Pay What You Can at SAM

Automat, 1922, Edward Hopper, American, 1882-1967, Oil on canvas, 28 1/8 x 36 in., Des Moines Art Center Permanent Collections. Purchased with funds from the Edmundson Art Foundation, Inc.

This is nothing new, but as I don't visit SAM often enough, I was unaware until this weekend that the suggested admission at the Seattle Art Museum is exactly that: suggested. If you want to browse through the Edward Hopper's Women exhibition -- and I highly recommend you do -- you only have to pay the full $13 adult admission if you can afford it. Of course, if you afford $14, all the better.

Edward Hopper's Women is on display through Sunday. Press release after the jump.


SEATTLE, October 29, 2008 - This November, the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) will present some of Edward Hopper's best known paintings in the exhibition Edward Hopper's Women. The paintings, along with three etchings by the artist, paint a poignant image of the emergence of the modern American woman, through the eyes of an artist with an uncommon ability to convey seemingly unremarkable human situations in ways that elicit powerful associations and emotional responses. Edward Hopper's Women will be on view from November 13, 2008, through March 1, 2009 at SAM downtown, First Avenue and Union Street.

In 2007 SAM announced the promised bequest of Hopper's Chop Suey, a seminal painting from 1929. With Edward Hopper's Women, the museum unveils this evocative painting in the context of a very specific set of social circumstances in New York in the late 1920s -- and the changing role of women within it.

"The tensions that still seem to emanate from this painting are testament to the penetrating power of Hopper's gaze," noted Patricia Junker, Curator of American Art at SAM. "Hopper revealed himself an uncommonly close observer of people and place, and it was with Chop Suey that he found his most potent, enigmatic subject in the American city--the modern American woman."

Organized by Junker, Edward Hopper's Women brings together a group of paintings that shows Chop Suey as part of an extended narrative of human vulnerability that evolved as Hopper studied New York women in new kinds of social spaces. Through works such as the early New York Restaurant (1922), and the later Compartment C, Car 293 (1938), visitors will appreciate the universality of Hopper's themes and the communicative power of his art across time. The paintings, together with related etchings on the theme, suggest that the artist's near obsession with the idea of human frailty occupied him through his entire career, informing his most potent -- and now iconic -- works. The exhibition will be supplemented by a selection of photographs from the Seattle Art Museum's permanent collection by Edward Hopper's contemporaries, including Imogen Cunningham, Walker Evans and Ben Shahn, among others.

This exhibition is organized by the Seattle Art Museum. Safeco Insurance Foundation is the presenting sponsor. The Wyeth Foundation for American Art is the publication sponsor. Major support is provided by the Seattle Art Museum Supporters (SAMS). The Visionary Circle (Thomas W. Barwick, Jeffrey and Susan Brotman, Barney A. Ebsworth, Jon and Mary Shirley, Virginia and Bagley Wright, Ann P. Wyckoff) sustains rich exhibition programs such as Edward Hopper's Women.

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