Our music critics have already chosen the 27 best concerts this week, but now it's our arts critics' turn to pick the best events in their areas of expertise. Here are their picks for every genre—from TWIST: Seattle Queer Film Festival to the Taste of Iceland, and from the final week of I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings to the 2017 Washington State Book Awards. See them all below, and find even more events on our complete Things To Do calendar.
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Indigenous Peoples Day Celebration
In 2014, the Seattle City Council unanimously voted to stop celebrating the voyage of Christopher Columbus and turn the second Monday in October into a day of recognition of Native American cultures and peoples. As Ana Sofia Knauf wrote in 2016, with this move, Seattle "stepped onto the correct side of American history." This year, after a morning march and a lunch with guest speakers, the United Indians of All Tribes will once again serve a dinner accompanied by cultural performances, round dancing, and singing in honor of the holiday.
The Chinese Exclusion Act with Erika Lee
Learn about the past and present rights of Chinese immigrants from an exclusive excerpt of Ric Burns and Li-Shin Yu's documentary, The Chinese Exclusion Act, before it airs on PBS. Stick around after the screening to hear from historian and author Erika Lee, who appears in the documentary.
Art Garfunkel: What Is It All But Luminous
American songbook legend and general beloved weirdo Art Garfunkel will bring his decades of folk-pop experience, myriad of chart-topping hits, and literal thousands of miles walked and the memories therein to Seattle. Garfunkel will share his highly anticipated memoir What Is It All But Luminous: Notes From an Underground Man.
Garry Wills: Reconsidering the Qur’an
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, author, and historian Garry Wills writes regularly about politics and religion, but much of his theological work has focused primarily on Christianity. In this talk, he'll speak about the Qur'an (including outlining misconceptions about the text and clarifying its actual content). The press release presents the talk this way: "Through the eyes of a sympathetic outsider, Wills will help us frame a night of interfaith dialogue and empathetic curiosity."
Steph(en) Burt is a Harvard professor of English, one of the greatest living literary critics, and a very good transgender poet. Burt is touring with a new book called The Poem Is You, which offers 60 good readings of poems. If you have ever thought to yourself, "I don't get poetry!" then this lecture is for you. Also, you can just e-mail me. I'm right here. RICH SMITH
Tacoma Film Festival
Tacoma's offering to the Northwest international film scene includes more than 100 movies, meets-and-greets with filmmakers, a VR studio, workshops, and parties.
Seattle Latino Film Festival
This year's Seattle festival of hispanic and Latinx cinema will highlight the Dominican Republic and feature nine days of independent films, filmmaker panels, workshops, parties, and more.
Twelfth Tasveer South Asian Film Festival
Tasveer, the largest South Asian film festival in the United States, has one main goal: Engage the community. Based in Redmond, the 12th annual festival (which also hosts year-round programming at venues like the Bellevue Art Museum) opens on October 6 and will highlight films from Nepal. Their community engagement seems to be working—submissions are up 42 percent from last year, and most of their growth has come from new artists. Their screenings are accompanied by discussions with filmmakers or representatives from relevant local organizations. No matter the focus, they want to give audiences the chance to talk and think things through. Tasveer is the opposite of a mindless rut—every screening, talk, and exhibit is full of intention and intellectual curiosity. In addition to the 18 features and 38 shorts, appearances from several dozen filmmakers (including super-famous Aparna Sen), and galas (of course), they’re offering a day-long symposium titled “Boundaries and Belongings,” presented in partnership with the South Asia Center at the University of Washington. JULIA RABAN
Tatiana Garmendia Closing Week
This new exhibit by interdisciplinary artist Tatiana Garmendia explores issues related to homelessness. In 2013, Jen Graves wrote: "Tatiana Garmendia has made some of the most gorgeous things. The main subjects of the exhibition are her erotic drawings that are burned into paper, not drawn on, using a tool that's like a pen, but on fire. She paints between the burn lines in pastel watercolor, in a process she describes as cooling the heat of the burns. You can almost hear sizzling."
Samhita Mukhopadhyay and Kate Harding with Ijeoma Oluo
Nasty Women: Feminism, Resistance, and Revolution in Trump's America addresses racial disparities in America's female electorate and other perspectives on women's political movements and roles since Trump's election. Samhita Mukhopadhyay and Kate Harding, the editors of this collection, will be joined by Seattle's own Ijeoma Oluo for a discussion.
