Simply, the greatest public champion of cutting edge art by cutting edge artists in the Pacific
passed away at her Seattle home Friday July 22nd as a hero to those in the visual arts because of her personal loyalty, eye and panache.
Through her eponymous gallery in Seattle, Farris brought the likes of Robert
Rauschenberg and Louise Nevelson to the Pacific Northwest.
Despite the big time
names it was her frank honesty, over the top hustle and daring that made her more than just an art dealer but an icon of fearlessness. Of all the people I have met in the art world none has impressed
me like Linda Farris. With no double talk, a deep trust in artists, crazy in
the best possible way, constant risk taking and a probing intelligence... she stood out. I respected
her ability to piss off wall flowers and naysayers. Her legacy lives on in the
artists whom she supported.
Her innovative Contemporary
(1999-2002) brought together 13 investors who each gave Linda $15,000
a year to collect cutting edge contemporary art. The results on such a modest budget were spectacular featuring; Justine Kurland, Sue De Beer, Karin Davie,
Julie Mehretu, Delia brown, Cecily Brown, Lisa
and Inka Essenhigh
In 2002 the CAP collection found its permanent home at the Seattle Art Museum.
She also made contemporary art exciting on a personal grass roots level in
Seattle, championing the work of Robert
, Sherry Markovitz
, Norie Sato and
Jeffrey Bishop. After closing her gallery in 1996 she was instrumental in her
support of artists like Jack Daws
& Lisa Leidgren and many others in Seattle. Linda had a fast eye and supported
Portland luminaries like Damali Ayo
and Laura Fritz
else in Seattle realized a renaissance was occurring to the south. Hell, she
caught on faster than most in Portland.
Yes, she's known as a very public personality but she was incredibly personable
in the confidence of small groups.
My fondest memories are driving her around downtown Portland with Frank Zappa's
"peaches en regalia" blasting on the stereo, her incredibly good advice
and her refereeing of a footrace in the University of Washington's Red Square
between myself and Jacqueline Ehlis (fittingly between Linda and Barnett Newman's
It is an understatement to state that no Pacific Northwest art dealer before or since has
had the balls of Linda Farris. It's fitting that her life sets a challenge. She set the bar and we could all do well to be a little bit more like her, but there will be only one Linda Farris.
Also, check out the Seattle Post Intelligencer on Linda Farris here. Please feel free to leave some of your reminiscences about Linda as comments on PORT....
I fully expect her deeds to outlive the legend of her well lived life
I remember meeting Linda at a PICA art auction - she said what she thought without hesitation and immediately made me feel like the Art World might be worth keeping. Later that evening at Savage's old space in the Pearl she defied the stuffy art collector stereotype with her hilarious social commentary and mockery of the scene.
On her later studio visit, I was struck by her strong, unwavering vision for art.
I'm sad I didn't have the chance to know her better and grateful for the inspirational time I did spend with her.