Mother Dearest

Mother’s Day is fast approaching. That’s right procrastinating children everywhere, mark May 9 on your calendars. As you pick out the perfect card and put in your order for festive bouquet at the florist, consider giving Mommy dearest something a little different. That’s right, just in time for the most maternal of holidays, just what Mom always wanted…a dot.


A dot, you say? Yes, a dot. But this is no ordinary dot. This is a dot from Georges Seurat’s famous A Sunday on La Grande Jatte 1884, which is 125 years old this year. You can choose from six colors (three of which are limited edition): like sun-catching Light Green, understated Orange, wind in the sails White, sky is the limit Light Blue, burst of brightness Red, or blushing beauty Pink. The cost for adopting these color swatches? 1 for $10, 3 for $25, or all six shades for $50. What does your Mom get out of this adoption? Well, an awesome commemorative button of her beloved dot as well as a description of the role it plays in the painting as a whole. Oh, and you get that warm fuzzy feeling of having helped fund the conservation of one of the great art masterpieces.


Adopt your dot online at the Art Institute of Chicago. And if you’re too late to get one for Mother’s Day, don’t worry, Father’s Day is just around the corner.

Photo Gallery

Change Your Perspective


Interior of the Palais des Beaux Arts in Lille, France by Belgian artist/photographer Ben Heine.




Spotlight on Seattle Series: Part 3

Dale Chihuly is a big name in the art world. His glass sculptures have been featured in exhibits around the globe: the Corning Museum of Glass (NYC), the de Young (San Francisco), Franklin Park Conservatory (Columbus, Ohio), Victoria and Albert Museum (London), the MCM Grand Casino (Macau), and the Tower of David (Jerusalem) to name a few.

However, being well-known comes with a fair degree of criticism. His works have been noted for walking the line between art and craft. Some, like Kenneth Baker of the San Francisco Chronicle, claim his glassworks are too showy, that they lack the substance of serious art: “Perhaps dreamy color, glossy surfaces and flamboyant design – the signal qualities of Chihuly’s work – should be enough. But in a culture where only intellectual content still distinguishes art from knickknacks, they are not.”

Another commenter suggested that there is something vital in Chihuly’s work: “I’m not going to make a case that Chihuly is a great artist (how many deserve to be called that?) but I do make the case that it’s of some importance to consider his art seriously. Why? Because Chihuly is a leading proponent of the idea that art is still about beauty — that the search for the pure, the ideal, is still essential to the role of the artist.”


For what my opinion is worth, I think Chihuly’s work is captivating. Is there some deeper meaning behind those vibrant colors, impossible shapes, and glistening glass? Maybe yes, maybe no. Although  Navajo baskets, Italian art deco, and Japanese glass fishing floats have all been sited as inspiration for various series. But his sculptures are appealing like a bright, shiny object, and there is something to be said for art that appeals to your inner raccoon or magpie. There is definitely a place for distraction and the blatantly beautiful in the art world – it’s not earth-shattering, but it’s worth a look.


Love him or hate him, here is a little more information on Dale Chihuly:

  • 1941: Chihuly was born Tacoma, Washington.
  • After beginning his college life at the College of the Puget Sound, Chihuly soon moved on to the University of Washington, the institution from which he received a BA in interior design in 1965. Subsequent degrees followed, including a Master of Science in sculpture from the University of Wisconsin and a Master of Fine Arts from the Rhode Island School of Design.
  • He studied under Studio Glass movement leader Harvey K. Littleton.
  • In 1971, he founded the Pilchuck Glass School near Stanwood, Washington. Legendary Seattle art patrons, John Hauberg and Anne Gould Hauberg (daughter of Seattle Art Museum architect Carl F. Gould), provided the necessary support.
  • A serious car accident in 1976 left the artist blind in his left eye. Three years later, Chihuly found himself unable to blow glass on his own following a bodysurfing incident. Hiring others to do the glass blowing, he described his new role as “more choreographer than dancer.”
  • His various studios include The Boathouse (an old racing shell facility) and buildings in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood and Tacoma. These studios serve as meeting places for artists, work spaces, and museums unto themselves.




