1. Have The NOW Awards Gone Viral?
    September 8, 2014 by Walden3

    NOW_Lawson 2

    Florence Lawson invigorates the Seattle poetry scene with her LAWSON NOW awards.


    Last Wednesday Florence Lawson sat in the corner of the Caffe Zingaro, sipping a cup of peppermint tea and writing meticulous notes in a large spiral notebook. To the rest of the audience, maybe she was someone’s grandmother or an aspiring poet herself, which in part, is entirely true. Mrs. Norman Lawson (as she signs her checks) has lived in Laurelhurst for the last 54 years, is the proud grandmother to three teenagers and fell in love with poetry her freshman year at MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Illinois. But she was not here waiting to perform, she was there waiting to hear a young poet by the name of Yvette Jackson, a 17 year old student from Garfield High School. At the end of this open mic night, Florence politely walked over to Yvette’s table, introduced herself and handled Ms. Jackson a check for $5,000.00.

    Florence Lawson is not a millionaire and she gets nervous with the title of philanthropist. But she does represent a growing number of retirees and upper middle class families in King County who have latched onto the simple concept of the NOW Awards. She established the Lawson NOW Trust in February of 2014 (after reading the Seattle Times story of hedge fund manager Barney Burchak), giving $25,000.00 annually to poets performing in King County. There is no board of directors, no application form, no age restrictions – she simply pays attention to the hundreds of poets writing and performing in Seattle, and if she likes someone, she hands them a check. Florence Lawson plans to hand out nine NOW Awards this year, four in the amount of $5,000.00 and five in the amount of $1,000.00. She is a quiet and unassuming woman, and downplays her role in the arts, but the Lawson NOW Trust is designed to last “about twenty years” doling out $500,000.00 in cash awards to poets working or performing in King County. And by hearing the joy and plans of Yvette Jackson, even $5,000.00 can be a life changing event.

    For those not familiar with the Times article or the NOW Awards created by Barney Burchak (and in part by Walden Three), Mr. Burchak has been a prominent yet mostly unknown benefactor of the arts for over twenty years. His gifts to major regional institutions over the years top out at over 10 million dollars, and while he doesn’t regret a dime of it, he stated, “I felt like my donations were not getting to the artists, but to pay administration costs, pay utility bills, that sort of thing.” He wanted to create a model where his philanthropic dollars when directly to the artist, inspire our regional creative talent, and have a more immediate, targeted impact. Mr. Burchak wanted a more human connection to supporting the arts and was drawn towards the idea of tracking down regional talent. The Burchak NOW Awards were formed (launched at Walden Three) in October of 2013 and within a single year have inspired numerous other privately funded programs modeled after the NOW Award – Florence Lawson being one of many.


    Hedge fund manager, and NOW creator Barney Burchak, 2014.

    The Burchak NOW Awards were designed to disperse $500,000.00 a year ‘to artists, performers, writers and filmmakers creating work within the city of Seattle’. The Burchak NOW Awards hand out (50) – $1,000.00 awards, (25) – $5,000.00 awards, (25) – $10,000.00 and (3) – $25,000.00 every single year for two decades. They have been handed to high school students, street musicians, early and mid-career artists, writers and musicians, and any talent that “contributes to our cultural fabric in innovative, experimental and original ways.”

    What was not anticipated were the number of new arts patrons the NOW Awards have sprung. Mr. Burchak’s NOW program has inspired at least 17 similar programs in the Pacific Northwest, and the template has seeded in at least five other American cities. Some patrons, like Florence Lawson, chose to focus specifically on one medium. The Paulsen NOW focuses on street artists, the Clement NOW focuses on modern dance and the Yeager NOW directs their attention towards ceramic arts. Some could be considered micro-philanthropy (the Yeager NOW disperses (5) – $1,000.00 and (1) – $5,000.00 award annually) Others, like the Eide NOW, Springman NOW, Carver NOW and Smith NOW model more directly to the Burchak awards, covering all disciplines and adopting the (100) annual awards template. Asking NOW benefactors why they do it, they beam and smile and almost universally reply “it’s just so much fun”.

    NOW_SBC 2

    EIDE NOW founder Helen Eide delivers a check to Seattle-based art trio SuttonBeresCuller during the opening of their new show, You knew it was wrong…but you did it anyway at Greg Kucera Gallery, September, 2014.

