Seattle as Collector: Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs Turns 40

Set down on SAM's lobby level (the Forum Gallery), this four-decade survey of city-owned art makes for excellent free lunchtime browsing. No ticket required--just walk and wander among the four main sections, each representing a decade, with 100-plus pieces culled from Seattle's municipal collection (now including 2,800 artworks). You'll find familiar names ranging from Kenneth Callahanto Jacob Lawrence to Roger Shimomura to Ginny Ruffner, but also younger artists like Akio Takamori and Scott Fife (whose cardboard Geronimo head is on prominent display). The effect is pleasingly random and thesis-free; it's a relief to be spared some grand curatorial conceit. There's also an historical aspect--beyond some companion photos--since each decade's acquisitions indicate the artists' growing recognition and respectability. From the academy to the gallery to City Hall (and, temporarily, SAM): Our tax dollars, wisely spent, confer the stamp of public approval. Also of note: wall displays and some walking guides to find the city's permanently sited installations of public art. For a PDF map, visit seattle.gov/arts/publicart. You can start a walking or biking tour to find more than 60 outdoor pieces. It's a perfect project for summer. And, again, free. BRIAN MILLER

Mondays-Fridays, 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Starts: May 9. Continues through Dec. 30, 2011

 
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