Washington State of Mind

The Pacific Northwest has a unique creative aesthetic that can be experienced in these must-visit art shows.

Detail of painter Leo Kenney’s The Priestess.
Detail of painter Leo Kenney’s The Priestess.
COURTESY OF CASCADIA ART MUSEUM

THE LAVENDER PALETTE: GAY CULTURE AND THE ART OF WASHINGTON STATE

• Through Jan. 26
• Cascadia Art Museum, 190 Sunset Ave. S., Ste. E, Edmonds
cascadiaartmuseum.org

In 1953, Life magazine dubbed a group including Guy Anderson, Mark Tobey, and Morris Graves as the Northwest School of artists. Palette reimagines their work by examining the ways their sexual and emotional identities informed their styles of production. This exhibition, featuring paintings, drawings, photography, and ceramic objects by the aforementioned school as well as by artists Sarah Spurgeon and Virginia Weisel, honors the output of gay artists in the Pacific Northwest while also recognizing the hostility and discrimination they long faced. It is the first exhibition of its kind to explore the region’s gay artists.

Crow Indian artist Kevin Red Star’s Buffalo Horse Medicine.
Crow Indian artist Kevin Red Star’s Buffalo Horse Medicine.
TACOMA ART MUSEUM

NATIVE PORTRAITURE: POWER AND PERCEPTION

• Through Mar. 3
• Tacoma Art Museum, 1701 Pacific Ave., Tacoma
tacomaartmuseum.org

The works of 19 indigenous artists, including Wendy Red Star, Meryl McMaster, and Gregg Deal, are on display in this ambitious group exhibition that seeks to upend the legacy of non-Native painters and photographers who depict Native people. By highlighting portrait painting, drawing, and photography within Native communities, Portraiture celebrates the power and necessity of returning autonomy to those whose stories have previously been fetishized or misreported.

The poster for Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever, designed by graphic artist Art Sims.
The poster for Spike Lee’s Jungle Fever, designed by graphic artist Art Sims.

AS, NOT FOR: DETHRONING OUR ABSOLUTES

• Mar. 5–26
• Jacob Lawrence Gallery, E. Stevens Way NE and Chelane Ln., Ste. 132, University of Washington, Seattle
art.washington.edu/jacob-lawrence-gallery

As, Not For is rewriting what many design buffs think they know about the origins of their field. The exhibition is a historical survey of uniformly printed 24-by-36-inch posters made by underrecognized black graphic artists and designers of the past century (Art Sims, W.E.B. Du Bois, Reginald Gammon). Framed by Ritual: Baptismal in Black (a small multidisciplinary exhibition from the 1970s) and Alain Locke’s The New Negro (a compilation of fiction, poetry, and essays), As, Not For acknowledges and works to reverse anti-black sentiments within the contemporary canon of design and type.

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