Painting with blue, white, and black designs and paintings of a rabbit, owl, and ships on the left and red background paint with a painting of a deer sitting and an owl on its back to the right

Un/Natural Selections: Wildlife in Contemporary Art

September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023

Lightcatcher Building

Un/Natural Selections: Wildlife in Contemporary Art considers the diverse ways that contemporary artists employ animal imagery to address humanity’s interconnectedness and ever-changing relationship with the natural world. Comprising of approximately 50 artworks (c. 2000-2019) traveling exclusively from the permanent collection of the National Museum of Wildlife Art in Jackson, WY, this exhibition offers a wide range of works in a variety of media divided into four thematic sections: Tradition, Politics, Science, and Aesthetics. These sections act as overlapping chapters, investigating the ways we use animal imagery to tackle human concerns.

Un/Natural Selections is organized by the National Museum of Wildlife Art, Jackson, Wyoming and generously sponsored by Art Bridges. Additional support provided by Heritage Bank, Jean Andresen, a Pandemic Relief Grant from ArtsWA (sub-granted from the National Endowment for the Arts), the Whatcom Museum Foundation, and the City of Bellingham. This exhibition is presented in both Spanish and English.

Logo with a line drawing of a male elk and the words National Museum of Wildlife Art to the right of the drawing Graphic shape with triangles and cubes of red, orange, dark blue, and chartreuse designed into the shape of Washington state with the words ARTSWA in white overlaying and the words Washington State Arts Commission in blue underneath the shape

Black rectangle with the words National Endowment for the Arts, arts.gov in white and a red white and blue stripe underlining the words

 

 

 

Member Preview Reception
Fri., Sept. 9, 5 – 7pm; Lightcatcher building
Members, join us for our opening reception and enjoy wine, appetizers, and music while getting a sneak peek of this exhibition.

Featured image (above): Julie Buffalohead (Enrolled Member of the Ponca Tribe, United States, b. 1972); Six-Pack Colonialism, 2018; Oil on canvas; 29.25 × 82 in. Gift of the 2019 Blacktail Gala, National Museum of Wildlife Art. © Julie Buffalohead. M2019.006


Selecciones Un/Natural: Arte Contemporáneo de Vida Silvestre compuesta exclusivamente de obras pertenecientes a la colección permanente del Museo Nacional de Arte de Vida Silvestre en Jackson, WY. Esta exposición ofrece una amplia variedad de obras en una diversidad de medios que se dividen en cuatro secciones temáticas: tradición, política, ciencia y estética. Estos campos actúan como capítulos superpuestos e investigan las maneras en que utilizamos la imaginería animal para afrontar preocupaciones humanas.

Selecciones Un/Natural fue organizado por el Museo Nacional de Arte de Vida Silvestre en Jackson, Wyoming y es generosamente patrocinado por Art Bridges, ArtsWA, Jean Andresen y Heritage Bank. La exhibición es presentado en español y ingles.


The Whatcom Museum acknowledges that we gather on the traditional territory of the Lhaq’temish – Lummi People – and the Nuxwsá7aq – Nooksack People – who have lived in the Coast Salish region from time immemorial. The Museum honors our relationship with all of our Coast Salish neighbors and our shared responsibilities to their homeland where we all reside today.

El Museo Whatcom reconoce que nos reunimos en el territorio tradicional de las personas Lummi y Nooksack, que han vivido en la región de Coast Salish desde tiempos inmemoriales. El Museo honra nuestra relación con todos nuestros vecinos de Coast Salish y nuestras responsabilidades compartidas con su tierra natal donde todos residimos hoy.

Acrylic and oil pastel abstract painting of a man in a forest with a red sky

Andrea Joyce Heimer: Holy Mountain

September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023

Lightcatcher Building

Shown for the first time here at the Whatcom Museum, this group of autobiographical paintings by Andrea Joyce Heimer reflect on states of loneliness, both in herself and in others.

