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First Thursday Picks May 2016
Reed College Art Theft
Bonnie Bronson and Mary Henry
Artist Opportunities
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PICA has new 16,000ft home
Tentative labor agreement at PNCA
Rowland Ricketts talk
Dispute Links
Habitats 2016 at the U of O Portland
First Thursday Picks April 2016
Some thoughts on the late Rick Bartow

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Thursday 05.05.16

 

First Thursday Picks May 2016

For the past year or so I've noticed that First Thursdays have been waning as other parts of Portland have frankly been more ambitious and noticeably fresher than our main gallery enclave in Northwest Portland's Pearl and Old Town districts. This is partially due to the fact that smaller galleries everywhere have had it tougher as mega galleries have ruled the universe. Obviously, Portland has no mega-galleries and that is part of our charm.

Well, this May's First Thursday looks like it is back with a vengeance serving up perhaps the freshest and most ambitious collection of exhibition receptions in perhaps a decade (anchors like PNCA and the U of O are in full effect after lots of changes but there is depth everywhere). What's more, not a single traditional media exhibition makes the cut. Nothing against them (obviously) but no oil paintings or cast metal sculpture are to be found on this list... we did that last month with 2 out of the 3 I picked. Another trend in may is women who are not academics or graduates of local art schools also making themselves felt. (Both new media and non academically affiliated females as groups are routinely and embarrassingly ignored in regional art awards... if you want an award over 5K prize one typically has to be a man, do traditional media work and or have some tie to a larger local art school as an alum or faculty). This is simply wrong as many of the ignored artists have national/international careers and frequently education from more elite schools. It makes us look clubby and closed minded, when in fact Portland has a very international, otherwise supportive and porous scene with excellent variety of traditional and cutting edge media.

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Ellen George, Untitled (Elemental 14) at PDX Contemporary

It has been a while since we have experienced a solo show from Ellen George... one of the most interesting and lyrical artists on the West Coast. Her latest titled May looks like another tour de force. Specializing in something akin to manageable installation art, few artists can claim to be as consistently excellent and poetically graceful as Ellen George.

May | May 3 - 28
PDX Contemporary
925 NW Flanders



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Memory Theater at Upfor

Installation art at PADA galleries is understandably rare but Upfor has taken on new media work like few west coast galleries. Their latest is Srijon Chowdhury's Memory Theater. According to the PR... (more)


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 04, 2016 at 18:31 | Comments (0)


Reed College Art Theft

The generalist media loves these sorts of stories about art thefts but stealing one half of a carved diptych by Leroy Setziol from Reed College is pretty sad. Yes it is worth something (quoted insurance values are accurate but in terms of easy resale, no) but as only half a piece it is essentially damaged goods. Anyone with information is asked to contact Reed's Community Safety's non-emergency line at 503-517-5355

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Leroy Setziol exhibition currently on view at PAM

To put a positive spin on this the Portland Art Museum currently has an exhibition of the artist's work on display and he's been a bit of a secret favorite of mine for years. My sense is someone decided this would be an escapade of opportunity... a professional would have stolen both parts or much more valuable pieces on display at Reed. Let's hope it comes back in the next 72 hours. You can find Setziol's work all over Portland and it always adds an air of grandly lyrical civilized activity... let's hope the spirit of the work convinces the perpetrator(s) to bring it back.

*Update: Good news, the panel has been returned though with some damage.


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 03, 2016 at 22:00 | Comments (0)


Bonnie Bronson and Mary Henry

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Mary Henry, The Fabric of Space at Jeffrey Thomas Fine Art (all photos Jeff Jahn)

For the past decade or so female artists have been a subject to a refocusing of scrutiny in the art world. My critic colleague Jerry Saltz has railed against institutions and a market, which still dont seem to value the the contributions of women. Still, artists like; Helen Frankenthaler, Hilma af Klint, Ruth Asawa, Judy Chicago, Anne Truitt, Kara Walker, Julie Mehretu, Dana Shutz, Wengechi Mutu and Mickalene Thomas have all seen their stars rising and there have been numerous exhibitions not the least of which was the opening exhibition of Hauser Wirth & Schimmel which presented many crucial artists (who happen to be women) both historical and contemporary in one exhibition. Clearly this is a moment... (more)


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on April 30, 2016 at 12:01 | Comments (0)


Artist Opportunities

It is a busy time of year so it is the perfect time to capitalize on some of those opportunities:

Houseguest is an exciting new initiative for bringing art interventions into Portland's Pioneer Courthouse Square (aka Portland's living room). It comes with a $20,000 stipend. Nice to see some considered site specificity being addressed for a change in our public art... rather quirk without context. Deadline: May 1st 2016

Is your work concerned with silence, awareness or existence? Then check out this themed residency in Finland. Deadline: April 29, 2016

The City of Seattle has put out a call for portable works. Deadline: June 7

The 12th annual Art in Odd places festival in New York City this year has a theme of race. Deadline: May 8th


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on April 27, 2016 at 14:40 | Comments (0)


Monday Links

An artist in London sends the gallery staff on vacation.

