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Portland art district report & link-o-rama
Utopia and Obsolescence
Report from Taking Place
Cut and Paste: Paul Fujita and Eunice Parsons at Chambers Gallery
The Euro is strong
Around Cyberspace...
Linda Farris 1945-2005
SCRAPpy Saturday
Last Days
Friday in the City
July Calls for Artists
Ingredients: Art Battle

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Sunday 07.31.05

Portland art district report & link-o-rama

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Portland is changing on a weekly basis and the latest critical i (my longrunning monthly column for NWdrizzle) does a little midterm report card for the numerous art districts in town. Read it here.

The most notable finding is that a large # of very sophisticated graduates from good art schools continue to lead and redefine the sophistication level of the city. It seems like every young person in Portland is an artist.

Overall, it isn't the institutions or galleries leading the way it's the almost goldrush phenomena of the artists scene that continues to be where the best action is in PDX (as many of us like to call it). That said, the fact that there are 2 newly minted arts districts and most of the galleries and institutions are becoming more cutting edge seems to back up Portland's reputation as a progressive city on the move.

Want more portland blogs?

Ultrapdx covers Portland's very active fashion scene

Eva Lake's Lovelake covers her experience as an artist and gallerist

Portland Food covers the very good and expansive restaurant scene in PDX (my recommendations clarklewis and Bluehour)

and if you really want to dive into the Portland experience check out these blog spots: Orblogs and Urbanhonking

Posted by Jeff Jahn on July 31, 2005 at 22:05 | Comments (1)

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Friday 07.29.05

Utopia and Obsolescence

Legacy: Boxed Version.
Installation by Philippe Blanc and Katherine Bovee.
7-18 to 9-16-05.
Northview Gallery, Portland Community College, Sylvania Campus (CT Building)
12000 SW 49th AVE, Portland, OR, 97219
Gallery Hours: M-F, 8am-4 pm or by appt: 503-977-8017

PORT's own Katherine Bovee and husband Philippe Blanc explore ideas of utopia and virtual experience in Legacy: Boxed Version, an installation in PCC Sylvania's Northview Gallery.

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The sculptures are low material replicas of high culture objects: computers, monitors, and power cables facsimiled from cardboard and white clothesline. The pieces are crafted with meticulous precision, the model of choice, the Mac Mini, is instantly recognizable, and there appears to be no variation between individual replicas. There is a high level of detail in the replications, including cardboard switches on power strips and cardboard prongs on plugs.

Clothesline cables attach the cardboard computers to towers of flatscreen cardboard monitors. The monitors "display" images of Grecian columns wreathed in vines. At the center of the piece five cardboard monitors flat on the ground form a reflecting pool.

Legacy finds a curious intersection between the origins of Western culture in ancient Greece, the virtual space of video game environments, and utopian models...

Posted by Isaac Peterson on July 29, 2005 at 19:16 | Comments (0)

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Report from Taking Place

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Last weekend marked the beginning of Taking Place, a series of lectures, screenings, talks and events initiated by Stephanie Snyder, Matthew Stadler and Sam Gould.

The premises of this nearly two month long investigation is to pose questions that disrupt the notion of place as a geographical entity, instead proposing that place is as much of an outcome of social and psychological forces than geographic realities. Each one of the three organizers of Taking Place shares a particular interest in this notion, further articulated in the small catalog that accompanies the series. Gould, working through the artist collective Red76, has undertaken many projects that activate spaces in unexpected ways, often employing social gathering as a means to lend new meaning to a particular place. One of the latest Red76 projects, the Laundry Lecture series, appropriates the laundromat as had hoc lecture hall. Stephanie Snyder, curator of Reed College's Cooley Gallery, is deeply interested in diasporic space - one example of the transportability of space - and the collective imagination that sustains these displaced spaces. Matthew Stadler strives to find meaning in contemporary places where designations like "city" and "country" are inadequate to describe the spaces we occupy.

Although I didn't catch all of the first weekend's events, I did catch work by artist collective Dynamite Family, who was on hand last Sunday to present posters from their ongoing project, Potential Energy, and Mini Movie Fest. Hailing from Grand Rapids, Michigan, members of Dynamite Family have recently embarked on a series of projects in an attempt to connect with and solicit work from other similar collectives around the U.S. Their most recent projects share a sense of transportability, making their inclusion within the lineup of Taking Place participators a very logical choice...

Posted by Katherine Bovee on July 29, 2005 at 1:19 | Comments (0)

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Wednesday 07.27.05

Cut and Paste: Paul Fujita and Eunice Parsons at Chambers Gallery

Cut and Paste: New Work by Eunice Parsons and Paul Fujita at the Chambers Gallery (207 SW Pine St. #102)

The very first opening of Eva Lake's newly formed Chambers gallery provided a frisson of excitement from blocks away, simply because of its timing: July 14th, Bastille Day! Despite the strong argument for happenstance, one couldn't help but associate the events. And it was a deep, rich optimism centered on the efficacy of art that permeated my thinking as I walked down 2nd street toward the new gallery. Perhaps this is what artists really are, revolutionaries who tear apart confining structures to release raucous creative potentials general society would prefer to keep hidden. Ah well, let them eat cake!

20 complex, painterly collages by 88-years-young Eunice Parsons are featured in the main gallery while the smaller room displays the work of skater Paul Fujita. A great strength of this show is the curatorial insight that drew a parallel between these two artists. Fujita's painterly assemblages of broken skateboards are an elegant counterpoint to Parsons' modernist compositions. Walking between the two rooms, synonyms begin to emerge in the details. Parsons' use of ticket stubs and forwarded post initiates themes of travel and experience that seem to carry into the other room with Fujita's use of map fragments and consideration of the history of the boards as vehicles.

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L'arme de Loisier

Parsons' collages are composed with intricate consideration, but occasionally she moves with a speed and daring any skater would admire. L'arme de Loisier, the source of the postcard, is striking in its force and simplicity. A billboard poster is torn into three large pieces and rearranged on a painted orange ground. The poster's large red target with white numbers and bullet holes is torn neatly in half. The tension created by the divided circle is the central dynamic in Parsons' composition, and sets the...

Posted by Isaac Peterson on July 27, 2005 at 18:32 | Comments (0)

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Tuesday 07.26.05

The Euro is strong

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Ok, Northview Gallery curator and artist Marie Watt has finally found a way to get me all the way out to the PCC Sylvania campus. PORT's own Katherine Bovee and her evil genius husband Philippe Blanc have another show so Euro you might need to rename yourself Per and pay $5 a gallon for fuel to really see it properly. All kidding aside, they are two of the most promising artists around here and I watch their development closely. You can see what I mean because there is an artist lecture & gallery reception Thursday, July 28, 2 pm for their legacy: boxed version show.

It sounds promising but will it be better than Savepoint, their previous show? They had strong, sophisticated ideas but the visual vocabulary was a bit anonymous in that outing.

Here is their statement:

"Playing with the intersection between art history, technology and gaming environments, legacy presents an idealized landscape fashioned out of simulated computer parts. The work included in legacy continues our exploration of the culture and vocabulary of computers by introducing computers as aesthetic objects, while simultaneously transposing discourse surrounding contemporary art into terms familiar to the computer user."

During the lecture, they will discuss the implications of presenting tech art within a gallery space as well as several current, past and future projects.

