contemporary art

Three things you don't do at the Seattle Art Fair

Let’s pretend you’re more interested in the air conditioning than the art at the Seattle Art Fair. Here’s a quick etiquette lesson on three things you just… don’t… do… before you get in the door.

1. Don’t talk smack about the art. They can hear you.

Holly Ballard Martz, “Danger of Nostalgia in Wallpaper Form (in utero),” at ZINC Contemporary

Holly Ballard Martz, “Danger of Nostalgia in Wallpaper Form (in utero),” at ZINC Contemporary

Overheard at preview night, about Holly Ballard Martz’s stunning work: “It’s really abortion-y.”

Wow. That was all you got out of this installation of wire hangers, each bent by hand into the shape of a uterus? If you don’t get it, why not ask about the art? That’s what the gallery staff — and the artist — are there for, to talk to you. P.S. Holly’s less ‘abortion-y’ pieces are on the other side of the wall.

2. Don’t touch — not with your hands, butt or shoulder.

Bigert & Bergström, “Incubator for Earthquakes” (provided by the artists)

Bigert & Bergström, “Incubator for Earthquakes” (provided by the artists)

This is not a children’s museum where you get to play with the exhibits. Don’t touch the art. Even if you intend to buy it. No leaning on the booth walls, either. If you need to sit, use one of the padded benches outside the booth. (While I’m at it: Don’t touch the art in art museums, either. Slow down and breathe deeply until the urge passes.)

3. Don’t hold back on the shine.

LMB-Lisa Kokin Seager Gray duo - Copy.jpg

Wanna show your followers how amaaaaazing the art is? Go for it — and remember to tag the artist AND the gallery presenting the work. You don’t even have to type in names: take a photo of the wall text identifying the piece and post that too. This one simple action shows you know something about the art world, and you’re not just some rando who’s there for the air conditioning. Bonus: you remember the artwork better when you write something about it. Extra credit bonus: other people get to check out the artist and gallery if they like the work.

LMB-Seattle Art Fair 2019 exterior.jpg

One last thing: there will be selfie-bait. Before you take the picture, check your surroundings so you don’t back into the rest of the art. You don’t want to be that person, do you?

New work: The one who's got what you need

I’ve become obsessed with the wild foxgloves growing near my studio. What’s not to love about a plant that could either save you or kill you? So I put them in my latest altered book.

YGWIN-foxglove hat.jpg

Foxglove is poisonous — every part of it, fresh or dried. Yet it’s also the basis of a safe and effective drug to treat heart failure. Plus, it’s just pretty, in a femme fatale kind of way.

foxglove stalks.jpg

So I began collecting items that made me think of medicine, danger and beauty, adding them to a vintage copy of the novel Black Beauty.

black beauty title.jpg

Before sealing the book, I flipped through it — and found a few casually racist passages I did not remember from my childhood reading. Right next to praise of the horse’s beauty. (Yeah, I know the horse was male.)

Photo credit: Alex Nemo Hanse/Unsplash

Photo credit: Alex Nemo Hanse/Unsplash

But that contrast of praise/insult, object of desire/ beast of burden made me think of how black women are often pegged as beautiful and potentially dangerous.

pillbox & gloves.jpg

Somehow we’re powerful enough to save America from itself — and at the same time lure the country down a path of ruin. Plus there’s this weird undercurrent of entitlement too, like we’re literally here to fix the heart of America.

foxglove woman & leering men.jpg

I went back and forth on a few titles for this altered book, but I kept coming back to the original one: “You Got What I Need.”

Lisa Myers Bulmash, “You Got What I Need” (altered book)

Lisa Myers Bulmash, “You Got What I Need” (altered book)

Speaking of needs, I could use your help: would you share the image above, far and wide? The Seattle Art Fair is coming up next week, which means lots of eyes checking out artists like me. Even better, you can support me by tagging a gallery that has a booth at the fair. The list of participating galleries is here.

Save the date: "Fracture" opening

Next week, I’m looking forward to seeing how other artists define a “fracture.”

They Don't Really Feel Pain-detail.jpg

You might remember I dented a few eggshells to create “They Don’t Really Feel Pain.” My assemblage sculpture was accepted into “Fracture,” the latest exhibit at the Kirkland Arts Center. The curators wrap up their interpretation of the word like this:

Some fractures can heal and knit, mending what was sundered, bridging the gap. Or, they can be places weakened forever: landscape altered beyond recognition. Whatever the cause, and whether or not it is welcome, a fracture is a shock–and a sign that nothing will ever be quite the same.
— Sarra Scherb & Shayla M. Alarie, Quartz Projects
Kirkland Arts Center exterior-crop.jpg

I also appreciate the curators making space for my work in an impressive grouping of artists:

Before you get caught up in the rush of summer activities, would you make space on your calendar for the opening reception? It’s next Friday, June 28th, at 6pm. Hope to see you soon.