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See it Saturday
Andrea Geyer at PICA
Monday Links
Thoughts on Sigmar Polke
PSU MFA Project Events, 2014 Part I
Jesper Just speaks at PAM
Monday Links
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First Thursday Picks April 2014
15 Years in Portland
Wafaa Bilal at Linfield
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Sunday 04.20.14

 

See it Saturday

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Clement Greenberg looking at a Kenneth Noland

Blackfish is 35 this year and Blackfish member and Reed College professor Michael Knutson noticed coincidentally that Clement Greenberg's much hated and yet relentlessly referenced essay Avant-Garde and Kitsch is celebrating its 75th birthday as well. It was kismet so Knutson set about convening a panel of art writers, critics and historians to discuss both Greenberg's most famous work and the way its influence becomes a lens on art today. Greenberg later he recanted many of his definitions of kitsch. Panelists include; Randy Gragg, Eva Lake, Barry Johnson, Paul Sutinen, Sue Taylor and myself. It should be an interesting mix as our backgrounds vary from artists like Lake and Sutinen to journalists like Gragg and Johnson to historians like Taylor and myself. Knutson will moderate and we have been asked to discuss some of our favorite exhibitions as well so it should provide ample opportunity to learn some insights into your local art press corps, all in one convenient place. I've lived here 15 years and Portland has never convened a panel like this.

Avant-Garde and Kitsch Today | April 19th, 2:00PM
Blackfish
420 NW 9th ave



Albers_Whatcom.jpg
Josef Albers (American, b. Germany, 1888-1976) Homage to the Square, edition 35/125, 1967 screenprint

If you are in the Bellingham area catch Radical Repetition: Albers to Warhol at the Whatcom Museum. Culled from the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation's collection of international prints and Northwest art the show explores the effects of serial sequencing in art imagery in figurative and abstract art.

Radical Repetition: Albers to Warhol | April 19 - August 17
Whatcom Museum
Bellingham Washington


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on April 17, 2014 at 16:49 | Comments (0)


Andrea Geyer at PICA

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Andrea Geyer, Three Chants Modern

It has been obvious that 2014 is the year of heightened attention on women's representation in the art world and roles in its history. So it is exciting that PICA has tackled the subject head on by presenting the U.S. premiere of Andrea Geyer's two-channel video installation, Three Chants Modern. Geyer will also speak tomorrow at PSU's Shattuck Annex, April 16th at 7:00PM.

The video was, "Commissioned by the Museum of Modern Art, New York during a research residency at the museum in 2013 and made possible by MoMA's Wallis Annenberg Fund for Innovation in Contemporary Art through the Annenberg Foundation, Three Chants Modern looks at the network of women thinkers, social and political activists, artists and philanthropists who were the creative drivers and institutional pillars of the Modernist Project in New York in the early part of the 20th century. Three Chants addresses how history and power are constructed, in part, through the undeniable legacy of these women in contrast to their sparse representation in the formal history of the period."

Andrea Geyer: Three Chants Modern | April 19 - June 21, 2014
Opening Reception: April 19, 6:00 - 9:00PM
Artist Talk: April 16, 7:00PM, PSU Shattuck Hall Annex
PICA
415 SW 10th Ave, Suite 300
Gallery Hours: Tuesday - Friday 11:00 - 6:00PM | Saturday 11:00 - 4:00PM


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on April 15, 2014 at 16:25 | Comments (0)


Monday Links

Brian Libby says goodby to PNCA's Goodman building. It is no secret that PNCA has been undergoing growing pains... experiencing both massive growth and contractions at the same time (in different areas like enrollment, new departments and physical plant). This gets more painful the larger the institution is. Let's hope the 511 years lead to a stable golden age for the school as it consolidates more around the North Park Blocks. The Goodman building's commons area has been Portland's arts oriented living room more than any other space in the city can claim, though they were also difficult for some uses.

File under odd, Cyndy Sherman responds to James Franco. He's a good actor and a forgettable artist but I appreciate his appreciation of visual art.

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Francis Bacon Triptych recently on view at PAM (during install)

This is very stale news in Portland's scene but the NYT's has finally taken notice of something that has been going on for over a decade in Oregon, showing art bought at auctions in our museums. It can blind some (like traditional journalists) with a less broadly based art historical backgrounds and it makes the discourse reactionary and short sighted. First of all, some arguments are more than a little specious. Arguably, the history of arts patronage has always been related to tax avoidance, but perhaps that is the wrong term. Museums have always trafficked in that grey area interchange between wealthy collectors and sharing with the masses. Thus, in a way they take the mostly hidden impulse to hoard treasures and turn them into cultural/economic boosters (bringing people downtown etc). Museums are one of the few places the rich are taxed more proportionately... (more)


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on April 14, 2014 at 10:57 | Comments (0)


Thoughts on Sigmar Polke

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Works by Sigmar Polke from the Nicolas Berggruen Charitable Trust on display at the Portland Art Museum in 2013 (L to R) Providentia-Schleife (1986), Untitled (1989), Druckfehler (1986), Lumpy Hinter dem Ofen (1983), Untitled (1983), photo Jeff Jahn

With the opening of Sigmar Polke's retrospective, Alibis at MoMA, there has been a sudden and massive interest in his work. PAM had a wonderful and very strong exhibition of Polke's work last year (which Victor reviewed), including a couple of key works in the Polke retrospective.

