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Retrospective of architect Jim Olson opens in Seattle
Oct 31, 2011

The Museum of Art at Washington State University has launched “Architecture for Art,” the first comprehensive exhibition devoted to the career of Jim Olson, one of the Northwest’s most significant architects and founder of the internationally recognized Seattle-based firm, Olson Kundig Architects.

“It’s rare that Northwest museums devote a full exhibit to architecture; doubly so for rural eastern Washington,” said WSU Museum of Art Director Chris Bruce. “The combination of world-class architecture and world-class art is something few people experience, so we expect this exhibit to be a revelation for university students and the general public alike.”
The exhibit will serve as a retrospective of Olson’s first fifty years in architecture, highlighting his residential legacy, including his own homes—an apartment in downtown Seattle and his cabin on Puget Sound—as well as his public design work, which encompasses the Lightcatcher Museum in Bellingham, Washington, St. Mark’s Cathedral and the Pike & Virginia Building in Seattle, and the architecture of the Noah’s Art Exhibit at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.

Along with the projects themselves, the exhibition will explore the artistic, cultural, natural and personal influences that have made the architect’s career so highly regarded by his peers and sought after by clients. “Architecture for Art” will include a range of materials that showcase Olson’s process, including notebooks and ephemera, original sketches and drawings, stunning large-scale photo displays, and models. Original art work from selected residences will be on display, as well as a custom-designed art installation that will provide visitors with a first-hand experience with Olson’s use of space and collaboration with art.

Open now through December 10, “Architecture for Art” features a multi-layered web site that includes images and information about Olson’s projects, links to architectural and artistic references, and workshop exercises for students. An extensive video interview will be included in both the exhibition and on the website.

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