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Revisiting Benjamin
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4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42
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Shifting into Weird
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First Thursday August 2014 Picks
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Saturday 08.23.14

 

Thursday links

We are just polishing off a bunch of interviews (always very time intensive) but till then here are some links:

The birth of Impressionism tracked down to the minute?

Hadid, Gehry, Libeskind etc. revealed in their early drawings.

Public art in Sydney elicits a debate over originality... that's a good sign for Sydney. Overall, everything seems pretty standard and of the mildly engaging type that most public art aspires to today. Everything seems designed to make everyone feel like they understand it with no twists. That's why Pardo's streetcar stop in Portland is so good. It challenges the easier assumptions.

Olafur Elliason creates a mini watershed in a museum. This is interesting but mostly for how weakened or like "public art" it seems. Much like the more famous Earth Room that the Dia commissioned it derives most of its charge from the cognitive dissonance of bringing the outdoors indoors and by reminding us that buildings are caves.

Why Portland is building a new bridge without cars. As I saw early on (one of the first when others were in love with a more anachronistic design that pandered to many Portlanders' aversion to the new and bold) this bridge design makes sense and looks like a worthy icon for the city. See, things have changed.


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on August 21, 2014 at 11:06 | Comments (0)


People's history of art

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Tomorrow, Ampersand will be presenting a book signing and talk by Nicolas Lampert, the author of A People's Art History of the United States. The book focuses on the history of ideas, movements (political, social etc.)rather than the way a lot of art history focuses on patronage. Thus instead of a history of trophy hunting it seeks to reconnect Art to the people that it reflects. Very topical considering the focus on the art market and academicism (the "other" art market which is very demonstrative/illustrative) rather than the exploration of ideas these days.

Reception: August 20 7:00PM
Ampersand Gallery & Fine Books
2916 NE Alberta Street, Suite B


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on August 20, 2014 at 10:32 | Comments (0)


Revisiting Benjamin

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Walter Benjamin

Walter Benjamin is the philosopher that usually appeals to art critics...at least the "real" ones who are actually interested in exploring through critiquing art. Thus, this clever piece in the Brooklyn Rail is definitely worth a read. I like the way academic consensus is lampooned. Consensus is overrated and perhaps the cult of personality that evolves around a philosopher is the worst kind of consensus. Perhaps the dispute, when it arises is the only thing worth exploring? Perhaps the presence of dispute is the only thing that keeps culture from getting stale?


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on August 19, 2014 at 10:40 | Comments (0)


Friday Links

Saving Louis Kahn's masterpiece Salk Institute.

The birth of Indian Art? Im pretty sure there were predecessors but that doesn't diminish this crucial site.

The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation is appealing the ruling that three of the former employees of the foundation did such an outstanding job that they should be paid $24,600,000 in fees for their services. Now that might be something akin to the golden parachute amounts most energy company executives can expect but it does seem excessive considering it is a non profit and charitable foundation. Portlander Christopher Rauschenberg seems to be reiterating the charitable aspect in press statements. Basically, it comes down to scale... the unreasonable corporate scale or the more reasonable non profit world scale.

German artists want their white flags back. mmmkay... it doesn't really work that way.


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on August 15, 2014 at 19:02 | Comments (0)


4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42

Muscle_beach_PSU1.jpg

We pointed out a few of their members last month but now Muscle Beach is producing a show called, "4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42" at PSU's Littman Gallery. The #'s are a reference to the TV show LOST and deals somehow in object animism so there is a sense of unfolding at work here. It will feature; Luc Fuller, Nick Fusaro, Malcolm Hecht, Jonah Porter, Willie Young with a screenplay by Marc Matchak.



4, 8, 15, 16, 23 and 42 | August 14 - September 4
Opening Reception: Thursday, August 14, 7 - 10PM
August 14th - September 4th
The Littman & White Gallery
Portland State University [Smith Student Union]
1825 SW Broadway AVE, 2nd Floor


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on August 13, 2014 at 13:56 | Comments (0)


Monday Links

Gilbert and George share life lessons, surprise they care what Mom thinks...

Ben Davis' review of Christopher Williams' show at MoMA is a must read. About 5-6 years ago art that was mostly in code that was never meant to be understood was all the rage... and Davis explains why this show is the moment the trend has truly jumped the shark. In general, any visual art that leans hard on its title is in trouble. Kosuth, Weiner and Baldessari do it right by making the title kinda besides the point and redundant (ie. it isn't code or a secret handshake,that's just being clubby). In short it is too satisfied with itself and too cute by half. By comparison Duchamp seemed considerably less amused with himself... and instead implicated his part in the great art and life con, R. Mutt indeed.

