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Museum Employee and Professional Artist David Miller Brings Prehistoric Creatures to Life

By Colton Redtfeldt, Marketing Assistant

David W. Miller, American, b. 1957; Quetzalcoatlus, 2002; Oil and acrylic on illustration board, 16 x 12 in. Courtesy of the New York State Museum, Albany.

On a Thursday afternoon in October David Miller, the Museum’s Preparator, sat at his desk in the attic of Old City Hall and thumbed through the many binders full of his old paintings.

He was in search of a piece he had created many years ago. With each turned page he uncovered a new prehistoric creature like some sort of artistic archeologist. Every so often he would come across a work that piqued his interest and he would make a quick comment or two about its history.

Finally, he came across the piece he was looking for. It depicted the prehistoric flying beast Quetzalcoatlus as it soared above a North American forest millions of years ago. The piece, titled Quetzalcoatlus after the creature it depicts, was notable because one block away a reproduction was on display at the Lightcatcher building as part of the Museum’s exhibition Endangered Species: Artists on the Frontline of Biodiversity.

“I think it’s an effective drawing. The forced perspective re ally shows you the immensity of the creature,” Miller said as he mused over the piece. Getting the immensity of the creature was essential. Quetzalcoatlus, with an imposing 52-foot wingspan, was the largest flying animal to ever exist, after all.

Miller originally painted Quetzalcoatlus in 2002 for a book on Pterosaurs. The painting ultimately didn’t get published, however. In 2004 he took the piece to the Paleo Art Show at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, and the piece was awarded Best 2D Artwork.

Quetzalcoatlus isn’t Miller’s only painting depicting a dinosaur. In fact, much of his career as a professional artist has been centered around creating scientifically-accurate depictions of prehistoric animals. Read more

Madeline von Foerster: Painting Humanity’s Role in Species Destruction

Madeline von Foerster stands next to her painting, Carnival Insectivora, during the opening ceremony of Endangered Species: Artists on the Front Line of Biodiversity.

By Colton Redtfeldt, Marketing Assistant

 

In fourth grade, Madeline von Foerster was asked to do a report on an animal for class. She opted to do her report on an extinct animal. At the time she was also developing a passion for art. With those two facts in mind, it’s no surprise that many years later she would be creating art that highlights the plight of endangered and extinct animals.

Von Foerster has built a career out of commenting on the role humanity plays in the destruction of animal species through her paintings. Two of her paintings, Carnival Insectivora and Reliquary for Rabb’s Frog, can be found in the Museum’s exhibition Endangered Species: Artists on the Front Line of Biodiversity, now showing at the Lightcatcher building.

Carnival Insectivora highlights endangerment of the infamous Venus flytrap, and Reliquary for Rabb’s Frog highlights the extinction of the Rabbs’ fringe-limbed treefrog.

“In both cases, I wanted to create a tribute or a shrine to threatened or extinct species, and also address humanity’s role in their fate,” von Foerster said in an interview with the Museum. Read more

Events

EXHIBITION CLOSES: The Elephant in the Room

Today is the last day to see The Elephant in the Room: The Allure of Ivory and its Tragic Legacy. This exhibition explores the story of ivory from pre-history to modern times, featuring a selection of ivory from the Museum’s collection. The exhibition will cover areas of research in elephant communication, the devastating effects of ivory hunting, and highlight how organizations are trying to save these incredible animals around the world.

Bellingham National 2019 Gallery Tour

Take a gallery tour of Bellingham National Juried Art Exhibition and Awards with our Education and Engagement Manager, Sarah Hart, to learn more about the artists’ interpretations of the exhibition theme, “Water’s Edge: Landscapes for Today.” Hart will also share some of Juror Bruce Guenther’s thoughts and perspectives about the selection process. Bellingham National features artwork by 59 artists from across the US, which range from traditional interpretations of the observed landscape to metaphoric and spiritual manifestations of landscape. Works span a broad range of media, from watercolor to oil painting, photography to collage and fiber art.

Note: Juror Bruce Guenther will not attend the Gallery Tour.

Image credit: Amy Ferron; Over Our Heads, 2016; Acrylic paint and paper on wood, 36 x 36 in. Courtesy of the artist.

Member Preview Reception: Bellingham National 2019

Museum members, join us for a sneak peek at the opening reception of Bellingham National 2019 Juried Art Exhibition and Awards, which explores the theme of “Water’s Edge: Landscapes for Today” in two-dimensional landscape art. Enjoy wine, light appetizers, and the chance to meet juror Bruce Guenther, who will announce the top three Juror’s Choice award winners. This is a members-only event.

