1. Art vs Violence
    December 18, 2012 by Walden3

    A poster found hanging in the W3 halls today.


    Sounds like an absurd match up doesn’t it? Art versus violence? Of course art wins! Doesn’t it? I mean, shouldn’t it? It should… Doesn’t good always triumph over evil, light over dark – I’ve heard it before, probably hundreds of times. Does it? I don’t know.

    I saw this poster plastered all down First Avenue today (and in the mens bathroom, bazaar and down in the Dial…) and it got me thinking. I hadn’t seen an AFWFA poster in years, and then these just pop up overnight like mushrooms. And I know why. Sandy Hook Elementary. It happened Friday and things like that make everyone think.

    So, art vs violence. Does art win? Is it even a contender? I mean really, as much as we might root for it to win, find it just, can it really kick its ass? Could the good of humanity prevail? In this day and age?

    I think it’s fair to say that art and violence are both forms of expression. Certainly not all paintings are art and certainly not all violence contains an emotional core, but they are connected, on opposing sides of the same continuum – Ted Bundy and Heinrich Himmler on one side,  Michelangelo and Prince on the other.  Most of us, for various reasons, are scattered along this spectrum and face nearly constant propaganda from both sides. The comedy of it all is the simplicity of the question. It is not “should I be good or bad?” or “should I attempt to fit in or rebel?” or even “do I love or do I hate?” The question is simply, “how do I chose to express myself?”

    Walden Three is pure propaganda. It is designed to broadcast, at the highest possible volume, this simple message – Express yourself through music and art and performance and writing. Articulate your fears and frustrations and dreams and love and hate and fantasy. Just do it with a pen, a paintbrush, a can of spray paint, a camera, a skillet, a trumpet, a glue gun. Do it in a way that connects the dots. I think there is a way out of the mess we are in, and it’s called making art. Doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad. That really has very little to do with it.


  2. Ian Wallace Lectures at Walden 3
    December 12, 2012 by Walden3

    Ian Wallace: “Abstract Drawing ( Hotel de Nice, Paris, February 2, 2010)”, 2010

    Vancouver-based minimalist painter/photographer Ian Wallace has a very comprehensive show currently hanging at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Stretching over 5 decades, Mr. Wallace’s work shows a continual thematic strand of what has been clunkily labeled “meta-art” by those attempting to frame what he does. Photographs of writing (both his and poets like Stephane Mallarme), photographs of his drawing stuff in makeshift studios in hotels around Europe, photographs of his own drawings on his drawing table, and even photo and video documentation of him making work- all presented as art unto itself. His commentary on the art of the art-making process show deep personal commitments to documentation and the importance of reflection on the creative space artists carve our for themselves.
    In that spirit, the curatorial staff at Walden 3, in conjunction with our lecture and education coordinator, decided to petition Mr. Wallace to push his art about art-making further, and we were delighted by his response. So, coming up in January 2013, we are proud to present Ian Wallace: Infinity Mirror- a one-night-only lecture about a film he made of his process of photographing his drawings of his own paintings. There will also be available a limited edition printing of a book about the lecture, from Walden 3’s own Civil Disobedience Press. The book itself is purportedly the subject of the paintings, from which the drawings in the photographs in the video upon which the lecture is based are comprised. As a precautionary measure, Walden 3 will have psychologists on hand to counsel any audience members who are traumatized by the lecture.


  3. Walden Three – The Ambassador Program
    December 10, 2012 by Walden3

    Sean Penn and W3 Ambassador Eddie Vedder at the NW Surrealists opening party. Photo credit: Timothy Rysdyke


    Long before Walden Three opened, we talked extensively about the importance of documenting our art, performances and educational programming for people to view outside of Seattle, both now and for generations to come.  Imagine if no one took the time to document The Gettysburg Address, or film the speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King. How much different and limited our view of the world would be. I’ve never witnessed a performance by Yoko Ono or Chris Burden or Ann Magnuson – I only know of their performances through the writers, filmmakers and audience members that documented and shared these often fleeting, temporary works. Documentation is an incredibly vital part of our understand of, and sharing of, history, art and culture.

    We also recognized the importance of who your audience is. The audience plays such an important role in the dissemination of an artists work – be that critic, patron, celebrity or other creative leader. The likelihood of your art reaching a broader demographic outside of the gallery/stage/forum setting is greatly increased if the people watching are people with the means (professionally/ financially/socially) to share your ideas with the world. Malcolm Gladwell would call these people “connectors.”