Over the course of the pandemic the artist spent many hours in nature—as much as she once did in childhood. Having grown up in Montana, she is familiar with land that stretches out in all directions under a big sky and where pine covered mountains skirt brutally desolate badlands.

The Montana landscape is omnipresent in her densely populated, story-filled paintings. Each mountain, stream, prairie, and butte is as much a character in the work as the human figures that teem within.

Now a resident in Washington, where the impenetrable terrain emits a different kind of claustrophobic loneliness, the ferns, moss, mushrooms, and trees of this place make their way into her work. A multitude of encounters and experiences unfold through the varied painted scenes, leaving Heimer, as she puts it, “both bigger and smaller, more lost and more found.”

Learn more about Heimer’s work from Nino Mier Gallery in Los Angeles, CA, or visit her website, www.andreajoyceheimer.com.

Tapestry print of crows flying in a delta

New to the Collection: Carl Chew

September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023

Lightcatcher Building

In conjunction with Un/Natural Selections: Wildlife in Contemporary Art, five new additions to the Whatcom Museum Collection by Seattle artist Carl Chew will be on display in the Lightcatcher building first floor hallway. Carl Chew has long studied the world through an absurdist lens. Known primarily for his “mail art” and collage, in 2019 the artist decided to apply his wild imagination to our regional landscape. The resulting imagery feels immediately familiar, and upon further inspection, also highly produced. The symmetry and cathedral-like compositions begin to become clearer. These works beg the question, how do we as humans respond to nature, understand nature, and organize it for our own spiritual and aesthetic consumption?

Digital art print of a scene of a grassy river delta with a tree stump and three crows

Carl Chew; Skagit Delta: Wetlands, 2019; Archival inkjet on paper, Gift of the Artist; Whatcom Museum Collection.

In Chew’s artist statement he says: Every April for 37 years my wife and I have taken a birdwatching walk along Wiley Slough, where the South Fork of the Skagit River enters Puget Sound. The glimmering wetlands there, rich with wildlife diversity, are for me a mystical place. In 2019 I wondered if an artist who had devoted most of his career to imaginative curiosity and humor could create a body of work worthy of the natural setting found in the Skagit Delta. Through the use of symmetry and layering of up to 20 mixed media images in each work, I felt I was able to penetrate into a realm where crows and landscape could share their secrets. And as I began to look at and share my new creations with others, I realized that those “secrets” had different and profound meanings for each viewer. The grand scale of the delta seemed to also demand artwork on a grand scale, so I decided to make some large tapestries. I located a weaver in North Carolina with a Jacquard loom controlled by a computer which could take my digital files directly and we began working together. The current result of this endeavor is four different tapestries and eleven prints.

Photo of band performing

The Scene: A Journey Through Bellingham’s Musical Past

September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023May 21, 2022 - November 20, 2022

Old City Hall

From string bands on steamboats in the 1890s to alternative/indie rock bands today, for more than 100 years Bellingham’s music scene has embraced genres ranging from folk to classical to rock and roll and beyond. Located between the big cities of Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia, Bellingham was and continues to be the sweet spot for performers both well-known and up-and-coming, where they can share their music with appreciative listeners in a more intimate environment. This exhibit presents a timeline of the styles, musicians, and venues that helped put Bellingham on the “music map.”

“Seattle — what? New York — who cares? It’s all about Bellingham. That period of a year or two, I never wanted this scene to fall apart. I wanted this to live forever, because it felt so organic and special.” —Ben Gibbard, lead vocalist and guitarist, Death Cab for Cutie, The Seattle Times article “It’s all about Bellingham: How stars Death Cab for Cutie and ODESZA got their starts locally,” May 11, 2019, by Michael Rietmulder

Creating a timeline of Bellingham’s Music History:

How do you take something so personal, vibrant, experiential, emotional, exhilarating, engaging, creative, and ethereal and tack it on a wall? That’s the challenge the Museum faced when trying to tell the story of Bellingham’s music scene. Through archival material, photographs, personal papers, oral histories, and more, curators added layers to the incredible stories that make up Bellingham’s musical history. Sandwiched between Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., it makes sense that singers, musicians, bands, and other performers would want to make a stop in Bellingham along their tour routes. Through the decades, our community has been able to experience a variety of performers and musical styles, sparking interest and curiosity—from classical to blues, jazz to opera, and folk to rock. We hope this exhibit offers a brief, but entertaining overview of Bellingham’s rich musical history, and legacy.

