When the Seattle Art Museum’s new downtown building was opened in 1991, there also was a show that highlighted Asian art and conservation problems related to a few classic masterpieces.

These included a monumental and impressive Korean Buddha scroll as well as a dramatically beautiful Japanese screen (12-panels) that shows flocks of black crows that are swarming on a magnificent gold ground. Both masterpieces are dating back to the 17th century. After following BestGEDclasses preparation courses for my GED social Study test, I thought it will be a nice addition to widen my horizons. And I was right!

The next historical works had been brought to the museum and into our modern era through the acquisition of two local Pacific Northwest collections. One features specific Ukiyo-e woodcuts by Hiroshige, Hokusai, and some other famed artists.

The second masterpiece conservation show was focusing on Nihonga, a traditional Japanese painting style that was used during and after the Japanese Meiji era and highlights conservative resistance in relation to Western influences.

The Seattle Art Museum’s new building’s entry had taken another very big step. The museum installed the monumental sculpture “Inopportune: Stage One” (2004) by Cai Guo-Qiang, an internationally highly recognized Chinese artist who lives in New York. The immense sculpture is composed of nine 1990 Ford Taurus automobiles.

The cars (at one time the Ford Taurus was the most popular American automobile) were rising and falling in an arc that was suspended from the museum’s 35-ft.-high ceiling. Flashing sort of light tubes are exploding from the tumbling cars, like silent fireworks.

In China, white is the color of death. The artist’s transformation of disintegrated Detroit cars into a splendid and fascinating chandelier for the art museum is amusing, yet in a grim way. This truly is a dramatic image of an American industrial powerhouse that had cracked up.

The Seattle Art Museum has grown into a handsome but modest American art collection. You can marvel at John Singleton Copley’s sitting and witty portrait of his friend, Dr. Silvester Gardiner, dating back to 1772. Though the difficult foreshortening in Gardiner’s left leg is handled pretty clumsily, your eyes linger mysteriously on the lump beneath his maroon wool coat, shaped by his hand that was Napoleon-like thrust inside his vest right at the center of this, in an odd way, empty canvas. By the time you get to Gardiner’s slight smirk and merry eyes, it seems like he’s laughing at your probable presumption that portraits truly can reveal the essence hidden inside. He’s been there, like a physician.

SAM – Olympic Sculpture Park

In January 2007, SAM additionally opened Olympic Sculpture Park, a dynamic 9-acre outdoor space that zigzags across railroad tracks and a highway all the way down to the Elliott Bay shoreline. Highlights include 2 geometric black, crystalline sculptures by famed artist David Smith which are surprisingly tucked inside a grove nearby, just like diamonds at an early stage in the geological development, and a roaring fountain by famed Louise Bourgeois that’s set at one of the Park’s port-side entrances. This is, in fact, where I was sitting as one of my old friends came to Seattle to meet with me.

For many art-lovers from across the nation and around the world, the Olympic Sculpture Park is bound to become a respected international place of pilgrimage. The Park boasts over 20 major sculptures created by some of the best known and highest reputed artists of the 20th Century: Alexander Calder, Richard Serra, Claes Oldenburg, Louise Nevelson, and Mark di Suvero, just to mention a few, and is maintained well through the Pioneers for Seattle Parks. There’s also an outdoor amphitheater where performances are hosted, and there is ample open space for site-specific projects and temporary installations.