The Best Things We Saw is a monthly roundup of places, spaces, and things that stopped GRAY staffers in their tracks. Herewith, our picks for the best of the best for last month.
This American artist, who is just 29 years old and based in Harlem, has been compared to Kerry James Marshall for her life-size paintings that explore the lives of black figures. In her first solo museum show in the US, viewers get an up-close look at her colorful, mixed-media creations. Machine-sewn fabric scraps, human hair, discarded canvas, and paint are collaged onto her canvases, which depict what Self calls “avatars” (who appear to be stand-ins for herself) as round, multidimensional characters with complex desires. Many have expressive hands, embellished with wide, long, brightly colored nails.
Tiffany Jow, editorial director
The Bainbridge Island-based boutique design studio recently released its Lust For Life wallpaper collection, complete with cheeky prints like the popcorn-covered Pop It Like It’s Hot and the geometric Bringing Hexy Back. But the one that caught my eye is Shattered, a pattern that lends a fragmented, almost crushed stone-like look. Scoop it up in the Atomic 29 colorway for an extra hint of coppery shine.
Lauren Mang, digital/special publications editor
Opened on the top level of Seattle’s historic King Street Station, this creative space is a dynamic hub aimed at creating community and giving artists, especially those of color, a place to present their work. A project by the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture, the space opened its first exhibition at the end of March. Titled “Yəhaw” (meaning “to proceed, to go forward”), the show features work from around 200 contemporary Indigenous artists and includes a diverse array of mediums including sculpture, film, painting, spoken word, textiles, woodworking, and more. Running through August 3 (admission is free), the exhibition includes a series of satellite events and shows throughout its run.
Rachel Gallaher, senior editor
Photo featured on homepage: Bet, 2016 Acrylic, Flashe, chalk, fabric and human hair on canvas 90 x 60 in. Dean-Kluger Collection, Miami