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Friends of the Market Newsletter

August 2014

The Friends 50th Anniversary year winds down with another big event. On September 30th, there will be a speech by David K.O'Neil, a national expert on public and private markets. The audience for this free event in the Seattle Central Public Library Auditorium, will share questions and answers with a panel of local discussants led by Peter Steinbrueck and joined by Knute Berger, Crosscut's "Mossback", and FoM Board Member Christine Vaughan, a 25-year Market crafts artist. The program begins at 7:00PM and may extend to 8:30PM. Parking is available under the library (enter off Spring Street).
 
Volunteer FoM tour guides continue through Labor Day with summer Market tours; the seventh year of low cost, high quality Pike Place Market walking tours. Call John Ogliore at: 206.322.2219 for reservations.
 
LeAnn Loughran, an original 1960's activist in the struggle to "Save the Market", died in June, in Seattle, after a long illness. She was the Friends's Treasurer for over a decade and was always present at functions with sign-up sheets and membership information. During the 2012 to 2013 Market Art Project LeAnn inventoried and photographed public art in the Market, which will remain as a legacy to the future.
A memorial gathering will be held on Saturday, August 23, 1-4 pm at her home: 175 Lake Washington Blvd.

 


Post Alley Passages



In Memorium

"Passages" pauses to note the passing of two accomplished men who lived and worked in the Market. Their work and presence will be long remembered.


Robert LaVigne 1928-2014


Born in Idaho, Robert LaVigne was raised in Spokane and attended a Jesuit high school where a teacher encouraged his interest and talent in art. He came to San Francisco in 1951 because it was said ‘there was a certain gay freedom there.’  In time he became one of the five original Beat Generation artists with Jack Kerouac, Alan Ginsberg, Peter Orlovsky, and Jack Creeley. Robert drew and painted soulful drawings and portraits of the North Beach poets which are valued in major museums and private collections.

He began doing stage design for Actor’s Workshop in San Francisco and in 1960 and followed its director to the Repertory Theater at Lincoln Center in New York City. LaVigne was awarded an Obie (the Off-Broadway Tony) for set design in 1968. While in New York LaVigne pioneered psychedelic painting, prefiguring New Age art by a decade.

For most of the 1970’s Robert taught at the California Institute of Arts. He came to Seattle in the early 1980’s. After living and painting in a studio above a printing plant in Belltown, he moved to the St. Regis Hotel to escape printing fumes. Joe Martin, social worker and co-founder of the Pike Market Clinic, became his friend and found him Market housing in the Market’s LaSalle Hotel. He resided there and painted until his passing. During his time in the Market, LaVigne was a regular part-time clerk and expert on print art and theatre history at John Hanawalt’s Old Seattle Paperworks in the Down/Under.

In 2011 a caretaker took advantage of Robert, who was considered a “vulnerable adult” under Washington State Law, by removing eight paintings from his apartment. Police, friends and his lawyer recovered them, but the public legal action took a toll on the health of the “seminal artist of the Beat Generation.”

In March he was hospitalized at Virginia Mason Hospital with a second, fatal stroke. A memorial was held at the Market Theatre, in April.


John Stamets 1949-2014


John was born in Ithaca, NY and raised in Ohio and Pennsylvania. A 1971 Yale graduate, John studied under famed photographer Walker Evans. He came to Seattle and studied briefly at the University of Washington.

He was a journalist and photographer for the Seattle Sun newspaper after the Helix closed. While driving a taxi in the late 1970’s John took photo portraits of night passengers in his cab and exhibited them in a Pioneer Square gallery. He came to the Market in the 1980’s with a new wide angle lens to create the photos that became  A Portrait of A Market, published by Real Comet Press, with text by Steve Dunnington in 1987. He continued in the Market as the staff photographer for The Market News from 1988 to 1992 where he took hundreds of photos mostly portraits for news stories.

After The Market News, John joined the UW College of the Built Environment where he directed the photo lab and lectured until his death. During those 22 years he became known locally as the ‘destruction’ photographer, having recorded the demolition of the Music Hall, the collapse of Husky Stadium’s South canopy, and the Hammering Man’s installation collapse. 

Also while at UW John took commissions from many significant architects to record the construction of their work: Santiago Calvatera in Milwaukee, Rem Koolhaas in Seattle and Chicago and Frank Gehry in Seattle. John also photographed the expansion of the Henry Art Gallery by architect Charles Gwathemy. Most of John’s work met Historic Americans Buildings Survey standards for ‘quality, content, format and durability.’  Many of those documents are in the Library of Congress. In recent years he had documented the renovation of King Street Station, the Bullet Center, and until his death the rebuilding of the South Park Bridge.

John wrote in his Roller Loop blog last year that he fell into a “rabbit hole" after attending a Rat City Rollergirls program at Key Arena. He took the pen name, Pappa Razzi, to record in photos and print his excitement at this modern roller sport.
         
John curated the Alaskeros exhibit at the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian American Experience. Museum founder Ron Chew said, ”Without John Stamets’s initiative, the photographic history of the early Filipino migrant laborers who came in the 1920’s, ‘30’s, and ‘40’s would not have been documented”  John, as both journalist and investigator, aided in bringing to justice the assassins of two Filipino labor leaders.

John’s death by heart failure was sudden. But he had prepared instructions for the disposition of his vast trove of photographs, negatives and documents to the UW Library Special Collections, a legacy for students and researchers long after his passing.

John is survived by his mother and four siblings. A memorial service in UW Gould Hall in June was a warm and celebratory event, with personal stories, tributes, and an exhibit of John’s work.

The Market has seen many pass through its humble halls, but few have left enduring national legacies as have Robert and John.

 

"Post Alley Passages" written by Paul Dunn, fessdunn@aol.com

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