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Monday 07.25.05

« SCRAPpy Saturday | Main | Around Cyberspace... »

Linda Farris 1945-2005

Simply, the greatest public champion of cutting edge art by cutting edge artists in the Pacific Northwest...

Linda Farris 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 Art Project (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 Yuskavage 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 Yoder, 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, Jacqueline Ehlis and Laura Fritz before anyone 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 "Broken Obelisk").

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

Posted by Jeff Jahn on July 25, 2005 at 2:06 | Comments (1)


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.

Posted by: MOR [TypeKey Profile Page] at July 26, 2005 07:49 AM

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