Collecting Drama


ARTISTS: Kenneth Callahan, Marc Chagall, Nina Mikhailenko, Anthony Quinn, Robert Rauschenberg, Cindy Sherman
RUN OF SHOW: February 14 – May 31, 2006
VENUE: Hedreen Gallery, Lee Center for the Arts

As the debut show in a visual arts space adjacent to a theatre, Collecting Drama selfconsciously celebrates a theme shared across the arts. Whether acted out in a play, written in a novel, or painted on a canvas, drama is a central element in art. As Shakespeare wrote, "all the world's a stage….” Collecting Drama is thus our play, the paintings our actors. We present a narrative about the drama in visual art while also telling a story about art in Seattle.

The artworks that compose Collecting Drama are pulled together from the collections of several of The Lee Center for the Arts benefactors. For us, this adds a special meaning to the exhibit. It allows us to vividly convey the huge role Seattle’s art patrons play in helping the arts to thrive in our city. Collecting Drama spotlights this point, expanding the concept of a donor wall into a visual tribute. The Lee Center for the Arts would not have been possible without the energy and generosity of so many.

There is also a more broad narrative in the show. In presenting Robert Rauschenberg’s dream-like “Somnambulist,” Cindy Sherman’s confrontational masquerade, and Kenneth Callahan’s swirling composition, the exhibition takes up the entire range of theatrics as its subject, from the fantastic to the pretend. The soft curves of Anthony Quinn’s mask and the painted scene at the Paris Opera House, speak to the more literal construct of the stage; Quinn is a famous actor turned sculptor, and Mikhailenko turns the lobby of an opera house into her subject. Marc Chagall’s lithograph, from his “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” series, punctuates the point, highlighting just how much the visual arts and the performing arts are tied to one another.

Most importantly, with new walls as their stage, a massive glass curtain, and an audience built from theatre-goers, the University population, and the community at large, the work in Collecting Drama makes it pointedly clear that The Lee Center for the Arts is not just a space to watch actors on the stage. A new gallery for the drama of the visual arts opens in Seattle. Enjoy!