S.A.M. displays timeless Asian artwork
Luminous, a word defined as radiating, full of light, enlightening or wise, is definitely the perfect name for Seattle Art Museum's current exhibit of Asian art.
In a city that is already home to its own Asian Art Museum and the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience, you'd think it would be difficult to draw in a decent crowd for a new Asian art exhibit.
You'd be wrong. With S.A.M.'s impressive personal collection, that has been safeguarded for 80 years and never displayed until just recently in various cities in Japan, the powers that be decided it was the perfect time to showcase it in a major exhibit downtown.
Variety is an understatement of their vast collection of pieces from 8th century bronze and silver Buddha statues, one of the earliest copies of the famous The Great Wave off Kanagawa, to jeweled daggers dating back to the 1500's.
I found it particularly amazing to see quite a collection of ancient tapestries that are still bright with many colors and unique patterns, that in my opinion are far better than anything of the sort that is sold these days. Easily the most fun piece of art to enjoy was the original light installation piece created by renowned contemporary artist Do Ho Suh.
The artist, who was born in Seoul and has a Master's in Oriental painting and has studied at Yale and Rhode Island Institute of Art, is generally known for his sculptures that defy typical ideas of scale and gravity. Instead the piece he made specifically for this exhibit focuses on creating a setting to help you achieve a serene feeling in such a public space, all done with projections on a see-through wall built with accents of Asian architecture.
Other highlights included authentic kimono's with elaborately and meticulously stitched traditional designs, terrifyingly intriguing masks once worn by both warriors and emperors, as well as several paintings ranging from simple and cute to breathtakingly beautiful.
The exhibit will be running until early January, but don't forget, there isn't just Luminous, there is also the S.A.M.'s permanent collection full of equally interesting works of all sorts.
Needless to say it's well worth the recommended $9 admission for students for a day/evening of a little peace and tranquility in the city.
A.J. Bryson, Staff Writer