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McGinness at PICA
The Art of the scare
333 Open House
G500 to the Great Big Beyond
Megan Whitmarsh at Motel Gallery
Not Constantinople
Justin Harris the Younger
McGinness on Tap
Deliver
Mutatis Mutandis: New Work by Pat Boas
Ellen George at the Archer Gallery
Collecting stories on collecting

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Monday 10.31.05

McGinness at PICA

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That graphic design has seeped into the realm of contemporary art isn't revelatory news and shouldn't come as a surprise to anybody living in Portland. Portland and its environs can boast top design firms like Wieden + Kennedy and ziba; hordes of shoe designers who work for Nike and Adidas, both of which have major headquarters here; and has its very out outpost for the cause of graphic design as art, Compound Gallery, not to mention galleries like motel where you can find plenty of crossover. It has also has served as home base for design stars like Scott Patt, who recently moved away to head up design at Converse.

One of the major graphic designers to storm the contemporary art world is New York-based Ryan McGinness, who treated a packed house in the W+K atrium last Thursday to a barrage of slides detailing his work and practice over the past 6 years. A graduate of Carnegie Mellon, McGinness studied in both the design and art programs, but maintained a separation in his mind between his more practical design work with other studio practice. Working at a design firm out of school, he struggled to establish his art practice, until he realized he could drop his pretensions about art making and just begin to make what he wanted to make.

At this time, beginning around 1999, McGinness began to use a vocabulary of simplified symbols that show off his masterful design sensibility and ability to pare down complex ideas to their iconographic essence. Over time, he has built up to a more baroque aesthetic, layering symbols and adapting a new lexicon of signs that takes their cue from crests and arabesque flourishes. His installations at Deitch, PS1 and Galerie du Jour in Paris combine wall paintings or vinyl cuts with paintings, sometimes intermingling commercial products as well. Although he has recently returned to using a more simplified forms, he has retained this strategy of exhibiting his work within complex, multi-layered installations...

Posted by Katherine Bovee on October 31, 2005 at 9:08 | Comments (2)

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Sunday 10.30.05

The Art of the scare

We have heard tales that the Masonic Temple that is now the Portland Art Museum's North Wing is haunted (from radio Gretchen), anyone have any stories? Also in keeping with the theme, here is a link listing the haunted areas in and around Portland. Most Portlanders have heard of the Shanghai Tunnels being haunted and the Terror in Cathedral Park beneath the St. John's Bridge (a lot of artist studios are in the Cathedral Park place building that used to be the HQ's of Columbia Sportswear).

Posted by Jeff Jahn on October 30, 2005 at 21:05 | Comments (0)

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Saturday 10.29.05

333 Open House

Today and tomorrow, 333 Studios presents its 9th annual October Show, a group exhibition featuring new work by professional and emerging artists who work at the the multi-studio space. The event offers a rare opportunity to inhabit the studio environment in which the work was made, allowing both a glimpse into the artistic process and sources of inspiration. With its cult-like following, the October Show has become a must-attend event for Portland’s art community and beyond. Resident artists showing work include: Blair Saxon-Hill, Marty Schnapf, Una Kim, David Inkpen, Robin Hoffmeister, Stephen Hayes, Cecilia Hallinan, Gilles Foisy, Carol Ferris and John Brodie.

Saturday, October 29 • 4 to 9p
Sunday, October 30 • Noon to 4:00p
333 Studios, 333 NE Hancock Street (at MLK) • Free!

Posted by Jennifer Armbrust on October 29, 2005 at 9:47 | Comments (0)

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Friday 10.28.05

G500 to the Great Big Beyond

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Justin Oswald has just announced that he will be closing the doors of Gallery 500 on December 1, after a final show that opens next week with work by Troy Briggs and Nicholas Di Genova. He's being secretive about future plans for now, but Oswald definitely isn't shutting the doors on Portland - we can expect more from him in the coming months. He writes, "I have a strong desire to discover alternate ways to continue re-invigorating the Portland art scene via new efforts and projects. How and when these ventures will come to light has yet to be announced, but I am committed to this city..."

During the past 3 years, we've seen the space at 420 SW Washington evolve from the best Thursday night party pad to a legitimate gallery. Let's hope the trend continues in Oswald's next venture.

Posted by Katherine Bovee on October 28, 2005 at 13:23 | Comments (1)

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Thursday 10.27.05

Megan Whitmarsh at Motel Gallery

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Icy King Kong (detail)

Megan Whitmarsh makes tiny, meticulously embroidered scenes populated with Yetis (who socialize), people from the future (who are menaced by modern sculpture), crystals and a generous supply of moon boots and indie rock bands.

A sense of innocence as a treasured ideal that cannot exist but in memory pervades, but it's more than nostalgia or a quest for authenticity (only hoplessly fake things claim the authentic). For those who look for 911's effects, this fetish of impossible innocence has become a major defining element of early 21st century art and that event's legacy. Much of this genre merely traffics in these icons of innocence as a joke with little exploration of why they have become so important. It is true, I generally dislike this cute formula but Whitmarsh might be the exemplar worth saving from this popular but completely overdone trend. In embroidery art it has recent roots in the drunken confessional clumbsiness of Tracey Emin (reality art before reality TV). Whitmarsh's work is philosophically confessional but there is nothing clumsy here...

