MW [Moment Magnitude] at the Frye Art Museum

A cross-platform project of visual art, performances, readings, concerts, dance, rehearsals, and specially designed arts engagement programs, October 13, 2012 to January 13, 2013.

SEATTLE, July 2, 2012

Creativity as a commanding force of nature and a veritable tsunami of exceptional Seattle artists will have their full impact felt at the Frye Art Museum from October 13, 2012 to January 13, 2013 during MW [Moment Magnitude], a cross-platform project of visual art, performances, readings, concerts, dance, rehearsals, and specially designed arts engagement programs.

This groundbreaking exhibition poses the question: What is the magnitude of this moment? The concluding event in the Frye’s 60th Anniversary celebration, MW [Moment Magnitude] is a large-scale project conceived and curated by a collective of five distinguished artists, musicians, writers, and curators: Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker, Joshua Kohl, Ryan Mitchell, Doug Nufer, and Yoko Ott. Numerous leading Seattle artists will take part in MW [Moment Magnitude]; the list of participants and programming will be announced in late summer.

MW [Moment Magnitude] takes its name from the moment magnitude scale used by seismologists to measure the size of all modern, large earthquakes in terms of the energy released.

“This project is about multiple perspectives, breaking boundaries between disciplines, bringing together a critical mass of exceptional artists working in Seattle, and exploring artistic practice at this specific moment in this particular place,” said Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker, Director of the Frye Art Museum. “It will intensify the ongoing transformation of the Frye Art Museum’s institutional DNA, and the forms of its curatorial and community-based practices. The curatorial collective wants visitors to experience the extraordinary creative energy being released in this place right now. And to embrace the limitless freedom that comes when caution and preconceived notions are thrown to the wind.”

MW [Moment Magnitude] will focus on Seattle as a global epicenter of creative activity. The exhibition will be in constant motion and transformation, a dynamic, living presentation that spreads throughout the Frye, including the Café and Museum Store, and overflows into additional venues in the city. A specially designed, shape-shifting environment for live music, time-based art, art production, and rehearsal will be created in the Frye’s largest gallery space.

MW [Moment Magnitude] will continue 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 artist- and citizen-curators. These ideas are central to recent exhibitions at the Frye, including The Seattle Project (2010), Isaac Layman – Paradise (2011),  Beloved: Pictures at an Exhibition (2011-12), and the multidisciplinary surveys of Implied Violence (2010-11) and Degenerate Art Ensemble (2011).

The curatorial collective behind MW [Moment Magnitude] brings diversity of practice and global perspective to this ambitious project.

Jo-Anne Birnie Danzker is Director of the Frye Art Museum and former Director of the Museum Villa Stuck in Munich and Vancouver Art Gallery in Canada. She has curated and directed numerous large-scale interdisciplinary exhibitions of contemporary and historical art both nationally and internationally and has published extensively on art and art history.

Joshua Kohl is a composer and Co-Artistic Director of Degenerate Art Ensemble. He has performed extensively throughout the US and Europe and recently completed a residency at the Watermill Center: A Laboratory for Performance in Water Mill, New York. In 2011, the Frye Art Museum presented Degenerate Art Ensemble in its first museum exhibition.

Ryan Mitchell, a celebrated performance artist, is Artistic Director of both Implied Violence and Saint Genet. He has performed throughout the US and in Europe. In 2010, the Frye Art Museum presented Implied Violence: Yes and More and Yes and Yes and Why, the group’s first museum exhibition.

Doug Nufer is a noted author of fiction, poetry, and performance works and is Associate Editor of the American Book Review. His published novels include Negativeland, Never Again, and By Kelman Out of Pessoa. Since 1995 he has performed his work solo and with other writers, dancers, choreographers, and musicians. In 2011, he contributed an essay to the Frye Art Museum’s Isaac Layman – Paradise exhibition catalogue.

Yoko Ott is an acclaimed independent curator. She was Executive Director of Open Satellite, a residency-based contemporary art gallery in Bellevue, WA. She was also Curator at the Hedreen Gallery in Seattle, and Manager of Youth and Community Outreach Programs at the Frye Art Museum. In 2011, she was designated a leading Culture Maker in Seattle by City Arts magazine.

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. It is also supported by a grant from the Washington State Arts Commission, with funding – in part – by The Wallace Foundation, and by grants from the City of Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, and 4Culture. It is sponsored by Nitze-Stagen and Riddell Williams. Seasonal support of the Frye Art Museum is provided by Canonicus Fund, and ArtsFund.


The Frye Art Museum is a living legacy of visionary patronage and civic responsibility, committed to artistic inquiry and a rich visitor experience. A catalyst for our engagement with contemporary art and artists is the Founding Collection of Charles and Emma Frye, access to which shall always be free.

The Frye Art Museum is accredited by the American Association of Museums.

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