Seattle Art Fair and its little brother Out of Sight hop in the saddle for their third summer

Three years ago, Paul Allen helped launch Seattle Art Fair — and local impresario Greg Lundgren launched Out of Sight, an ambitious satellite fair. They’re both back with an ambitious roster of artists, from painters to BMX stunt bikers.

At this very moment, while you read these words, Seattle artists Ben Beres and Jed Dunkerley might be crammed into a Pioneer Square bathroom with a small mountain of Sharpie markers, covering its white walls with graffiti.

Among the hundreds of words and images: a tongue, “it takes awhile to know who to blame,” a rotund woman with a camper-van parked on her back and, right next to the mirror, “take a selfie bitch I dare you.” When I visited that bathroom last week, Dunkerley perched on Beres’ shoulders to draw a picture of Dunkerley perching on Beres’ shoulders.

“So you’re decorating the bathroom?” I asked.


Seattle Art Fair

Aug. 3-6, CenturyLink Field Event Center, 1000 Occidental Ave. S., Seattle; $5 (teens)-$150 (collectors preview) (

Out of Sight

Aug. 3-27, 115 S. Jackson St., Seattle; $10 (general)-$100 collectors preview (

Beres sighed dramatically and rolled his eyes for comic effect. “Ugh! No! We’re making art, maaan.”

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He was only half joking. Beres and Dunkerley are serious artists making the playful graffiti mural for Out of Sight, a 110-artist satellite exhibition happening just a few blocks from the third Seattle Art Fair, the Paul Allen-founded answer to fancy, art-fair rodeos like Art Basel Miami and Tokyo International Art Fair.

Seattle Art Fair is an international aesthetic extravaganza at CenturyLink Field Event Center, presented by Paul Allen, Art Market Productions, insurance company AIG, Delta Air Lines, J.P. Morgan and a few other corporate partners — but Out of Sight also roared out of the gate three years ago, as both complement to and a cheeky, more locally focused riposte to the bigger event.

This week, the fairs will be Seattle’s major art events, with dealers from Tokyo to Cologne to Pioneer Square showing artwork, hosting talks, throwing parties and hoping to court collectors — who may or may not buy anything. But, as longtime Seattle dealer Greg Kucera said, the dollar value of an art fair (whether it’s in Basel or New York or Seattle) doesn’t always materialize during those few hectic days when gallerists…

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