Though the installations for Megacities Asia are LARGE I'm not that convinced by most of them. Still it is good that they are utilizing the museum in nonstandard ways... most museums could be better about thinking of themselves as habitats for art rather than formal galleries.

San Francisco's art scene evolves at the top end with the new SFMOMA... while still out of the affordability range of most artists. That is a problem and though Portland is feeling pressure compared to other major West Coast cities we are still more affordable. Some interesting things could be done and I'm working on a think piece about this... to me a healthy arts ecosystem has room at all levels. San Fran is a place millionaires feel squeezed and many are decamping to Portland. Interesting how this will play out but one wonders if San Fran is just becoming a collection of itself? Seattle has struggled with to a much lesser degree and is still a city full of serious artists and among artists there is an international exchange zone between Vancouver BC going to to Seattle, Portland and then San Francisco.... sometimes LA. I'd like to see more West Coast co-curiosity?

The Met has been stumbling in its expansion but MoMA has Geffen's 100M gift... not certain if either will improve the institutions but they will "grow". Is growth ultimately the true measure of success? Seems like the Met could win simply by being a better/smarter patron to artists rather than simply building spaces with little intention? Growth for growth's sake just creates new problems.


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on April 25, 2016 at 12:46 | Comments (0)


PICA has new 16,000ft home

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PICA's 16,000 sq ft new HQ at 15 NE Hancock

Exciting news, PICA has a new 16,000 sq ft permanent home at 15 NE Hancock thanks to help from the Calligram Foundation. The architect will be Holst. Location wise it is just a few blocks from both the Rose Quarter and the main portion of N. Williams Avenue's district around Cook street. This will certainly be Northeast Portland's cultural anchor.

...(more including multiple interior images)


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on April 21, 2016 at 10:45 | Comments (0)


Tentative labor agreement at PNCA

The interim PNCA President Casey Mills regarding the ongoing labor protests, which are cancelled for today:

"A tentative agreement has been reached regarding the recent protests on campus. That agreement should be finalized today and implemented over the next two weeks. More details will follow as the agreement is implemented.

In the meantime, let's celebrate one of the great events of the year at PNCA: Focus Week. Join me in going to as many events as you can to support our students and faculty.

John Casey Mills"

This is a good development. Hopefully, they have come with something innovative that will be a longstanding template for all higher education regarding adjuncts? The system is very broken. I have friends both on the PNCA board and adjuncts affected. In knowing both as I do if anyone can come up with solutions, they can.


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on April 21, 2016 at 10:38 | Comments (0)


Rowland Ricketts talk

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As part of Portland Design Week the MFA AC+D Studio is presenting a talk by Rowland Ricketts tomorrow. Trained in indigo farming and dyeing in Japan, Rickett's textile based work combines three things of enduring aesthetic interest, the color blue as mediated by texture and revealed through light.

Rowland Ricketts Lecture | April 20, 6:30PM 2016
MFA Applied Craft + Design Studios
421 NE 10th Ave


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on April 19, 2016 at 16:34 | Comments (0)


Dispute Links

There were labor protests today at PNCA regarding treatment of adjuncts and fallout from the move to the 511 building. I'm going to take a balanced approach to this... adjuncts in most higher education institutions are simply not compensated enough and it makes sense that a progressive city like Portland would be a place this question of fairness is addressed. It also shows how much Tom Manley meant to the school by keeping things together and how crucial his replacement will be. It also reiterates why the Museum of Contemporary Craft closure was inevitable (some of the adjuncts not renewed were extremely critical of the closure and took rather personal shots at the administration, so some of this should not be a surprise... others like Nan Curtis are pretty much PNCA personified so losing her seems to be a squandering of institutional continuity [Curtis was once the head of the sculpture department and founder/curator of the Feldman Gallery] others were simply very experienced educators). What I see is this, building campaigns continuously forget to raise endowments for teaching positions and expanded programs and pain ensues. Ironically this is exactly what got the Museum of Contemporary Craft in trouble in the first place. The only solution is what I call the Ferriso strategy (after PAM's Director who insists on endowments to support programs and positions, not a new idea but very stabilizing). Handled the right way this could make PNCA and Portland stronger, but this is difficult when both sides harshly typecast each other when in fact both sides have their backs against different but valid financial walls. Solution, raise endowments, review allocations and or size accordingly but the best way is to take the ethical high ground and not demonize each other personally (despite being Portland's toughest critical voice I never do that). Right now things are in the Mea culpa finger pointing phase and some moderate PNCA voices are feeling unwelcome in either camp. Another idea, what if the sales from the MoCC space added to an endowment for adjuncts? That would be a radical change, no school does that and I doubt they would consider it.