 


The Whatcom Museum acknowledges that we gather on the traditional territory of the Lhaq’temish – Lummi People – and the Nuxwsá7aq – Nooksack People – who have lived in the Coast Salish region from time immemorial. The Museum honors our relationship with all of our Coast Salish neighbors and our shared responsibilities to their homeland where we all reside today.

Bonnie MacLean poster

Not One of the Boys: The Psychedelic Posters of Bonnie MacLean

September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023May 21, 2022 - November 20, 2022May 14, 2022 - November 20, 2022

Old City Hall

Bonnie MacLean was just fine with designing handbills and taking tickets at her husband’s music venue, The Fillmore. But a falling out between husband Bill Graham and poster artist Wes Wilson plunged her into the psychedelic art world of San Francisco in the mid-1960s. It was MacLean who stepped in to create posters promoting the bands who would become iconic with the counterculture movement of the time. MacLean initially borrowed from the Art Nouveau style of Wilson, but soon developed her own designs, featuring elaborate plumes, curving letters, and stoic faces. While MacLean was not recognized among the “big five” Haight-Ashbury poster artists who came to be associated with the iconography of the counterculture scene – Wes Wilson, Stanley Mouse, Alton Kelley, Victor Moscoso, and Rick Griffin – she stood out as one of the only women in the field. This exhibit pulls from the Museum’s incredible collection of psychedelic music posters from 1967.


The Whatcom Museum acknowledges that we gather on the traditional territory of the Lhaq’temish – Lummi People – and the Nuxwsá7aq – Nooksack People – who have lived in the Coast Salish region from time immemorial. The Museum honors our relationship with all of our Coast Salish neighbors and our shared responsibilities to their homeland where we all reside today.

All is Not Lost

September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023May 21, 2022 - November 20, 2022May 14, 2022 - November 20, 2022January 15, 2022 - December 31, 2022

Old City Hall

Hundreds of glass negatives have been donated to the Whatcom Museum, often arriving in a damaged condition after decades of poor storage and rough handling. The pictures in this exhibition are deliberately featured with their accumulation of scratches, cracks, lost corners, mold stains, and water damage. Though marred, time ravaged negatives can still render images of historical significance.

We are bringing this exhibit back, but to Old City Hall, for another opportunity to enjoy and appreciate these unique images

Featured image: Wading in at Squalicum Beach, Bellingham Bay, c. 1910. Photo by J.W. Sandison, Whatcom Museum 1996.10.14494


The Whatcom Museum acknowledges that we gather on the traditional territory of the Lhaq’temish – Lummi People – and the Nuxwsá7aq – Nooksack People – who have lived in the Coast Salish region from time immemorial. The Museum honors our relationship with all of our Coast Salish neighbors and our shared responsibilities to their homeland where we all reside today.

People looking at an exhibition at the Whatcom Museum

People of the Sea and Cedar: A Journey Through the Tribal Cultures and History of the Northwest Coast

September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023May 21, 2022 - November 20, 2022May 14, 2022 - November 20, 2022January 15, 2022 - December 31, 2022

Lightcatcher Building

Ongoing, Lightcatcher

People of the Sea and Cedar, in the second floor gallery of the Lightcatcher building, shares the history and art of the Northwest Coast people, blending both historical and contemporary perspectives. This exhibit features artifacts from the Museum’s collection, such as Coast Salish artwork and carvings, woven blankets, hand-made tools, cedar hats, clothing, and baskets. The exhibit provides hands-on learning experiences, a Lummi language interactive, and videos showcasing Lummi and Nooksack weavers and carvers. Themes of cultural knowledge, art and symbolism, lifestyles, and community present the Northwest Coast tribes as vibrant, living cultures who honor their past while building cultural and economic futures for their people.

