Through Sept 25
I love it when people place great art in strange places—like artist and professor Julie Green’s The Last Supper, one of the most effective pieces of art in the Puget Sound area right now. Instead of resting respectfully in an empty gallery, The Last Supper hangs above a staircase at Bellevue Art Museum. People criss-cross in front of the art, but they should really look at it more closely, more seriously. This tension makes the piece even better.
BAM has presented The Last Supper for nearly two years, but those years have been pretty chaotic, so lots of people haven’t visited to see the piece, which is more like pieces since it’s made up of 800 hand-painted plates. It took two decades for Green to complete it, and each plate shows the last meal of a person executed in an American prison. There are “steaks and chicken and shrimp and ribs and eggs and chocolate cake and avocadoes,” wrote David Gutman in his Seattle Times article on the exhibit. In Oklahoma, inmates get $15 to spend on their final meal. (It used to be $20.) In Texas, the state doesn’t afford any meals, which might have something to do with how many people Texas executes.
“Art can be a meditation,” Green wrote for the museum when the exhibit opened. “Why do we have this tradition of final meals, I wondered, after seeing a 1999 request for six tacos, six glazed donuts, and a cherry Coke. Twenty-one years later, I still wonder.” Green finished her final, one-thousandth plate in 2021, one month before she died at 60. Take an afternoon to witness her work while it’s still here.