Seattle Asian Art Museum

My last activity in Seattle – I went to the Seattle Asian Art Museum on their free day.  I don’t know what the museum looked like before the renovation, but the layout is fantastic and conceptually nothing short of revolutionary.  I highly recommend a visit – this should be on your things to do in Seattle list.  The galleries are not labeled by geography but organized by theme and with a focus on identity.  Stories are told, not by boundaries or countries, rather through a nonlinear narrative. I’ve never seen an Asian museum express their art through these concepts.

A few of my favorite pieces came from the Be/Longing exhibit – modern and contemporary Asian Art – raising questions of who we are, where we belong – insider and outsider within an Asian heritage.

  1. Ai Weiwei – Colored Vases, 2010 – the artist is described as a Chinese dissident artist – ancient vases, covered in modern industrial paint – when covered in paint, it raises the question – “what is underneath – like history itself – is “no longer visible, but is still there.”
  2. Do Ho Suh – “Some/One”, 2001 – an assignment at the Rhode Island School of Design – to express identity through clothing – he reflects on his mandatory Korean military service – the garment is thousands of steel military dog tags/soldiers’ ID and the shape of the garment is Asian armor.
  3. Murkami – happy faces – the description read he was very sad when painting the happy faces. He asks – beneath the smile is not always happy.

My list of favorite things to do in Seattle –

Islands – go on the water – kayak or stand up paddle board

1. San Juan Island (drive or go by seaplane)

2. Whitby Island – walk by Ebey’s Landing

3. Bainbridge Island – take the ferry from downtown and stroll through main street

Seattle parks –

1. Gas Works Park – fun and industrial, nice views

2. Seaward Park – views

3. Lincoln Park (West Seattle), Alki beach (West Seattle)

4. Golden Gardens (walk down from the top of the steps). 

5. (Tacoma park) – Point Definance

Museums – these museums present art, ideas and history, that you will not see in other parts of the country.

  1. Seattle Asian Art Museum
  2. Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum
  3. Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Visitor Center – I went many years ago and liked it, haven’t been recently, especially since their divorce.
  4. Wing Luke Asian Museum and the Panama hotel for Japanese internment history

Hiking – favorite hikes: (*you have to be in shape to do these) Enchantments, Snow Lake, Lake Serene

All the national parks: Olympic, Northern Cascades, Mt. Rainer

Grocery stores – Winco, Uwajimaya

Other tourist sights:

Ballard Locks (salmon)

Seattle Public Central Library “red hall”

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