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WSU Schnitzer Museum announces ‘Indie Folk: New Art and Sounds from the Pacific Northwest’

Gaylen Hansen, Kernal with Four Red Grasshoppers, 1980

PULLMAN, Wash. – The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at Washington State University reopens Tuesday, Jan. 18 for the spring semester with a new exhibition titled: “Indie Folk: New Art and Sounds from the Pacific Northwest.” 

The Pacific Northwest is home to a unique artistic ecosystem involving craft traditions, pre-industrial cultures, and Indigenous and settler histories. Like folk art, the exhibition features handmade works that are unpretentious, and often blur the line between functionality and aesthetics. Artisanal woven baskets and tooled-wood objects mix with works that are makeshift, improvisational, and often employ salvaged materials. For the artists—patchwork quilters and abstract painters alike—a rural and working-class ethos of passed down knowledge and making do with what you have is as foundational as academics and studio technique.

Cappy Thompson, Beekeeper, 2015

The exhibition features an intergenerational array of 17 notable artists from throughout the region including Marita Dingus, Warren Dykeman, Joe Feddersen, Blair Saxon-Hill, Sky Hopinka, and Cappy Thompson. A playlist of Indie Folk music selected by Portland’s Mississippi Records, a record label and shop, will accompany the exhibition, filling the galleries with the sound of the Pacific Northwest. 

reception and exhibition tour by guest curator Melissa Feldman will be offered on Thursday, Jan. 20 from 4-6 p.m. at the museum. The tour is from 4:30-5:00 p.m. Admission to the museum is always free.

Along with her ongoing work as an independent curator and writer, Feldman held positions for the last several years as distinguished visiting faculty at Cornish College of the Arts, Seattle, and director of the Neddy Artist Awards. Feldman has been a frequent contributor to Art in America and Frieze among other international publications and has taught at the California College of Art, the San Francisco Art Institute, and Goldsmith’s College, London.

Jeffry Mitchell, Pretzel Pot, 2012

After debuting at the WSU Schnitzer Museum, the exhibition will travel to the Schneider Museum of Art, Ashland, Oregon and the Bellevue Arts Museum, Bellevue, Washington.

Organized by the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art WSU and guest curated by Melissa E. Feldman. Funding for this exhibition is provided by the Samuel H. and Patricia W. Smith Endowment, the Mildred S. Bissinger Endowment, Patrick and Elizabeth Siler, Nancy Spitzer, and members of the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art WSU.

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