Northview Gallery
Portland Community College, Sylvania Campus
12000 SW 49th Avenue, Portland, OR 97219

Hours: M - F 8 am - 4 pm or by appt (503.977.8017)

The Northview Gallery is located in the CT building

Posted by Jeff Jahn on July 26, 2005 at 21:08 | Comments (0)

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Monday 07.25.05

Around Cyberspace...

Ben Davis recaps Scope Hamptons on Artnet. In it, he takes customary swipes at Scope for being scrappy, cites the growing presence of Latin American artists and gives props to Lifeboat by Paul Middendorf (PDX) and Mary Mattingly (NYC) of Manifest Artistry.

Tyler Green dishes the dirt on Thomas Krens' future at the Gugg. With his loft on the market, is he moving on or just moving?

AbLA likens the art market to the music biz with some precautionary words. With an (over?)inflated market and a recent tendency toward short-sightedness, is the art world setting itself up for a string of vapid one hit wonders? Caryn argues, and I agree, that artists, gallerists and collectors need to take the long view to build careers, not another spash in the pan.

Posted by Jennifer Armbrust on July 25, 2005 at 20:31 | Comments (0)

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Linda Farris 1945-2005

Simply, the greatest public champion of cutting edge art by cutting edge artists in the Pacific Northwest...

Linda Farris passed away at her Seattle home Friday July 22nd as a hero to those in the visual arts because of her personal loyalty, eye and panache.

Through her eponymous gallery in Seattle, Farris brought the likes of Robert Rauschenberg and Louise Nevelson to the Pacific Northwest.

Despite the big time names it was her frank honesty, over the top hustle and daring that made her more than just an art dealer but an icon of fearlessness. Of all the people I have met in the art world none has impressed me like Linda Farris. With no double talk, a deep trust in artists, crazy in the best possible way, constant risk taking and a probing intelligence... she stood out. I respected her ability to piss off wall flowers and naysayers. Her legacy lives on in the artists whom she supported.

Her innovative Contemporary Art Project (1999-2002) brought together 13 investors who each gave Linda $15,000 a year to collect cutting edge contemporary art. The results on such a modest budget were spectacular featuring; Justine Kurland, Sue De Beer, Karin Davie, Julie Mehretu, Delia brown, Cecily Brown, Lisa Yuskavage and Inka Essenhigh. In 2002 the CAP collection found its permanent home at the Seattle Art Museum.

She also made contemporary art exciting on a personal grass roots level in Seattle, championing the work of Robert Yoder, Sherry Markovitz, Norie Sato and Jeffrey Bishop. After closing her gallery in 1996 she was instrumental in her support of artists like Jack Daws & Lisa Leidgren and many others in Seattle. Linda had a fast eye and supported Portland luminaries like Damali Ayo, Jacqueline Ehlis and Laura Fritz before anyone else in Seattle realized a renaissance was occurring to the south. Hell, she caught on faster than most in Portland.

Yes, she's known as a very public personality but she was incredibly personable in the confidence of small groups.

My fondest memories are driving her around downtown Portland with Frank Zappa's "peaches en regalia" blasting on the stereo, her incredibly good advice and her refereeing of a footrace in the University of Washington's Red Square between myself and Jacqueline Ehlis (fittingly between Linda and Barnett Newman's "Broken Obelisk").

It is an understatement to state that no Pacific Northwest art dealer before or since has had the balls of Linda Farris. It's fitting that her life sets a challenge. She set the bar and we could all do well to be a little bit more like her, but there will be only one Linda Farris.


Also, check out the Seattle Post Intelligencer on Linda Farris here. Please feel free to leave some of your reminiscences about Linda as comments on PORT.... I fully expect her deeds to outlive the legend of her well lived life

Posted by Jeff Jahn on July 25, 2005 at 2:06 | Comments (1)

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Friday 07.22.05

SCRAPpy Saturday

I have been doubly blessed this week with not one, but two art battles! Spoiled indeed. First, Ingredients and now, Iron Artist, SCRAP's annual fundraiser. For those of you somehow in the dark, SCRAP is a local re-use, re-cycle funhouse packed with all sorts of strange arts and crafts supplies you never knew you needed for dirt cheap. Saturday afternoon their fundraiser kicks off with 10 teams of artists, celebrity judges, raucous referees, and loud-mouth MCs, plus beer garden, carnival games, raffle, costumes, DJs and much, much more.

Each team will be given boxes of similar materials and three short hours for the "sculpt off". Materials will be provided by SCRAP, the ReBuilding Center, Wacky Willy's and Free Geek. The event is timed and monitored by a raucous team of referees who will throw yellow flags while handing out bonus points and demerits. Watch Team Tazo, Lensbabies, Wild Oats, Gallery 500, Junk Town and others hash it out to determine who is The Iron Artist.

The winning sculpture will be placed in the lobby of the 5th Avenue Suites Hotel for First Thursday, August 4th. Plus, this event is the perfect opportunity to check out the Northeast's newest hotspot, the Wonder Ballroom.

July 23rd, 3:30 to 10p
The Wonder Ballroom • 128 NE Russell

Posted by Jennifer Armbrust on July 22, 2005 at 17:31 | Comments (0)

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Last Days

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By now you know that Gus Van Sant's latest film, Last Days, isn't about Kurt Cobain. Go see it anyways, because it's a gorgeous elliptical existential study of a human being, who like the rest of us... is trapped by the inevitability of death.

This film is much less about the scraps from Cobain's life than fans will demand and more of a brilliant take on the topic of euthanasia. It is a subject which will soon be debated in the Supreme Court (and a new justice complicates it further). Van Sant lives in Portland and Oregon is the only state that has legalized euthanasia. Americans really don't think much about death but this film does more than its fair share of work on the subject.

For those less artistically inclined, Last Days might draw complaints of slowness but for people who look at paintings, this film displays a true mastery of time. The whole film practically stands still, giving everything, including the making of macaroni and cheese a sense of geological scale.

Compared to the affected art world slowness of Matthew Barney or even Eve Sussman, this down to earth approach connects better. In many ways it takes the work of video artists like Fischli and Weiss (who put a kitten lapping up milk up on the Times Square jumbo-torn) and turns such mundane beauty into incredibly sustained movement shots where Blake is a train and everything else becomes the rails. The effect is breathtaking for many reasons.

For one, the long uncut shots make the viewer notice when a cut is used. It interrupts our consciousness and it isn't surprising it is used for several blackouts.

It also emphasizes the inevitability of the story which we all know will end in death.

Van Sant uses lots of symbolism for inevitability including numerous references to trains, reoccurring scenes that are slightly different, a hilariously utopian Boys II Men video and a musical performance that makes extensive use of looped sampling (something I doubt Cobain would have done but Thurston Moore was the musical consultant so it still has plenty of indie cred).

My favorite scene was the groundskeeper as a quasi grim reaper, which features the greatest use of a long handled tree saw in all of film history. I also found the constant use of reflected trees on windows impressive.

Overall, it's one of my favorite Van Sant films, especially because of its truncated square format that makes the film even more claustrophobic and intimate. So get over the Cobain trivia, this is about life and death and although Cobain casts a long shadow his celebrity means nothing next to the universal experience of death.