Image credit: Lynn Skordal; Map 4; Overprinting on vintage map, paper collage, 16 x 12 in. Courtesy of the artist.


THOUGHT-PROVOKING EXHIBITION TO EXPLORE ENDANGERED SPECIES AND BIODIVERSITY

Isabella Kirkland; Gone, from the Taxa series, 2004; (63 species made extinct by human activities since 1700 and the colonization of the New World). Oil and alkyd on canvas over panel; 48 x 36 in. Private Collection.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Bellingham, WA, January 30, 2018—The Whatcom Museum presents Endangered Species: Artists on the Front Line of Biodiversity, an interdisciplinary exhibition featuring 80 works of art, from rare books to cutting edge video, that span the nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. It opens September 8, 2018 in the Museum’s Lightcatcher building and closes January 6, 2019.

Endangered Species highlights an international group of 52 artists who celebrate biodiversity’s beauty, interpret natural and human-induced extinctions of plants and animals, and focus on species from diverse ecosystems under stress. It also includes the work of artists who spotlight the human activities that threaten biodiversity alongside projects that revitalize habitats and reconnect people to the rich tapestry of life.

“We often read news headlines with alarming statistics and then turn the page,” said Barbara Matilsky, exhibition curator and Curator of Art at the Whatcom Museum. “Artists take this information and create images that inspire emotional and thought-provoking responses. Hopefully, ‘Endangered Species’ will stimulate visitors to help preserve the planet and its biodiversity.”

Exhibition spotlights important thematic concepts
The first theme, Celebrating Biodiversity’s Beauty and Complexity: From Landscapes to Microscopic Imagery, focuses on artists who illuminate biodiversity’s stunning variety on its most grand and intimate scales. By examining the shared practices that inspire artists and natural scientists, such as exploration, observation, and documentation, visitors can learn what biodiversity is about and why it is important.

The second theme, Mammoths and Dinosaurs: Interpreting Natural Extinction, introduces the concept of the complete loss of an animal or plant species. When natural scientists first discovered fossils of early life, nineteenth century artists presented convincing visions of animals roaming primeval habitats in best-selling natural history books and panoramic murals commissioned by museums. The exhibition will showcase illustrated books and preliminary paintings for these majestic landscapes.

In the third theme, Portraits of Loss: Extinction by Human Actions, visitors can explore how artists transform scientific documentation about early human-induced extinctions of the Dodo, the Great Auk, and the Passenger Pigeon, among others, into stirring portraits and still life paintings. Their artworks reflect meticulous research and analysis of specimens from natural history museum collections. By reviving past life in sometimes startling ways, artists imprint their memory on our consciousness and spark awareness about the contemporary extinction crisis.

The plants and animals interpreted by artists in the fourth theme, Endangered Species: Plants and Animals on the Edge of Survival, symbolize the threatened ecosystems in which they live and the global decline of biodiversity. The artworks call attention to just a few of the 10,000 “endangered” and “critically endangered” species classified by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. An illustrated timeline highlighting conservation milestones will be exhibited here.

Contemporary artists not only portray animal and plant species at risk, they also interpret the human actions that lead to their precarious status: habitat loss, invasive species, pollution, population growth, and overhunting and fishing. These issues will be explored in the final theme, At the Crossroads: Destruction or Preservation of Biodiversity. Within this area, the challenges facing several biodiversity hotspots, such as tropical rainforests and coral reefs, will be highlighted.

An uplifting narrative is interwoven throughout this section by including examples of how artists collaborate across disciplines to revive habitats and engage humans with the natural world. These multi-media projects serve as inspiring models for individual and community grass roots efforts towards environmental restoration and education.

Endangered Species has been organized with the intent of impacting public discourse about biodiversity while advancing the artist’s pivotal role in building awareness. By tracing links between contemporary and earlier artists, the exhibition examines art’s contribution to an enduring cultural legacy of nature conservation.

Featured artists include John James Audubon, Brandon Ballengée, Nick Brandt, Edward Burtynsky, George Catlin, Catherine Chalmers, Mark Dion, Madeline von Foerster, Nicholas Galanin, Ernst Haeckel, Martin Johnson Heade, Patricia Johanson, Chris Jordan, Isabella Kirkland, Charles R. Knight, David Liittschwager, John Martin, Courtney Mattison, Susan Middleton, Alexis Rockman, Christy Rupp, Joel Sartore, Preston Singletary, Fred Tomaselli, Roman Vishniac, Andy Warhol, and Yang Yongliang, among many others. A full list of artists can be viewed on the exhibition webpage. A fully illustrated catalogue will accompany the exhibition.