The Whatcom Museum has been making connections with linguistics and Native speakers throughout the Pacific Northwest to expand the Native language component of People of the Sea and Cedar. We will continue to develop our Lummi language translations and recordings together with Lummi Nation instructor Smak i’ya’, Matt Warbus, tribal elders, and Lummi Nation students. We look forward to sharing more.

 

John M. Edson Hall of Birds

September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023May 21, 2022 - November 20, 2022May 14, 2022 - November 20, 2022January 15, 2022 - December 31, 2022

Old City Hall

Opened March 16, 2017; Ongoing; Old City Hall

This exhibit in Old City Hall provides a glimpse into the local history and culture of the Victorian Era, when taxidermy flourished and mounted animals often decorated interior spaces. For the Museum, this collection of birds is also important to the building’s history. If it hadn’t been for John M. Edson, Old City Hall might not be standing here today. While city officials were considering demolishing it, Edson saw an opportunity to not only save the building, but also to create a public museum within its walls. He dreamed of having a permanent home for his bird specimen collection, and the museum became the perfect showcase.

Now, more than 75 years later, the Whatcom Museum has taken this important collection and reinterpreted it as an educational experience. Designed in collaboration with the North Cascades Audubon Society, the exhibit provides opportunities to learn about bird migration, conservation success stories, birds in peril, and the importance of studying bird specimens today. Alongside the interpretive panels and the birds themselves, the Hall of Birds provides a variety of interactive opportunities, including video clips of birds in our local habitats, audio files of Puget Sound-area bird calls, and hands-on activities for children. We look forward to sharing this important collection with visitors for years to come.


The Whatcom Museum acknowledges that we gather on the traditional territory of the Lhaq’temish – Lummi People – and the Nuxwsá7aq – Nooksack People – who have lived in the Coast Salish region from time immemorial. The Museum honors our relationship with all of our Coast Salish neighbors and our shared responsibilities to their homeland where we all reside today.

 

partners

History Exhibits at Old City Hall

September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023September 10, 2022 - January 8, 2023May 21, 2022 - November 20, 2022May 14, 2022 - November 20, 2022January 15, 2022 - December 31, 2022

Old City Hall

Ongoing; Old City Hall

The Museum’s 1892 Old City Hall building features a variety of exhibits that tell the stories of the building’s architecture, the city’s early days, logging history, and waterfront industry.

Green Gold: Logging the Pacific Northwest

Relive the history of logging in our corner of the Pacific Northwest through photographs, artifacts, and stories documenting both the good and the bad of Bellingham’s timber era during the mid- to late- nineteenth century. Historic video footage takes you back to a time when only the sheer strength of the lumberjacks felled the enormous trees. Learn what it took to be a lumberjack, the long days and hard work. Find out what a “road monkey” and a “river rat” did for their jobs.

Orientation Theater

Get a sense of place, and where we are in this fourth corner of the country, through an audio-visual journey of Old City Hall and the early days of Bellingham. Located on the main level of Old City Hall, in the gallery that was once the first mayor of Bellingham’s office in the late 1890s, you’ll learn a variety of historical facts and trivia.

Maritime History Gallery

Walk into the second floor Allsop Gallery for a lesson on Bellingham’s maritime heritage. From early steam ships, to fisheries, to notable schooners plying the shores of Bellingham Bay, you’ll get a waterfront history overview through photographs, artifacts, interactives, and model ships while looking through the gallery windows to the Bay. See messages visitors have placed in our “Message in a Bottle.” We hope you’ll visit our Maritime Gallery and leave your own message of encouragement.

John M. Edson Hall of Birds

Partnering with the North Cascades Audubon Society, this exhibit features our founding collection of more than 500 mounted birds, with interpretation, videos, and hands-on activities highlighting Pacific Northwest flyway zones, migration patterns, habitats, nests, and more.