June 15 – October 13, 2013

The Frye Art Museum is proud to present BUSTER SIMPSON // SURVEYOR, the first retrospective survey of work by Seattle artist Buster Simpson, a pioneer in the field of urban environmentalism and art in public spaces.

For more than four decades, Simpson has been the ecological and social conscience for neighborhoods and cities in constant states of transition and renewal. His site-specific, agitprop, and process-driven art has surveyed the problems, scrutinized the context, and presented new frames of reference to provide local solutions for global issues.

Since the late 1960s and early 1970s, Simpson has been dedicated to working in the public realm; his method is grounded in a farsighted contract between the artist and where he lives. His career parallels the rise of public art in the Pacific Northwest and he has played a crucial role in establishing Seattle as a significant center for community-minded artistic practice. By acting locally while thinking globally, Simpson has contributed greatly to the national and international debate on what constitutes responsible public art programs.

At a time when Seattle is reimagining its waterfront and its identity, BUSTER SIMPSON // SURVEYOR reframes Buster Simpson’s vision of the city and presents his groundbreaking contribution to dialogues about the health of communities and the societal obligations of the artist striving to affect real change in public life. The exhibition documents and articulates for the first time the breadth, depth, and influence of Simpson’s body of work, staking a claim for his artistic legacy and defining how his methodology and regional aesthetic applies to global systems and ideologies.

BUSTER SIMPSON // SURVEYOR is curated by Scott Lawrimore and funded by the Frye Foundation with the generous support of Frye Art Museum members and donors. It is supported by The Boeing Company, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture, 4Culture, National Endowment for the Arts, Washington State Arts Commission, and Riddell Williams P.S. Seasonal support is provided by ArtsFund. Media sponsorship is by The Stranger, KUOW 94.9FM, and City Arts.

Image Credits:
Installation photo by Richard Nicol.
Buster Simpson. Woodman, 1974. Photo-documentation of the street action. Courtesy of the artist.
Buster Simpson. Hudson River Purge, 1991. Color still from a video of the agitprop performance. Courtesy of the artist.
Buster Simpson. Untitled (Woodman in dumpster with hobo marking), 1974. Photo-documentation of the street action. Courtesy of the artist.
Buster Simpson. Shared Solar Clothesline, 1978. Photo-documentation of the installation. Courtesy of the artist.