exhibit, Group Therapy, was a fascinating look at different interpretations of working through literally all the feels. They even had an artist paint your inner nightmare monsters, y’all.
Right now through April 28th, is a different wonderful monster entirely.
The most striking exhibit featured right now is work by Tschabalala Self. From the Fryes’ brochure, “Tschabalala Self’s work examines the intersectionality of race, gender, and sexuality, focusing particularly on the iconographic significance of the black female body in contemporary culture.”
You’re first hit with a symbolic symphony of naked renditions of black female bodies, but step closer and there is extraordinary texture and color, depicted by layers of fabric and linework from imaginative sewing techniques.
Turn left accidentally into another exhibit, you’ll find yourself among interesting and illustrative stop motion animation from Dubai artists Ramin Haerizadeh, Rokni Haerizadeh, and Hesam Rahmanian. From the Frye, “With an emphasis on “reporting on our times,” the collective makes stop-motion animations – which they refer to as “moving paintings” – are composed of thousands of individual works on paper in which artists have collaged and painted over printed stills from internet videos and television newscasts.”
Turn again to the room near the back, and you are met with an explosion of psychedelic patchwork color. Sadly, I wasn’t there during the performance times (Tuesdays: 11:30am, Wednesdays: 2pm, Thursdays: 5pm, Fridays: 11:30am, Saturdays/Sundays: 2pm), but I could only imagine it is a modern dance feast for the eyes.
From the Frye, “Seattle-based dance artist Jody Kuehner skewers social and cultural norms of gender and sexuality through her persona and alter ego Cherdonna Shinatra. Combining contemporary dance, drag, clowning, and lineages of feminist and queer performance, Cherdonna defies categorization in order to dismantle the patriarchy and seek more liberated ways of being.”
If you need a palate cleanser after witnessing such bold marvel of the human spirit, walk towards the room where they have their original collections of historical portraits and landscapes. Right before that room, there is a collection of subtle and airy pieces by Gretchen Frances Bennett. This Seattle based artist uses mainly pastel colored pencils to showcase personal photographs of “popular media to convey the emotional potency of everyday moments.”
This is happening right now through April 28th, it’s free and magnificent. Just go already.
Sarah E. Miller is a freelance writer, dabbler, collaborator, and an occasionally funny lady. She spends her days writing for various blogs, helping creative people expand their visions, and dreaming up big ideas while trying to put those dreams into action. She is also now the Founder and Marshmallow-in-Chief of the Lonely Arts Club.