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Mad Homes July 2011 Seattle


“This is a nice neighborhood,” you’ll think to yourself, as you go past a row of brick houses with immaculate lawn and flowers in any color you can imagine. Rounding the corner, a house covered completely in shrink-wrap immediately catches your eye, along with an enormous supermarket-style label that says, simply, Mad Homes July 2011.

Initiated by MadArt Seattle, an outfit whose mission is to support emerging local artists and to foster community involvement in the arts, the Mad Homes installation takes over five homes prior to their being demolished or relocated. By using existing structures, in community spaces, it was really exciting to see how the twelve participating artists would reinterpret these living spaces, without constraints of the usual gallery walls. That shrink-wrapped house that you just saw up front? That is “Chrysalis (Contents May Shift in Transit).” by artist Troy Gua.

Beside “Chrysalis” is “Ties That Bind” by art collective SuttonBeresCuller. Using only red polypropylene ‘packing’ straps, the collective entangled two houses in a web of red. Wandering into one of the house, (curiously, the other house is still occupied), the straps continued inside, weaving through windows, holding open doors and piercing through openings in walls and ceilings. Going from room to room was like a scene out of “Mission Impossible“, with ‘laser beams’ that you have to dodge and squeeze through.

Next door is Allan Packe‘s “The Fulcrum of Prescience“. Just through the door, a wolf peeks up and down from a slot in the floor, while an upside down bird swung in and out of a wall. Nearby, an illustrated wave continuously crashes into the floor.

A lot more awaits, including Allyce Wood‘s “Habitancy“, that creates shapes of humans and animals using strings, suggesting shadows in the form of cobwebs of its previous occupants while Laura Ward created a mold of the outer surfaces of house 711 in latex and re-sewn the surfaces, draped over a smaller house like structure, very aptly named “Skin“.

Catch them soon if you are in Seattle though. They are only going to be around till 7 August, after which the homes will be torn down.

The Mad Homes exhibition is on at 711 Bellevue Avenue East, Seattle, Noon to 7pm daily, now through August 7. More details @ madartseattle.com/mad-homes.

-Bjorn Yeo

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