Endangered Species: Artists on the Front Line of Biodiversity is supported by major grants from The National Endowment for the Arts and The Norcliffe Foundation, with additional funding from the Whatcom Museum Advocates, the Whatcom Museum Foundation, and the City of Bellingham. The exhibition opens September 8, 2018 and extends through January 6, 2019 in the Lightcatcher building, 250 Flora Street, Bellingham, Wash.

VIEW press images. Images available upon request by contacting Christina Claassen, Marketing & PR Manager, cmclaassen@cob.org, 360.778.8936.

BELLINGHAM NATIONAL 2017 JURIED ART EXHIBITION AND AWARDS POPULAR CHOICE WINNER ANNOUNCED

Jenna Lynch, Mahopac, NY; Traveling Within, Feeling Through, Dreaming Beyond; The Lines. Watercolor on paper. Courtesy of the artist.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 6, 2017, Bellingham, WA—-The Whatcom Museum is pleased to announce the popular choice winner for the exhibition Bellingham National 2017 Juried Art Exhibition and Awards. Artist Jenna Lynch, Mahopac, NY, was chosen as the winning artist for her installation, Traveling Within, Feeling Through, Dreaming Beyond: The Lines. Lynch will receive a $500 cash award.

Lynch’s artist statement says, “To create my drawing series, Traveling Between, Feeling Through, Dreaming Beyond: The Lines, I became a cartographer. I mapped my travels to various locations using colorful lines. Numerous watercolor tags document the places I have explored since 1999 including several states, and numerous European, Middle Eastern, and African countries. A few years ago, I began creating new linear systems for places I hope to visit, from Iceland to Iran. My drawing series also includes places I will never experience, from the surface of the moon and Venus to a landscape painted by Renoir, because when I imagine them, I feel restored.”

Bellingham National celebrates drawing in a wide variety of media and forms. Guest curator/juror, Catharina Manchanda, the Jon and Mary Shirley Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at Seattle Art Museum, proposed the thematic idea for this exhibition and selected work that expanded the boundaries of traditional drawing. While the artists in this exhibition work in a variety of media, the pieces selected represent a range of approaches to drawing, including narrative and representational modes, notation, transcription, mapping, and deconstruction.

THE WHATCOM MUSEUM RECEIVES $60,000 GRANT FROM NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS IN SUPPORT OF ENDANGERED SPECIES EXHIBITION

Isabella Kirkland; Gone, from the Taxa series, 2004; (63 species made extinct by human activities since 1700 and the colonization of the New World). Oil and alkyd on canvas over panel; 48 x 36 in. Private Collection.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Bellingham, WA, September 5, 2017 —The Whatcom Museum has been awarded a $60,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in support of the upcoming exhibition, Endangered Species: Artists on the Front Line of Biodiversity, which will be on exhibit September 8, 2018 – January 6, 2019 in the Lightcatcher building. The grant will assist the Museum in funding the loan of artworks from around the world, educational programming, and an exhibition catalogue. Endangered Species will explore artwork created by 50 artists who interpret the fragile balance of life on Earth through a wide range of media.

National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu approved more than $82 million to fund local arts projects across the country in the NEA’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2017—a significant win for the arts during a time when NEA funding was at risk of federal budget cuts this year. (The NEA is proposed for elimination under the president’s 2018 budget.) Included in this announcement is the Art Works award of $60,000 to the Whatcom Museum, which was the highest amount given to a museum exhibition.

“The arts reflect the vision, energy, and talent of America’s artists and arts organizations,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “The National Endowment for the Arts is proud to support organizations such as the Whatcom Museum, in serving their communities by providing excellent and accessible arts experiences.”

As the only funder in the country to support arts activities in all 50 states and five US jurisdictions, this NEA funding round includes partnerships with state, jurisdictional, and regional arts agencies. Competition for NEA grants is significant, and the agency received 2,063 eligible applications. The value of NEA funding is not only its monetary impact, but also its reputation, as an NEA grant confers a seal of approval, allowing an organization to attract other public and private funds. The Art Works award is the NEA’s largest category and focuses on funding the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with art, lifelong learning in the arts, and strengthening of communities through the arts. The NEA received 1,728 Art Works applications and made 1,029 grants ranging from $10,000 to $100,000.

“The Whatcom Museum upholds the highest of best practices in the museology field, as an American Alliance of Museums accredited museum, and we are proud to receive this important funding in support of a topic that will highly resonate with our audiences in the Pacific Northwest,” said Patricia Leach, Executive Director of the Whatcom Museum. “Endangered Species will allow people of all ages to better understand the history and ongoing struggle for survival of plant and animal life through the works of these amazing artists, and hopefully make a lasting impression of what we can do to help make a better future for our environment.”

