BAMignite! Blitzes Bellevue

Cartoon, 1992, 50 x 65 cm, Collection of Marirosa Toscani Ballo

Cartoon, 1992, 50 x 65 cm, Collection of Marirosa Toscani Ballo

What do cats, money and Italian photography have in common? Normally, not much, but right now they’re all exhibited at the Bellevue Arts Museum and will be brought together in one exciting night, BAMignite! This after-hours event features a photo contest in which participants are asked to shoot Maneki Nekos, Japan’s beckoning cats, a photography studio where guests can strike a pose, an interactive money-as-art activity and food, drinks and live entertainment. BAMignite will certainly be a night to remember.

The exhibit “Love Me Tender,” features unique and impressive works of art created out of something as ordinary as money. According to BAM’s website, “the artists featured in Love Me Tender scrutinize the systems of value celebrated on and embodied by currency,” by creating paintings, portraits, sculpture and more out of legal tender. The exhibit features artists Banksy, James Charles, Wang Jin, Jack Daws and many, many more. It runs through May 26.

“Zoom. Italian Design and the Photography of Aldo and Marirosa Ballo,” another exciting exhibit, features the work of an artistic duo that was crucial in Italian design achieving the “mythological status” it holds today. Through their photography, the Ballos communicated the simultaneous beauty and functionality of items of furniture and other objects. The exhibit hosts just a small portion of the roughly 146,000 photos taken by the Ballos. It runs through June 16.

“Maneki Neko: Japan’s Beckoning Cats – From Talisman to Pop Icon” exhibits over 150 of Japan’s Maneki Neko cats, collected by aficionado Billie Moffitt. The cats, which can be carved in wood and stone or molded from clay or paper-mâché, signal good luck and express historic Japanese lore as well as contemporary pop culture. Also featured in the exhibit are several Northwest artists, who decided to offer their own interpretation of the beckoning Maneki Neko cat. The exhibit runs through August 4.

All three exciting exhibits will converge interactively at BAMignite with food, drink, film, dance, poetry and more. $8-14. April 12, Bellevue Arts Museum.

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