Last Days opens at Cinema 21 Friday July 22nd

Posted by Jeff Jahn on July 22, 2005 at 1:00 | Comments (0)

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Friday in the City

image002.jpg Justin "Scrappers" Morrison at V-Gun

The Enchanted Forest at V-Gun
And the winner of this summer's prolific artist award is... Justin "Scrappers" Morrison. Justin is showing in six (count 'em!) exhibitions this month. Tonight you can catch him and his newest paintings at V-Gun with The Enchanted Forest. Using recycled, salvaged, and eco-friendly paint, Morrison works on found and discarded wood. Exploring the wilderness within, his colorful narratives play host to a cast of lumberjacks, savage scouts, happy hobos, vintage beer commercials, protesters, strange trees, unicorn and yetis, all reminding you to "stay wild". As a bonus, 10% of proceeds go to benefit animal welfare.
Opening July 22nd, 6 to 9p • Through September 10th
V-Gun • 412 SW Fourth Avenue • Tel. 503.226.3400

Taking Place: A Summer of Programming Gets Underway
Taking Place is a cultural investigation initiated by Sam Gould, Stephanie Snyder and Matthew Stadler. With an action-packed schedule of events between now and September 12th, Taking Place will investigate different modes and meanings of "taking" and "place". It all kicks off tonight at the Oak Street Building with A NEW BEGINNING. Attendees will be met at the door by a host who will guide them to a musical convocation at Marriage Records by Mount Eerie, Karl Blau and the Watery Graves. Visitors will then be accompanied on a stroll to the second venue to meet with the organizers and the Dynamite Family for general carousing, beer and discourse to celebrate the beginning of the project.
Music at Oak Street, 6 to 7p • 425 SE 3rd Ave
Socializing and conversing 7:30p to late • 222 SE 10th

To keep abreast of all the Taking Place events, check the calendar for regular updates.

Divorce Film Installation at Gallery 500
Collaborating with composer Brede Rørstad, Daniel Kaven will present several short films to accompany his Divorce exhibition. One night only.
July 22nd, 9pm
GALLERY 500 • 420 SW Washington St. Suite 500 • Tel. 503.223.3951

Posted by Jennifer Armbrust on July 22, 2005 at 0:37 | Comments (0)

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Thursday 07.21.05

July Calls for Artists

We love Portland Modern's consistently high-caliber gallery-in-print. The good news is that they are now accepting submissions for their third catalog, due out in October. PM is an arts organization that publishes a semi-annual catalog and coordinates exhibitions featuring the work of local independent & emerging visual artists. They seek artists creating in a contemporary manner whose work is conceptually engaging, aesthetically compelling, and demonstrates deft handling of the medium. The upcoming issue will be curated by Portland-based artist and writer Pat Boas. Deadline is August 27th. For complete information, click here.

NAAU is accepting proposals for 4 x 6 foot panels to be installed on the outside of a building under construction on SE 11th & Burnside. All applicants must live or hold studio space in the CEID (Central Eastside Industrial District) to be eligible. Please send proposal, slides or CD of existing work, resume, artist's statement and SASE by August 5th to Ruthann Brown at NAAU • 922 SE Ankeny, Portland 97214 • naau@earthlink.net • tel. 503.231.8294

Posted by Jennifer Armbrust on July 21, 2005 at 23:39 | Comments (0)

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Wednesday 07.20.05

Ingredients: Art Battle

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Tonight Holocene presents "Ingredients: a Music and Video Art Invitational"

It's my wildest fantasy come true. I've long been dreaming up an "art battle" where artists would be forced to create Iron Chef style with limited time and resouces. Well, somehow Holocene has heard my cry and answered it. Tonight, 10 video artists and 20 musicians create original works in a limited time frame using provided source materials. There will be two sections, one for sound artists, and one for video artists. Contributors will be supplied with 10 visual or audio samples, which they will in turn use as source material for an original piece of music, sound, or video. Performances will be at least one minute long and no longer than 5; no pre-arranged sounds or images can be used; only the given source materials. The evening will be augmented by DJs and performances, as well as installation pieces related to the event. To top it all off, the whole thing is FREE to the over-21-year-old public!

Wednesday, July 20th • 9p • 21+ only
Holocene • 1001 se morrison • Tel. 503.239.7639

Posted by Jennifer Armbrust on July 20, 2005 at 0:26 | Comments (3)

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Tuesday 07.19.05

Do the PICA Shuffle?

PICA has made two announcements, maybe three.

First off, Mark Russell has been named Guest Artistic Director of PICA's Time-Based Art Festival 2006 & 2007. Ok, a guest director is an innovative idea. Read about it here in the Portland Tribune.

PICA's own website is woefully out of date so don't look there.

What the Trib missed though (it was buried deep in the press release) is that longtime Managing Director, Victoria Frey, is now Kristy Edmund's replacement as Executive Director.

This isn't so innovative when PICA is in desperate need to recover a tarnished image in the visual arts, generate excitement, forge ahead in new directions and reinvigorate fundraising.

Frey has some serious questions to answer. The first being, "How is this new?" We also note how clearly the press release states that the TBA festival (performance art) is their "vanguard program." That #2 slot is where the visual arts stands folks. PICA and Frey will have to really make a case for PICA being relevant in the visual arts in Portland.

Granted, the press release indicates there will be a "Guest Visual Arts" curator named in the Fall, but that task is a rather tall order. First is the space issue. PICA's current corporate lobby space is simply inadequate for serious exhibitions as pointed out by PORT yesterday and my article 2 months ago. Locals lovingly call it the "coat check." Not exactly worthy of the national level programming that PICA has as its stated mission. Next, is the fundraising issue, PICA needs to raise or allocate $75,000+ to do this properly. ($125,000+ is more like it) This amount is definitely do-able and the money exists but I'm uncertain if it exists for PICA's spotty record. It requires a curator that instills confidence and excitement along with the savvy to connect to the audience here.

Will a guest curator be capable or even have the pull as an "instant lame duck" to raise that kind of excitement and funds?

This guest curator will also need combat the rather significant hurt feelings with the art scene. Can a curator do that from afar or on a "guest" salary? Does guest = part time?

PICA doesn't just need a guest visual art curator, they need a miracle worker.... or they have to settle for lowered expectations.

Still, with the Art Museum's $40,000,000 new wing sporting some exciting contemporary programming PICA's visual arts isn't going to be able to survive lowered expectations and miracle workers aren't easy to come by. I want PICA to succeed in the visual arts but it will require some serious thinking.


The Oregonian noticed some of the same issues.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on July 19, 2005 at 22:54 | Comments (7)

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Monday 07.18.05

Justine Kurland at PICA by Isaac Peterson

fireeaters.jpg
Fire Eaters by Justine Kurland

Five large photographs by Justine Kurland occupy a central wall and a corner space in the lobby of the Weiden and Kennedy building near the PICA reception desk. It is unfortunate that this work is displayed in such an easy to walk through area, as the meditative atmosphere Kurland creates would be better suited to a space less bustling.

It is easy to see the relationship between Kurland's mythic natural settings and the work of her former Yale teacher, Gregory Crewdson.

Kurland walks a tightrope stretched between the mythical and the everyday, and allows her images to be pulled sometimes completely toward myth, while maintaining a slender relationship with the regular practices of "nature as spirituality." At other times, the imagery is pulled too far back to the familiar Oregon outdoor culture, and the larger implications must be sifted out of what is immediately identifiable as a typical camping weekend in Oregon...

