Mw [Moment Magnitude]

October 13, 2012 – January 20, 2013

Mw [Moment Magnitude] is an ambitious cross-platform project of visual art, performance, production, rehearsal, specially commissioned artworks, music, dance, literary events, design, and arts engagement programs showcasing exceptional artistic practice in Seattle. It will be on view from October 13, 2012 to January 20, 2013.

Among the distinguished Seattle-based artists participating in Mw [Moment Magnitude] are (in alphabetical order): Leo Saul Berk, Jherek Bischoff, The Black Constellation (Shabazz Palaces, THEESatisfaction, Maikoiyo Alley-Barnes), Samantha Boshnack, Rebecca Brown, Matt Browning, Cris Bruch, Jason Conger / The Four Hoarse Men / Interrupture / Kjell Hansen, Anne Fenton, Evan Flory-Barnes, Wynne Greenwood, Tad Hirsch, Eyvind Kang, Robb Kunz, LILIENTHAL | ZAMORA, Jeffry Mitchell, Charles Mudede, The People's Grand Opera, Perfume Genius, Charlie Schuck, Buster Simpson, Vis-à-Vis Society, and zoe | juniper.

Conceived by a curatorial collective of artists, musicians, writers, and curators–Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker, Joshua Kohl, Ryan Mitchell, Doug Nufer, and Yoko Ott—Mw [Moment Magnitude] takes its name from the scale used by seismologists to measure the size of earthquakes in terms of energy released.

Performances, productions, events, and arts engagement programs will take place both in the Museum and off-site throughout the fourteen weeks of the exhibition. A complete schedule will be available online later this month.

Mw [Moment Magnitude] includes three days of public rehearsal with Jherek Bischoff and a thirty-five-musician orchestra; a sonic and kinetic ritual by The Black Constellation (Shabazz Palaces, THEESatisfaction, Maikoiyo Alley-Barnes); a concert by Samantha Boshnack; an evening of sound poetry presented by Jason Conger, The Four Hoarse Men, Interrupture, and Kjell Hansen; an off-site installation in Anne Fenton’s apartment; a performance by Evan Flory-Barnes; live video recording in the galleries by Wynne Greenwood; on- and off-site programs with Tad Hirsch and the Yesler Community Center; a concert with Eyvind Kang; a lecture by Charles Mudede; a concert by The People's Grand Opera; the final stop of Perfume Genius’ Fall 2012 tour of North America; a performance by Vis-à-Vis Society; and a four-day-long on-site production by zoe | juniper.

Visitors to the Frye Art Museum will be greeted by a sound installation by Robb Kunz in the reflecting pool from which will emanate the music of Jherek Bischoff. The Museum Store, reconceived by Charlie Schuck, will showcase Seattle designers in events and workshops; Chelsea Green of Grain, whose products will be featured in the Store, will lead after-school workshops at Bailey-Gatzert Elementary School. And mid-way through the exhibition, on December 8, Mw [Moment Magnitude] will be transformed with a specially commissioned, large-scale light sculpture by LILIENTHAL | ZAMORA.

Newly commissioned artworks by Leo Saul Berk, Rebecca Brown, and The Black Constellation; the graphic musical scores of Eyvind Kang; and objects and paintings by Matt Browning in constant transformation by nature of their materials, will be presented along with key works by Cris Bruch, Jeffry Mitchell, and Buster Simpson.

“A seismic shift within cultural attitudes” is the way Mw [Moment Magnitude] curatorial collective member Ryan Mitchell described the project. “We’re talking about an exhibition focused on contemporary work that also reaches back to touch seminal works of the past.” For Yoko Ott it represents “radical localism” and an extraordinary commitment to Seattle-based artists. “Mw [Moment Magnitude] is a commitment to being artist-centric; it’s about process. It’s a new format for exhibition-making that closely resembles the multi-faceted artistic practices within our art scene.”

Joshua Kohl described the collective curatorial process as “slowly chipping, slowly clarifying, and slowly re-evaluating our choices. There was a lot of elimination and questioning of each other, and questioning ourselves.” Doug Nufer said it was “important to create an exhibition that could commemorate sixty years of the Frye, and celebrate artists in Seattle, while still reaching beyond and out to the world.”

Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker, Director emerita of the Frye Art Museum, also a collective member, noted that in Mw [Moment Magnitude] artists are “constantly slipping in and out of categories. Seattle’s artistic practice is constructed on collaboration, interaction, desire, and tentacles that penetrate traditional silos of discipline, practice, and interpretation.” She sees Mw [Moment Magnitude] as continuing the Frye Art Museum’s inquiry into the role of the museum in the 21st century, “in which the museum spills into the city; supports artistic production as well as exhibits it; and is committed to a multiplicity of voices, including those of citizen- and artist-curators.”

Mw [Moment Magnitude] is organized by the Frye Art Museum and curated by Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker, Joshua Kohl, Ryan Mitchell, Doug Nufer, and Yoko Ott. The exhibition is funded by the Frye Foundation with the generous support of Frye Art Museum members and donors. Sponsored by Frank Stagen, Nitze-Stagen, and Riddell Williams, it is supported by the Washington State Arts Commission, with funding— in part—by The Wallace Foundation, and by 4Culture and the Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs. Seasonal support of the Frye Art Museum is provided by Canonicus Fund and ArtsFund.

Media sponsorship of Mw [Moment Magnitude] is by KUOW 94.9FM and The Stranger. Opening event sponsorship is by The Boeing Company.

Image Credits:
Installation view. LILIENTHAL | ZAMORA. Through the Hollow Lands, 2012. Light sculpture. Collection of the artist. Photo: Malcolm Smith
Leo Saul Berk. Clinkers, 2012. Duratrans, sculptural light box. Approx. 75 x 64.5 in. Collection of the artist.
Cris Bruch. Attention Shoppers, 1985. Steel over shopping cart (with hidden noise). 38 x 36 x 20 in. Courtesy of the artist.
Anne Fenton. Sunrise/Sunset, 2012. Projected sun, new age compilation CD "Favs II," disco ball motor. Dimensions variable. Courtesy of the artist.

Read Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker's inaugural blog post here.