Central Library Art
Acclaimed artists Ann Hamilton and Tony Oursler were selected in a national search for site-integrated art at the new library. Former artists-in-residence George Legrady, Mandy Greer and Lynne Yamamoto also have art on display.
Art from the second Central Library includes George Tsutakawa’s first fountain and the “Northwest Screen” by artists James H. FitzGerald and Margaret Tomkins.
Conceptual artist Ann Hamilton from Ohio
Hamilton designed and fabricated 7,200 square feet of hardwood floor in the Evelyn W. Foster Learning Center. The project suggests the tactile experience of book production and reading in the digital age. The floor includes words created in raised letters in the 11 languages that are included in the library's collection: The languages are Arabic, Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese. These words spell out, backward, the first sentences from books written in those languages.
Hamilton’s work has been exhibited around the world. She is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship and she represented the United States in the Venice Biennale.
Video artist Tony Oursler from New York
Oursler's artwork is a series of three video sculptures called "Braincast." The installation is a contemplation on the transmission of information. It reflects the tradition of the public library and its expanding role as the transmitter of myriad information forms: spoken, printed, recorded and digital. The installation is located in the walls of the escalator between Levels 3 and 5.
Oursler is an American multimedia and installation artist. His solo exhibits have toured throughout the United States and Europe. He collaborated with David Bowie on several short films.
Digital artist George Legrady from Santa Barbara, Califonia
Legrady created "Making Visible the Invisible: What the Community is Reading." It's an electronic installation that visually maps the circulation of The Seattle Public Library. It uses checkout data to display what the community is reading. The work is presented on six screens above the Level 5 reference desk.
Legrady has been creating interactive digital media installations and projects since the early 1990s. He is best known for his projects, “Pockets Full of Memories” (2001), “Slippery Traces” (1996) and the award-winning “Anecdoted Archive from the Cold War” (1993).
Textile artist Mandy Greer from Seattle
Greer completed three works for the Faye G. Allen Children's Center based on three folk tale themes: "The Phoenix Fairy," "Babe the Ox" and "The Magic Grove." The artwork is made from fabric, papier-mâché and steel. As part of the process, the artist conducted art workshops with Seattle children.
Greer is a multi-disciplinary artist who creates heightened narrative space through fiber-based installation, photography, performance, film and community-based action.
Mixed-media artist Lynne Yamamoto from Massachusetts
Yamamoto created "Of Memory," a sculpture of antiquated card catalogs made of cast polyester fiberglass. The artwork is located near the Hugh and Jane Ferguson Seattle Room on level 10.
Yamamoto has exhibited her art throughout the United States and had residencies throughout the world. Her projects have included: "Resplendent," the dangerous manipulation of the cherry blossom as a wartime symbol in Japan; "Smooth Cayenne," the twinned histories of the pineapple as exotic status symbol and plantation commodity fruit; and "Genteel," class and immigration in early 20th-century Hawai'i.
Painter and sculptor George Tsutakawa from Seattle
The Tsutakawa fountain welcomes visitors at the Central Library's Fourth Avenue entrance. Known as "The Fountain of Wisdom," the abstract bronze sculpture is the first fountain by local artist George Tsutakawa. He went on to win international recognition for his graceful sculpture fountains. Tsutakawa died in December 1997 at age 87.
James H. FitzGerald and Margaret Tomkins
Sculptor James H. FitzGerald and painter Margaret Tomkins from the Pacific Northwest
Created by the husband and wife team of artists James H. FitzGerald and Margaret Tomkins, "Northwest Screen" was commissioned for the 1960 opening of the Central Library. The screen was placed in storage during the construction of the third Central Library. In 2010, it was reinstalled in the SirsiDynix Gallery on Level 1. The piece is more than 8 feet tall and 27 feet long and is made of bronze, enamel on brass and colored glass.