    What exactly happens to a city nourished with an additional 17 privately funded art grant programs, awarding 1,200 annual grants totaling over 7.5 million dollars? There are those detractors that say money can’t buy a renaissance. There are those that say this model of funding hurts regional arts institutions. There are those that say that the money is ill spent and reckless. But experiencing Florence Lawson’s gift to Yvette Jackson, and knowing that this is happening on average 3 times a day, every day of the year, I’d beg to differ. NOW Awards are changing the climate of Seattle, and setting an unprecedented example to the rest of the world that you do not have to be a millionaire to participate, and influence culture on a historic level.

    Walden Three will host Seattle NOW this November, showcasing the recipients of the Burchak NOW Awards and the viral effects of this innovative and bold new program. To receive the NOW template and start your own philanthropic campaign, you can email us at: info@w3seattle.com


    – GL



  2. Walking on the Moon
    June 30, 2014 by Walden3

    Artistonthemoon 2

    Sometimes the shortest distance between two points is not a straight line. Sometimes it requires seemingly irrational detours, taking you off track and temporarily away from the trajectory of your dreams.

    With the team at Mars2025, this was the exact predicament they found themselves in. This group of space enthusiasts, billionaires, astronauts and NASA chiefs (both past and present) realized that in order to fund their 60 billion dollar manned mission to Mars (employing Dr. Robert Zubrin’s Mars Direct approach), they must first build a base support and pop culture enthusiasm that rivaled or eclipsed the optimism of space travel that existed in a post WWII America. And that, they concluded, was done by returning to the moon in two highly publicized and propagated trips in the summer of 2016.

    The space community is not terribly excited about a return to the moon. Sure it has been 44 years since man last stepped out of Apollo 1 and planted a flag into the silver dust of the moon, but the cost to scientific gain did not pencil out – in many minds a return to the moon is a dog and pony show, specifically designed to bolster support both publically and politically for the much more expensive, much more dangerous, and much more rewarding mission to Mars. But as Sir Richard Branson said, “I’d enter myself in the Westminster Dog Show if that is what it took to get to Mars.” His group held a ‘by any means possible’ attitude, and Mars2025 could never be accused of a lack of passion or resource.

    Mars2025 is a privately funded group of space enthusiasts and scientists that include equal part billionaires such as Elon Musk, Paul Allen, Richard Branson and Jeff Bezos with seasoned aerospace veterans Dr. Alan Stern, Mike Griffin, Burt Rutan and Peter H. Diamandis. Their first return flight to the Moon is branded “scientific” and their second flight to the moon considered “artistic”. In an attempt to bolster support for a manned mission to Mars, they are sending an artist to the Moon. Sending an artist to the Moon. I could say that over and over all day long…

    The technical specifications are inspired all by themselves. From their artist call:

    The two-person crew will consist of one NASA certified astronaut and one “artist”. If the selected “artist” does not meet the physical and psychological requirements of the mission, an appropriate substitution may be made. The mission will last approximately (48) hours with (26) hours spent on the surface of the Moon. Two space walks will be performed totaling (4) hours outside of the craft. The “artist” is allowed no more than (6) cubic feet of cargo weighing no more than (30) kilograms. Installation, performance, sculpture, dance and/or land art will be consider for selection. Select artist proposals will be judged by the Mars2025 board of directors and awarded based upon originality, inspiration and artistic merit.

    That was the extent of their artist call. No prize money offered, no material expenses, just one trip to the moon (at a value of approximately 600 million dollars). The sheer opportunity to walk on the moon and brilliance of glancing back and viewing our planet from space would be enough to motivate just about anyone. Being the first artist to create a work of art on the moon? Priceless. (I’m actually surprised Visa didn’t want in on that campaign.)

    Walden Three was honored to host this amazing selection of artist proposals in the Mercer Gallery this May. Guest curator Geoffry Dietch and company rolled up their sleeves to task through the 10,851 submissions,  narrowing down the selections to the most compelling (and accomplishable) proposals from 98 countries.