The Prado looks like it might lose Bosch's The Garden Of Earthly Delights. Sure, it is one of the most famous paintings in the world but it was on loan from the King of Spain, whom coincidentally will be completing his own museum shortly. I don't know what is lost by having more museums? The Prado has plenty of masterpieces already.

HA proposes that Lygia Clark's work doesn't really mesh well with a crowded museum experience. It is true, some experiences demand a bit more space and less people to produce their full effect.


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on August 11, 2014 at 10:44 | Comments (0)


Shifting into Weird

Weird_FictionSF.jpg

One never knows what to expect from Weird Fiction or the Precipice Funded Weird Shift Storefront but apparently today's official Boring and Dull day wont be boring and dull if WFT has anything to say about it,

"Weird-Fiction (((WFT))) will be sharing tales of Strange Weather at Weird Shift Storefront, the warehouse of the weird, center for marginalia studies, coffee and conspiracy"

"...also on the bill Justin Lincoln and Devon Wootten and Jewelry Rash."

"All Month: work by Dakota Gearhart, Jane Long, and Klaus Pinter"

Weird Shift Storefront
Reception: August 9 | 7:30 PM - ???
201 N. Alberta ST


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on August 09, 2014 at 12:42 | Comments (0)


Friday Links

I have to agree with the Guardian... what makes Touching The Art so good is the way it doesn't know what it is (Borat for the art world?). Others who have tried this often desperately want to be comedy, critique or performance art but where TTA wins is the way in which it has no wish fulfillment and simmers in its own conceited white box. Overall, it isn't how it remains fastidiously out of touch with its own agenda (it's there of course) but it is the awkward way the art world isn't asking better questions and just shrugs itself off that is funny.


Peter Schjeldahl on the popularity of art and museums today.


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on August 08, 2014 at 14:44 | Comments (0)


First Thursday August 2014 Picks

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James Lavadour at PDX Contemporary

James Lavadour is a treasure and what I've always loved about his work is the way it deals with the chaos of science and more intuitive disciplines like music. His latest show title comes from the way science describes processes like the mixing of oil and water where fingers of instability create regions of change. His work lives up to any billing so check out one of the strongest painters working today.

Fingering Instabilities | August 5 - 30
Reception: August 7, 6 - 8PM
PDX Contemporary Art
925 NW Flanders


... (more)


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on August 07, 2014 at 14:02 | Comments (0)


Art radio on the internet

There is always something awkward about talking about visual art on the radio that can be quite refreshing... I think of it as a double awkwardness that strips away some of the normal defensiveness one finds in the art world. Think of it this way, those who are very generous and genuine really shine through when it is just their voice. Recently two of the most genuine and generous artists in Oregon have been on the radio.

Yesterday Eva Lake completed her last regularly scheduled interview for KBOO's Art Focus with the generous and eloquent James Lavadour who has a show at PDX Contemporary this month.

Last weekend PORT star Victor Maldonado guest curated OPB's State of Wonder (some of it concerning his residency at the Lavadour connected Crow Shadow project).


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on August 06, 2014 at 12:50 | Comments (0)


Nicola Lopez at OCAC

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Half-Life by Nicola Lopez

OCAC is presenting an installation, Half-Life, by Brooklyn based artist Nicola Lopez from the collection of Jordan Schnitzer. Half-Life's space shaping properties juxtaposing natural and built forms in a gigantic print format should be very interesting in OCAC's sylvan setting. The artist will be in attendance for the opening.

Nicola Lopez Half-Life | August 5 - September 27
Opening Reception: August 5, 5 - 7PM
Oregon College of Art and Craft
Hoffman Gallery
8245 SW Barnes Rd, Portland


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on August 04, 2014 at 10:47 | Comments (0)


Friday Links

The WSJ explains how the big auction houses find first time buyers for very expensive art. The fact that 25% of all auction sales went to 1st time buyers last year is incredible and why many seasoned vets avoid auctions (or at least say they do). The houses chum the waters with new blood, can't blame them really but it does explain why auctions are different than the galleries.

This letter to an artist includes some extremely practical advice... in particular this nugget, "There were a hundred people at my show last night and I knew everyone one of them by name." Being the truth teller I was I replied "That's too bad" and she was stunned and angry at me. She asked me why, and I replied "You can't depend on people you know to support your work indefinitely."

Tracey Emin and the Tate will be shacking up for the next 10 years... I want to dislike Emin's work but in fact I'm a huge fan (she's the diva of diaristic art). I hope it goes well...

Oregon City ups the ante... in terms of river redevelopment. Will it put Portland to shame or simply wake us up?


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on August 01, 2014 at 14:12 | Comments (0)


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