Polke's work has always left me conflicted. Back in the 80's and early 90's you couldn't take in a major museum without confronting one or two of his works, each generally very different from the last. It was incongruous work that reveled in its own capricious quality that dealt in the seams of various pastiches while being exhaustively inventive in its general dolor. That wasn't a bad thing. It was a lot like a less hopeful version of Rauschenberg's quilts of material and imagery but suffused with a German cynicism of history that isn't present in the major American work that preceded it... (more)


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on April 11, 2014 at 10:24 | Comments (0)


PSU MFA Project Events, 2014 Part I

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Perry Doane Carbonaut

In the past 5 years or so PSU's MFA and BFA project shows for their studio arts program have become one of the few reliably exciting student exhibitions in Portland. PSU's program has produced artists like Damien Gilley, Holly Andres, Chase Biado and Derek Bourcier and too many others to list. To kick things off this year there are 3 MFA candidates with openings and artists talks on PSU's campus; Perry Doane, Mark Martinez and Isaac Fletcher Weiss.

Opening Receptions for all 3 (in respective galleries): April 10, 6-8PM
Exhibitions: April 7 - 21, 2014
Perry Doane - Carbonaut - Autzen Gallery
Mark Martinez - CREAM - AB Lobby Gallery
Isaac Fletcher Weiss - Musings in the Face of Certain Death - MK Gallery
Artist Talks: Perry Doane & Isaac Fletcher Weis @ Shattuck Annex @ Wednesday, April 9 2014, 6-8PM
Mark Martinez @ Shattuck Annex Wednesday, April 15, 2014, 6-7PM
Portland State University galleries & Shattuck Annex


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on April 08, 2014 at 16:15 | Comments (0)


Jesper Just speaks at PAM



Jesper Just spoke at the Portland Art Museum last Sunday but you can watch much of it here. Catch his exhibition on dislpay at PAM until June 1st.


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on April 08, 2014 at 10:36 | Comments (0)


Monday Links

Finally some hard stats on women in the art world... basically 70% of represented artists are men. I'm uncertain about how those stats bear out in Portland but it is definitely true that men generally get statistically more representation in awards and group shows (Portland2014 being just another example, as is the far more consequential Whitney Biennial). Why is this? I think it is generally the way women are penalized for being ambitious and or promoting themselves, whereas men are encouraged. It also comes down to complicated interpersonal politics (who has kids, who doesn't, who teaches with whom, a cultural preoccupation focus on the events in a woman's life rather than the work) that are almost always more loaded for women. In general, the dudes are simply less complicated even though to my eyes a clear majority of the strong to excellent artists in a place like Portland are women.

Check out this tiny self portrait Caravaggio snuck into one of his most famous works. See?

Larry Sultan and Mike Mandel's altered billboards in Juxtapoz.

Seattle buys some Ai Weiwei baubles.

Namita Wiggers on Craft in the Brooklyn Rail. First of all, the term accidental primitivism doesn't work, its terrible jargon. There is nothing "accidental" about utilizing a centuries old tradition, and it is... (more)


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on April 07, 2014 at 11:02 | Comments (1)


Reflecting Pool

Reflecting_Pool.jpg

Lewis and Clark often graduates art scene leaders who create interesting venues like Kyle Thompson and Caitlin Ducey (12128), Jack Shimko (Haze), Justin Oswald (Gallery 500) or even Katherine Bovee who invaluably helped to launch PORT itself back in 2005. Here is this year's crop of L&C Seniors in a show titled Reflecting Pool.

Larissa Board
Flynn A. Casey
Tony Chrenka
Matt Cogdill
Matthew Colodny
Sophia Dagnello
Kelsey H. Davis
Hilary Devaney
Jonas Fahnestock
Rhianna Feeney
Elaine B. Fehrs
Stephanie Kudisch
Chloe McAusland
Matt Mulligan
Savannah Prentiss
Samantha Sarvet
Camille Shumann
Helen Regina Rosenbaum
Taylor Wallau
Amelia Walsh
Kelsey Westergard
Julianna Winchell
Rachel Wolfson
Em Young
Irene Zoller Huete

Reflecting Pool | April 4 - May 11
Opening Reception: April 4th, 5-7PM
Gallery Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 11-4PM
Ronna and Eric Hoffman Gallery of Contemporary Art
Lewis & Clark
0615 S.W. Palatine Hill Road


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on April 03, 2014 at 14:20 | Comments (0)


First Thursday Picks April 2014

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Eva Lake's Anonymous Woman #55

Eva Lake is another of those Portland stalwarts that really makes Portland what it is. She is from Oregon but has put in her time in New York, London and San Francisco etc. To a certain degree (like all artists and in particular female ones) she was taken for granted but when her fantastic collages of women were debuted that all changed and she started to get a following in New York and Switzerland. I was the first to point out how good this work was and it is exciting to finally see another of her shows in Portland. This series focuses not on Hollywood Starlets of the Target Series but on those anonymous faces that seem to be perpetuated in the media. It is the way she amplifies anonymity that she gives the work an even stronger surrealist charge.