Posted by Isaac Peterson on July 18, 2005 at 22:41 | Comments (0)

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PDX + Japan + Design

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Last March during a lecture at PNCA, John Jay of Weiden + Kennedy and Japanese design guru Teruo Kurosaki threw out a challenge to Portland's designers, artists and creative community to make Portland the next design mecca, on par with Tokyo and New York. Drawing parallels between the creative lifestyle offered by Portland and that of Tokyo, Jay and Kurosaki suggested that the next step in moving Portland towards being an international presence is to create an interchange between designers in Portland and Tokyo. Compound Gallery has been doing just this sort of thing for the past several years - its mission statement (probably not coincidentally) embodies the type of cross-cultural pollination that Jay and Kurosaki were urging.

For those unfamiliar with this Chinatown space, Compound Gallery is a part of the Just Be Complex, a hybrid business that also includes a design studio; a store selling anything to do with urban/street/skater/Japanese culture, from scantily clad Rei figurines fit for any otaku's hovel to t-shirts by Portland-based Scott Patt; and a video rental featuring Asian flicks and an impressively comprehensive selection of anime. It's analogous to Zakka (NYC) and Giant Robot (LA).

Compound has always been ambivalent towards Portland's art community and perhaps rightly so. It's Portland's most cosmopolitan gallery (especially ever since PICA dropped its curator and its gallery space) and is the only art space in Portland where one can expect to see contemporary art from outside of the US on a consistent basis. Despite the fact that Portland is populated with transplants, a sizable sector of its art world is enamored with "supporting local artists," in some cases to the extent of being hostile towards outside artists or refusing to recognize the merits of Portland-based artists who show regularly outside of Portland. Liberated from a great deal of Portland's art world politics and economics, Compound Gallery embraces a very specific niche and they do what they do very well. While one can't expect to find anything groundbreaking in terms of the greater contemporary art scene, Compound Gallery does manage to put on consistent shows by some of the most active Japanese and American artists working at the forefront of graphic design and illustration. Work with strong roots in Japanese graphic design is au courant in the art world right now, from west to east (e.g. Chiho Aoshima at Blum & Poe, Marakami's takeover of NYC). While time will tell whether or not this trend is here to stay in the contemporary art world, the type of work being produced by young Japanese artists and designers will certainly have a lasting influence in the design world for years, if not decades, to come.

Compound Gallery's latest exhibition, supported in part by (no surprise here) Weiden + Kennedy, presents a group of young talents from digmeout, which describes itself as an "artist excavation project" based in Osaka that seeks out and promotes talented, up-and-coming young artists. During the opening on first Thursday, an exuberant throng of Japanese press took over the gallery, documenting every action of the many exhibiting artists who were visiting for the opening. The show was a reprise of last summer's digmeout exhibition, featuring many of the same artists alongside several artists new to the digmeout fold. Highlights include Ryuji Otaui's stark prints, decadently kitschy and glam; nostalgic, narrative collages that take a cue from 50's era illustrations by artist collective Re:VERSE; ZanPon's drawings of doe-eyed girls emerging from a chaotic tangle of scribbles; dreamlike, psychological paintings by Heisuke Kitazawa (aka pcp); and a charming video involving humans with cat ears, bunnies and flying buses by Mimi Murai. Whether or not Portland will indeed step up to John Jay's challenge remains an unanswered question, but Compound Gallery is certainly doing its part to make sure Portlanders are seeing the best of Japanese design while helping to ensure that Portland is on the radar of young designers worldwide.

Posted by Katherine Bovee on July 18, 2005 at 1:44 | Comments (0)

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Sunday 07.17.05

Scoop on the Affair art fair

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Because PORT readers like to be on top of things here is the scoop: the list of galleries and organizations for the Affair @ the Jupiter Hotel art fair September 30th-October 2nd . It corresponds with the even bigger event: the opening of the Portland Art Museum's new Center for Modern and Contemporary Art with 28,000 sq. feet of new galleries.

The last Affair was way better than any Scope Fair so mark your calendars. This year's lineup is even better. Yes, there are art fairs everywhere (yawn), but this one is in Portland and therefore simply feels a lot better. This isn't some sattelite fair...it's a comet from the Oort (art?) cloud. (I'm not kidding, being in Portland and its relative novelty makes a huge difference).

The addition of project rooms by Mona Hatoum, Art 21, Diverseworks and White Columns should give the show an even stronger profile. Add in the fact that the famous Doug Fir Lounge is operating this year (it's on the hotel courtyard) makes for a venue that couldn't get much cooler. With numerous other shows corresponding to the fair and CMCA it's worth the price of a jet blue ticket to Portland.

Gallery List:

Augen Gallery, Portland
Allston Skirt Gallery, Boston
Jeff Bailey Gallery, New York
Blackfish Gallery, Portland
Blanket Gallery, Vancouver, BC
Bucheon Gallery, San Francisco
Compound, Portland
Alysia Duckler Gallery, Portland
Froelick Gallery, Portland
Gallery 500, Portland
Garde Rail Gallery, Seattle
Richard Heller Gallery, Los Angeles
Howard House, Seattle
Inman Gallery, Houston
Greg Kucera Gallery, Seattle
Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Portland
Motel, Portland
Lizabeth Olivera, Los Angeles
PDX Contemporary Art, Portland
Platform Gallery, Seattle
Pulliam Deffenbaugh Gallery, Portland
Ratio 3, San Francisco
Laura Russo Gallery, Portland
Savage Art Resources, Portland
Solomon Projects, Atlanta
Solomon Fine Art, Seattle
Stephen Wirtz Gallery, San Francisco

Projects:
Art Gallery of Greater Victoria, Canada
Fluent-Collaborative, Austin
Diverseworks, Houston
White Columns, New York
Mona Hatoum, presented by Reed College

Publishers:
Clearcut
Art21
Artpapers
Portland Modern

...and you know PORT will have a presence: the whole Jupiter Hotel has wifi and Portland has a high-tech image to live up to.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on July 17, 2005 at 14:17 | Comments (2)

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Saturday 07.16.05

Nick Blosser at PDX

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Hilly Landscape 2004 Egg tempera on wood

There is something about egg tempera paint. It's in the colors, certainly, but in the texture, too. Though it has a flat, matte finish, unlike oil, which has a subtle glisten, tempera glows. Its rich luminosity heightens the surfaces it covers like candlelight in a darkened room. Then, there's the history of it. When peered at closely, even a modern work in tempera takes on a medieval quality.

Nick Blosser, in his current show at PDX Contemporary Art Gallery, has used this quality to fine advantage. The small landscapes succeed in natural or artificial light because of the inherent calm fluorescence of the paint. Blosser adds the paint in thin layers, or builds it up for greater depth. The leaves on his trees, consisting of small brush strokes, possess a mass and volume that is unexpected, considering the lack of impasto.

Blosser says that he works "toward retaining strong abstract relationships within each painting [while keeping] in place something authentic about the places [he] paints." The result for the viewer is familiarity with observed locations, but more clearly delineated forms and colors than are seen in nature. Most of his scenes are of cultivated or reclaimed landscape. Fruit trees in blossom, long shadows across a field. In Hayrolls Under a Tree, one gets an impression of domesticity and hard farm labor. Many of his locales seem like great spots to picnic. It's the edge of abstraction that makes them innovative, rather than postcard pretty. One of the paintings, Trees on a Hill, is as near abstract as Serusier's The Talisman. His delicate use of color ends the similarity.

Kudos to Blosser for making his own frames, an ability and inclination I would like to see more artists aspire to. Blosser's frames, of carved, painted wood, so perfectly match his paintings in mood and visual appeal, one cannot imagine the paintings presented in any other fashion. The effort is appreciated.

