There were plenty of opportunities to check out SAM's expansion during the festivities last week, but when my friends and I heard that the museum would be open for 35 hours over the weekend, we immediatley booked a 2 a.m. viewing. Tantalized by the thought of just what sort of people might be roaming the galleries post-bar time, we waited with anticipation to use our tickets. The image above shows about the same number of people as were they when we arrived (and stood in line until close to 3). DJ Swank (from Chicago, not our own, unfortunately) was playing techno by Green Velvet to a crowd of feather boa'd dancers, while other people made wearable art at the button stations.
Upstairs, the newly massive gallery spaces were filled to the brim with art we'd never seen before at SAM. My first job in Seattle was as a security guard there, and I certainly had no idea the museum had this huge installation (pictured, made from dog tags), Japanese superflat specimens, and a gigantic black rat sculpture in its holdings.
I've always loved their collection of native Northwest art and was happy to see it retain a large space. The new porcelain room was indeed stunning. As was the fact that the SAM workers were so chipper--I heard a gift shop employee tell her friend that her shift was from midnight until 8:30, and a volunteer in a magnificently reconstructed, old-European living room gave myself and 10 others the whole spiel on its history at 4:30 a.m. Wow.
Teenagers, party people, and adults were everywhere. Some napping in corners, some engaging in debate over artworks, and some trying to maintain their composure post-Cinco de Mayo imbibing. I've definitely never stared at a Mark Rothko painting for quite so long. Winding my way through the large rooms in a daze, I finally had to give up as the sun rose. But like most who visited the new SAM and loved it, there'll be many return visits for me.