Virginia “Jinny” Wright (1929-2020) played a pivotal role in the cultural development of Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. Along with her husband Bagley (1924–2011), Jinny (as friends called her) wanted to make Seattle and the Northwest a premier venue for the arts, generously supporting numerous cultural institutions including SAM. City of Tomorrow tells the story of the future-focused initiatives spearheaded by Virginia Wright. Landmark modern and contemporary paintings, sculptures, drawings, and photographs from the illustrious Wright collection are complemented by historical ephemera that trace formative moments and initiatives, including the organization of the Contemporary Arts Council that brought major contemporary exhibitions to the Fine Arts Pavilion in the 1960s before SAM had a department of modern and contemporary art. You’ll follow Jinny’s intuitive eye and journey of discovery starting in the 1950s as it led her from celebrated to lesser-known artists of the moment, all of whom are now icons, including Carl Andre, Helen Frankenthaler, Philip Guston, David Hammons, Jasper Johns, Franz Kline, Robert Rauschenberg, Mark Rothko, Frank Stella, Cindy Sherman, Andy Warhol, and many more. Yet this is just the beginning of the story as Virginia Wright championed and funded works in public spaces around Seattle and beyond and spearheaded initiatives to benefit the entire region.
Image: Installation view of Cross Section, 1956, Franz Kline, and Untitled, 1954, Philip Guston, in the home of Virginia Wright, 2020, Promised gifts of the Virginia and Bagley Wright Collection, in honor of the 75th Anniversary of the Seattle Art Museum, photo: Eirik Johnson.