A curated guide to this weekend's biggest art fairs

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Federico Uribe's
Dangerous Love, 2015

As an independent artist in Seattle, I love going to art shows. I am guaranteed to like only about 10 percent of the art, but it’s also a great social occasion. This weekend in Pioneer Square, you can experience two sprawling artistic events: The international Seattle Art Fair at the CenturyLink Field Event Center and the independently curated (all local) art show Out of Sight at King Street Train Station.

Here are a couple tips to maximize your enjoyment. And my picks for what should not be missed when you head downtown.

FASHION: First of all, get dressed up. At an art show, you can be anyone you want to be. Make up a fake background and history for yourself and make sure your friends know the deal and can back you up. You could be a rich collector from the Yukon, flying in on a private jet just for the weekend, looking to enhance the art collection at your ski lodge. Get eccentric. No one will know the truth.

STATE OF MIND: Secondly, being in an altered state of mind when experiencing art is preferable, particularly when you are in a giant stadium (or the upstairs floor of a train station) that’s full of swarming people.

TOP FIVE MUST-SEES | Seattle Art Fair, July 31 to Aug. 2 at CenturyLink Field Event Center ($20-$35)

(Note: There are plenty of free tickets to this floating around town. Ask a gallery near you or get one here).

Federico Uribe (Adelson Galleries, Booth 301)

Beautiful shiny animals built from bullet casings and 3D images of human faces made entirely from colored pencils, stacked and arranged and swirled.

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Psychogeography 74 by Dustin Yellin. 2015

Dustin Yellin (Winston Wächter Fine Art, Booth 403)

Winston Wächter traditionally has provided strong gallery shows for Seattle and they continue to prove their fine taste. Dustin Yellin’s tiny hand-cut images embedded in transparent layers create a larger 3D image that’s pleasing from near and far. Stand real close to see the fine details.

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PUMPKIN by Yayoi Kusama. 2015

Yayoi Kusama (David Zwirner Gallery, Booth 111)

From time to time you can experience the work of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama at the Seattle Art Museum, but at the Seattle Art Fair, you’ll get up close and personal with a brand new shiny metal pumpkin.

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Monodons of the World Unite by Justin Gibbens. 2013

PUNCH Gallery (Booth 705)

PUNCH is one of the only collectively run galleries (if not the only) at the Seattle Art Fair. This is a rare gem in a sea of big names and brands. Not only that, they’re local. This weekend they offer up a small drawing by Justin Gibbens of narwhals arranging their horns into a not-so-subtle pentagram. It made me wonder, just what are those narwhals up to?

Robert Arneson (Allan Stone Projects, Booth 401)

Treat yourself to Frame Painting #6 (With Rainbow) from 1968. When your eyes need a boost, seek out this painting.

TOP FIVE MUST-SEES | Out of Sight, King Street Station, July 30 to Aug. 2 ($10) 

C. Davida Ingram’s Where Can My Black Ass Be Safe? This framed series of four photographs is one of the strongest pieces of work in this show. Please spend some time with it. It’s powerful, important and well played.

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Casey Curran,

Casey Curran’s to our scattered bodies go

This undulating (yes, it moves) golden layer of spiked sculpture reflects the light in complicated patterns and conjures a hypnotic rhythm.

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Black Bear by Justin Beckman

Justin Beckman’s Black Bear

Twenty thousand rhinestones coat an enormous growling statue of a black bear. Count them: 20,000!

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Nola Avienne’s Small Conversation

Nola Avienne’s Small Conversation

Two upside-down cornucopia shapes that barely touch. Covering them are anemone-like creatures made out of iron filings; they look as if they’re waiting for a returning tide. Take some time to get up close to this piece. I almost overlooked it, and it would have been a mistake.

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Untitled (After Bruce Nauman) by Gretchn Bennett, 2014

Gretchen Bennett’s Untitled (After Bruce Nauman) 2014

Bennett continues to produce incredible, high-quality works in colored pencil with soft colors and secret realism that sneaks up on you.


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About the Authors & Contributors

Clyde Peterson

Clyde Peterson

Clyde Petersen is a Seattle artist, musician, boat-builder and adventurer. A nocturnal creature, he’s often found in the basement working on animated films late into the night.