The sweeping, years-long expansion project of the Seattle Art Museum has just begun. When the dust finally settles, SAM will join the ranks of America’s largest museums, second on the West Coast only to LACMA in Los Angeles. The question arises: where will SAM get the art to fill all those new galleries? One answer can be found at the Wright Exhibition Space on Dexter Avenue. The current show features works by major contemporary artists who are engaged in some way with the human figure. Every painting in the show, like the rest of the Virginia and Bagley Wright collection, has been promised to SAM and is slated to become part of the permanent collection in the new building. KUOW art critic, Gary Faigin, recently visited the exhibit, and here is his review.
In his classic painting, "The Nightmare," 18th century artist Henry Fuseli depicts the torments of a sleeping femme fatale, a giant imp sitting atop her chest, a glow-eyed horse peering in from one side. In a sly and show-stopping update of the Fuseli, artist Katharina Fritsch replaces the sleeping woman with a prim plaster man tucked into a full-sized white bed. Tottering atop his chest is not a smirking troll, but an upright, eight-foot black resin mouse. This particular nightmare seems to come not so much from the deep corners of the subconscious, but from an overwrought Disney cartoon.