Pride And Prejudice
This high-energy new take on Pride and Prejudice, adapted by Kate Hamill and directed by Amanda Dehnert, blew me away. It takes a lot of risks, but it succeeds mightily, inventing a hundred new things to laugh at in the course of retelling Jane Austen’s comedy of manners. It includes slapstick humor (spit takes, pratfalls, men in drag, freestyle dancing), pop music (RuPaul’s “Supermodel,” Stevie Wonder’s “Sir Duke”), and perfectly calibrated acting that somehow never goes too far off the rails. The end is unexpectedly poignant. CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE
Far Out Films
The six films in this SIFF series were chosen specifically for a stoney audience, and are meant to pair well with Headlight's high-potency cannabis. This week, watch the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
The Films of Jean-Pierre Melville: Les Infants Terribles
If you do not understand French cool, if it is a mystery to you, if you have any doubts about it, then you must see the the action and crime films of Jean-Pierre Melville. Enough said. CHARLES MUDEDE
Raj Patel: A Guide to Capitalism, Nature, and the Future of the Planet
Raj Patel is the author of The Value of Nothing: How to Reshape Market Society and Redefine Democracy; former Stranger visual art editor Jen Graves wrote that in that work, he used "MLK's forgotten economic radicalism to frame what he had to say" and called out "the totalizing nature of American capitalism—the way it externalizes costs it doesn't want to deal with—as the weirdly accepted violation of human rights it is." Patel's latest book, A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things: A Guide to Capitalism, Nature, and the Future of the Planet, is about economics, the environment, and human rights—expect Patel to deftly bring the interconnected themes together in a political and systemic analysis.
Sofie Knijff: Tales
Based in Amsterdam, Dutch-Belgian photographer Sofie Knijff mixes documentary techniques with staged settings and costumes to create dreamlike images in which the real and fictional become difficult to distinguish. Drawing on her background as a theatrical peformer, Knijff crafts dramatized simulacra that reveal unseen truths behind what is seen—realities that can be felt or intuited are illustrated as though they are real. This fascination with identity, performance, and theatricality suggests questions as to the ultimate nature of self. Who are we, and how did we become that way? What aspects of identity are a mask, and what is the truth behind them? EMILY POTHAST
Leiko Ikemura and Alwyn O'Brien
In 2012, former visual art editor Jen Graves wrote, "Alwyn O’Brien’s ceramics are the smartest to come out of the UW’s great program in the last few years, and the sexiest, too. They’re like patches of weeds embedded with video feeds. In that tangle of porcelain you might find a mysterious photograph of a blindfolded crowd in a meadow, say. All you know for sure is that you will follow these curving transports." See pieces by O'Brien alongside a variety of haunting, shadowy, and symbolic works (including paintings and ceramics) by Leiko Ikemura.
Robert C. Jones (New Paintings) and Cable Griffith (This, That, and Everything)
Robert C. Jones is a Seattle touchstone, having taught art at the UW for the awe-inspiring span of 38 years. His colorful gestural abstractions are embedded with Matissean black lines, and are a pleasure to look at. See Jones' paintings and drawings alongside soft and skillful paintings by Cable Griffith, the Seattle artist and professor at Cornish College of the Arts.
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
To say Malika Oyetimein is “having a good year” is an understatement. Though she just graduated from the University of Washington school of drama this year, her direction of Robert O’Hara’s Barbecue showcased her comic chops and her ability to handle big ensembles, while her direction of Katori Hall’s Hoodoo Love proved she’s not afraid to get in your face with intense material. And now she’s co-adatping one of the most harrowing and yet triumphant memoirs written in the English language? Not to be missed. Neither is Dedra D. Woods, who plays the indomitable Mother Dear. Also—Book-It is kinda good this year? I’m still thinking about their incredible production of T. Geronimo Johnson’s Welcome to Braggsville. RICH SMITH
Capitol Hill Art Walk
Every second Thursday, rain or shine, the streets of Capitol Hill are filled with tipsy art lovers checking out galleries and special events. If you like Pioneer Square's First Thursday Art Walk, you'll probably love the Capitol Hill version, which is generally extra weird and extra queer. Not only galleries, but also theaters, art movie houses, shops, and salons take part in the festivities.
