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Bookmark and Share The 9th Northwest Biennial at Tacoma Art Museum

December 4, 2008

Media Contact: Alyssa Rosso, Public Relations Coordinator, 253.272.4258 x3002, arosso@tacomaartmuseum.org

(Tacoma, WA) – Tacoma Art Museum's The 9th Northwest Biennial, on view from January 31 through May 25, 2009, features 24 artists who were selected from the 543 entries. Rock Hushka, Director of Curatorial Administration and Curator of Contemporary and Northwest Art for Tacoma Art Museum was joined by Alison de Lima Greene, Curator of Contemporary Art and Special Projects at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston to juror and curate the exhibition. The Biennial will be accompanied by a full-color, 108-page exhibition catalogue.

After weeks of discussion, Greene and Hushka selected the following twenty-four artists for the exhibition:

Rick Araluce, Seattle
Gala Bent, Seattle
Michael Brophy, Portland
Jack Daws, Seattle
Eric Elliott, Seattle
Tannaz Farsi, Eugene
Sarah Hood, Seattle
Denzil Hurley, Seattle
Linda Hutchins, Portland
Robert Jones, Seattle
Michael Kenna, Seattle
Doug Keyes, Seattle
Isaac Layman, Seattle
Zhi Lin, Sammamish
Micki Lippe, Seattle
Margie Livingston, Seattle
Victor Maldonado, Portland
Debora Moore, Seattle
Susan Robb, Seattle
Stephanie Robison, Portland
Ross Sawyers, Seattle
Susan Seubert, Portland
Chang-Ae Song, Eugene
Scott Trimble, Seattle

Artists working in a wide variety of media, including traditional forms, craft-based work, and digital projects were encouraged to apply, as well as artists exploring alternative visual forms such as conceptual and performance works and installations.

Applications were open to current residents of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Montana. The regional breakdown for entries was 358 from Washington (203 from Seattle), 155 from Oregon (123 from Portland), 20 from Idaho, and 10 from Montana. Only work created since January 2007 was considered.

Greene and Hushka reviewed digital submissions over the course of two days and selected a short list of thirty six artists for studio visits. During the two-week period when the curators met the artists in their studios, the curators sought to confirm their opinions and judgments based on the digital images. The curators also identified the critical themes that would anchor the exhibition and catalogue essays.

"The goal of the biennial is to revisit the accomplishments and developments of Northwest artists. Of the numerous themes and ideas that Alison and I found during this process, one of the most consistent was the effort by artists to express multiple viewpoints or focal points simultaneously. We learned that this impulse should be understood as equal parts expansion of formal approaches to art making and a synthesis of political awareness and personal expression," explained Hushka.

"It has been a huge privilege to help shape this year's Tacoma Art Museum biennial," states co-curator Alison de Lima Greene. "We were enormously lucky to have a remarkable response from area artists, and I am profoundly grateful to everyone who submitted their work for review. Out of the many possibilities offered us, Rock and I chose to focus the exhibition on a tight selection of artists whose work addresses not only a sense of place and identity, but also the larger issues raised by our rapidly changing landscape and worldview."

The 9th Northwest Biennial
began with an online submission process using the CaFÉ (Call for Entry) application service. This is the first year Tacoma Art Museum utilized an online submission process. All applications  were required to be posted to the CaFÉ  Web site and include a resume listing exhibition history, publications and reviews, and gallery representation, if any; an artist statement of no more than 500 words; and eight digital images formatted according to CaFÉ's requirements.

Tacoma Art Museum's biennial remains the only Northwest project of its size and scope. The museum began its biennial tradition in 1991with Collaborators: Regional Juried Exhibition, juried by the internationally acclaimed artists Felix Partz and AA Bronson of General Idea. Under the guidance of Tacoma Art Museum's former Curator of Modern Art Greg Bell, the museum continued to present thematic biennials juried by nationally prominent artists. In 2007, the museum restructured the biennial to focus on artistic achievement and stylistic developments in the Northwest as identified by nationally prominent curators working collaboratively with Hushka.

Alison de Lima Greene is Curator of Contemporary Art and Special Projects at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, where she has been on the curatorial staff since 1984. Before moving to Texas, Greene worked in the department of European Paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She earned a masters degree in art history from New York University's Institute of Fine Arts. Among the numerous exhibitions she has organized are Czech Modernism: 1900-1945; Arman: A Retrospective; Twentieth-Century American Sculpture at the White House; and a survey of Kenneth Noland paintings. Her publications include Texas: 150 Works from the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, a collection catalogue profiling the museum's Lillie and Hugh Roy Cullen Sculpture Garden designed by Isamu Noguchi, and a survey of the MFAH's 25-year Core Program for resident artists and writers.

Rock Hushka is Curator of Contemporary and Northwest Art at Tacoma Art Museum. In 1994, Hushka earned a master of arts degree in art history from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He worked at the Henry Art Gallery and the Seattle Art Museum and has worked at Tacoma Art Museum since 2001. At Tacoma Art Museum, he has curated Sparkle Then Fade and The New York School: The Politics of Abstraction. He has increasingly focused on the art of the Northwest, including the four-part Building Tradition: Gifts in Honor of the Northwest Collection; A Decade of Excellence: Celebrating The Neddy Artist Fellowship; and The Romantic Vision of Michael Brophy. He was a co-juror for The 8th Northwest Biennial in 2007.

Tacoma Art Museum connects people and builds community through art. The museum serves the diverse communities of the region through its collection, exhibitions, and learning programs, emphasizing art and artists from the Northwest. The museum's five galleries display an array of top national shows, the best of Northwest art, creatively themed exhibitions, and historical retrospectives. In addition, there is an Education Wing for children, adults, and seniors with an art resource center, classroom, and studio for art making. Tacoma Art Museum is located in Tacoma’s Museum District, near the Museum of Glass, the Washington State History Museum, and historic Union Station.

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