Endangered Species: Artists on the Front Line of Biodiversity presents 70 works of art in all media, from rare books to cutting-edge video, that span the nineteenth through twenty-first centuries. It highlights artists who celebrate biodiversity’s exquisite complexity, interpret natural and human-induced extinctions of plants and animals, and focus on endangered species from diverse ecosystems. The exhibition explores art’s historic role in raising public awareness about the human activities that threaten habitats. Weaving together art, natural science, and conservation, “Endangered Species” also features creative solutions by ecological artists who revitalize habitats and reconnect people to the rich tapestry of life. Featured artists include John James Audubon, Brandon Ballengée, Nick Brandt, Edward Burtynsky, George Catlin, Mark Dion, Madeline von Foerster, Nicholas Galanin, Ernst Haeckel, Patricia Johanson, Isabella Kirkland, David Liitschwager, Courtney Mattison, Alexis Rockman, Joel Sartore, Fred Tomaselli, and Andy Warhol, among many others.

“We often read news headlines with alarming statistics—60% of the world’s primates, including apes, lemurs and monkeys, face extinction—and then turn the page,” said Barbara Matilsky, exhibition curator, and Curator of Art at the Whatcom Museum. “Artists take this information and create imagery that inspires emotional and thought-provoking responses. They also collaborate with natural scientists and communities on ecological artworks that serve as models for revitalizing land and water-based biodiversity in urban and rural areas. Hopefully, Endangered Species will stimulate visitors to join with artists, scientists, and conservationists in preserving life’s biodiversity.”

Endangered Species: Artists on the Front Line of Biodiversity is supported by a major grant from The Norcliffe Foundation, with additional funding from the Whatcom Museum Foundation and the City of Bellingham. The exhibition will open September 8, 2018 and will be shown through January 6, 2019 in the Lightcatcher building, 250 Flora Street, Bellingham, Wash.

About the National Endowment for the Arts
Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. For more information, visit www.arts.gov.

WHATCOM MUSEUM SHOWCASES WESTERN AMERICAN ART FROM TACOMA ART MUSEUM’S HAUB FAMILY COLLECTION

Edgar Payne (American, 1883 – 1947); Desert Clouds, circa 1930; Oil on canvas; 20 x 24 in. Courtesy of the Tacoma Art Museum, Haub Family Collection, Gift of Erivan and Helga Haub, 2015.29.11.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 5, 2017; Bellingham, WA—This fall, the Whatcom Museum in Bellingham, Wash., will present 75 artworks on loan from the Tacoma Art Museum, featuring works of western American art, including bronze sculptures and paintings. Art of the American West: Highlights of the Haub Family Collection from the Tacoma Art Museum will be on exhibit at the Lightcatcher building September 30, 2017 – January 7, 2018. This collection of western American art is unrivaled in its scope in the Pacific Northwest.

“Western American Art is enjoying a huge resurgence in the country,” said Patricia Leach, Executive Director of the Whatcom Museum. “This is the first time the Haub Family Collection is on loan from the Tacoma Art Museum, and we believe this exhibition is going to ‘wow’ our visitors.”

Art of the American West includes prominent nineteenth-century artists who influenced views of Native Americans, mountain men, cowboys, and pristine American landscapes, including Henry Inman, Paul Kane, John Mix Stanley, and Charles M. Russell. From the twentieth century, the exhibition includes artists who brought modern art movements west and who explored western history and American identity, such as Maynard Dixon, E. Martin Hennings, Robert Henri, and Georgia O’Keeffe, as well as artists who are active and working today. Contemporary Native American artists John Nieto and Kevin Red Star take a fresh approach and portray Native American culture in a modern light, and pop artist Bill Schenck uses humor and satire to challenge long-held assumptions about the American West.

The artworks in the exhibition examine ideas of American identity over time, delve into storytelling and myth-making, and explore the vast American landscape. Visitors will see how concepts of the West, both real and imagined, have continually changed and evolved, and still influence people today.

“Tacoma Art Museum is thrilled that the Haub Family Collection is traveling to the Whatcom Museum. The 75 works in the exhibition span nearly two hundred years of American art history and are sure to impress visitors who can explore the portrayals—both real and imagined—of our iconic region,” said Faith Brower, Haub Curator of Western American Art at Tacoma Art Museum.

About the Haub Family Collection of Western American Art
In July 2012, Tacoma Art Museum announced the largest gift in the museum’s history by Erivan and Helga Haub of 295 western American works of art from their private collection. The donation has transformed Tacoma Art Museum into one of the leading museums in the country featuring western American art. The collection enables the Tacoma Art Museum to fully explore the art history of the West. Together with its Northwest collection, the museum offers a comprehensive understanding of the Northwest region as part of the expanded history of the West, and illuminates how that broad history has shaped regional artistic responses. For more information, visit www.tacomaartmuseum.org.

