I’ll have more to say about Bumbershoot 2012 later.
But I have to talk about the posthumous tribute exhibit to local urban-landscape painter Christopher Martin Hoff.
The show itself was fabulous, a loving homage to a man who loved the world around him and who deftly expressed all the color, detail, and even love he saw.
At least that’s what I saw in Hoff’s works.
Gary Faigin sees something else.
He’s a cofounder of the Gage Academy of Art and a contributing art critic on KUOW.
He wrote an introductory statement displayed at the Hoff exhibit.
Faigin’s statement begins:
Seattle is not a beautiful city. Its architecture is banal, its layout arbitrary and confusing. It is redeemed by its setting—dream-like mountains and islands tantalizingly close—but one would never know that by looking at the paintings of Christopher Hoff. It was Hoff’s lifework—tragically short, as lives go—to patiently go out into the gritty streets of the Seattle urban core, day after day, week after week, in good weather and bad, and attempt to extract the timeless and poetic from what most of us see as an everyday blur.
I most emphatically disagree with the first three sentences.
And I believe, without having known him, that Hoff would have done likewise.
Hoff saw beauty in the everyday. In the weather. In the streets. In intersections both straight and angular. In handsome 1920s apartment buildings and in graffiti- and poster-encrusted commercial walls. In warehouses and gas stations and billboards.
He saw the beauty in all this because it was all there to be seen.
Because Seattle IS beautiful.
And not just the picture-postcard parts, the water and the mountains,the Pike Place fish throwers and the glass artists.
All of Seattle is beautiful.
Just as all of you are beautiful.
(PS: This entry’s title, “I Acknowledge Beauty Exists,” comes from a Facebook page devoted to “body image,” inner beauty, and championing the diversity of all peoples. That page’s founders, in turn, based its name on another online activist space, “I Acknowledge Class Warfare Exists.”)