Becoming American

August 4 - September 30th, 2018

San Juan National Historic Park and various locations in Seattle, Washington

Seattle-based non-profit Cefalonia announces its inaugural annual exhibition, Becoming American. A collaborative project with leading venues for contemporary art in the city of Seattle, the exhibition is organized in collaboration with its presenting partners Specialist, located in Pioneer Square, Studio e, in Georgetown, and SOIL, an artist collective based in Pioneer Square and with support from the U.S. National Park Service.

Participating artists: Dan Attoe, Korakrit Arunanondchai, Paul Stephen Benjamin, Gretchen Frances Bennett, Matthew Brannon, Cat Clifford, Jasper Johns, Brian Jungen, Eyvind Kang, Duane Linklater, Lynne McCabe, Jeffry Mitchell, Lavar Munroe, Jenny Perlin, Pope L., Adrian Piper, R.H. Quaytman, Ruth Robbins, Aram Saroyan, Dori Scherer, Barbara Earl Thomas, Rodrigo Valenzuela, Anna Von Martens and Marie Watt.

Korakrit Arunanondchai With history in a room filled people with funny names 4 (video still) 2017 23:32 min HD video Copyright Korakrit Arunanondchai

Korakrit Arunanondchai
With history in a room filled people with funny names 4 (video still) 2017
23:32 min HD video Copyright Korakrit Arunanondchai


Exploring how artists engage the ongoing challenges of American iconography, identity, history, and formal inheritances, Becoming American is an international group exhibition taking place on the historic grounds of the American and English camps on San Juan Island, WA, and across satellite venues in the city of Seattle.

Hosted in collaboration with the San Juan National Historic Park, the exhibition ranges from site-specific works responsive to the layered dynamics of the primary venue—including its history as the location of the Northwest Boundary Dispute between the United States and the United Kingdom, and the ecological reality of its current terrain—to works across medium that further examine the perhaps permanent, never-to-be-resolved nature of the larger understanding of the Americas. 

Featuring works that rehearse, analyze, and deconstruct the ideologies of American heritage rather than reiterate confrontational stances, the exhibition delves into themes of race, gender, place, and identity while maintaining a connection to the formal approaches embedded within the larger practice of participating artists. With our empathic cultural ethics now under greater threat than ever before, the show provides an opportunity to step into direct relations with the cultural imaginary of what it means to strive toward becoming American.

Challenging the rhetorical demagoguery of our moment, the exhibition moves beyond constantly updated information, the flatness of visual compression and image production, and the atomizing nature of networked communication, to encourage an active looking on the part of visitors in both rural and urban contexts.

Becoming American is a multi-venue exhibition taking place on San Juan Island and in the city of Seattle. Engaging the architecture and layered dynamics of the historic English and American Camps located in San Juan Island National Historic Park as its primary venue, the exhibition extends its inquiry and presentation into the urban context of Seattle, including a central group exhibition at Georgetown’s Studio e gallery, a solo presentation of Korakrit Arunanondchai hosted by Specialist, located in Pioneer Square, and a September show from members of the artist collective SOIL that responds to themes of the exhibition.


San Juan National Historic Park

August 4 - September 30, 2018

English Camp


The historic Royal Marine Barracks (dating from 1860) provides the first venue visitors will experience upon entering San Juan Island National Park. Featuring moving image works from R.H. Quaytman and Adrian Piper, the venue will further showcase installations by Brian Jungen and Pope.L in dialog with painting, print and textile works from Dan Attoe, Matthew Brannon, Jasper Johns, and Marie Watt, and newly commissioned work from Dori Scherer, Lavar Munroe, and Rodrigo Valenzuela.


Existing in its original condition when it was last used as a clinic for British soldiers, the hospital will house newly commissioned installations by sculptor Jeffry Mitchell and poet and visual artist Aram Saroyan, among others.


The first structure erected in English Camp for unloading cargo, the encampment’s storehouse will be the site for work from Paul Stephen Benjamin, sculptural works by Duane Linklater and Lavar Munroe, in addition to a drawing installation from Jenny Perlin and textile work by Anna Von Mertens.


Perched at the edge of Garrison Bay, the rotunda-like blockhouse will feature an immersive sound installation by composer and interdisciplinary artist Eyvind Kang, including an additional collaboration between Kang and vocalist Jessika Kenney, with poet Anne Carson and her frequent collaborator Robert Currie “the Randomizer”.

American Camp

Site-specific works will be featured indoors and outside across the ground of the historic American Camp at the opposite end of the island. Including a newly commissioned work from Cat Clifford—done in collaboration with Gretchen Frances Bennett and Ruth Robbins—and new work from visual artist Barbara Earl Thomas. Participating artist Lynne McCabe will host a dinner in conjunction with the exhibition opening that explores its themes.



August 2 - September 30, 2018

Specialist, an artist-run gallery in Seattle’s Pioneer Square, will host an immersive installation from Korakrit Arunanondchai, including a new iteration of his recent work With history in a room filled with people with funny names 4 (2017).

Studio e

August 3 - September 1, 2018

Extending the exhibition to the urban context of Seattle’s burgeoning Georgetown arts district, Studio e hosts a group exhibition that brings together additional works from participating artists and is put in dialog with the site-specific experience of Becoming American at San Juan Island National Historic Park.  


September 6 - 29, 2018

Opening on the first Thursday of September, this call and response exhibition features work from SOIL’s twenty-four artist members, responding to the exhibition and its title, Becoming American.

Becoming American is organized by Cefalonia in collaboration with its presenting partners.

Please contact Cat Clifford at for more information and press inquiries.