Art of the American West: Highlights of the Haub Family Collection from the Tacoma Art Museum was organized by Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma, Wash. This exhibition is supported by Mary Summerfield & Mike O’Neal, Patti & Frank Imhof, Sue Lobland, the Whatcom Museum Advocates, the Whatcom Museum Foundation, and the City of Bellingham.

WHATCOM MUSEUM HOSTS WHATCOM ARTIST STUDIO TOUR EXHIBITION

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 31, 2017; Bellingham, WA—The Whatcom Museum is hosting the Whatcom Artist Studio Tour exhibition, August 4 – September 3, 2017 at Old City Hall. In anticipation of the Whatcom Artist Studio Tour in October, the Museum will be showcasing a diversity of artwork by participating artists in a variety of media. The exhibition will open on Friday, August 4, during Downtown Art Walk.

Brian O'Neill; Black/White V Bottle w/Flange. Mid-fire stoneware.

Brian O’Neill; Black/White V bottle with flange. Mid-fire stoneware. Courtesy of the artist.

The Whatcom Artist Studio Tour is a free, juried event offering an opportunity to meet the region’s finest artists in their own creative spaces. In its twenty-third year, the Tour features 44 artists working in eleven different media, showing their work throughout Bellingham and Whatcom County.

These diverse artists open their studios to the public October 7 – 8 and 14 – 15. Visitors can meet the artists and get a glimpse into their creative processes. A free guide can be picked up at the Whatcom Museum, as well as at many local businesses, to help visitors plan their route and visit the studios. It’s also a chance for the community to purchase fine art directly from artists. To learn more about the Whatcom Artist Studio Tour and to see a list of participating artists, visit www.studiotour.net.

The community is invited to the opening of the exhibition during the Downtown Bellingham Art Walk, Friday, August 4, 6 – 10pm at Old City Hall, 121 Prospect Street. Admission is free for this event.

About the Whatcom Museum
The Whatcom Museum offers a variety of exhibitions, programs, tours, and activities about art, nature, and Northwest history for all ages. Its multi-building campus is located in the heart of Bellingham’s downtown art district. Whatcom Artist Studio Tour exhibition will be on view August 4 – September 3, 2017 in Old City Hall, 121 Prospect St., Bellingham, WA 98225. Old City Hall is open Wednesdays – Sundays, Noon – 5 PM.

THE WHATCOM MUSEUM RECEIVES $50,000 GRANT FROM THE NORCLIFFE FOUNDATION IN SUPPORT OF ENDANGERED SPECIES EXHIBITION

Isabella Kirkland; Gone, from the Taxa series, 2004; (63 species made extinct by human activities since 1700 and the colonization of the New World). Oil and alkyd on canvas over panel; 48 x 36 in. Private Collection.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Bellingham, WA, June 22, 2017 —The Whatcom Museum has been awarded a $50,000 grant in support of the upcoming exhibition, Endangered Species: Artists on the Front Line of Biodiversity, which will be on exhibit September 8, 2018 – January 6, 2019 in the Lightcatcher building. The grant will assist the Museum in funding exhibition design, related educational programming, and an exhibition catalogue. The exhibition will explore artworks by an international group of artists who interpret the fragile balance of life on Earth through a wide range of media.

“We are thrilled to have the support of The Norcliffe Foundation for this exciting project,” said Patricia Leach, Executive Director of the Whatcom Museum. “The grant funds will assist us to assemble a truly impactful exhibition, and bring related high-quality educational programming to our community.”

Endangered Species: Artists on the Front Line of Biodiversity presents 70 works of art in various media, from rare books to cutting-edge video, that span the 19th through 21st centuries. It highlights artists who celebrate biodiversity’s exquisite complexity, interpret natural and human-induced extinctions of plants and animals, and focus on endangered species from diverse ecosystems. The exhibition explores art’s historic role in raising public awareness about the human activities that threaten habitats. Weaving together art, natural science, and conservation, Endangered Species also features creative solutions by ecological artists who revitalize habitats and reconnect people to the rich tapestry of life. Featured artists include Ernst Haeckel, George Catlin, Andy Warhol, Patricia Johanson, Isabella Kirkland, and David Liitschwager, among many others.

“We often read news headlines with alarming statistics—60% of the world’s primates, including apes, lemurs and monkeys, are facing extinction—and then turn the page,” said Barbara Matilsky, exhibition curator, and Curator of Art at the Whatcom Museum. “Artists take this information and create imagery that inspires emotional and thought-provoking responses. Hopefully, Endangered Species will stimulate visitors to join with artists, scientists, and conservationists in preserving life’s biodiversity.”

