The Curator's Eye: Kirkland Arts Center

And the Kitchen Sink

Ben Hirschkoff and Jason Wood, 7 Ways to Enjoy Washing the Dishes

When the Kirkland Arts Center opened the KAC Links Invitational last month, it was truly an invitation.

Beset with the task of luring new eyes into the community arts center during the active summer months, exhibitions director Cable Griffith decided to marry the intimidating world of contemporary art to the familiar world of leisure sports by commissioning twelve local artists to create a nine-hole mini-golf course. The goal was to get folks in the door, not only to play mini-golf on the gallery’s temporary indoor course, but also to explore art in a comfortable setting.

“We do have a slant towards things contemporary,” he says.  “So we had the idea of opening up a show with artwork that seemed very approachable, to the point where it becomes a game, hands-on, interactive. Someone could come in and already understand it as a participatory situation.”


Attendance at the opening tee-off: 110
Course par: 18
Lowest score: 18
Highest score: 53
(“I don’t think they knew the rules of the six-stroke maximum,” says Griffith.)
Cable Griffith’s score: 23
Ryan Molenkamp’s score: 22
John Sutton’s score: 19
Number of months artists were given to build: 4
Turf given to artists, in square feet: 32
Feet of pipe Hirschkoff used: 38

Earlier this year, Griffith issued an open call to would-be turf engineers to submit ideas for their holes to a jury consisting of Scott Lawrimore and Beth Sellars as well as Griffith himself. There were no guidelines except to be both inviting and challenging in four strokes or less.

In that respect, says Griffith, the hole created by artists Ben Hirschkoff and Jason Wood, 7 Ways to Enjoy Washing the Dishes, is above par. Not only is it one of the more playful holes of the course – the ball, putted from a kitchen countertop, makes its way over a mountain “range,” into the kitchen sink and through a series of pipes before finding the cup – but it is also filled with artistic intent.

“I really like that it has a purpose outside of artistic appreciation,” Griffith says. “They take things like a countertop and a sink and a range stove and really transform them into something that is all of those things and none of them, in the sense that equally it’s a kitchen, equally it’s a landscape, and equally it’s a miniature-golf course.” •

See more in the July 2010 issue   →