    Andy Goldworthy was a tough act to follow, requesting only a wooden handle gardening hoe with which he planned to carve into the moon dust a 100 meter fingerprint. Yoko Ono wanted to bring the flags of the other 195 countries not currently represented on the moon, reflecting a planetary conquest that is not nation-driven but humanity driven. There were a surprising number of graffiti artists in the group, all wanting to tag a moon rock, or in some cases construct a wall so they have a man-made surface to tag (Banksy, Zephyr, Inkie, Ewok as well as Seattle’s own NKO and Jeff Jacobson rounding out the final cut).

    Seattle artists also included John Sutton – whose proposed 3M collaborated solar ‘yarn toss’ would have propelled nearly a mile of illuminating high-tech string into black space, and Iole Alessandrini’s laser installation would scan and map passing astroids and other space junk.

    Kinetic sculptor Theo Jansen presented beautifully detailed drawings of his solar powered mechanical “Strandbeests” that would roam the surface for (potentially) generations to come. Ai Weiwei partnered up again with Olafur Eliasson for an architectural structure called TIMEOUT, and maybe it was expected to see a host of architecture and design firms raise their hand for structures both metaphorical and dysfunctional. It was nice to see Tom Kundig in the mix and Zaha Hadid proposing about the most insane ‘tent construction’ I’ve ever witnessed. Even actor Zach Galifianakis put on his thinking cap, proposing a 280-foot collapsable ladder that would help a moon walker get 280 feet closer to Earth (it was entitled CAN WE GO HOME NOW?).

    But in the end, the Mars2025 jury bypassed the A list artists, the starchitects, and the comedians for the more serious and introspective proposal by artist/educator Nevdon Jamgochian. Below is his winning proposal:

    Nevdon Jamgochian – A Proposal for a Pantheon on the Moon

    “What powerful but unrecorded race

    Once dwelt in that annihilated place?”

    The age of thinking machines has freed technological man from the judgment of God. While this is a boon, it is also a curse. We have learned to shed our shame from many hateful superstitions, but we need to relearn to be embarrassed about certain things. Foremost of the things we need to view as sinful is the destruction of our environment. What I propose is nothing less than the creation of an evolving pantheon to watch and condemn us and grow in proportion to the amount that we continue to destroy the diversity of life on earth. This pantheon will exist on the moon, which sits in eternal judgment of our actions.

    My installation will consist of small Apollo style lunar rover, albeit in miniature, with a 3-D printer bolted on top. This rover will be connected to a remote control station located on the top floor of Walden Three. The Walden Three station will broadcast commands to the rover upon each new extinction of animal species on earth. The rover will first create a small mound and print out a sculpture of the murdered animal on top, measuring 5 centimeters high. A remote camera will broadcast the sculptures watching the earth until our murderous ways finish us off or are eliminated. Currently there are more than 2000 animals on the critically endangered species list, from the Western Lowland Gorilla to the Spix Macaw, needless to say this list is growing exponentially despite the turnover rate.

    The 3-D printer and lunar rover are projected to weigh less than 15 kilograms and take up slightly more than one cubic meter of payload space. It will be outfitted with enough printing paste to print out roughly 75,000 statues (there are 59,508 species of animal life currently known). An emergency button located in the control station at Walden Three will start the rover on an autopilot printing mission for all of these species. The final act of this automatic mission will be a statue of a human, in case of our own extinction.

    I intend to inaugurate the rover with a dedication ceremony on the moon. The ceremony will be held in the recently constructed posteriori language of Lingwa de planeta and hopefully broadcast in every country on earth. A small plaque will be placed on the rover that has the text of the Percy Shelley poem “Ozymandias”, also written in Lingwa.

    I am in excellent physical condition to carry out this project, having subjected myself to the exercise regime of Jørgen Peter Müller everyday since April 9th 2012.  Furthermore, I am the descendant of two human species (Armenian and Jewish), who were the subject of the largest attempted human annihilations ever- thus I am something of a human variant of the animals once on critical endangered list.

    I sincerely hope that the committee considers my proposal, as a primary value in the exploration of space is increasing our own self-awareness and understanding of the unique value of our own planet.


    A 3-D print of Nevdon Jamgochian, winner of the Mars2025 Moon Residency.