The Norcliffe Foundation is a private nonprofit family foundation established in 1952 by Paul Pigott with the intention of improving the quality of life of people in Puget Sound communities by the application of financial and human resources. Succeeding generations of the family have continued to support The Foundation in this tradition. Grants are given to nonprofit organizations, and areas of support include education, health, social services, civic improvement, religion, culture and the arts, the environment, historic preservation, and youth programs.

EXHIBITION OF MEXICAN AND CHICANA/O ARTWORK EXPLORES HISTORY, COMMUNITY-BUILDING AND CULTURAL CITIZENSHIP

Carmen Lomas Garza; Tamaledera; 1990, Lithograph on paper. Courtesy of The Mexican Museum.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Bellingham, WA, Jan. 17, 2017 — The Whatcom Museum is pleased to present “Images of Resilience: Chicana/o Art and its Mexican Roots” at the Lightcatcher building, opening Feb. 4 and showing through May 28, 2017. This exhibition, curated by Executive Director Patricia Leach, explores the development of Chicana/o art, from its beginnings in Mexican art of the early twentieth century, to the Chicana/o movement of the 1960s and ’70s, to its relevance today. Many of the artworks reflect how Chicana/o art has influenced community building, history making and cultural citizenship for Mexican-Americans and Chicana/os.

“The Whatcom Museum has not shown the work of these important artists before, and with a growing Latina/o population in both Whatcom and Skagit Counties, it is wonderful to be able to partner with the Mexican Museum in San Francisco and the National Steinbeck Center in Salinas, California, to bring the work of many well-known artists to the Pacific Northwest,” said Leach.

During the 1800s and early 1900s, Mexican artwork was largely influenced by artists academically trained in the European Academy style. After the revolution in 1910, the arts were dramatically changed, and artists outside of academia developed new styles. During this time, print-making through the creation of broadsheets—printed text accompanied by illustrations, usually printed on penny presses in Mexico City—became a way for artists to address politics and current events. “Images of Resilience” will feature examples of this art form created by José Guadalupe Posada in the early 1900s.

During the 1920s, a new style of art emerged in Mexico. Three internationally prominent artists known as “Los Tres Grandes”—Diego Rivera, David Alfaro Siqueiros, and José Clemente Orozco—were hired by the Mexican government to create identifiably Mexican art through murals. Their work emphasized cultural roots with a respect for non-Spanish traditions and instilled a patriotic pride in the Mexican people. A few select artworks by these artists will be displayed in the gallery to represent their contributions, including a Diego Rivera drawing from the Museum’s collection.

In contrast to the early works of the 1910s and ’20s, “Images of Resilience” will also present a variety of artists influenced by the Chicana/o movement of the 1960s and ’70s. Artists of this era, and in the decades following, were motivated by cultural reclamation and the struggle for social justice. Drawing on styles created post-revolution, this era of Chicana/o art deals with rural themes—agriculture, religious holidays, folk heritage—as well as, the new urbanized lives that Mexican-Americans were living, shown through pop culture, cars and Hollywood iconography.

“Within the context of the Chicana/o movement for social justice, artists took their place in creating images and forms of art that would help enlist others in this movement for human rights,” said artist and scholar Amalia Mesa-Bains. “The work of individual artists and collectives was often anchored in community-based organizations.”

“Images of Resilience” will feature the work of contemporary artists such as Patssi Valdez, Ester Hernandez, Carmen Lomas Garza, Gronk, Enrique Chagoya, Frank Romero, and many more. The exhibition will also include mixed-media paintings by Seattle artist Cecilia Concepción Alvarez, and prints and paintings by Seattle artist Alfredo Arreguín.

“Images of Resilience: Chicana/o Art and its Mexican Roots” is sponsored by Heritage Bank and will be on exhibition Feb. 4 through May 28, 2017 in the Lightcatcher building, 250 Flora St., Bellingham, Wash. 98225. The Lightcatcher is open Wed. – Sun., Noon – 5 PM. Members are invited to a member-only preview on Fri., Feb. 3, 5-7pm in the Lightcatcher.

Related programs:

  • Public lecture with Seattle artists Cecilia Concepción Alvarez and Alfredo Arreguín, Sat., Feb. 4, 2pm at Old City Hall, 121 Prospect St. $5 suggested donation/Museum members free.
  • Docent tours: Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 1:30pm beginning Sun., Feb. 12. Tours last one hour, start in the Lightcatcher lobby and are included with admission/free to members.
  • Film Screening: “Chicano Legacy: 40 Años,” co-presented with the Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival, Sun., Feb. 19, 2pm at Old City Hall, 121 Prospect St. Free.
  • Public lecture with artist and scholar Amalia Mesa-Bains, Wed., March 22, 12:30pm at Old City Hall, 121 Prospect St. $5 suggested donation/Museum members free.

PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITION MARKING 10TH ANNIVERSARY OF HURRICANE KATRINA TRAVELS TO THE WHATCOM MUSEUM

David G. Spielman; Central City, 2012 from The Katrina Decade: Images of an Altered City. Courtesy of The Historic New Orleans Collection 2015.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Bellingham, WA, Jan. 10, 2016 — The Historic New Orleans Collection marked the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina with the release of the book and exhibition, “The Katrina Decade: Images of an Altered City.” Traveling to the Whatcom Museum, courtesy of The Historic New Orleans Collection, this photo exhibition features the haunting black-and-white images of New Orleans-based photographer David G. Spielman. His photographs chronicle the destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina and the arrested processes of rebuilding and recovery that persist in many neighborhoods today. The exhibition will be on view Jan. 14 through May 14, 2017 at the Whatcom Museum’s Lightcatcher building.

Spielman, a fine-art photographer, freelance photojournalist and New Orleans resident, has spent the last decade capturing subtle, gradual changes happening in less-documented areas of the city affected by the storm, like the West Bank, Central City and Mid-City. Inspired by the traditions of photographers like Walker Evans, Dorothea Lange, and Gordon Parks, who captured the changing face of America during the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl in stark, simple images, Spielman’s contemplative look at the city reveals the complicated task of recovering from a major disaster.

The resulting photographs beg for careful consideration: where one initially sees stasis, a longer look reveals movement and hints of rebirth, as well as evocative traces of human activity. New Orleans’s subtropical climate makes for a city in perpetual struggle against nature’s attempts to reclaim the landscape—vines have begun to subsume structures in some of the photographs, but evidence of maintenance and new construction often inches its way into the background or the margin. From these images emerge stories of neglect, renewal and perseverance within New Orleans’s altered cityscape.

“Photography is the great educator,” Spielman said. “It puts a face on war, poverty and disasters. My most important task as a photographer is to render the most truthful image of each and every situation I find, because years from now, people want to see what it was really like.”

Although the photographs in this exhibition document a part of America that is far from the Pacific Northwest, it is a reminder that we are all affected by natural disasters. Earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanos are a concern to Northwest communities, especially along the coastal regions. The Whatcom Museum hopes that this exhibition will inspire visitors to consider the importance of disaster preparedness in our own region.

This exhibition accompanies the book, “The Katrina Decade: Images of an Altered City,” which contains 138 black-and-white photographs, along with essays by Spielman, exhibition curator John H. Lawrence, and journalist and preservationist Jack Davis. The book retails for $39.95 and is available for purchase at the Museum Store.

About the photographer:
Assignments have taken David G. Spielman to six continents, where he has photographed presidents and other world leaders. “The Katrina Decade” is his fourth published collection, following “Southern Writers” (1997), “Katrinaville Chronicles: Images and Observations from a New Orleans Photographer” (2007) and “When Not Performing: New Orleans Musicians” (2012). He has called New Orleans home for more than 40 years.

About The Historic New Orleans Collection
Founded in 1966, The Historic New Orleans Collection is a museum, research center and publisher dedicated to the study and preservation of the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf South. For more information, visit www.hnoc.org.

MAJOR TRAVELING EXHIBITION, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC’S 50 GREATEST PHOTOGRAPHS, COMING THIS FALL

Steve McCurry; Afghan Border, Pakistan 1984. Haunting eyes and a tattered garment tell the plight of a girl who fled Afghanistan for a refugee camp in Pakistan.

Steve McCurry; Afghan Border, Pakistan 1984. Haunting eyes and a tattered garment tell the plight of a girl who fled Afghanistan for a refugee camp in Pakistan. Courtesy of National Geographic.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Bellingham, WA, September 1, 2016—On Saturday, October 1, 2016, the Whatcom Museum will open a major traveling exhibition National Geographic’s 50 Greatest Photographs, in the Lightcatcher building. The exhibition, which showcases some of National Geographic’s most compelling photographs, runs through January 15, 2017. From Steve McCurry’s unforgettable Afghan girl to Nick Nichols’ iconic image of Jane Goodall with a chimpanzee to Thomas Abercrombie’s never-before-seen view of Mecca, the exhibition includes some of National Geographic magazine’s most-remembered and celebrated photographs from its more-than-120-year history. The Whatcom Museum will be this traveling exhibition’s only West Coast stop of the national tour.

