Days 3, 4, and 5 of our Seattle trip mostly involved me wandering around Seattle alone while my husband attended a conference. I am not an adventurous sort, and me and the outside don't really mix too well. So what do I do when I go on vacation? I go to museums and libraries. And I love every minute of it.
I started off Day 3 with a self-guided tour of the Central Library branch of the Seattle Public Library, conveniently located directly across the street from our hotel.
Despite its sort of scary, industrial looking outside, the inside is actually very spacious (there are 10 floors!) and very inviting. You'll have to take my word for it, because I didn't take any pictures - my cell phone automatically makes a shutter noise and there's no option to turn it off, and, well, I didn't want to keep making all that noise inside of a library. The coolest part of the library, however, was the flooring on the ground level, in the foreign language materials section:
That's right, kids - the designer used a router to carve text into each and every floorboard. I'm told the text is first lines from stories in 11 different languages, with the type reversed. It feels a little bit like walking on top of history, of culture, of knowledge. It grounds the space in a unique way that I happened to love.
Now that I had checked out the library and decided that in the event of an apocalypse, this would be my new home, I headed downtown to the Seattle Art Museum (SAM). I spent four hours wandering this museum even though they were between special exhibits and about 1/4-1/3 of the space was closed. I found many, many inspiring things there - an exhibit on Chihuly glass, a newly acquired piece by Ai Weiwei, the Porcelain Room, and a series of works portraying art and life along the Northwest Coast, among other things. But I will leave you with the following picture, which is the first sight you see upon entering the museum building:
It's a piece titled "Inopportune: Stage One" by Cai Guo-Qiang. He is a contemporary Chinese artist who often creates works that are emotionally and politically charged. The violence and discomfort in this piece, which symbolizes a series of car explosions, was quite moving. Good job, Seattle.
Tomorrow: Days 4 and 5, the end of vacation.