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November 18, 2015 Comments (2) Views: 3798 Arts, Arts & Entertainment

The Cars To Come Down at SAM!

Cai Guo-Qiang’s "Inopportune: Stage One" aka the "Cars" is to come down at the Seattle Art Museum. Photo by Eduardo Calderón

Cai Guo-Qiang’s “Inopportune: Stage One” aka the “Cars” is to come down at the Seattle Art Museum. Photo by Eduardo Calderón




In a shocking bit of Arts News, the Seattle Art Museum has announced their iconic front lobby installation of Cai Guo-Qiang’s “Inopportune: Stage One” is to be de-installed from museum’s Brotman Forum in January of 2016 and will be replaced by a large work by contemporary art world wunderkind, gay African-American artist Kehinde Wiley just in time for the museum’s next big special exhibit, Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic. The changeover in art will be complete by the time of the Wiley opening on February 11, 2016.

“Inopportune: Stage One” aka “the cool cars with lights sticking out of it” has been a conversation starter at SAM since the installation’s reveal in 2008 following the massive expansion of SAM in 2007. The “Cars” were of gift of Robert M. Arnold in honor of SAM’s 75th anniversary that year.

From the press release:

“We’ve loved having this thought-provoking installation at the museum—and in such a special spot, greeting our visitors and lighting up our events,” says Kimerly Rorschach, SAM’s Illsley Ball Nordstrom Director and CEO. “I hope that visitors come to SAM during the holiday season to see Intimate Impressionism and say goodbye to the cars.”

Originally from China, Cai Guo-Qiang lives and works in New York. His vibrant, internationally renowned work—primarily in installation, performance, and land art—combines Eastern and Western symbols and narratives to critique and reflect on historical and social changes. Creating this context allows him to break down the barriers between cultures, emphasizing the realities of our global society.

Ironically, I chose Cai Guo-Qiang’s work as one of “My Favorite Things” at this month’s Remix event at the museum where I was asked to lead a tour highlighting some of the pieces at SAM I most liked. I even managed to not (hopefully) mangle Cai Guo-Qiang’s name…I spent half an hour on YouTube trying desperately to find out the correct pronunciation. I finally found a video documentary where his name was spoken aloud!

(Don’t ask me now…it’s lost to the ages of my ravaged brain.)

So, if you’re a fan of “Cars” it behooves you to stop by the Seattle Art Museum to say good-bye by January 18, 2016.  I encourage you to actually GO to the museum and check it all out, (you really should go see the current special exhibition, Intimate Impressionism from the National Gallery of Art, just for the delicious Vuillard’s alone) but if that’s not feasible, at least pop into the entrance to “pay your respects”.

AND, mark your calendar to come back for the Kehinde Wiley exhibit which will be a dazzler. Here’s what will replace “Cars”….Wiley’s Saint George and the Dragon “A thrilling, large-scale piece from his equestrian series, the painting will enliven the space with its dynamism and beauty…”

Kehinde Wiley, Saint George and the Dragon

Kehinde Wiley, Saint George and the Dragon

Oh, and since it’s trapped in my head, go listen to Gary Numan’s “Cars”:


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2 Responses to The Cars To Come Down at SAM!

  1. Marcia says:

    What a relief. That ‘cars’ installation represented everything that’s wrong with ‘art’ in America and the world today. No doubt they took it down because of the overall negative feedback they got…

  2. The cars were certainly iconic, but I’ll be glad for a change.