Posted by Andie DeLuca on July 16, 2005 at 11:48 | Comments (2)

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Thursday 07.14.05

Art and Opinions

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Justine Kurland's Twisted Limbs (the Burned Forest), 2004

Ok It is possibly your last chance to see the Justine Kurland show by PICA in the Weiden and Kennedy lobby on Friday the 15th. The building isn't open on the weekends (uggh) and you need to see this work before 6:00 PM when the place locks up. Kurland is probably the best artist affiliated with Yale in the last 15 years (that includes Matthew Barney and her onetime prof Crewdsen). Oh yes and Saturday the 16th is the last day of PICA's Landmark show : NW 13th & Flanders : Open Wed - Sat, 12-6 pm free to PICA members, $2 general. See my PORT review here.

I'm liking The Portland Mercury's new art critic John Motley, here is his Daniel Kaven review, he pays attention to details and whether consistencies and inconsistencies are intentional or not. Kudos.

Last but not least is the Mercury's Chas Bowie who has written quite the head scratcher here about art writing? First off, what group of milquetoasts do you hang out with? Please back up the statement, "public digression runs counter to our natural instincts." I suppose that innately epicurean instinct (i.e. non public) is why blogging and reality TV shows have become so popular?

I wonder what kind of waffletastic weenie crew you have met but the art world is generally opinionated and definitely chatty (catty too). It is what makes it work, everyone agrees to disagree. Yes, money is poisoning "Art" now but it in terms of print it just makes people ignore criticism more selectively. It doesn't silence the criticism, it just makes it disconnected for a time being. After the market correction one looks prescient.

Yes some craven toadies edit themselves but people like Roberta Smith, Jerry Saltz, Christopher Knight and Tyler Green call it like they see it. From my own experience, when Robert Storr asked me what I thought of his Site Santa Fe show, I told him. We talked over some divergent points and amicably went our merry ways... absolutely no awkward silences.

When I wrote a review for Modern Painters that basically tore apart the collective efforts of reasonably powerful curators like Ralph Rugoff and Matthew Higgs, Lisa Corrin etc. for the dull, badly premised Baja to Vancouver show my reviews editor's response was "nice f-ing review " and they printed the thing without alterations. I liked some parts of the show and gave credit where credit was due too. It's true British mags are more critical but Art Forum's review was only slightly more forgiving.

Also, I'm not certain what art world you are in, but taking shots at Matthew Barney was pretty much the standard ice breaker for conversations a few years ago. Now it's the overheated market. Opinions are like assholes, everyone has one and it's more about how one backs up that opinion that matters.

Art writing is tough for other reasons, the pay is generally lousy and it is difficult to enthusiastically sort the crud from the gems day in and day out. What the art world needs are better ideas after running on fumes and hedge fund money for too long.

P.S. Banks Violette is no where near as interesting as Sue de Beer who relies more on noir's dread and excitement rather than kitsch and funhouse design.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on July 14, 2005 at 22:13 | Comments (8)

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Wednesday 07.13.05

Virtually Hot off the Presses

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a peek at the new Pulliam Deffenbaugh Gallery

Pulliam Deffenbaugh Gallery has released this nifty architect's rendering of their new space set to open in September. It's a busy renovation time and no less than five galleries are moving into better gallery spaces in Portland during the next year (some as property owners). Three of them, including P-D, will be doing so in mere months. Portland is upgrading en masse.

Elizabeth Leach started the trend last year. Of note, the P-D space will not be carpeted as their current space is. I confess complete snobbery when it comes to gallery floors and there is no greater faux pax than carpet. I had a dream once where MoMA was covered in thick shag… even the outdoor sculpture court. I think it's part of the reason I dislike Matthew Barney, he is a carpet monger! It was the first thing I noticed at his Walker installation last May. Still, I liked Nan Curtis' shag carpet wear pattern piece at the Northwest Biennial in the Tacoma Art Museum last year.

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Also, I just got back from the Vintage Vandals & Zach Kircher show at Savage Art Resources. Both were good shows worth the trip, it was a packed house too. In fact, it was a great Portland moment with a combination of West Hill's super-patrons with the Weiden & Kennedy hipster crowd. I love it. The Vintage Vandals show was comprised of sometimes extremely entertaining additions to pre-existing kitsch paintings from Goodwill. Distinguished mostly through visual puns the group reminded me of college poetry slams where the winning poets would always be the funniest.

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Driscoll Reid's Untitled

There is talent here but the two best were Drsicoll Reid's Untitled and Evan Harris' Song of Sirens. Charming and foreboding this is good cheap art for hipsters who like to entertain visually but the better work was Kircher's in the other gallery.

Somewhere between Norbert Bisky and Neo Rauch with a Roy Lichtenstein sense of humor Kircher has been at this style longer than those two living art stars have been stars and deserves a closer look. He would fit in well at Bellwether in Chelsea.

Which reminds me, the excellent Portland artist Paul Green is in a group show "Idols of Perversity" at Bellwether through August 6th.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on July 13, 2005 at 22:20 | Comments (0)

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Tuesday 07.12.05

Mid-Month Melee

And you thought openings were only for the Firsts of the Month... Get your mid-month kicks with a few summer-style events.

Little-Cities.jpg Little Cities Build Yr Own House Party

Wednesday

Savage Art Resources presents new work by Zack Kircher and a group exhibition, Vintage Vandals Reprised. Kircher and the Vandals take on pop culture through painterly appropriation. Kircher's works explore the current media fascination with the cult of celebrity. Vintage Vandals is a collection of reconfigured thrifted paintings curated by Jason Sturgill of the Wurst Gallery.
Opening July 13th, 6 to 8p • Through August 13
Savage Art Resources • 1430 SE Third Avenue • Tel. 503.230.0265

Red 76 is at it again with another Little Cities Build Yr Own House Party/Barbecue. This time, Dynamite! joins in for a discussion of their work with a preview of Potential Energy, a project opening on July 22nd at Correspondence Space as part of the Taking Place project by Sam Gould, Stephanie Snyder, and Matthew Stadler. Bring your own grillings and beverages for a night of cardboard construction and collaboration.
One night only, July 13 • 7p
Red76 • 916 SE 34th st. (Just off Belmont Ave.)

Thursday {Bastille Day}

Eva Lake is something of an art scene triple-threat as gallerist, artist and Artstar radio jockey. After closing Lovelake a year (or two?) ago, she's back in the saddle with a new gallery with Wid Chambers called, appropriately enough, Chambers. Opening in a space you will most likely find familiar, Chambers gets up and running with Cut and Paste, the assemblage and collage art of Eunice Parsons and Paul Fujita (of Zeitgeist Gallery).
Opening July 14, 5:30 to 8:30p • through August 27
(Also Open First Thursday August 4 5:30 to 8:30p)
Chambers • 207 S.W. Pine Street, No. 102 • Tel. 503.939.2255

Elsewhere

Portland flexes its muscle at ~Scope Hamptons as Paul Middendorf and Mary Mattingly of Manifest Artistry captain the Lifeboat to Security Island. Micro-Scope, is a political education project involving a group of artists "transforming their bodies into well-oiled tanning machines while discussing security, the conditioning of humans, and other related topics against the back drop of island/oasis necessities, including a wading-pool, miniature working fountains, a small vanity table and mock-ups of large stocks of Evian and sculptures of other brands essential to modern culture. Additionally, video monitors will be set up by the Lifeboat team around various pulse-points in Southampton to watch the on-going performance and importance of the newly secured scene." Collaborating artists include Red 76, David Eckard, Bruce Conkle, Marne Lucas, Chandra Bocci, The Camouflagemuseum (NL), and many more. Definitely worth a look-see if you're on the other coast this weekend.
~Scope Hamptons • July 14 to 17

paulfujita.JPG Paul Fujita at Chambers

Posted by Jennifer Armbrust on July 12, 2005 at 23:21 | Comments (0)

