Arts and Entertainment

Artist returns to explore Bellevue, wealth, happiness

Greg Lundgren - Chad Coleman/Bellevue Reporter
Greg Lundgren
— image credit: Chad Coleman/Bellevue Reporter

When Greg Lundgren turned 18, he packed his bags and left his upper-class upbringing in Bellevue to explore cultures outside of his hometown. The conceptual artist spread his wings in Los Angeles and has since settled in Seattle.

On July 10, Lundgren will return to Bellevue with his presentation of a large-scale installation at Open Satellite called I AM FROM BELLEVUE.

Lundgren set out on a journey to explore Bellevue's past and present by visiting nearly 100 Bellevue homes over a three-month span. During the home tours, Lundgren searched for household wares, art and everyday objects that he identified with his childhood to examine the stereotypes often linked with urban life and the parallel often drawn between wealth and happiness. The installation will be on display from July 10 to August 3 with an opening reception on Friday, July 10, from 6-9 p.m.

The Bellevue Reporter recently sat down with Lundgren to discuss his upcoming show and his exploration of his hometown.

Reporter: How did the idea for this installation first came about?

Lundgren: Approaching this show, I think a large part of the drive came from wanting to reconnect the social fabric of Bellevue to contemporary art scene. I see a fantastic space like Open Satellite and it starts to make me wonder why Bellevue isn't more integrated into contemporary art?

Reporter: Why do you think contemporary art is foreign to places like Bellevue?

Lundgren: There are those immersed in contemporary art and then there are a lot of people who feel excluded from it or ignore it. They may feel they are not smart enough or creative enough to participate. Looking at this as a small version of that, I think one of the reasons people in Bellevue aren't engaging with contemporary art is because it can come across as being very exclusive.

Reporter: How would you go about making it more accessible?

Lundgren: In order for it to be more accessible, you have to make it more inclusive. In order to do this is, you have to invite people to participate and to be a part of it. The idea of the show is that if we put your couch, and your sister's painting, and your neighbor's pair of shoes within the context of the art, then they feel they are a part of the art.

Even if they don't understand contemporary art or installation art, it gets people down here and exposes them to it. Hopefully this will create a sense of community and take some of the mythology away from contemporary art.

Reporter: What was your childhood like growing up in Bellevue?

Lundgren: I had the perfect childhood. I had access to nature, I was safe, and I could explore. I had access to great opportunities and I had great friends. In a lot of ways Bellevue is this American Dream. You can live in Bellevue and have a nice house and a nice car, a good job, and safe place to raise your kids. Bellevue has an idyllic environment, so why at 15 or 16 years old do kids get so hostile against it?

I wanted to explore the relationship of wealth and happiness to get a better understanding of the place I called home growing up. I was raised with an understanding that money equaled happiness, whether intentional or not. I grew up being told the one with the biggest home was the happiest. We all know that just isn't true.

Reporter: Are you nervous you may offend people with the installation?

Lundgren: Whether they like the show or not, or connect with my vision of the show, my hope is that they walk away with a better understanding of what installation art is. My goal is to bring a better understanding of contemporary art to Bellevue and the community who lives here.

Lindsay Larin can be reached at 425.453.4602.

Open Satellite, 989 112 Ave. N.E., Suite 102, Bellevue, 425.454.7355, www.opensatellite.org. To learn more about Greg Lundgren, visit his Web site at www.vitalproductions.com.

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