Fri. Jul 19th, 2024

5 Seattle-area art shows worth seeing in July 2024

By meerna Jun25,2024
5 Seattle-area art shows worth seeing in July 2024

Staff selection

Long days and warm temperatures make summer a great time to visit cool art spaces in Seattle. Here are some suggestions for what to see in July – some noteworthy exhibitions that emphasize the search for community and the creative potential of relationships. Check them out, perhaps with a friend or two!


This is truly a last-chance scenario. Our last chance to see MadArt Studio, the wonderful South Lake Union space – which is closing – where so much original responsive art was created, and our last chance to see MadArt’s final exhibition. Since Alison Wyckoff Milliman founded MadArt in 2009 (in Madison Valley, hence the name), the organization went through several nomadic iterations before moving to a redesigned space in South Lake Union in 2014. Since then, it has been brilliantly managed by MadArt director and curator Emily Kelly. 2017.

For the farewell exhibition, all 84 former MadArt artists were invited to propose works that “referenced, extended, or resonated with their original MadArt works.” Featuring 51 works by local, national and international artists – in a stunning range of media and forms – by 56 artists, they are a vibrant testament to the creative diversity and vitality that MadArt has ignited over the years.

Until July 13; MadArt Studio, 325 Westlake Ave. N., No. 101, Seattle; free; 206-623-1180,

“Nordic utopia? “African Americans in the 20th Century”

Much research has focused on Paris as a creative mecca for Black Americans, but this is the first exhibition to comprehensively examine the stories and creative legacies of African American visual artists and performers who sought inspiration, escape, and community in the Nordic countries. The paintings, photographs, textiles, films, music and dance performances featured in the exhibition reveal previously untold stories of Black Americans seeking creative outlets and freedom from discrimination. This is a fascinating exhibition and a significant contribution to the history of art.

Until July 21; National Nordic Museum, 2655 NW Market St., Seattle; $10-20, free for members and children under 4, $5 on the first Thursday of each month;

“Live with It: Masterpieces from the Steve and Caryl Baron Collection”

Solas Gallery continues to fit large exhibitions into its small space with a show of photographs collected by Steve Baron, who oversaw production at the Foundation and Aperture magazine for over 40 years. When his wife, Caryl, died in 2023, she bequeathed the collection to Steve’s student, employee, and friend, Michelle Dunn Marsh of Seattle, former director of the Photographic Center Northwest and founder of Minor Matters Books. For this exhibition, Dunn Marsh selected many of Paul Strand’s photographs and prints by Dorothea Lange, Eikoh Hosoe and Edward Weston, among others. This is a unique opportunity to see outstanding examples of photographic genius united by lasting friendship in an intimate atmosphere.

Until July 28; Solas Gallery, 300 S. Washington St., Unit Z, Seattle; free;

“Poke in the Eye: The Art of the West Coast Counterculture”

This respectful and vibrant exhibition highlights artists who, in the 1960s and 1970s, deliberately acted differently from the mainstream New York art world. In contrast to the serious elegance of minimalism, “funk art” was fun, strange and a little messy. A poke in the eye, if you will. This show adds nuance and diversity to the traditional telling of California funk art by including works by women, people of color, and members of the LGBTQ+ community. It also expands its geographic scope to highlight the exchange of jokes and ideas across the West Coast, with pockets of creative activity centered on places like the University of California at Davis and the University of Washington, where Patti Warashina, Howard Kottler and others did crazy things in the ceramics studio. Drawn almost entirely from the permanent collection of the Seattle Art Museum, curator Carrie Dedon has gathered some real gems from the past and added some contemporary art as well.

Until September 2; Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Ave., Seattle; tickets $19.99-$32.99, free for members and children 14 and under; 206-654-3100,

“Radical change: the women’s studio as a sustainable model of artistic creation”

Founded in 1974 by artists Ann Kalmbach, Tatana Kellner, Anita Wetzel and Barbara Leoff Burge, Women’s Studio Workshop based in Kingston, New York has become an inclusive institution that serves women and trans, intersex, non-binary and genderfluid artists by offering training and support in various media. Marking its 50th anniversary, the artist’s book exhibition highlights how the skills of papermaking, printing and bookbinding – along with writing/documenting, creative expression and critical analysis – were an integral part of this visionary program. In a statement from the exhibition’s curator, Maymanah Farhat, says the exhibition highlights how “art-making conditions and institutional support serve a sustainable and more equitable art ecosystem.” The traveling exhibition stop at the Bainbridge Museum of Art is part of this institution’s strong commitment to the art of the book.

Until September 22; Bainbridge Art Museum, 550 Winslow Way E., Bainbridge Island; free;

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