Here Comes the Night: 40th Film Noir Series
As Charles Mudede says, “If you love cinema, then you must love film noir”—a category he describes as full of “spiderlike women, lots of long knives, lots of rooms with dark curtains, lots of faces of the fallen, and lots of existential twists and turns.” This week, watch the melodrama The File on Thelma Jordon.
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks: Movie Screening & Expert Panel Discussion
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks explores medicine, genetics, ethics, and race. Join The Institute for Public Health Genetics at the UW School of Public Health for a screening of the film followed by a panel of UW experts "using an interdisciplinary approach to improve population health."
Eat Your Heart Out
Join Tom Douglas, Renee Erickson, Edouardo Jordan, Jason Stratton, Josh Henderson, Kari Brunson, and many others in supporting those affected by the recent natural disasters around the world. Enjoy bites from several chefs, including Etta's Andrew Rivera. All proceeds benefit Direct Relief.
A benefit for the great Capitol Hill Housing, Omnivorous will be full of food and drink from dozens of places that are also great, including Marjorie, Cafe Presse, Grim's, Le Pichet, L'Oursin, Lost Lake, Caffe Vita, Rumba, Optimism Brewing Co., That Brown Girl Cooks!, Monsoon, and more. Proceeds from the event will go to help CHH provide safe, affordable housing for people of limited means.
Thriftease: A Fashion Show & Strip Auction
A wise twink once described Mona Real as "what would happen if Divine walked into Fremont Vintage and came out with the whole store." There are few queens who serve thrift-shop fantasy like Mona Real, and Thriftease is Seattle's chance to finger around her closet (and take home the goods). Queer go-go queens and dive-bar divas will model vintage finds, curated by Real, and the audience will bid on the items—everything beginning at an affordable $1. Winning bids help the models strip down to their panties, so prepare for butts. CHASE BURNS
Dan Savage with Esther Perel
Belgian psychotherapist Esther Perel is known for the 2007 book Mating in Captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence, her podcast Where Should We Begin? and her popular TED talks. At this event, she'll join our own snarky, hilarious, and helpful relationship expert Dan Savage to discuss her new book The State of Affairs: Rethinking Infidelity. Expect a frank and entertaining discussion about cheating, "successful" relationships, and love.
Muhammad Yunus won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work in economics and social entrepreneurship—he's the founder of the Grameen Bank, and began the microcredit movement way back in the 1970s. At this event he'll speak out against capitalism in its current form, citing "rampant inequality, massive unemployment, and environmental destruction."
Richard Chiem's Seattle Book Launch
Richard Chiem will read from his new poetry volume from Sorry House Press, You Private Person. He'll be joined by Rae Armantrout and Rebecca Brown. Come for free food and drink as well as broadsides.
This monodrama is inspired by Shakespeare's The Tempest, starring Seattle's Demene E. Hall and directed by Mark Lutwak. They write, "Betrayed by a mother, a lover, her son’s lover, society, and the vicious lies that Prospero has foisted on the world, Sycorax makes an excellent case to the gods for revenge."
Why We Have a Body
A lot of theater companies appear to have selected their plays this season in anticipation of a Hillary Clinton victory. This thoughtful, hilarious, wonderfully unhinged Claire Chafee comedy from the 1990s about four women fighting the patriarchy from all angles seems to follow that trend. The bad news is that critiques of society’s unrealistic expectations for women never go out of style, but the good news is that Strawberry Theatre Workshop secured veteran director Rhonda J Soikowski for the show, as well as new-to-the-shop but well-seasoned actors Mahria Zook, Alyssa Keene, Katya Landau, all of whom fucking rule. RICH SMITH
Taste of Iceland
Three things you might not know about Iceland: Reykjavik is one of Seattle’s sister cities, Seattle has the largest Icelandic community in the US, and, according to a 1998 survey, a majority of Icelanders believe in elves. Learn even more about this magical country at this 10th annual festival put on by Iceland Naturally, which includes an Icelandic menu at the Carlile Room, discussions about art and design at the Bellevue Arts Museum and Nordic Heritage Museum, an Icelandic music laser show, an Iceland Day at KEXP (including a Reykjavik Calling concert), and an Icelandic short film festival at SIFF. If that’s not enough for you, perhaps this will be: You might even win a trip to Iceland.