    Never before had an opening at Walden 3 been so populated by security measures and private bodyguards, but then again, we did have 5 billionaires in the Mercer Gallery at once. And it isn’t just radicals and would-be kidnappers that follow billionaires around – we had a surprising amount of celebrity rubbing shoulders during the private reception and subsequent party at the Four Seasons. Who knew Kim Kardashian was interested in outer space?


    Elon Musk and Talulah Riley at the after party.


    A very happy Peter Diamandis with Dean Karmen.


    Seattle artist Ben Beres. Who needs an invitation when you have a tiny rainbow umbrella?


    Sir Richard Branson with Kim Kardashian and Britney Spears at the Four Seasons after party.


    We are honored to host this amazing collection of proposals and perspectives on art outside our atmosphere and look forward to a future where artists and scientists continue to imagine our role and cultural legacy in the heavens.

    – GL

  3. The Laurel Canyon 12
    May 21, 2014 by Walden3

    Five of the Laurel Canyon 12, aged 13, in 1987

    Five of the Laurel Canyon 12, aged 13, in 1987

    With all of the controversy and buzz surrounding Walden 3’s new exhibit BABY, it’s worth noting that this is not the first time that offspring have been curated in the name of art. In the winter of 1973-74, a small group of Hollywood producers and intelligentsia set their sites on “directing” a next generation of film stars and models by auditioning acting talent with desirable physical attributes. What followed was the intentional procreation of 24 beautiful, talented couples, hand-selected for their breeding potential, and a dozen babies, born in the fall of 1974, with all the expectations of their “creators” to dominate the silver screen in years to come. But what actually happened?

    Walden 3 has reunited the surviving members of the Laurel Canyon 12 for a panel discussion of the unpredictable tension involved in using human beings as curated art projects. Of the 12, 1 ended up taking his own life, 2 have been in and out of rehab for decades after early careers as child stars, 7 have abandoned the Hollywood dream for alternative careers, families, and solitude, and only 2 went on to moderate success in the film and modeling worlds.  Nature, even if carefully planned and engineered, yields to nurture in odd, unforeseeable ways.  Amanda Manitach and DK Pan will be on hand to talk about the expectations for their ‘living sculpture’ and their odd relationship to the benefactors of the child.

    We hope you’ll join us next Tuesday on the steps of the Denny School of Art, for what will surely be a passionate discussion of the hubristic intersection of art with genetic engineering and its untenable results.


  4. BABY in the Mercer Gallery
    May 6, 2014 by Walden3


    D.K. Pan and Amanda Manitach perform Conception – photo series by Megumi Shauna Arai 2013


    On a cold and rainy evening in January of 2013, a group of artists, collectors and arts advocates raised a glass in celebration of their successful bid to create PA (Pacific Arts) – Seattle’s first international arts biennial. Sure, it wasn’t going live until the summer of 2016, but the formation, and birth of a citywide arts festival was a heroic undertaking and the merriment was well warranted. Matt Dillon stood back in a pinstriped apron, knife in hand, as Greg Bell announced the official venues and dates and Beth Sellars revealed the first year’s guest curator.

    There were about 50 of us there that night at the Corson Building, and I hardly knew them all, but I’ve been trying to compose a complete guest list since. Amanda Manitach and Ben Beres were at my table, as well as Scott Lawrimore, Yoko Ott, John and Shari Behnke and Susie Lee. I know that Paul Rucker and Petra Franklin were sitting behind me, and Bill and Ruth True brought an extra case of champagne. Dan Webb and Scott Fife plotted in the corner, and Greg Kucera, Gail Gibson and Vic Haven all wore PA branded jackets that reminded me of 1970s real estate agents, in a good way. Oh, and of course D.K. Pan was there.

    The food was spectacular, the drink flowed in tempo with the cold bitter rain outside and it was a party not unlike the victors of a war might have – loud and congratulatory and decadent. People smoked cigars and joints under the eve and the energy in the room was nothing short of electric. There was a lot of talk about birth, about creation, about life and growth and bringing new things into the world. We drank and ate and envisioned our city pulsing with art and invaded by what was called ‘cultural tourism’. Amanda and D.K. don’t recall exactly with whom they spoke with that night, but they undoubtedly had some conversation about birth, about the act of creating, about art not being entirely under their control. It’s really difficult to say where the idea came from, or who the primary author was. There was plenty of booze consumed and the party carried on late into the night.