In addition to seeing the photographs as they appeared in the magazine, visitors to the exhibition will learn the stories behind the photos through text panels and video interviews with the photographers. For some images, visitors will be able to see the “near frames” taken by the photographer: the sequence of images made in the field before and after the perfect shot. The exhibition is based on the popular iPad app released by National Geographic in 2011 and featured by iTunes as an iPad “App of the Week.”

“Many people learned about the world from the stunning photographs featured in National Geographic. They vicariously experienced the elation of mountain climbing in the Himalayas, looked in awe at Mayan ruins in the Yucatan, felt the pain of animal poaching in Africa, or the horror of burning oilfields in Kuwait during war,” said Barbara Matilsky, Curator of Art at the Whatcom Museum. “The photographers, who often put their lives on the line to capture these images, continue to contribute to the legacy of National Geographic through the magazine, internet site, television channel, and films. This exhibition is a must-see for both young and old, from all walks of life, as it raises important questions about humanity’s future on Earth.”

About National Geographic Traveling Exhibitions
The National Geographic Society is one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations and one of the world’s leading organizers of large-scale, traveling exhibitions. Since it launched Tutankhamun and the Golden Age of the Pharaohs in 2004, National Geographic has organized two more Egyptian-themed exhibitions, Tutankhamun: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs and Cleopatra: The Search for the Last Queen of Egypt. Other exhibitions National Geographic has organized include the four-city US tour of Afghanistan: Hidden Treasures from the National Museum, Kabul. National Geographic also offers a broad selection of stunning photography exhibitions to museums and venues around the world. For more information, visit www.nationalgeographic.com.

The member preview reception, which will also highlight the exhibition Spineless: Portraits of Marine Invertebrates by Susan Middleton, takes place Friday, September 30, 5 – 7pm in the Lightcatcher, 250 Flora Street.

NEW EXHIBITION, SPINELESS: PORTRAITS OF MARINE INVERTEBRATES, FEATURES UNIQUE PHOTOGRAPHS BY SUSAN MIDDLETON

Puget Sound King Crab, Susan Middleton, 2014.

Puget Sound King Crab, Susan Middleton, 2014.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Bellingham, WA, August 24, 2016—Marine invertebrates make up more than ninety-eight percent of the known animal species in the ocean, yet they remain elusive to most of us. This fall, the Whatcom Museum presents a photography exhibition that offers a rare glimpse into their mysterious world, Spineless: Portraits of Marine Invertebrates, by pioneering nature photographer Susan Middleton. The exhibition, and accompanying book, with a foreword by renowned marine biologist Sylvia Earle, will be showing at the Lightcatcher building Sept. 17 – Dec. 31, 2016.

Middleton blends science and art to reveal the hidden beauty and remarkable biodiversity of sea creatures without backbones. The result of several years of fieldwork across the Pacific Ocean, and showcasing the photographic techniques Middleton has developed over the past three decades, this exhibition shows rarely or never-before-seen ocean dwellers. Many of the creatures inhabit northwest waters and were photographed at Friday Harbor Marine Lab on San Juan Island. Middleton visually isolates each creature she photographs against a white background, creating a stunning image.

“I try to convey that sense of intimacy through the photograph,” writes Middleton in her artist statement. “Since I can only hint at the complexity, intricacy, and mystery of what I photograph, I concentrate only on the creature by removing all visual distractions and any trace of context. I attempt to reveal what is implicit through the explicit while inspiring curiosity and reverence for the unseen.”

Susan Middleton is an acclaimed photographer, author, and lecturer specializing in portraiture of rare and endangered animals, plants, sites, and cultures. The recipient of a Guggenheim fellowship in 2009, for many years she was the chair of the Department of Photography at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, where she currently serves as research associate. Her photographs have been exhibited worldwide in fine art and natural history contexts and are represented in the permanent collections of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Gallery of Art. The author of Evidence of Evolution (Abrams) and co-author of several other books, Susan Middleton lives in San Francisco.

Spineless: Portraits of Marine Invertebrates will be on exhibition in conjunction with National Geographic’s 50 Greatest Photographs, which opens October 1, 2016 in the Lightcatcher building, 250 Flora Street. One of Middleton’s photographs is included in the National Geographic traveling exhibition. The member preview reception for both photography exhibitions takes place Friday, September 30, 5 – 7pm in the Lightcatcher. Susan Middleton will attend the opening reception. She will also give a lecture about her work and process on Saturday, October 1, 2pm in the Rotunda Room of Old City Hall. The presentation is a $5 suggested donation/Museum members free.