What to See at 2017’s Final First Thursday

Johnny Castle at Treason
Johnny Castle at Treason

Here’s a handy guide to the most exciting openings, shows and events for Pioneer Square’s last First Thursday of the year.


Although the exhibition title International Wood Engraving Invitational doesn’t quite convey it, Davidson Galleries shows exciting work from more than 40 contemporary and historical wood engravers from all over the world. Top the visit off with an equally ambitious exhibition of contemporary photography from the Instagram age at Treason.

Party Hat
Party Hat

Now that millennial marketing lingo has descended upon the art world, we apparently call exhibitions ‘pop-ups.’ Party Hat presents the “finest selection of artist-made shit that doesn’t immediately trigger existential dread or perpetuate the systemic malaise of big box stores and late-stage capitalism” during Gift Hole, where glitter Santas Mary Anne Carter and Adj McColl present a selection of affordable works and artistic objects by Neon Salt Water, Clyde Petersen, Brandon Vosika and many more. At ArtXChange, snag some tote bags, jewelry and soft sculpture by Laura Castellanos or coagulated beeswax-resin bowls by Canadian artist Tracey-Mae Chambers. Look out for Alyson Shotz’ conceptual sculptures and porcelain works by renowned Seattle artist Akio Takamori (1950 – 2017) at James Harris. More holiday extravaganzas are at CORE, Non-Breaking Space Gallery (open until 8 p.m.) and Specialist. I’m not entirely sure how they’ll cram work of 27 exciting local artists (including Matthew Offenbacher, Leah and Tuan Nguyen and Mel Carter) into a 300 square-feet space, but I can’t wait to see it.

I’d advise everyone to put on the headphones to experience “Pig Piece” by Brock Jensen, a video still and installation work about suffering and animalistic self over at SPEC., Specialist’s video and new media art space in XYZ’s hallway. Not to ruin the surprise, but the harrowing sound will set your teeth on edge and might make you want to think twice before eating that traditional holiday roast.

If “Pig Piece” sends you running, consider taking shelter next door at Mount Analogue, where local artists Amanda K. Pitsch, Roache, Adda Lee and Colleen RJC Bratton show sculptural installations for books during Support System, a show attempting to find ways to celebrate and support artists/writers and makers (“while saying fuck you to the capitalist agenda of the holidays”). Bratton also curated the show Tech Support at SOIL, a shop-like query in the overlap of Seattle’s tech and art-world Venn-diagram. With work by Max Cleary, Dakota Gearhart, Ellen Jing Xu, it should be one of the evening’s most electrifying openings.

Satpreet Kahlon at Gallery 4culture
Satpreet Kahlon at Gallery 4Culture

At Gallery 4Culture, Satpreet Kahlon expands the capitalist critique beyond the holidays in an excellent solo show, Production Valued. The Seattle and Providence-based artist/curator examines our thirst for consumption and personal complicity in oppressive systems, including in the art world. With honesty and tenderness, Kahlon attempts to suture and reconstruct what is torn and broken. The show closes Friday, so it’s your last chance to see the show and participate in the performance Fulfilling and creating, on loop (as a token).

Over at Method gallery, Julia Freeman hosts a performance of her solo show The Will to Synchronize, about human relationships in the information age. The artist asked 60 friends and acquaintances to talk about their objects of solace and rendered their responses into pink-and gray-tinted sculptures based on the printouts of sound waves. In an all-black backroom of the gallery, Freeman and two collaborators will clean and dust the objects. Visitors will also be able to make clay grips with the performers.

Residents of the Tashiro Kaplan Artist Lofts celebrate the building’s thirteenth year of providing affordable artist and living spaces. Pop in to TK’s birthday party slash open house for cocktails, food, public tours, open studios, Butoh dance performances and a masquerade party.