    Two weeks later Amanda Manitach received an email from a prominent Seattle law firm, and on February 12th, she and D.K. Pan were sitting in the lobby high above the city, not sure if they were busted for some unknown crime or about to inherit a secret fortune. They sat there with their minds racing, and taking long shot guesses at this undisclosed meeting. They had both seen their share of trouble, but not together. It made no sense.  They were seated at a 20 person conference table overlooking Elliot Bay, two glasses of mineral water before them and five lawyers with note pads across from them. Amanda laughed out loud. D.K. had seen enough law offices in his life and waited for bad news.

    Amanda and D.K. are not at liberty to discuss the exact content of that meeting, but a specific conversation that happened at the Corson Building that rainy night in January was not all lost in the haze of indulgence. At least not lost to the undisclosed party that hired the lawyers, drafted the proposal and very seriously offered to make good on the challenge set forth that night. This private and nameless party sought to commission a work of art from Amanda and D.K., a work of art that could only be called, for lack of a better word, a ‘living sculpture’. The two artists sighed a collective relief, relaxed, got excited, and nearly in unison replied, “Wait-what? A living sculpture?” In plain speak, the lead attorney responded somberly, “A baby. Our client wishes you to create a baby. It is our understanding that it was your idea.”

    “A baby-baby? Like a baby that comes out of – here?” D.K. leaned forward, took a sip of his sparkling water and asked, “How much are we talking about?” The first meeting lasted three hours. The second meeting lasted six. And by mid-April, a contract was signed, a plan was developed, and the curatorial team at Walden Three was shuffling exhibition dates around to accommodate this new performance installation called BABY, scheduled to happen in the Mercer Gallery.

    BABY was programmed in three segments – The Conception, The Delivery and The Exhibition. The Conception was an understated event and barely registered in the media. Maybe people thought it was a hoax, maybe we’ve become so desensitized by sex that a public act of sex, in a gallery, seemed like a bore. Maybe we were all a little uncertain about it and under advertised the event. But on July 14th, Amanda Manitach and D.K. Pan approached a king sized mattress in the center of the gallery, stood on their knees, reached out and made love. For four hours and twenty six minutes. Contractually, if Amanda and D.K. did not conceive in the gallery, more medical approaches would be employed, but they were determined to make a baby and did so in a way that critics called, “a profound act of creation” “utterly beautiful and cerebral” and “totally not pornography”. Not to say it wasn’t hot and messy and loud, but much like drawing a nude model, what Amanda and D.K. were doing was not fucking, it was not for sport or for show, it was… something different. Something intimate and, for lack of a better word – magical. You couldn’t help but view them as animals, you couldn’t help but imagine a billion sperm racing towards the mothership, you couldn’t help but look at is as an entirely different level of performance art. It surprised no one in attendance when, two days later, it was confirmed that Amanda was pregnant.


    D.K. reads The Story of the Eye in the seventh month. Photo by Megumi Shauna Arai 2014

    Seattle photographer Megumi Shauna Arai was brought on to document these next nine months of clean living and collective baby-making. D.K. attempted to shoulder as much of the creative process as possible, cooking healthy meals, reading George Bataille out loud , and exposing the growing sculpture inside Amanda to the sounds of Satie, Riley, Reich (as per the contract) and the Velvet Underground just for good measure. When D.K. wasn’t around, Katy Perry and Lana del Rey were in heavy rotation.

    Amanda’s water broke on May 1st and our staff (totally freaked out) braced for her arrival.  Dr. Robert Weinsheimer was called in, as was Alex Austin – Amanda’s flask carrying doula. We called the lawyers, our documentarians and sent out a flash press release. Within the hour The Mercer Gallery was filled with over a hundred paper-mask wearing art patrons and friends, all buzzing with the excitement surrounding the Delivery performance.

    In anticipation of BABY, we had constructed a glass walled delivery room and nursery on the west side of the gallery, specifically for the Delivery performance, exhibition and feeding. The crowd surged towards the glass with a surprising number of children front row and center for the Delivery.

    I’ve never heard a woman swear so much.

    I’ve never seen so much blood and bodily fluid.

