Friday, September 1, 2000 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Exhibits join the party

Seattle Times staff reporter

It seems like everyone is celebrating an anniversary this year. The Center on Contemporary Arts joins the Bumbershoot birthday bash by celebrating 20 years with "20 in 2000: a CoCA Retrospective."

Think of it as a living archive of CoCA, says program director Katie Kurtz.

"It's like the past, present and future of CoCA," she said. "People can sort through it and look at things using card catalogs and slides and all kinds of stuff."

Housed in the Lopez Room at Seattle Center, the exhibit features a timeline of the arts center, which for 20 years has explored music, performance, literature and visual art in contemporary culture. Wander through a view of contemporary Japanese pop culture in a re-creation of one of CoCA's most popular installations, "Japan-o-rama," or watch painters at work in a mini studio.

Next door in the Fidalgo room, check out ContemporaryArtProject's "Emotional Rescue," which arrives at CoCA this month. The collection of paintings, photography and video by a group of emerging international artists is billed as powerful, exuberant and, at times, almost surreal. Just like Bumbershoot itself.

Other Bumbershoot highlights

-- It's everyone's birthday. For the Pilchuck Glass School, the party is in the Rainier Room, where curator Margery Aronson has put together "Creativity and Collaboration: Pilchuck Glass School's 30 Years." The exhibit includes glass-art works from the school's archives and Northwest collections, as well as more recent works by American and international artists, including Dale Chihuly, Ginny Ruffner and Joey Kirkpatrick.

-- Is painting dead? Check out "Bumberbiennale: Painting 2000" in the Olympic Room to find out. Curator Matthew Kangas (a frequent contributor to The Seattle Times visual arts coverage) surveys the state of painting at the turn of the century. The art varies in imagery, media and size. Work from nationally acclaimed artists such as Jacob Lawrence, Alfredo Arreguin and Gaylen Hansen joins regional favorites, including Dennis Evans, Michael Spafford and William Cumming, for this show.

-- Secrets of Mount Vernon Culture: Revealed! It might sound like a National Enquirer headline, but "The Secrets of Mount Vernon Culture" is actually a collection of artifacts retrieved over four years from a Camano Island archaeological site by local artist Jack Gunter. On display in the Shaw Room, Gunter's findings include ceramic vessels, figurines, metal artifacts and glass objects that bear an uncanny similarity to those produced by the Pilchuck Glass School. The artifacts suggest the existence of a social group that flourished briefly 29,000 years ago near the area now called Mount Vernon.

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