July 18, 2007

SAM slam

Lee Rosenbaum Lee Rosenbaum reports today in the Wall Street Journal: "Most museums expand to make room for their existing permanent collections. The Seattle Art Museum expanded, to 268,000 from 150,000 square feet, so that it could persuade local donors to augment its permanent collection, in time for its 75th anniversary next year. That campaign, successful beyond the wildest curatorial dreams, added nearly 1,000 owned, pledged and promised works to the collection." Rosenbaum sees both the collection and the jarringly disparate installation as works in progress. Read more.

Jen Graves in The Stranger sees it differently: "The way the permanent collection is installed is brilliant, too. Each section is hung in its own way. Disparate collections are linked. Juxtapositions are playful—a taxidermied dog on a plastic chair by the contemporary artist Maurizio Cattelan with a Dutch still life with cherries and a butterfly from 1617 by Balthasar van der Ast. Wall labels are opinionated. The whole place has an air of confident, conversational intelligence and in several spots, curators seem to be throwing out the question, 'Why the hell not?'" Read more.