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Monday 07.11.05

Bigger = Better

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You must know by now that the Portland Art Museum has been expanding with a new Center for Modern and Contemporary Art with construction underway for at least the last year or so. The new wing is scheduled to open the first weekend in October (mark your calendars) coinciding with the Affair at the Jupiter Hotel and a gazillion other art events. To celebrate the Museum's $40 million North Building expansion and opening of the region's largest center for modern art, PAM will install Brushstrokes (1996), created by American artist Roy Lichtenstein (1923-97) in the last years of his life. The sculpture has been exhibited at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in D.C., and The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and will now make it's home in our fair city. This baby is big, the largest public work by Lichtenstein west of the Mississippi at 29.5 feet (not 30', mind you). The painted aluminum sculpture will be placed on the east side of the Museum campus and in conjunction with the installation of the new acquisition, the Museum will present a dossier exhibition centered around Lichtenstein's brushstroke-themed sculptures by featuring drawings, maquettes and small-scale sculpture.

The size of the sculpture is a good match for the scale of the museum's new wing. For those of us who thought the Museum was a bit dated, the CMCA offers an ambitious attempt to deliver PAM into the 21st century. "The CMCA includes over 28,000 square feet of gallery space on six floors, showcasing more than 350 works of art in a full spectrum of mediums, and an underground link gallery that connects the North Building with the Museum's historic Belluschi Building. The North Building also includes magnificent ballrooms for community events, a new curatorial and administrative center, a 33,000-volume Art Study Center and Library, which is the region's most significant resource for art research, and the NW Film Center, the area's finest source for filmmaking arts. Fall 2005 marks the completion of the $40 million project, which is the culmination of the 10-year, $125 million master plan to develop the Museum's campus." This sort of well-executed contemporary arts center has the potential to help put Portland on the map by creating a legitimate venue for the import and export of national and internationally relevant art. I will look forward to seeing the curatorial schedule for the upcoming years which in my fantasy world would fall somewhere between the Hammer and MoMA.

The Lichtenstein sculpture and CMCA open October 2, 2005. If you join PAM now, you can probably even beat the crowds and gain entree to the gala events.

Posted by Jennifer Armbrust on July 11, 2005 at 17:58 | Comments (0)

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Sunday 07.10.05

mini me & mini you

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Definitely check out Tyler Green's post on Marfa here. The much abused and arguably abusive word "minimalism" has become so bastardized in the last 15 years that "minimal" and machined aluminum have become synonymous with yuppie aesthetics. If you drive a Lexus or Audi TT go home and count the # of milled aluminum items in your abode... see what I mean. It does show how influential Judd is though.

Still, it is definitely a long overdue opportunity to take back the essential experience of Judd, Flavin, De Maria, Irwin, Sonnier and Jo Baer away from the balsamic vinegar crowd and their "minimal" décor lingo. These artists were/are intellectuals who didn't see man as the measure of all things and acknowledged like Shakespeare did in Hamlet that, "There are more things in heaven and earth….than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

Currently, too many young artists are just sponging sweat off of Judd's back, but lack the rigorous ascetic iconoclasm. The man was a philosopher not a careerist and his works at Chinati are a great antidote to the intensely vain art that is literally in vogue. Besides, I suspect James Turrell's Roden Crater will be a more successful way to assume astro vivid focus than some pied wallpaper piper will ever achieve.

Sometimes, doing things the hard way is the only way.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on July 10, 2005 at 22:41 | Comments (0)

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Art from the WPA at PNCA

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On the East Coast one might see a mural of Washington crossing the Delaware; in the Midwest, paintings of wheat fields and farm life; in the West, bronze statues of gold miners, wagon trains, and first meetings with Native Americans. We are all familiar with them. They are found in grade schools, high schools and post offices, state and federal office buildings, public parks and national preserves. They're the murals and statues depicting historic events and community projects, growth of industry, and small happenings in daily life. They are the art works of the Works Progress Administration, or WPA.

Started in 1935 to create work for the massively unemployed, several programs were set up under the WPA to assist artists. These included the Public Works Art Project, the Section of Fine Arts, and the Treasury Relief Art Project. These programs had strict professional requirements for participation, allowing artists to make about $50.00 a month, a nearly living wage for the era. There were sharply drawn guidelines regarding subject matter and style. The artists were restricted to portraying historical events or scenes from everyday life in a realistic, or only slightly stylized, fashion. Only one program, the Federal Art Project, allowed more stylistic freedom, and a wider choice of subject matter.

The current exhibition, Art from the WPA, at PNCA's Feldman Gallery is an eclectic selection of works by people in the era of, and under the auspices of, the WPA. While not all of the works were created specifically for the federal program, many of them were. And all of them reflect the purpose of the projects in one way or another. The artists represented also had ties to the then Museum Art School, which became PNCA. Most rewarding to the local viewer are the associations with local sites such as Timberline Lodge and familiar scenes of forest and farm land.

Decoration - Floral Still Life by Margery Hoffman Smith greets the viewer on entering the gallery. An impressionistic blue and white ceramic bowl is depicted, filled with red, orange, yellow and blue flowers. Hoffman Smith apparently created such paintings for Timberline Lodge, and this is reflected in the hand carved, though incongruously gold painted, frame.

Also incongruous, is The Dying Fisherman by John Ballator, dated 1933. This painting has a distinctly religious aspect. Two men and a woman pull a figure from the waves. All are dressed in flowing, brightly colored draperies, rather than modern dress. The composition is that of a Renaissance deposition from the cross. There is no clue given about where this painting was intended to hang, but it seems more appropriate for a church than for a government building. Ballator is known to have painted, with Louis Bunce and Eric Lamade, murals for the St. Johns Post Office.

Forest, by Littleton Dryden, is far more stereotypically Oregonian. Painted for the Soil Conservation Service, it is part of a series meant to illustrate the consequences of deforestation. This must be the "before" picture, showing an idyllic scene of virgin timber, deer, fresh running stream, and filtered sunlight.

One of the most impressive characteristics of some of the paintings, is how the artists comprehensively included in their compositions so many varied aspects of life. History was a predominant theme. In Rockwell Carey's Early Mail Carriers of the West, 1937, one sees a panoramic landscape that includes a pony express rider, a steam boat, the building of the rail road, and an already functioning steam locomotive. And it's a convincing layout. In Panels for Mural Competition Arthur and Albert Runquist use a geometric style to show fruit packers and fishing activities. These homey, domestic businesses are shown to be the forerunners of big industry by including in their respective backgrounds oil fields and tanker ships.

On a smaller scale, Martine Gangle, in 1934, painted Woman Feeding Chickens, a salute to domesticity. Bue Kee's ceramics of fruit, a beaver, and a larger terra cotta goose, also created for Timberline Lodge, seem to reference home and farm, as well, and are charmingly characteristic of the Northwest.