Anonymous Women | April 3- 26
Augen Gallery
716 N.W. Davis
s


...(more Blackfish and Mies van der Rohe damage)


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on April 03, 2014 at 11:46 | Comments (0)


15 Years in Portland

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Photo Jeff Jahn

Today marks the 15th anniversary of my moving to Portland. I chose this place because there was already an art scene but it seemed like Portland was ready for much more. Also, on the West Coast culture is a growth industry. In general, Portlanders are passionate and driven people who have chosen this place for moral not economic reasons.

Back in the early aughts many who had lived here for a while didn't think it was possible for Portland to be something other than a remote place where people went to avoid the rest of the world. They were quite simply, wrong. Now the world increasingly comes here and it isn't uncommon for an artist to have a national/international career showing at major venues. That said most of our larger institutions have not been crucial in facilitating that kind of export career and it is something to work on, even though there has been some headway made like the Precipice Fund. Also, many old school Portlanders who are hold overs from before "the revolution" of 2001-2003 have a difficult time addressing greatness/ambition within Portland's city limits... for example, Mark Rothko (where PAM really stepped up), Robert Colescott, the details of PCVA's programming and the city's very active alternative spaces still don't get the respect/civic ownership deserved somehow because they ceased or are transient in nature. That very serious snark aside, I've been very lucky that Portland and its citizens have been so supportive of a role that is both of Portland and also acts as a go between for the rest of the world.

To celebrate the anniversary (or for some, their chagrin) this April is chok full of events where I'll be making appearances as Portland's most visible curator/critic combo. For starters a panel discussion on challenging art and Clement Greenberg on April 19th, 2PM at Blackfish Gallery for their 35th anniversay and I am guest curating OPB's State of Wonder radio program on April 26, where I'll reveal a few new projects I've been working on. Other announcements, essays, interviews etc will take place throughout the month (including the trailer for my first movie, Cardenio on the 26th) and the beginning of PORT's series of pieces on contemporary patrons who are actually patrons, not just market speculators. There will also be an essay on art criticism posted before the talk on the 19th but this short piece on the subject is a good preview.

Like a lot of Gen X, Y and Millennials I chose Portland because the city had a more granular non-corporate civic character. This character makes it porous to people who want to make a mark based on merit rather than resume or market capitalization. Portland was a ... (more)


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on April 01, 2014 at 17:26 | Comments (0)


Wafaa Bilal at Linfield

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In 2007, Iraqui artist Wafaa Bilal caused an international sensation with a performance called Domestic Tension, where he lived in a gallery constantly shelled by paint ball guns controlled by people far away via the internet. It was a critique of unmanned drones and it also gave the artist PTSD on the way to art world stardom. For Linfield college Bilal will perform a site specific piece called I Don't Know Their Names, an exercise in barely perceivable writing that recalls the way victims cease being individuals and simply become part of an aggregate disaster toll.

"Bilal will engage in a durational performance daily in the Linfield Gallery, Tuesday, April 1 - Friday, April 4, during regular gallery hours, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. The performance will continue on Saturday, April 5, 12 p.m. - 5 p.m. Gallery visitors are welcome to quietly watch as the artist is focused on creating this site-specific exhibition".

Wafaa Bilal | April 1 - May 10
Artist Talk: Wednesday, April 2, 6PM, reception following
Linfield Gallery | Linfield College
900 SE Baker st., McMinnville, OR


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on March 31, 2014 at 15:14 | Comments (0)


Monday Links

You don't hear much about female light and space artists but LACMA's Helen Pashigan show is set to alter that.

Jerry Saltz takes on an art flipper. The main problem is treating artists as a mere market that is easily cornered, hyped, inflated then turned over like what used to happen to commodities in the 70's and 80's. The thing is Art requires a long term view and a supple aspect that is being lost here. It isn't the market, academia, institutional commitments or critical response... it is all of the above that matter. Also, when attention in any one area is over-inflated it builds resistance from the other corners of the art world. Also, the question of taste isn't being foregrounded... it is the ability to influence and motivate. There is a distinct difference and strong taste tends to justify itself because it has a certain integrity to it.

In case you missed it, for the second year in a row Brian Libby chose the venues for the Portland Modern Home Tour. My oh my, has Portland's image and design IQ changed or what?


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on March 31, 2014 at 10:05 | Comments (0)


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