    The Ambassador Program at Walden Three has been criticized by some (Jackie Wullschlager, I will be responding to your recent article about W3 later this week) as being “attempts to validate art through celebrity associations” and in part this is true. Since the times well before Medici, the wealthy (aka collectors) wanted to be in close proximity to artists and celebrity, something that maybe Warhol knew more than anyone. But the Ambassador Program is not just about tabloid headlines (thanks People, Star, InStyle and TMZ) and a chance to rub shoulders with celebrity – it is about cultivating an audience that can connect PNW artists to opportunities outside of our range.

    It should be said that being an “Ambassador” to Walden Three has no perk other that helping make our region more dynamic and giving our creative class a better opportunity to succeed in the global market of art, commerce and ideas. Ambassadors don’t make any money from it, or get a special pass, or even a drink discount in the Dial. They do it because they want their town to thrive. And who are these people? They are musicians and writers and business leaders. They know thousands of people and they have connections to a lot of very important people around the world. What is there job at W3? To bring these people to Walden Three. To steer them to our exhibitions, parties and performances. All we had to do is ask them, and explain to them the value of these simple efforts. And sometimes simple efforts yield enormous rewards.

    Mandy Greer recently designed the sets and costumes for Lady Gaga’s upcoming “I’m your prisoner” video. How did she get the gig? Turns out one of our Ambassadors is friends with Vincent Herbert, her manager, and he was in town meeting with some marketing executives at Starbucks. Is Mandy Greer’s work awesome? Entirely. But it  required the connectivity between Walden Three and our Ambassador Program to bring these opportunities to bear. And how about Paul Rucker creating the soundtrack to Sean Penn’s new film? Is Paul entirely qualified? Above and beyond! But it sure didn’t hurt having Eddie Vedder bring Sean by on a night when Paul was performing in the Mercer Gallery. Even the article that Marisa Kula is writing for Vanity Fair wasn’t just blind luck. Beth Sellars brought Sean Elwood by to see Emilio Caliente’s show and was so impressed by the experience that he rang Graydon Carter when he returned to New York. There was a recent article in The Guardian  with the title “Goodbye New York, Hello Seattle!” (written by critic Adrian Searle) and he rightly points out, “talent isn’t discovered – it’s always been right there – it just requires the rare combination of confidence and skill to know where to dig.”

    So the next time you see a picture of Cameron Crow or Steve Martin or George Clooney wandering through W3, just know that it isn’t all about the cheap celebrity magazines that line your grocery store check out aisles. This was an important, premeditated act, and the fruits of this program will help connect our artists and ideas to an audience we could never anticipate without them.


  4. The problem with marquees (Jack Daws Edition)
    December 8, 2012 by Walden3

    Gone but not forgotten – an old marque from the Lust Lady.

    To just about anyone who has lived or worked in Seattle, the marquee that graced the front of the Lusty Lady, was about the wittiest, funniest advertisement in town. Even Mimi Gates, stepmother to Bill Gates and former director of the Seattle Art Museum called the marquee a Seattle landmark. “ALWAYS OPEN NEVER CLOTHED,” “WE TAKE OFF MORE THAN BOEING,” and “PIRATES KEEP THEIR BOOTY HERE” are just a few past announcements, and it was determined very early on that Walden Three would restore and continue the legacy of poking fun at the Seattle Art Museum (directly across the street), employing witty word play and constructing slogans that make pedestrians smile without fail.

    Our first announcement simply read VISUALIZE WALDEN THREE with our website address under it. I know, not exactly witty or funny, but it did get people thinking about and tuning into what we were up to. And maybe it is just harder being an art center than it is being a peep show (there is a billboard in there somewhere). Obviously, we can’t sexualize every show we mount (dang!) and art just isn’t as naughty as strip clubs – well it can be – but the point is we couldn’t use the words ERECT and BOOTY and LIVE NUDE GIRLS to announce every show. It’s harder than it looks.