A few works show a more adventurous, modern style. Clown, by Clifford Gleason, is post-impressionistic, and the subject matter is outside the preponderance of works presented here. It is a dynamic study, not quite Soutine-intense, but thought provoking. Similarly, Darrel Austin's Woodchoppers are Max Beckmann-like figures, appearing wounded and worn out.

I have yet to understand what Orrie Greaves' Fisher Folk has to do with Tongue Point Naval Air Station, for which it was created in 1941. Showing a possibly Hispanic community of fishing people with two American sailors looking on, it has been used to promote this exhibition, but is one of the weakest pieces here. The figures are cartoonish, with little muscle definition. The composition is lopsided, and the colors pallid.

In its favor, and the question arises if this was a policy of the WPA, the MAS, or the current PNCA, there is a higher percentage of women artists represented in this show than is usually the case. Lucia Wiley's serigraphs depict their subjects in swirling, intimate style, and Charlotte Mish's Ship Launching challenges the stereotype that women artists are only interested in feminine subjects.

The WPA was disbanded in 1941, as the federal government turned its attention to the wars in Europe and the Pacific. Unemployment ceased to be the problem it had been. In its wake, the programs left several hundred thousand murals, easel paintings, sculptures and prints. The PNCA has presented a small but representative sampling of those of most interest to the people of the Northwest.

Posted by Andie DeLuca on July 10, 2005 at 15:36 | Comments (0)

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Saturday 07.09.05

David Velasco on Danzine at CUNY

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A brief disclosure. On those toxically quixotic summer days spent botanizing the pavement of downtown Portland, I would sometimes spy Danzine editrix Teresa Dulce strolling down Stark Street or Broadway wearing her assertive "Hooker" baby-tee, and I would stop and whisper to myself: "I love you." I wasn't the only one who cultivated a distant admiration of Dulce; she sparked quite a fan club in PDX and beyond. As the principal face of Danzine (1995-2005), an organization that taught us all that sex workers aren't faceless, she and the rest of her crew channeled an unbridled sense of strength, care and hospitality. Recently, I was fortunate enough to catch some of this energy at an installation and Danzine retrospective Dulce and cohort Marne Lucas put together for the group show At the Mercy of Others: The Politics of Care at New York's CUNY Graduate Center (curated by Sasha Archibald, Sarah Lookofsky, Cira Pascual Marquina and Elena Sorokina for The Whitney Independent Study Program - ended June 25, 2005).

Mobilizing some of the elite attack squad of contemporary artists from the 60s through the new millennium, the show worked to demonstrate the impossibility of a true and noble act of caring, while nevertheless underlining the necessity of the work of care. A triple-play of Mary Kelly's Primapera, Mike Kelley's More Love Hours Than Can Ever Be Repaid and film footage of Yoko Ono's Cut Piece showed some curatorial ingenuity, successfully weaving together themes of caring, cutting, and dependency without...

Posted by Guest on July 09, 2005 at 19:08 | Comments (0)

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Friday 07.08.05

Macca at NAAU

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Despite its self-depricating title, Joe Macca's new body of work, Flotsam, is a successful, if sometimes uneven, venture into a more spontaneous body of work by this Portland artist known for his laboriously crafted color field paintings seen regularly at PDX. As he explains in the exhibition statement, this body of work came about during the day-to-day tedium of his studio practice, which involves many hours of waiting for thin layers of oil paint to dry. The work presented at New American Art Union is pieced together from more experimental work created during this time. These small drawings, notes, collages, video experiments and a collection of mail art all engage with, and sometimes pose a challenge to, the mechanisms of the art world.

The underlying cynicism that seems to run throughout Flotsam is somewhat mysterious, given the lack of intellectualism and the air of serenity that Macca's masterful abstractions tend to exude (I'm not the only one to have noticed a bipolarity in Macca's work). In many of the works at NAAU, it's not clear if Macca is jaded, if he still wants to believe in some sort of art utopia or if he is simply avoiding a strong point of view altogether, celebrating in the comfort of knowing that in making art after modernity, anything (and nothing) is possible. In his artist statement, Macca explains that he "invokes the participatory nature of artistic production" in this exhibition, but I can't completely buy into this overwhelming optimism given the nature of many of the works in the show...

Posted by Katherine Bovee on July 08, 2005 at 11:56 | Comments (1)

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Thursday 07.07.05

First Thursday Round Up

This First Thursday is all about the young ones. Chinatown and Downtown flex their youthful muscle with some great showings along with a couple of hits from the old guard.

In Chi-town there's a veritable slew of young movers and shakers.

beancoversm.jpg Erika Kohr at Motel

Everything is a-buzz at Motel with Pollinate, the works of Erika Kohr and Suzanne Husky. Kohr offers a sophisticated collection of narrative glass works exploring fertility and nature. Husky presents a series of psychedelic botanical drawings on paper featuring fluorescent flora and fauna.
Opening July 7, 6:30 to 9:30p • Through July 30
Motel • Located on NW Couch St, between 5th & 6th • Tel. 503.222.6699

Compound delivers the Return of Digmeout, a visual artist excavation project out of Osaka, Japan. This group exhibition showcases young artists whose mediums are often posters, stickers, or magazine illustrations. The first Digmeout show was strong collection of unknown Japanese up-and-comers. This second helping promises even more and better.
Opening July 7, 7 to 9p • Through July 30
Compound / Just Be • 107 NW 5th Ave • Tel. 503.796.2733

Genuine Imitation presents the Worldwide debut of the deliciously French artist, Fanélie Rosier. Rosier's distinctive pop-illustration style infuses these devilishly playful series of godesses.
Opening July 7, 6 to 9pm with DJ IZM • Through July 29
Genuine Imitation • 328 NW Broadway, No.116 • Tel. 503.241.3189

Also in the Everett Station Lofts, Pepper Gallery presents Artists of Kentucky, an eclectic group show featuring artists from the Bluegrass state.
Opening, July 7th, 6-10pm
Pepper • 328 NW Broadway, No.113

Downtown hits...

postbwanahut.jpg "Male Pattern Baldness & Hummingbirds" at Reading Frenzy

South of Burnside, Gallery 500 presents the solo exhibition of PDX photographer-romantic extraordinaire, Daniel Kaven. Divorce is a collection of mixed-media works and installations exploring the separation of the artist's past. Brede Rørstad, who scored Kaven’s film, Naked Seoul, will conduct a string quartet during the opening, translating the emotions of the exhibition.
Opening July 7, 6p to midnight • Through July 29
Gallery 500 • 420 SW Washington St., Ste. 500 • Tel. 503.223.3951

On a lighter note, artist/curator/illustrator/great guy Bwana Spoons packs 'em in at Reading Frenzy with a Sharpie show, Male Pattern Baldness and Hummingbirds, featuring a great collection of local and national up-and-comers, including Souther Salazar, E*Rock, Jessie Rose Vala, Ryan Jacob Smith, Amy Ruppel and many, many more. This is my pick for a steal of a deal. A handmade zine of the included artwork will even be available at the opening.
Opening July 7, 6 to 9p • Through July 31
Reading Frenzy • 921 SW Oak St. • Tel. 503.274.1449

And in the Pearl...

