Set in the busy Lincoln and Bellevue Square center, the Bellevue Art Museum offers visitors a refreshing bit of culture. It was perfect for the drizzly Tuesday afternoon I had to spare.
Tuesday - Sunday 11 am - 6 pm
Free First Friday 11 am - 8 pm
Senior, Students, Military $8
Free for members and children under 6
I'm the first to tell people that I don't know much about art. I do not have a history in art, nor do I find myself drawn to artistic endeavors. That being said, there is a certain sweet clarity found in art museums. With their crisp white walls and quietly serene spaces, I often find myself enjoying spending time wandering their halls.
Upon entering, the Bellevue Art Museum is exactly what you expect from a contemporary art museum. A spacious foyer of featured objects and dramatic staircase leading up to the galleries, a shop filled with pricey souvenirs, and hushed tones abounding. I immediately ascended the stairs to the first set of exhibits.
"Crafting a Continuum: Rethinking Contemporary Craft" occupies the majority of the second floor gallery space. A copy of the catalog is available in the gallery for perusal, as well as printed gallery guides and a recommended reading list. I was surprised at how thorough the museum was about auxiliary information! The exhibit looked at the redefinition of craft and its place in the art world. Familiar objects are presented in a new way, like boots made of earthenware or a basket made of stapled pieces of paper. The varying layers of object pedestals and spotlighting made for an engaging viewing experience.
A small side gallery featured an exhibit entitled "At Your Service" and was centered around the artistic potential in something so ordinary as a plate. I really enjoyed this gallery, as it encouraged visitors to think of the material world as potential for other things. One piece in particular, layered and cut porcelain, gave depth and character to traditional china plates. I loved it!
At the top of the stairs to the third floor I found myself confronted with a heavy set of closed doors. For a moment I wondered if I'd gone up the wrong set of stairs, but I saw a few people through the glass and entered. It was an odd choice to close off a whole floor of galleries in such a way.
Once inside, I walked through the "Fragile Fortress: The Art of Dan Webb" exhibit, but it didn't inspire me much. The black walls and pedestals contrasted nicely with the light wood of the sculpture and the lighting was well done. I simply found it to be a bit 'blah' for want of a better term.
The other exhibit on the third floor was far from 'blah'. "Kathy Venter: Life" is an exhibition of ceramic sculpture centered around the human form. To be honest, I wasn't expecting to like this exhibit at first. At times I find sculpture to be a bit creepy in its depictions of people. That was not the case here. The exhibition focuses on a collection of sculpture series and features a video of the artist at work. The Immersion series was my favorite. The artist studied the movement of models underwater to create dynamic, seemingly in motion, pieces. Suspended from the ceiling by wires, the visitor walks around and beneath these life-size ceramic people and can appreciate the variety of forms our bodies can take. The dramatic lighting in this space only added to the experience. Fantastic!
I'm especially glad I opened those heavy doors to the third floor, because it ended my visit on an up note. The Bellevue Art Museum was a little what I expected and lot that I didn't!