TWIST: Seattle Queer Film Festival
Local shorts, indie features, and national or international releases will stoke and satisfy your appetite for gay, lesbian, bi, trans, and otherwise queer-focused films, from hot romances to incisive documentaries to perverse suspense flicks. If you love queer movies and moviemakers, this festival is indispensable: Not only will you watch the pivotal LGBTQ+ films of the year, but you'll also get the chance to rendezvous with filmmakers and take cinema workshops.
BenDeLaCreme: Beware the Terror of Gaylord Manor
Someone got wise and gave BenDeLaCreme a Halloween show. The fact that that someone is ACT Theatre, a company not exactly known for big drag blowouts, is suspicious, but for BenDeLaCreme I'm willing to suspend my disbelief. This horrific tale begins—where else—at Gaylord Manor, where a team of "paranormal researchers" have found themselves on this fateful night. Soon they're beset by "vampire vixens, well-built werewolves, mischievous mummies and witches that WERK," and it only gets more fabulously frightening from there. RICH SMITH
Laugh if you must, but Disney's Aladdin is great. Any musical that has lyrics written by Howard Ashman is a masterpiece in my eyes. Granted, Ashman died (heartbreakingly, of complications related to AIDS, at the age of 40) before Disney produced Aladdin, so only a few of the songs in the final cut of the movie were his—specifically the linguistically dazzling tongue twisters “Prince Ali” and “Friend Like Me.” But as with The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast, the stage version includes songs you may not know, and some of them have lyrics by Ashman, including “Proud of Your Boy.” CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE
Jody Kuehner/Cherdonna Shinatra: Kissing Like Babies: Part III of one great, bright, brittle alltogetherness
You never know what you’re going to get with Cherdonna, the female impersonator impersonator (or is it female female impersonator?) who combines dance, performance art, drag, music, and political commentary into uncategorizable spectacles. The political commentary is almost never explicit, so here’s a handy tip: This one "explores the infantilization of the feminine.” It’s also said to be faster paced than some of her recent work, and it will include a chorus of adult toddlers and a seven piece brass marching band. I can’t wait. CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE
The World of Extreme Happiness
This production follows the life of a young girl abandoned in rural China as a baby and forced to scrabble her way out of poverty as a teenager.
Doug Newman: "And These Are The Days of Our Lives"
As part of the October edition of Art Up PhinneyWood, see a 30-minute slide show of 600 of Doug Newman's old and recent photos, set to music.
"A Journey of Spices" with Chef Tarik Abdullah
Chef Tarik Abdullah of Black & Tan Hall will be serving up all the spice you can handle at this five-course dinner. Each course will highlight a specific spice, from Kharcho-inspired carrots, sultanas, feta, and herbs, to Kala Masala-inspired tiger prawn, scallop, prawn bisque, and piri piri. If you're feeling festive, add the chef's cocktail pairings to your dinner for an extra $40.
La Colonial Pop-Up
Enjoy Spanish- and Filipino-inspired food at the first event in a series of pop-ups.
Science of Spirits
Science: It gets you drunk! Sample booze from local distilleries and learn why alcohol does the wonderful things that it does. Plus, enjoy the Science Center's attractions after hours.
Twilight Noodle Slurp
In 2015, Stranger food writer Angela Garbes wrote, "On a cold, rainy afternoon a few weeks ago, I was at Phnom Penh Noodle House in the International District, slurping my way through one of my favorite soups in town—the special rice noodle bowl filled with seafood, pork, and crunchy bits of roasted garlic. As I ate, a gentleman from the Wing Luke Museum came in to make the final arrangements for one of the museum’s upcoming Twilight Noodle Slurps, where the museum guides people on a three-hour walking tour of the ID during which they sample some of the many noodles offered at the neighborhood’s mix of Asian restaurants and learn about the dishes. “Be sure to tell them your story,” the man told the restaurant owner. I wanted to sign up for the tour immediately." The tours are back for this fall—don't miss out.