8_Bennett.jpg Gretchen Bennett at PDX Window Project

Gretchen Bennett takes over the PDX Window with Hi, It's Me, a faux-naturalist take on the tensions and representations of interior/exteriors. Expect wood-grain Contact paper, buttons and more...
Open 24 hours a day through August 13
PDX Window Project • 612 NW 12th Ave • Tel 503.222.0063

Portland cult literary icon Walt Curtis (Mala Noche) invades Mark Woolley with The Land of Ch'i, featuring his expressionist folk paintings.
Opening July 7, 6 to 9p • Through July 30
Mark Woolley • 120 NW 9th Ave, Ste 210 • Tel. 503.224.5475

Posted by Jennifer Armbrust on July 07, 2005 at 0:42 | Comments (1)

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Wednesday 07.06.05

Dead to You

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I (finally!) dropped by Pacific Switchboard for the first time this weekend. It's a great space located in the Albina Press with an inspired studio attached. They have been hosting regular shows for quite a while now but since I've never called the Northeast "home", I've been shamefully in the dark. When I stopped in there wasn't anything on the walls because they are preparing for their next exhibition Dedicated to You: a show for Ex-Lovers, "a night of rememberance, catharsis, and awkwardness dedicated to those with which we have been so intimate." Ah yes, lust, sweet lust. There will be artwork, movies, love songs, mix tapes, performance and an anonymous confessional booth for those still healing a heartbreak. Who knows, maybe you'll meet someone special...

Featuring works by Jen Kruch, Charles Salas-Humara, Alicia McDaid, Mike Miller, Anna Simon, Cynthia Star, Paige Saez, Zak Margolis, Matthew Yake, Ruby Fitch, Elina Tuhkanen, Amy Steel, Ashley Shabo, Tara Jane O'neil, Matthew Hein, Jennifer Gleach, Thandi Rosenbaum, Tracy Olson, Emily Henderson, Daphna Kohn and Jeff Brown, Michelle Klein, Courtney Nyman, Gretchen Hogue, Molly Roth, Emily Henderson, Gretchen Vaudt, Fred Nemo, and more.

Opening Wednesday, July 6, 7-10p • Through July 31
Pacific Switchboard • 4637 North Albina Avenue (located at The Albina Press)

Posted by Jennifer Armbrust on July 06, 2005 at 10:45 | Comments (0)

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Tuesday 07.05.05

The "P" word regarding Portland?

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Chandra Bocci at Haze October 2004 (media: otter pops and mucho mustard packets)

Writing the word "perfect" is a nasty habit and a sloth inducing moniker. Yet today, Budget Travel published a no holds barred gushing review of Portland that used the consarned "P" word. It is pretty much all true but man is it positive… in fact, my fillings feel funny after reading it. Portland does have major challenges and chief among them is not being content with what it has already achieved.

Still, writer Kimberly Sevick was absolutely right about the food thing here and she even plugged one of our best artists Chandra Bocci. Some of the facts were off though, such as Bocci showing a pillow fight war at Haze. Actually, it was an amazing 70 ft looping rainbow of otter pops and a yellow brick road of mustard packets. The pillow fight was at ORLO.

What Sevick missed, (other than restaurants like Blue Hour, clarklewis, Mingo, Genoa and the specifics of gallery scene, like Liz Leach, PDX, Woolley, Pulliam Deffenbaugh, Froelick, Laura Russo and Savage among others) was the fact that the young artists of the scene have really helped change Portland's overall level of sophistication by staging a lot of high profile shows. It is a rare thing with a lot of history in a short time.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on July 05, 2005 at 21:54 | Comments (0)

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Snapshot Chronicles at Cooley Gallery, Reed College

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This week is your last chance to see Snapshot Chronicles: Inventing the American Photo Album, a narrowly focused historical survey of photo albums at the turn of the century curated by Reed College's Stephanie Snyder and Bay Area collector Barbara Levine.

Although Reed College's Cooley Gallery is modest in size, outstanding installation techniques, liberal use of dark blue paint and rich accompanying texts lend the exhibition the heavy, authoritative presence of a museum. On display are 70 American photo albums created between 1898 and 1935, many assembled by anonymous creators. Although it is tempting to get caught up in nostalgia and the voyeuristic attraction of milling through the personal artifacts of strangers, curators Snyder and Levine go to great lengths to present these albums within a more thorough context, citing not only socio-economic factors and historical events that are revealed through these albums, but also cultural, aesthetic and technological influences.

The exhibition may be historically motivated, but it remains quite relevant to contemporary trends in self-documentation. While Kodak's Brownie camera and other portable cameras gave ordinary Americans a cheap and accessible way to document their own lives at the turn of the 20th century, digital cameras have revolutionized the way in which we document ourselves at the turn of the 21st century. While early album makers relied on a few crude image altering techniques as well as inventive ways to clip and collage their photos, image editing software has given the home user an entirely new set of tools to alter images according to their own aesthetic tastes. Blogs, virtual photo albums and other web-based technologies have renewed an interest in documenting the minutiae of daily life. Additionally, the scrapbooking industry, which rose exponentially in the late 1990s (I've seen it cited as being several billion dollar industry), attests to a concurrent growth in the creation of traditional albums, albeit under the guise of a well-marketed hobby. Snapshot Chronicles provides a look back at the origins of this marriage between technological, commercial and aesthetic forces in shaping the ways we document ourselves.

Snapshot Chronicles runs through July 11 at the Cooley Art Gallery, Reed College. The show will travel nationally throughout 2006-2008.

Posted by Katherine Bovee on July 05, 2005 at 9:44 | Comments (0)

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Monday 07.04.05

Freedom from Liberty at WTC

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the newly redesigned Empire State Building with a twist

Since it is the 4th of July here is a little bit on the Freedom Tower at the WTC site. Nicolai Ouroussoff pretty much nails it in the NYT's here. Also, check out the commentary by curbed.

I'm going to take something from Jerry Saltz's January 2004 lecture in Portland, namely the Panorama at the Queen's Museum. Though unintentional, the Panorama looks like it will be the best WTC memorial (below). It is an insult to injury that the "Freedom from Liberty" tower's architecture is more of a Maginot Line challenge to terrorists than a challenging design.
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Posted by Jeff Jahn on July 04, 2005 at 14:13 | Comments (0)

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Friday 07.01.05

Use antlers in all of your decorating

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Two-headed Earth Spirit, Warring States period China

The latest critical i, my ongoing experimental online magazine column for NWDrizzle is now up. In it I take on a Warring States period Chinese artifact from the Schnitzer's fantastic collection, Batman Begins and the boxing photography of Jim Lommasson. You can buy Lommasson's book here. His show at Powells Books comes down Sunday.

There are other Portland art bloggers too, longtime diarist (+ once and future gallerist) Eva Lake and Scott Wayne Indiana are two of em.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on July 01, 2005 at 23:13 | Comments (0)

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If you're looking for something to do...

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I am sitting in a Seattle hotel room spoiling myself with the IFC this morning and what is on but a behind-the-scenes of You, Me and Everyone We Know replete with numerous interviews with Miranda herself. I happened to catch the Portland debut of the film a couple of months ago at the PDX Film Fest. Now you and everyone else we know can see what all the hype is about as it opens this weekend in theaters nationwide.

Also, as I was walking to work last week, I happened upon a stream of yellow paint dribbles which I recongnized as Brad Adkins' "cover" of a performance by Francis Alys. The performance entails punching a hole in can of paint and going for a walk until the paint runs out. Anyone who is interested in assisting with this reenactment should meet at the LANDMARK exhibition space on NW 13th & Flanders Saturdays at 2pm through July 16th.

Posted by Jennifer Armbrust on July 01, 2005 at 9:24 | Comments (1)

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