Knoedler director breaks her silence over forgery scandal.

Labor protests over the Guggenheim are set to resume. So it isn't just an Arab Spring... it it an uprising of ethics in the visual arts? hmmm...

Warhol theft isn't exactly the headline grabber that is being shilled to the generalist media. It is why we need specialists covering these things... we have understanding of scope and scale that a jack of all trades wont (even a cultural jack of all trades).


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on April 18, 2016 at 10:08 | Comments (0)


Habitats 2016 at the U of O Portland

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Video still from "God's Eye View" by Adam Simmons, commissioned for Habitats April 14 - May 14 (2016)

As I've mentioned before I have been working on another enormous multimedia/intellectually demanding project and the time has come to let PORT readers and everyone else know. I've been helping with the U of O's 6th annual What Is? conference titled What Is? Media and co-curating the interwoven exhibition Habitats featuring feminist/artificial intelligence art pioneer Lynn Hershman Leeson (who will speak at PAM on the 15th). Check out the official Habitats page for the full list of artists. Yes, this is at the U of O in Portland and the exhibition is free to everyone, conference attendance not required.

The conference itself has a tremendous lineup with speakers from MIT, The New York Times, Oxford and Stanford etc. Panels will be of interest to any intellectual interested in; gender, materiality, technologies, curation (I'm a participant my presentation is some of my best writing), literacies, cinema, nutrition, pornography and installation art.

Habitats is an installation art heavy multi-media exploration of media (in the broadest definition)as a habitat. Portland hasn't seen a large group show like this in a long time and it features; virtual reality, architecture, drones, proposed hybridized human organs, artificial intelligence, hacked video games, honey bees, wolf packs and more. It opens on Thursday April 14th at 7:00 at the University of Oregon's Portland campus beneath the Made in Oregon sign.

PR Statement: "The exhibition emerges at the University of Oregon in Portland's Light Court Commons, in collaboration with the WHITE BOX Gallery, and the Library & Learning Commons. HABITATS has been organized in conjunction with the sixth annual WHAT IS...? Conference-Experience on the themes of medium and media. The question, WHAT IS MEDIA? will have many answers and illicit even more questions, but curators, Jeremy Swartz, Jeff Jahn, and Cris Moss, expect that this participatory experience will engage artist-artifact-audience as a process of meaningful discourse. As such, art is a medium of communication, and communication is a medium--or environment--of art. These artists have cultivated their idiomatic hives/swarms/flocks/packs, and their mediums are enacted as HABITATS."

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Habitats (installation view), Styrobot (bg) Michael Salter, Alvarium (fg) Laura Fritz

...(more, with images of work in the exhibition)


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on April 09, 2016 at 12:00 | Comments (0)


First Thursday Picks April 2016

Well this First Thursday is a hot one, here are some of the coolest shows to check out. Here are my picks:

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James Rosenquist at PNCA

James Rosenquist is a living legend... his pop art works took the melange of British pop artists like Richard Hamilton and gave it a cleaner, sleeker more muscle car meets slick advertising sheen that likely paved the way towards minimalism but it also reflected the state of advertising imagery at the time (Hamilton, Johns even Rauschenberg nearly always come off as more more nostalgic, whereas Rosenquist feels immediate). You absolutely must check out his Lifetime Achievement Award Exhibition: James Rosenquist at PNCA's 511 building, drawn from Jordan Schnitzer's collection. Lots of other interesting exhibitions happening at PNCA too so I'd hit 511 NW Broadway for sure.

Lifetime Achievement Award Exhibition: James Rosenquist | March 30 - ?
First Thursday: April 7, 6:00-8:00PM
PNCA (511 Gallery)
511 NW Broadway



...(more)


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on April 07, 2016 at 13:38 | Comments (0)


Some thoughts on the late Rick Bartow

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Rick Bartow telling stories and sharing wisdom with youth at Missoula Art Museum

We are deeply saddened to report that Rick Bartow passed away yesterday April 2nd. Based in Newport Oregon Rick had grown into the role of the sage, wise old man and as he'd tell you he went about this the hard way. His zootrophical sculptures and 2D works revealed this. In particular his paintings and drawings of birds seemed to speak of the fragility and mortality of life while his bear and wolf sculptures spoke of a kind of continuity in existence.... (more)


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on April 03, 2016 at 12:03 | Comments (0)


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