April 6

Imagined Futures

Art Meets Science in South Lake Union

Paul G. Allen’s Pivot Art + Culture, the 3,000-square-foot gallery concept space at the base of the Allen Institute, is hosting its second public exhibition starting April 7. Imagined Futures: Science Fiction, Art, and Artifacts from the Paul G. Allen Family Collection is inspired by Allen’s own experiences as a youth during a time of space exploration and a childhood visit to the 1962 World’s Fair helped solidify Allen’s love for science and art.

“Paul Allen is passionate about art, and he believes that art should be accessible to the public. The goal of  Imagined Futures aligns with the goals of Vulcan’s other institutions: to present unique artifacts and exhibitions to further the public’s access to and understanding of arts and culture. This exhibition is a unique opportunity to exhibit art and artifacts across a wide range of genres, all emphasizing the exploration of new space frontiers,” says Ben Heywood, curator of the Imagined Futures exhibit.

Highlights include mid-20th-century paintings by artists Chesley Bonestell and Fred Freeman depicting the hopefulness of space travel alongside photostats and models of original designs by rocket scientist Wernher Von Braun. An installation by contemporary artists David Bowen and Kristina Estell called voyager one uses custom software to track the location of the Voyager 1 space probe, and showcases the enormity of space travel on a human level. Patrons can see an XLR-99 rocket motor from the experimental 1950s X-15 hypersonic airplane and an IBM 360/91 server panel, on loan from Allen’s Flying Heritage Collection and Living Computer Museum, respectively.

The exhibition also features work from John C Berkey, Jim Burns, Don Dixon, Bob Eggleton, Chris Foss, Fred Gambino, Ron Miller, Ludek Pesek, Richard Powers, Alex Schomburg, Tim White, Adams, Max Ernst, Woody Gwyn, Robert Longo, Rene Magritte, Simon Norfolk, Thomas Ruff, and Thomas Struth.

Heywood explains that in traditional galleries or museum settings, artifacts like the XLR99 rocket would be separated from the artwork on display, but at Pivot, the idea is to allow for an intuitive link between science and art. “This innovative approach to breaking down restrictive genres and professional silos characterizes the ground-breaking work Vulcan is involved with across all of its activities.”

Imagined Futures shares the output of human ingenuity and curiosity where it meets the hard realities of science, technology, and engineering with the optimistic and sometimes fantastic futurism and surreal imagination that continues to inspire new generations of artists and dreamers.”

Imagined Futures: Science Fiction, Art, and Artifacts from the Paul G. Allen Family Collection will be open Thursday, April 7 through July 10, 2016 at Pivot Art + Culture (609 Westlake Ave). Admission is $5 and you can see the exhibition Tuesday through Sunday, 10am to 6pm, and Thursday 10am to 8pm.

Image Credits:

Chesley Bonestell
Jupiter as Seen from its Innermost Satellite (Jupiter V), 1945
Courtesy of Bonestell LLC

David Bowen & Kristina Estell
voyager one, 2014- ongoing
Image © David Bowen/ Kristina Estell 2016

Chris Foss
Asteroid Collision, 1980
©ChrissFossArt.com

Story by Ethan Chung

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