    It was the physical manifestation of an artist tortured by their craft – natural and painful and uncertain. There was this sense that they had gone too far with their ideas but could not turn around, could not back up. PUSH! PUSH! Forward was the only direction. PUSH! PUSH! You signed up for this now finish what you started. It was weird and beautiful and messy, animalistic and awesome. If there was any doubt in the critics mind, witnessing Delivery extinguished it, annihilated it. This was no gimmick or Buzzfeed story. Six hours and fifteen minutes later, the living sculpture came into this world, covered in a slick mess. It was smacked on the rear, it took its first breath and screamed a baby’s scream. The kids had their sweaty little palms flat against the glass, eyes wide and mouths slack. Everyone else was crying. The whole gallery collectively wept tears of joy, uncontrollably, hands to their face, overwhelmed and involuntarily. We sobb-laughed as the emotional wave engulfed us. It was euphoric, profoundly beautiful, human and vulnerable. Sunglasses could not hide the tears of Christopher Knight. Hans Ulrich Obrist (who was there to include Amanda and D.K. in his next volume of the Interview Project) acted like a nervous, expecting father, racing between the  gallery and the alley to smoke a pack and a half of cigarettes. But when BABY screamed, like a director shouting “action”, we just wept and wept. And when you thought you had regained your composure, you would look over to a stranger, to a friend, to a child and start sobbing all over again.


    A volunteer wet nurse feeds BABY in the Mercer Gallery. Photo by Magdalena Hill 2014


    Please visit the BABY exhibition throughout the month of May. The living sculpture will be on display from 12:00 to 6:00 pm daily with wet nurses and volunteers caring for and presenting BABY. Per contract, Amanda and D.K. are not allowed on in the third floor gallery during the exhibition period, but will be conducting artist talks on the Denny Stairs (see calendar). Come June 1st, BABY will enter into a private collection, and we don’t believe you will get a chance to witness it again.  We have posted the above interview for those unable to attend the Seattle discussions.




  5. The House That Jack Built
    January 18, 2014 by Walden3


    Image by Olson Kundig OUTPOST

    Well, we had our first real fight in the Mercer Gallery last night. And the strange thing is, we were lucky that a black eye and a few bruised ribs was as bad as it got. Last night marked the opening of Jack Daws’s new exhibition, The House That Jack Built, and it was a queer collection of anarchists and poets, celebrities and activists, and one colorful character who claims to be the re-incarnation of Henry David Thoreau himself.

    That last character, Jacques Henri, may or may not be the spiritual descendant of Mr. Thoreau, but he was the catalyst for Daws’s new foray into architecture, resulting though it did, in environmental catastrophe and ever-broadening legal troubles. It is difficult to start with the question of who Jacques Henri is exactly, but it is known that he contacted Daws and, after a lengthy correspondence, Daws was compelled to design and build a new private residence for Mr. Henri. In Concord, Massachusetts. In the middle of Walden Pond. Going up against the tyranny of bureaucracy, The House That Jack Built is a study in civil disobedience and the unfortunate consequences of a focused passion. Walden Three can exhibit the work of Daws, but it takes the words of the artist himself to describe the rabbit hole he found himself drawn into. Please listen to his account by clicking the below audio:



    Image by Olson Kundig OUTPOST


    The House That Jack Built includes a visual narrative of his time in Concord and on Walden Pond, captured in 23 breathtaking photographs, as well as his architectural models and correspondences with Mr. Henri. News clippings and testimony of the ensuing environmental disaster (January 3, 2013) serve more as the connective tissue to the protests on Second Avenue (and inside Walden Three) that erupted throughout the weekend, primarily organized by the Earth Liberation Front (ELF).  But it appears that not even the anarchists, environmentalists and Thoreau lovers could unify over the disaster on Walden Pond, as noted anarchist John Zerzan and environmental activist Derrick Jensen both came to Daws’s defense in not-so-subtle ways, claiming that what happened at Walden Pond is a drop in the toxic bucket of industrial waste and corporate degradation of our oceans, forests and agriculture. The gallery was as tense as a first grade soccer game in a lions den. Someone was bound to get hurt.

