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Pacific Northwest Artists

The Frye Art Museum’s substantial collection of works by artists of the Pacific Northwest reflects the Museum’s transformation from a personal selection of late-nineteenth and early-twentieth-century—predominantly European—oil paintings to a museum dedicated to creative practice in its myriad forms. Since opening in 1952 to the present day, the Museum has remained steadfast in exhibiting and collecting artworks by contemporary artists, especially those living and practicing in the city of Seattle and surrounding region. Walser Sly Greathouse, executor of the Frye estate and founding director of the Museum, ensured Charles and Emma Frye's vision for a free, public art museum for the people of Seattle was brought to life. Beginning in 1952, Greathouse was the first of six directors who expanded the Museum’s collection, acquiring new works to enliven and contextualize the paintings bequeathed by the Fryes. Subsequent leaders sustained the Museum’s legacy within the evolving identity of the Pacific Northwest through the ongoing collection and exhibition of works by artists of the region—from Washington and Oregon up to Alaska. The Museum’s extensive holdings of Alaskan art were initially assembled by the Museum’s second director, Ida Kay Greathouse. Between 1969 and 1993, she acquired over 125 paintings and works on paper. Subsequent Frye directors Richard V. West, Midge Bowman, and Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker added 175 more works by artists associated with the northernmost state. Highlights of the Pacific Northwest holdings range from twentieth-century Alaskan landscapes by artists such as Sydney Laurence and Eustace Paul Ziegler, to evocative works by contemporary artists and artist collectives across a broad range of mediums, including Juventino Aranda, the Black Constellation, Alison Bremner, Degenerate Art Ensemble, Ellen Lesperance, Jeffry Mitchell, Buster Simpson, and Ko Kirk Yamahira, among others.

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Title Artist Medium Date
Eidolon   Bruch, Cris   Aluminum composite  2015 
Wind Jangle   Berk, Leo Saul   Aluminum, fishing line, weights  2015 
Emollients: Ingram's, Marinello's, Purola, Velvatone   Bruch, Cris   Blown glass  2016 
Untitled   Calderon, Mark   Book spine repair tape  2012 
Stringbean   Rapp, Ebba   Cast bronze  1938, cast 1995 
Ode to Octavia: Cranium Adornment #5   The Black Constellation   Composited bone, enamel, found goggles  2012 
Specular Reflections   Berk, Leo Saul   Glass, black pond dye  2015 
Not Waving, but Drowning   Mitchell, Jeffry   Glazed earthenware on artist-made wood pedestal  2012 
Ode to Octavia: Neo-Ancient Taliswoman   The Black Constellation   Incantation, repurposed bronze, brass, silver, stainless steel, rosewood, beechnut, abalone shell, ibex and dik-dik horn, precious and semiprecious stones, 1996 GMC truck key  2012 
Chemically Tanned   Bremner, Alison   Latex paint on deer hide with horsehair  2017 
Tree Guard   Simpson, Buster   Powder-coated cast iron  1978/2013 
The Dorothy K: Bow Dress   Implied Violence   Silk, satin, lace, steel ring, and cable  2010 
Raven Watchers   Angell, Tony   Steatite (soapstone)  1984 
Chest Harp 1   Degenerate Art Ensemble   Steel, guitar strings  2006 
Chest Harp 2   Degenerate Art Ensemble   Steel, guitar strings  2006 
Untitled (Nail Harp)   Degenerate Art Ensemble   Steel, wood, guitar strings, nails  2005 
Panthrastic Harp Zither   Degenerate Art Ensemble   Steel, wood, harp strings, antique instrument parts  2005 
Tradition as Adaptive Strategy   Browning, Matt   Tree sap and carved wood  2010 
The Dorothy K: Small Ether Machine   Implied Violence   Wood, cloth, felt, glass, metal, plastic, twine  2010 
Deerlegs   Degenerate Art Ensemble   Wood, steel, rubber, PVC pipe, cable, microphone, transmitter  2007 


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