TAM exhibit showcases Northwest Art

“A Concise History of Northwest Art,” a new exhibit that opened at Tacoma Art Museum Oct. 3 and runs through May 23, 2010, offers a focused view of the scope and development of Northwest art, drawing on key works from the museum’s permanent collection. Works range from the 1890s to the present day, highlighting major movements, important figures, and pivotal moments in the history of Northwest art.

The history of Northwest art is both rich and complex, starting with the native peoples of the region and greatly expanding with the arrival of Anglo-American artists in the mid- and late nineteenth century. Local artists gradually formed a dedicated community in the early twentieth century, and that community changed and adapted over the course of the century. Northwest artists have captured the ambitions and visions of many generations and defined how residents of the region saw themselves in relationship to the world. “A Concise History of Northwest Art” offers a look at the art history of Washington, Oregon, western Montana, and British Columbia, exploring how national and international trends and the unique characteristics of this region shaped the art and art history of the Pacific Northwest.

“How these artists found particular stylistic voices from their work here in the Pacific Northwest [are] a key point of the exhibition,” said Rock Hushka, Director of Curatorial Administration and Curator of Contemporary and Northwest Art for Tacoma Art Museum. “We also hope visitors leave with a new understanding of the importance of the visual arts in defining this region and our sense of what it means to live and work here.”

The exhibition includes paintings, photography, works on paper, sculpture, conceptually based installation, and new media. Featured artists include Imogen Cunningham, Mark Tobey, Jacob Lawrence, Peggy Strong, James Lavadour, Claire Cowie, and others.

“A Concise History of Northwest Art” includes opportunities for visitors to share their thoughts and opinions on the selection of works and the definition of Northwest art as presented by the curators. Video interviews with prominent members of the arts community and online discussions play a role in the structure of the exhibition.

Organized by Tacoma Art Museum, the exhibition is the first in a series underscoring the strengths of the permanent collection in preparation for the museum’s 75th anniversary celebration in October 2010.

For more information, visit http://www.tacomaartmuseum.org .