    Daws has never been one to shy away from controversial issues (http://jackdawsart.com), but for this project, he believes the house he designed and built on Walden Pond was rather benign, a simple response to the growing trend of architects participating in the art world, both in exhibitions and public works projects. If architects could make art, then he could for damn sure get into architecture. He did not however, set out to address the sheer volume of toxic chemicals manufactured, transported and introduced into our food, land and water supply. And his intent was not to situate Jacques Henri in the middle of what is now an environmental disaster of the highest order. But in true Daws form, he created a powerful and important dialog about the role of the artist, the fallout of which continues to inspire volumes of hate mail. “They’re sending it to the wrong address,” said Daws. “All I did was build a house with some stolen train tracks. If they want to lay blame for what followed then they need to lay it on the Frankensteins who churn out toxic waste. They’re the reason no fish will ever live in Walden Pond again.”

    As the opening night audience pushed through the protestors on First Avenue and made their way up to the Denny Gallery, there appeared to be a brief solidarity in support of the show, but that proved to be the first act in a long and volatile evening. Canadian singer/songwriter Hawksley Workman performed a short set on the Denny Stairs earlier in the evening before joining Marion Cotillard and her husband Guilaume Canet in the gallery. Rem Koolhaas and Mike Reynolds argued throughout the building with their own constellation of architecture students hovering about like moths around a streetlamp. Famed tree-sitter/protester/speaker Julia Butterfly Hill slipped into the gallery on the arm of a strapping, rugged gentleman whom Daws strongly suspected was Grant Hadwin (famed for cutting down the Golden Spruce and disappearing in the Hecate Straight). Perhaps the most light-hearted event of the evening occurred when Cornell West and Faith Ramos took over a corner of the gallery and managed to turn Civil War trivia into a drinking game.

    There is a certain romantic notion that art could be so powerful as to provoke fistfights, and we experienced our first one last night. The gallery had mostly cleared out as the crowd migrated to the Dial and a few other private affairs around town. Architects Tom Kundig and Alan Maskin were late arrivals. Upon entering the gallery, Mr. Kundig walked with a focused intent, marching past extended hands and friendly faces. The footage of what happened next is pretty spectacular, but I think Daws summed it up best:

    “I wish I’d’ve read his wikipedia page before I tried to rip off his style. If I’d’ve known he grew up on the mean streets of Spokane I might not’ve messed with him. When he walked up to me at the opening I thought he was coming over to introduce himself, so I went to shake his hand, but then he just balled up his fist and said, ‘I hope you like hospital food.’ You can ask anybody who was there, he definitely sucker punched me, but I ain’t going to cry about it. It’s a great way to win a fight, and he clearly knew that. I don’t know what else to say about it, the dude handed my ass to me in a paper bag.”


    Image by Olson Kundig OUTPOST

    The fight clocked in at about 13 seconds, as most fights do. Jed Dunkerley and Maurizio Cattelan pulled the two apart and eventually they both sat down and caught their breath, and took inventory of their cuts and bruised ribs. John Doe ran and got some ice from the bar and Miuccia Prada pulled a fifth of Lagavulin from her purse, which the two reluctantly pulled from. We locked up the gallery and left the two of them there, (which at the time seemed like a good idea) and proceeded down to the Dial for our own spirits. Maskin and I returned around 3 a.m. to find the scotch drained and the two nowhere to be seen. We found them later though, on the roof at dawn, plowing through a half-rack of Lucky Lager. They were trying to guess how far Seattle’s tunnel-boring machine would make it before finally getting stuck for good, and being abandoned altogether: the prospect of which they both found quite hilarious.

    Meanwhile, where was Jacques Henri? He had been camping in the woods behind Daws’s home on Vashon Island for the better part of the week, drinking green chartreuse, rolling his own smokes and sharing his homemade pâté with all that approached. He did walk through the gallery earlier in the day and seemed pleased with the exhibit, but wanted to avoid the spotlight that was guaranteed anyone claiming to be the re-incarnation of Thoreau. He asked a lot of questions about the Olympic rainforest and the popularity of neck beards. I did get the chance to ask him if he planned on staying on Walden Pond and he chirped “Survival in the face of hostile elements!” with a pointed finger and directionless stare.  At about 9:30 he told Hawksley, “Now comes good sailing!” and that was the last we hear of him.