Gabrielle Langholtz with Renee Erickson and Naomi Pomeroy
Join food author and editor Gabrielle Langholtz in presentation of her book America: The Cookbook, which explores America's "myriad traditions and regional favorite dishes." Langholtz will be joined by Seattle-based chef and author Renee Erickson and Portland's Naomi Pomeroy.
Michael Eric Dyson
Michael Eric Dyson, sociology professor at Georgetown, will speak about his book on a pressing subject: how "whites who care about real social progress must face difficult truths, including being honest about how black grievance has been ignored, dismissed, or discounted." Learn about what he has to say in his thought-provoking recent book, Tears We Cannot Stop.
Robert Wrigley is the author of ten collections of poetry, including Anatomy of Melancholy & Other Poems , which won a 2014 Pacific Northwest Book Award. Hear him read from his latest collection, Box.
Word Works: Mary Ruefle
All books by Mary Ruefle read with the intimacy and immediacy of a handwritten letter from a friend you’ve had since before you were born. And whether she’s publishing a collection of poems (I recommend her Selected Poems from Wave Books), or a collection of essays on poetics (such as the instantly canonical Madness, Rack, and Honey), or an interview in some stupid magazine, you must read it, if you can, because the earth revolves around the sun and love is real. That said, her latest publication is a 10-page stapled essay from Sarabande Books called On Imagination, and honestly it reads like a B-side from Madness with goofy illustrations. Packaging aside, this pamphlet presents one of poetry’s most imaginative minds writing on the topic of imagination—the root of everything bad and everything good about people—and it’s funny, surprisingly painful, and fucking beautiful. RICH SMITH
If you like your Oktoberfest with fountains of kitsch, it's worth the trip to Leavenworth's rigorously quaint faux-Bavarian village. This Oktoberfest, complete with a mayoral keg-tapping, oompah bands headed by Musikkappelle Leavenworth, and piles and piles of food, is always a destination for out-of-towners. It doesn't hurt that you'll be surrounded by mountains so glorious that, after a few beers, you can pretend you're King Ludwig himself.
Olympic Peninsula Apple & Cider Festival
It's a fact that cider is one of those things essentially Northwest—it defines our region, and it's always seemed to especially define the fall. Take advantage of apple season this year with the first annual Olympic Peninsula Apple & Cider Festival, an ambitious three-day celebration of cider and the fruit it comes from. On Friday, indulge in a five-course feast paired with Alpenfire ciders and prepared by former Canlis executive sous chef Deborah Taylor and her husband, Scott Ross, (the couple who owns the buzzy new Port Townsend restaurant Finistére). The festivities will continue with a "hard cider tasting festival" on Saturday, featuring more than 40 ciders, apple pressing, live music, and an after-party that promises a fire show. To close out the weekend, there will be open houses at participating cideries, distilleries, and tap rooms on Sunday.
Arthur Miller's The Crucible is a powerful play that's also fun: the McCarthy-era communist witch hunts are communicated through the Salem witch trials, a device that enables Miller to combine themes of ideological and political paranoia with religious zealotry, teenage girl drama, and foreboding scenes of creepy witchery. Knowing ACT, they'll also manage to tie in relevant Trump-era mind games and intimidation.
This musical is “rarely produced at the professional level due to the sheer size of it,” a source at 5th Avenue Theatre said. “It calls for a nearly 30-person cast and the orchestra is monstrous.” But after Theatre Latte Da in Minneapolis produced a stripped-down, streamlined version of Ragtime with very little in the way of a set, the 5th Avenue hired that same director, Peter Rothstein, to do a similar production for Seattle. The cast includes talented 5th Avenue all-stars like Joshua Carter, Louis Hobson, and Kendra Kassebaum. CHRISTOPHER FRIZZELLE
The Art of Puppetry with Cheryl Henson
Join Cheryl Henson (president of the Henson Foundation and daughter of Sesame Street and The Muppet Show creator Jim Henson) as she presents and discusses both her parents' body of work.