Ladies and Gentlemen, please allow me to introduce SAM. SAM is a rather handsome octogenarian that has three homes in the Seattle area: a lovely 1933 Art Moderne building in Volunteer Park, a somewhat industrial looking complex on the western edge of Downtown, and an airy waterfront space in Olympic Sculpture Park. He counts Robert Venturi and Carl F. Gould as his favorite architects, and while his particular interests include Asian, African, and Native American art, he always loves when his interesting American and European friends pay him a visit. His favorite restaurant, TASTE, features a revolving seasonal menu with a focus on sustainability and fresh-from-the-market ingredients. Also, SAM is the proud owner of an impressive research library. If you’re in the area, you should pay SAM a visit – he loves new and old visitors alike – all he asks is a suggested donation.


By now, I am sure that you know that SAM is actually the Seattle Art Museum. In 1931, Dr. Richard E. Fuller, a member of the Seattle Fine Arts Society brokered a partnership with the city of Seattle: if the city promised to maintain the facility, Fuller would donate the funds and a substantial portion of his Japanese and Chinese art collection in order to create the Seattle Art Museum. Two years later, the museum, designed by architect Carl F. Gould (that Art Moderne building we mentioned above), opened to the public. Fuller would go on to serve as director of SAM until 1973, never once collecting a salary.

In 1986, the museum put forth $35 million, which joined a $29.6 million levy agreed to by the city’s taxpayers, toward the construction of a new 150,000 square foot facility. The new building, designed by the firm Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates, was completed in 1991. Described as “seriously whimsical,” Venturi claimed, “We want [the museum] to be pretty…and appeal to children.” Now, whether it is pretty or appealing to children is a matter of opinion, but one thing that catches every Downtown visitor’s eye is the iconic “Hammering Man” sculpture in front of the museum. With its opening, SAM played a significant part in revitalizing Seattle’s downtown.

As the Downtown location opened, the old location in Volunteer Park closed for renovations. It re-opened in 1994 as the Seattle Asian Art Museum. As the name would suggest, SAAM is home to the museum’s extensive Asian art collection, including Japanese screen prints, Chinese marble sculptures, and beautiful ceramics. SAAM also houses the McCaw Foundation Asian Art Library and the Ann P. Wyckoff Teacher Resource Center.

The Olympic Sculpture Park, SAM’s third location, opened in 2007. The nine-acre park, which is enough to qualify as Seattle’s largest green space, occupies the northernmost portion of the city’s seawall and boasts magnificent views of the waterfront. Significant sculptures like Alexander Calder’s Eagle and Richard Serra’s Wake reside here.


Here are some noteworthy numbers and events in SAM’s history…

  • 300,000 people visited in the museum’s first 6 months in 1933.
  • 1940: SAM’s first “blockbuster,” Japanese works from the collection of Manson F. Backus, draws 73,000 visitors.
  • During World War II, 650 of the museum’s most precious works were transported to Denver for safekeeping.
  • 1944: First large-scale traveling exhibition, “India: It’s Acheivements of the Past and of the Present.”
  • 1959: An exhibit of paintings and drawings by Vincent Van Gogh sees 126, 110 visitors.
  • 1978: “The Treasures of Tutankhamen” charts 1.3 million visitors.
  • 1997: “Leonardo Lives” brings in 236,000 visitors.
  • SAM opened with 1926 items in its collection. As of 2008, the collection was totaled at 25,000 items.

Some exhibits you should definitely not miss…

The Collection

wedding belles

Here come the Hollywood brides.

The Collection


The Met gets a little racy.

The Collection

just so you know

Lightning Makes Mushrooms Multiply.

The Collection

an artist in everyone

They should probably keep their day jobs.

The Collection


An upgraded T-Rex experience.

The Collection

stay the night

Art + Hotel = Tel Aviv.

Next Page »