Peepshow coming to Tacoma's Puyallup Avenue

By Michael Swan on August 5, 2010


"Is ... Is that a peephole?" you whisper under your breath, halting your walking tour of Tacoma. You look left, then right. It definitely looks like a peephole.

Supporting your body weight with your hand you peer through the hole, drilled into a building along Puyallup Avenue. Your eyes adjust. You believe you're gazing at ... yes, it's some sort of boudoir. Yes, most certainly - with carefully posed shadows and selectively chosen props occupying a brightly illuminated but shallow space surrounded by mood lighting. The tightly staged vignette in a single scene suggesting a certain narrative and thematic possibility, but resists being reduced to one storyline.

You pull away from the peephole. Then lean back into it. You repeat several times. "This is bizarre," you think to yourself.

A bit dizzy, you carefully continue down the sidewalk only to stop again a few feet later when your eye catches a space full of... what? Seriously? chastity belts!?! This is getting ridiculous.

"Good lord," you say to no one in particular. "What is going down in my city?"

And then you remember reading this post. Ah, yes. The Madera Architectural Elements artists are behind the boudoir vignettes, combing their artisan interior and exterior building skills into single scenes as part of the Don't Look group show. And the chastity belts are actually another round of the Denied art shows at Mineral gallery, with new artists - the original of which drew rave reviews last summer as Entrance Denied at the same gallery.

You turn the corner onto Pacific Avenue and head north, processing what you've seen. You've peeped into ladies dressing rooms. You've ogled ladies underwear. On an unrelated note, you also saw a young couple making out at the Sound Transit stop across the srteet.

Then you come to a halt - having reached some sort of epiphanic conclusion over what you have witnessed. And an opportunity has presented itself. You slowly spell out your thoughts for all to see in Tollefson Plaza.

Don't Look

Saturday, Aug. 14-Sept. 14 anytime from the sidewalk
Preview events: Saturday, Aug. 14, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursday Aug. 19,  5-8 p.m.
Gallery 301, 301 Puyallup Ave., Tacoma

Access Denied

Saturday, Aug. 14-Sept. 14 noon to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday
Preview events: Saturday, Aug. 14, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Thursday Aug. 19, 5-8 p.m.
Mineral, 301 Puyallup Ave., Tacoma