Thursday, June 28, 2012

Natural History Museum, part 5: Hall of North American Birds

This concludes our tour of the American Museum of Natural History

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mid-week masters: Nicolas Feldmeyer

What makes me fall in love with installation art over and over again is its ability to completely transform the space it's in. I love this installation by Nicolas Feldmeyer. Though the concept may seem simple at first glance, there is so much it can say about history, the craft of weaving, and architecture. It takes the classic Greek column and transforms it into a tool. So cool.

Images via Nicolas Feldmeyer's website

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Natural History Museum, part 4: Hall of Gems and Minerals

A huge part of why I love this museum so much is that at times it feels old-fashioned. Most science museums now have all these flashy interactive exhibits designed to try and get kids intereseted in science, but most of the time half the interactive features are broken or there's a line to see them and some bratty kid keeps pushing ahead in the line even though it's your turn to stand in the middle of the bubble tunnel.

Though I would never call NHM out of date, I love the old-fashioned way they have of displaying things sometimes. The gem and mineral room is a perfect example of this. It's a room full of cool rocks that doesn't try to be anything more than a room full of cool rocks.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Seattle History: the Denny Hill Regrades

No date or exact location given

February 23, 1907 3rd Ave. north from Columbia St.

Apr 28, 1911 N Along 5th Ave from Cherry St.

Jun 24, 1914 Ross Shire Hotel at 6th & Marion

Nov 6, 1929 South from Sixth and Battery
The other day my mom checked a book about historic Seattle homes out from the library. I was taking a look at it and I was blown away by a picture of a home teetering precariously at the top of a giant mound of dirt. The home in the photo was one of the victims of the Denny Hill regrade. I knew about the regrade vaguely, like one of those historic facts you know about, but have never really took the time to think about. The photo was, frankly, kind of shocking and I thought about what the people of Seattle had to deal with as this project was going on. Obviously they didn't have the kind of construction equipment available to them like we do today. like back hoes and giant cranes so they used water cannons to blast away at the dirt and (for the early part of the project) horse and buggies to haul the dirt away. I can't imagine what a huge muddy mess the city would have been while this was going on. I also can't imagine how those homeowners, who found themselves on top of a giant dirt island with the rest of the city slowly retreating below them, must have felt.

Here's some information about the huge engineering project from the Northwest Digital Archives:
Begun in 1898 and completed over thirty years later, the Denny Hill Regrade leveled one of Seattle's steepest hills, connecting neighborhoods and facilitating traffic flow. Before the regrade, Second Avenue rose 190 feet in the twelve blocks between Pioneer Square and Lenora Avenue, causing traffic and transportation problems in the area. The project began by flattening First Avenue between Pine Street and Denny Way. The sluiced-away dirt was dumped into Elliott Bay or used as filler on downtown streets. The leveling of the hill continued in 1906 and 1907; homeowners who refused to move had the hill sluiced away around them, leaving their houses on islands of dirt.

Images were found via the Seattle Municipal Archives Photograph Collection. They also have a great collection of images on Pinterest

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Natural History Museum, part 3: Hall of African Mammals

I wonder what walking through this museum was like before we had high def nature documentaries that spaned the globe, or even before Wild Kingdom was brodcast into livingrooms. Now, the taxidermy seems unnecessary, but then there was no other way for the average American to see a Black Rhino. The line between scientist and hunter used to be almost non-existent. After all, Audubon the man who is resonsible for documenting hundreds of North American species (of both bird and mammal) was a prolific hunter. There is no doubt we owe a lot of our knowledge to these hunting scientists and the truth of it is both beautiful and cruel when there are dozens of black marble eyes looking back at you.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Stuff is Happening

Some seek previews of art type things I'm working on. I’m working on a whole bunch of things at once so it’s slow progress on all of them. In the mean time I got on the roster for Seattle Storefronts, so I’ll be doing another storefront installation sometime this year. Also, I was accepted to a residency program in Wyoming, so this fall I get to spend a month on a ranch doing nothing but art! Stuff is happening, there’s just not a lot to show for it yet. In the meantime, here are a few mysterious glimpses into my progression.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hello summer I missed you

Even though Seattle won't hit its actual summer until almost August, I'm officially declaring this day trip I took with my friend Laura to Bellingham and Whatcom Falls this year's first summer outing. Bellingham is a great town to visit on those days when you need to get out of Seattle, but you woke up to late (hungover?) to start a hike or some other activity that requires actual planning and physical exertion. I love Seattle, but sometimes its citizens are exhausting, constantly mountain climbing, biking, building multi-national corporations. It makes me tired. But in Bellingham it's cool to just chill and sit next to the falls for a little while.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Natural History Museum, part 2: Hall of Ocean Life and Biodiversity

The hall of ocean life is pretty much the coolest room you'll ever be in. A life size blue whale hangs from the ceiling while walruses, polar bears, and sea lions hang out in their dioramas. Personally, I think the giant squid attacking the sperm whale is piece de resistance of the ocean room (even if it is impossible to photograph. I tried)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Natural History Museum, part 1: Hayden Planetarium

Oh hey there, remember me? Didn't think so. Good weather and an uncharacteristic productive streak took me away from the computer for a little while. No regrets. But, the infamous weather pattern we like to call the June gloom here in Seattle has settled in and the glow of the computer screen has once again become my source of light therapy. 

So, anyway, back in March I took that trip to New York. While I was there I visited one of my favorite places in the world, the American Museum of Natural History. It's like the nerd version of Disney World! I took approximately one million photos, starting with these of the Hayden Planetarium/Rose Center for Earth and Space. 

I love seeing the austere old buildings next to this giant futuristic sphere.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Mid-week Masters: Jody Alexander

I recently checked this book out from the library and within it's pages I found a new artist to both admire fervently and envy injudiciously. Installation and book art combined? Long, strange titles? Art that fits in compartments you can explore? Part Joseph Cornell, part storytelling by the fire, Jody Alexander's work has stolen my heart.

All images via artist's website