Recently, we got a hot tip about an art exhibit currently installed in an abandoned, and soon to be demolished, building in south Seattle. Having just watched Banksy’s new film Exit Through The Gift Shop we were as fascinated as ever to experience some midnight street art and The Strangers article on Tomb only wet our appetites. There are three known authors behind the show; Dan Hawkins, an artist who goes by the name NKO and another referred to as No Touching Ground. Apparently the artists worked late at night, moving materials down the street and up to the second floor of the building, a previous condiment factory.
Precariously finding our way through the condemned building was dangerous and downright spooky, but when we finally stumbled upon the first room it was an exhilarating feeling. Once in the exhibit, there’s quite a bit of exploring to do; fortunately we were able to spend enough time there to take some long exposure images and reflect on why art of this nature is so important.
The process of discovery is being lost in the art world today. Going from gallery to high-end gallery in Chelsea too easily allows a person to take for granted the immense amount of work, experience and passion that goes into good art. Trespassing through and old building and carefully stepping over broken glass in the middle of the night heightens the senses and gives back the appreciation and wonder of art.
There’s something nice about secret exhibits in that they deny the protocols of modern art culture. No snooty receptionist at the entry behind a custom designed desk not greeting you (what’s always keeping them so busy anyways), no pristine white walls suggesting that you’ve just entered an atmosphere of sterile perfection. That there are no price tags in a Soho gallery suggests that you can’t afford it, in street art it means that it’s free, you could literally take it home if you wanted to. Nothing but raw, gritting and refreshing.
The installation seemed like a proper funeral for a proud old building that served it’s life working hard. It’s a shame to think that it will be demolished and replaced with a parking lot, or a spec office building or condos or whatever. Chances are, whatever replaces it won’t have anywhere near the character or mystery. We’re not sure if the artists intended the art as a funeral to the building but that’s our story and we’re sticking to it.
Enjoy the photos and let’s hope more work like this pops up in Seattle.
Keep tabs on the BUILDblog as we go traipsing around town via twitter.