Georgetown Art Attack
Once a month, the art that resides in the tiny airport hamlet of Georgetown ATTACKS all passersby. In more literal terms, it's the day of art openings and street wonderment. This week, don't miss Noah Van Sciver, Joseph Remnant & D.W. at Fantagraphics, the opening for Sustaining New Patronage: A Brainstorming Project at Bridge Productions, and openings for Ellen Ziegler & Kim Van Someren: Adjunct Appendages and Alexander Miller & Alexander Nagy: Spacefiller / Algoplex II at Hoedemeker Pfeiffer Gallery.
Unity in Community Fall Concert
Thanks to excellent local organization API Chaya, the coming of autumn will glow with a night of music, dance, and community support. Poet and political figure Nikita Oliver will headline, with an opening song and blessing from Patricia Allen, dance by the Au Collective, queer Filipinx rapper Kimmortal, RISE from API Chaya's Creative Arts Healing Group, and poetry and theater by Shruti Purkayastha.
The Barber of Seville
Gioachino Rossini's classically humorous and high-energy opera The Barber of Seville, known as the prequel to Mozart's The Marriage of Figaro, will be given a slightly modernized tweak by Seattle Opera. The sets and costumes have been created squarely under the influence of the worlds of Wes Anderson and Pedro Almodóvar, and each performance will feature a special appearance by Juilliard-trained burlesque sensation Marc Kenison (as his alter ego Waxie Moon) in the role of Ambrogio. This production will of course still be in Italian with English subtitles.
2017 Washington State Book Awards
Celebrate the best books published by Washington State authors in 2016 at this annual celebration of local literature and creation. They'll award prizes to books for children and young adults, but the big four categories for adult readers are poetry, fiction, biography/memoir, and history/general nonfiction. A few of this year's finalists include Laurie Blauner for "The Solace of Monsters" (fiction), Don Mee Choi for "Hardly War" (poetry), Lindy West for Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman (biography/memoir), and Eli Sanders for While the City Slept (history/nonfiction).
Saturday University: Landscape and Gender in Southern China
Hear Hui-shu Lee, associate professor of Chinese art at the University of California, discuss water imagery in Southern Song China. She explores how water, a significant element of Chinese cosmology and one of the twin components of Chinese landscape painting known as "shanshui," is the embodiment of "yin femininity."
SUNDAYFOOD & DRINK
Revel Cookbook Cooking Class
Join Revel's Rachel and Jess Thomson for a cooking class featuring recipes from My Rice Bowl, a cookbook with 75 recipes based on the chefs' Korean fusion cuisine. Tickets include a signed copy of the book and a complimentary cocktail and meal.
Seattle Restaurant Week
I think Seattle Restaurant Week benefits all parties involved. For one, it provides access to a host of the city's best restaurants at a price comparable to what you'd pay to Postmates for some mediocre pad thai. You can go out to all the places you've been meaning to go, try a wide swath of their menu, and leave with your financial well-being intact. It's only $33 for three courses, and only $18 at lunch! At places like Lark, Tilth, and Terra Plata! For two, restaurants win because it brings in all those people who have been meaning to go but have never gone, and potentially converts them to return customers. Regulars are, as any restauranteur will tell you, the real meat and bread of the business. Lastly, the actual restaurant staff wins because, if you're not a bad person, you listen to the sage advice my predecessor Bethany Jean Clement used to give every year, "Tip well, these things are hell for servers." TOBIAS COUGHLIN-BOGUE
Celebrate a belated Leif Erikson Day with a Viking Dinner to "pay homage to Viking heritage with Vikings from the Viking Encampment," who will tell stories about Norwegian history and the Vikings.
Mohsen Namjoo: Rhythm in Persian Poetry
Iranian artist, songwriter, singer, and performer Mohsen Namjoo will examine the rhythms used to compose and recite traditional Persian poetry, as well as the structure of rhythms and beats inside the poetry itself, using examples from his own work.
Sunday After SAL: Discussion on Stephen (Steph) Burt
After Steph Burt's Seattle appearance on Monday, Open Books will present this opportunity to further discuss the work of the person Rich Smith calls the "Harvard professor of English, one of the greatest living literary critics, and a very good transgender poet."
Suyama Space Book Release Party
Purchase books from Suyama Space and celebrate its years in Seattle (from 1998 to 2017) as an exhibition space that "provided opportunities for experimentation, inspiration, and education in contemporary art."