Museum of Art creates architect retrospective

Museum wine debuts; part
of proceeds support expansion
A wine created especially for the Museum of Art/WSU will be released and served at the Sept. 29 reception for the Jim Olson exhibit.
Ten percent of proceeds from sales of Museum Blend Wine, from Pullman’s Wawawai Canyon Winery, will be donated to the Museum of Art/WSU Expansion Fund.
Selling for $26, the wine is described as: 
“A saturated red that opens with an intense bouquet of blackberry, fig, anise, sweet tobacco and white pepper. Silky, dark berry flavors display liqueur-like depth and are enlivened by the bright, juicy acidity of the petit verdot. An earthy-smoky quality gains intensity with air and carries into the finish, which shows off fine mid-palette tannin and flavors of spice, cedar and cigar box. This blend shows its cabernet sauvignon component up front but closes with a lovely, focused carménère character. 13.5% alcohol.”   
PULLMAN, Wash. – The first comprehensive retrospective of the 45-year career of Northwest architect Jim Olson will be on exhibit at the Washington State University Museum of Art Sept. 30-Dec. 10. A reception will be at 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 29, in the museum gallery, followed by a lecture by Olson at 7 p.m. in the CUB auditorium.
“It’s rare that Northwest museums devote a full exhibit to architecture, and doubly so for rural eastern Washington,” said Chris Bruce, museum director.
The museum is organizing “Architecture for Art,” and subsequent venues for the exhibit will be announced in coming months. The museum will launch a multi-layered website that includes images and information about Olson’s projects, links to architectural and artistic references, and workshop exercises for students. An extensive video interview will be included in both the exhibition and on the website.
Artistic, other influences explored
Olson is recognized as one of the Northwest’s most significant architects. He is founder of the internationally recognized Seattle-based firm, Olson Kundig Architects.
The artistic, cultural, natural and personal influences that have made the architect’s career so highly regarded by his peers and sought after by clients will be explored. “Architecture for Art” will include a range of materials that showcase Olson’s process, including notebooks and ephemera, original sketches and drawings, stunning large-scale photo displays and models.
Original art work from selected residences will be on display, as well as a custom-designed art installation that will provide visitors with a first-hand experience of Olson’s use of space and collaboration with art.
A rare experience of a legacy of design
The exhibit will highlight his legacy of residential design, including his own homes – an apartment in downtown Seattle and a cabin on Puget Sound. Also featured will be his public work, including the Lightcatcher Museum in Bellingham, Wash., St. Mark’s Cathedral and the Pike & Virginia Building in Seattle, and the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.
“The combination of world-class architecture and world-class art is something few people experience, so we expect this exhibit to be a revelation for university students and the general public alike,” Bruce said.
About the WSU Museum of Art
The Museum of Art is located on Wilson Road across from Martin Stadium in the Fine Arts Center on the WSU Pullman campus. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Saturday, open until 7 p.m. Thursday. For more information, contact 509-335-1910 or visit
About Jim Olson
Jim Olson is the founding partner of Olson Kundig Architects and the most prominent heir to the legacy of the 1950s Northwest master architects. A 1963 graduate of the University of Washington, he served early apprenticeships with two of the Northwest’s legendary architects: Paul Kirk and Ralph Anderson. In 1966, he established his first firm in Seattle and, in 1970, he established the partnership Olson/Walker.
The office has since grown into a diverse practice with an international reputation as Olson Kundig Architects. Among Olson’s numerous built designs are residences for major art collectors around the world, the Pike & Virginia Building in Seattle’s Pike Place Market and the recent Lightcatcher at the Whatcom Museum in Bellingham, Wash.
He is recipient of the 2007 Seattle AIA Medal of Honor. He has served on the boards of numerous arts organizations, including the Seattle Art Museum, and lectures extensively on the relationship of architecture and art.
Olson’s work has appeared in publications worldwide, including the New York Times, Architectural Digest, Architectural Record, Art + Auction, Monocle and Interior Design. In addition to the most recent monograph, “Jim Olson Houses,” (Monacelli Press) which features 16 of his projects, his work has been featured in “Art + Architecture: the Ebsworth Collection and Residence” (William Stout Publishers), which focuses on the home of an art collector, and in “Architecture, Art and Craft: Olson Sundberg Kundig Allen Architects” (The Monacelli Press).
About Olson Kundig Architects
Olson Kundig Architects is a Seattle-based architecture firm led by four owners: Jim Olson, Tom Kundig, Kirsten R. Murray and Alan Maskin. The 85-person office specializes in a range of projects both nationally and internationally, including new and renovated residential projects, particularly for art collectors; mixed-use buildings; academic and civic projects; museums and exhibit design; cultural centers; places of worship; urban design; and interior design.
In 2009, the firm was honored with the National Architecture Firm Award by the American Institute of Architects.
For more information, visit
Media contacts:
Debby Stinson, WSU Museum of Art, 509-335-6282,;
Jeffrey Walkowiak or Ozgur Gungor, Blue Medium, 212-675-1800,,;
Matt Anderson, Olson Kundig Architects, 206-624-5670,