Permanent commissions are underway, building toward significant permanent artworks on the waterfront. Ann Hamilton has been commissioned for a major new work on the rebuilt Public Piers. Seattle artist Buster Simpson's project is focused on habitat and reconstructed nature, and Richmond, VA, artist Stephen Vitiello is developing a sound-based artwork. Seattle artist Norie Sato will create an integrated artwork for the new Union Street pedestrian connection to the Waterfront. And, Los Angeles-based artist Oscar Tuazon will develop sculptural works for the waterfront.
Internationally recognized artist Ann Hamilton has been selected for a commission on the new public piers as part of Waterfront Seattle. Hamilton, known for large-scale, sensory installations, is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship and has also represented the United States at the Venice Biennale. She will join a team of architects, planners and city designers to create the project over the next several years. Hamilton is known for recent installations such as the event of a thread at the Park Avenue Armory in New York, and tower • Oliver Ranch, in Geyserville, California. Seattle audiences will recognize her LEW Wood Floor at the Seattle Central Library, with raised letters spelling out the first sentences from books in the library's collection in 11 languages. In addition, the Henry Art Gallery will host an eponymous exhibition of Hamilton's work in October, 2014.
The artist responded to her selection by saying, "Seattle is making the quality of its public spaces a central project in the imagination of the city. And I'm really thrilled to be able to participate and be part of that."
Norie Sato was chosen to collaborate with the project design team to create an original artwork or series of artworks on the rebuilt east-west Union and/or Seneca streets between First Avenue and Alaskan Way. The East/West Connections project on Union Street connect streets and facilitate pedestrian passage to new public spaces on Seattle's Central Waterfront. This project has a personal connection for the artist: in 1991, Sato created a temporary artwork on the waterfront that marked the location of her arrival to this country by ship.
Buster Simpson will collaborate with the designers for the Elliott Bay Seawall Project to develop a permanently-sited public artwork that will that contribute to habitat restoration and the development of public open space along the seawall. Working with the idea of the "Anthropocene Beach," Simpson will integrate natural and manmade materials to reveal human alteration and reconstruction of the waterfront. Simpson is an internationally recognized public artist based in Seattle, with permanent projects in the U.S. and Canada. He has exhibited and participated in design teams around the world, often addressing environmental issues in his work.
Stephen Vitiello has been commissioned for an integrated, sound-based artwork for the new Waterfront. Born in New York City, Vitiello lives and works in Richmond, Virginia, where he is Associate Professor in the department of Kinetic Imaging at Virginia Commonwealth University. He began his career as a punk guitarist and composer, and moved into sound as an artistic medium around 1990. In 1999 he was artist-in-residence in the World Trade Center, resulting in a widely presented field-recorded installation. Recent solo exhibitions include All Those Vanished Engines, MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA (2011-2016) and A Bell For Every Minute, The High Line, NYC (2010-2011). Vitiello's work was featured in the 2013 MoMA exhibition Soundings, the first major US museum survey of sound art. Working with the sound-filled setting of the Seattle Waterfront, Vitiello will use sound as a major component in a new work that will expand visitors' experience of the place.
Oscar Tuazon was born in Indianola, WA, and first learned sculpture from Suquamish carvers Larry Ahvakana and Ed Carriere. His work has been shown in solo museum exhibitions in Switzerland, France, Germany, and England, and was included in the 2011 Venice Biennale and the 2012 Whitney Biennial. He is currently based in Los Angeles and the Olympic Peninsula.
He plans to work with frequent collaborators, his brother, the glassblower and artist Elias Hansen, and architect Antoine Rocca. His work with Hansen has been shown regularly in Seattle, including exhibitions at the Seattle Art Museum and Western Bridge.
He describes his approach to public sculpture as a social art: "In public space, art is something you touch. It's yours. ... My work in public includes people: a place to sit out of the rain; a tree turned into a fountain; an unfinished structure, a spot to play basketball. A sculpture is like a pedestal for people, a stage. A sculpture is a place."