    So Jack Daws is showing in the Dearborn Gallery in March and we’ve been kicking around a hundred different ideas for the marquee. The work is going to be incredible – for some reason that’s the easy part (Jack is one of the smartest, under-recognized artists in the state), but the marque is driving me nuts! And with The Henry and SAM in town, to play around with Jack just seems priceless. I think the best one so far is SAM DOESNT KNOW JACK. Or maybe LEARN HOW TO DAWS. Or maybe SAM SLEEPS, HENRY SNOOZES and JACK DAWS. But I know there is something better out there. And so I thought I would turn it over to you. Got an idea? What is sharp and pointed and funny without including JACKING OFF or JACK DAWS JILL. Chew on it, and see if you can’t do better than us. Got an idea? Email us at: info@vital5productions.com. Thanks!



  5. Oh what a night! (with Miranda July and company)
    December 7, 2012 by Walden3

    Miranda July at Walden Three. Photo credit: Timothy Rysdyke


    Miranda July gave a wonderful talk last night before a sold out audience at Benaroya Hall. I’ve been a huge fan for awhile now, but I was still surprised to see the throngs of other artists and fans who packed the building and responded with sheer admiration and love. There was no whispering or texting in the audience, all eyes were pointed straight ahead and the only noise they made was laughter and applause. Pretty remarkable.

    But the real fun came after her talk. Robin Held (executive director at Reel Girls) hosted a smart Q & A, and the polite crowd stayed and stared to the very end. I had talked to Robin earlier in the day and strongly petitioned (begged) her to bring Miranda by Walden Three, just to show her around, or have a drink, or anything at all. Robin said she could make no promises, but it turned out that Miranda was not only excited to visit W3, but had intentionally booked a room at the Four Seasons so she would be close by.

    When Robin and Miranda arrived, it was well after 10:00. We had a closing night party for String Theory but most of the crowd had descended to the Dial for drinks and conversation. I was seated with Ben Beres and Jack Daws, talking about Jack’s upcoming show in March, but with a certain distraction that came from knowing Miranda was on her way (Korby Sears sent me a text giving me a little fair warning).

    “You’ve changed!” I said, in some odd attempt to let her know that I saw her talk, and hadn’t been boozing it up all night. She bobbed her head with wide eyes and an innocent, sheepish smile, “I was really sweaty. My shirt had big circles of sweat under my arms.” There was a moment of awkward silence. “Can I get you anything?” I said. “I’d really like a tequila sunrise. Do they have those here?” And from there, the night was off and running.

    Korby made introductions as I flagged a server down, and we pulled another table up to expand the party. About 10 seconds passed before another couple approached our table – undoubtedly to say hi to Miranda – and we were all introduced to James Mercer (the front man for The Shins) and his wife Marisa Kula. Turns out Marisa was writing a piece on Walden Three for Vanity Fair and James knew Miranda from her time in Portland. They had missed her talk but were also staying at the Four Seasons (on Vanity Fairs dime) and our group moved to the back corner to take on some more space, and as it happened, a few more guests. Miranda spotted Anri Sala talking to some older gentleman I didn’t know (later learned it was Jim Oliver) and quickly pulled him away, and James bumped into Isaac Brock and Slim Moon who were (strangely) slow dancing with each other (or maybe one was holding the other up? Hard to tell, they both seemed to be quite drunk) and also joined our group. As it turned out, Miranda July knew more people in the Dial than I did, and only a few of them had known about her talk. It’s funny how you can know a person’s work, or their name, but couldn’t pick them out of a crowd if your life depended on it. Now I was scanning the room wondering who all these people were, and thought briefly about providing HELLO MY NAME IS… stickers.

    Drinks were drunk, Isaac and Miranda sang ‘Tainted Love’, we dragged two couches into the elevator and rode up and down, checking out Emilio Caliente’s installation and wandering through the NW Surrealist show (James bought a sweet Chris Thompson painting), dropping back down into the Dial anytime we needed more booze. Slim and Jack shot the shit on the roof deck, Anri recorded some video of Ben shotgunning a beer, and Miranda wandered through The Mercer Gallery, intently reading all of the cards that hung throughout the gallery. Oh, and of course Robin and Korby danced the tango to a soundtrack only they could hear.

    Two a.m. snuck up on us all rather quickly and we returned to the Dial to settle our tabs and grab our jackets. I thought the night was over, but Anri’s friend Jim approached us and with an animated smile and raised brow  said, “My suite at the Four Seasons has an impressively well stocked bar.” We all pretended to do the math in our heads. He gave us a little wink and said, “I won’t tell if you don’t tell.”