Posted by Jeff Jahn on October 27, 2005 at 22:29 | Comments (3)

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Not Constantinople

If you are vacationing in or near Istanbul this time of the year, you've got one more day to catch Two Continents and Beyond: Waterways, at the Official Independent Project of the 9th Istanbul Biennale. This project, which counts Portland-tied Paul Middendorf and Mary Mattingly as its curatorial advisors, debuted at the Venice Biennale this year and now makes a second showing. Installed on one of Istanbul’s largest ferries, Waterways sails between historic ports of the European coast and the Asian to actively engage and explore the complex dynamic inherent in the systems of politics and international exchange as it relates to environmental conservation and global warming. Over 30 artists have collaborated on the project including Portlanders David Eckard, Ryan Jeffery, Paige Saez, Stephanie Snyder and Amy Steel.
For more info, click here and here.

Posted by Jennifer Armbrust on October 27, 2005 at 10:26 | Comments (0)

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Wednesday 10.26.05

Justin Harris the Younger

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Justin Harris' Theater for One, The Late Great Libido: The Rock Opera

The entire month of October has been one ridiculous art ride in Portland and here are a few more links to help you keep track of it all:

The Oregonian ran a huge spread on the Hesse collection which sports one of the greatest masterpieces in Western art, the Holbein Madonna. It's very exciting to have this here despite the fact that it is a "blockbuster show". It opens at PAM Oct 29th.

Lastly, PICA tips us off that Portlander Justin Harris, whose installation "Theater for One, The Late Great Libido: The Rock Opera" (one of the best works of art I saw last year) also got some great press in Melbourne. It is an an amazing Wittgenstein-level study in solipsistic virtuosity.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on October 26, 2005 at 23:40 | Comments (0)

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McGinness on Tap

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Ryan McGinness comes to Portland tomorrow for a PICA talk about his new exhibition on view at Deitch Projects and his recently released book installationview. In case you're somehow in the dark, McGinness has been garnering international acclaim over the past five years or so for his stylized baroque compositions crafted from an amalgam of inconographic symbols. "His graphic drawings and personal iconography are replicated, recontextualized, and materialized infinitely throughout his densely layered paintings and installations." His work is notable not just for its coneceptual thematics of language and symbolism but for its innovative marriage of art and design lexicons. McGinness has exhibited in traveling museum exhibition, Beautiful Losers and at the Greater New York exhibition at P.S. 1/MoMA. The talk will be followed by a book signing of installationview, which was released this month by Rizolli.
Thursday, October 27th • 7pm
PICA • 224 NW 13th Ave • Tel. 503.242.1419
Members $8 • General $10 • Tickets available at the door

Posted by Jennifer Armbrust on October 26, 2005 at 18:10 | Comments (0)

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Tuesday 10.25.05

Deliver

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Portland's artists are getting around and the team of M.K. Guth, Cris Moss and Molly Dilworth who make up Red Shoe Delivery Service have received tons of great press down in Melbourne, here, here and here. It is just like Portland to export public transportation as art, although I suspect Melbourne's mass transit is light years ahead of any US city. Also one wonders why those Aussies think RSDS are New York based? Guth and Moss haven't lived there for some time now and Guth was always BI-coastal.

We have also noticed Portland's City Commissioner, Sam Adams, has been blogging about the arts a lot lately. Still, the issue of affordable live/work space could really use some creative thinking and action. True, it might be beyond his scope but the issue wont go away until Portland becomes just like San Francisco? i.e. too expensive except for students or the most privileged and often least motivated of trustafarian artists. Some solid ideas need to be championed.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on October 25, 2005 at 23:26 | Comments (0)

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Mutatis Mutandis: New Work by Pat Boas

The name of Pat Boas's new show, Mutatis Mutandis is a repetition of a single latin word in two different tenses. The Latin muto means change or transformation. The suffix atis identifies who witnesses the change, meaning essentially "you all see, or you all are seeing." The single word Mutatis has all the grammatical structure of an entire English sentence: You are all witnessing change.

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Mutandis is another permutation of the root word muto...

Posted by Isaac Peterson on October 25, 2005 at 8:47 | Comments (0)

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Monday 10.24.05

Ellen George at the Archer Gallery

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The artists' signature is a contentious thing - it's the mark of authenticity and the mark of ego. It's also the thing that will irk not only your second generation postmodernist teachers at art school, but those of your classmates who know better, when you hand in your first crappy undergrad painting assignment with your own big red signature scrawled across the bottom.

The last line of the artist's statement accompanying the exhibition at the Archer Gallery at Clark College in Vancouver reads, "I sign everything with an e*." We've seen Jacqueline Ehlis do a signature piece, a riff off of the slick paintings of customized cars. And at her latest exhibition, entitled *, Ellen George makes a signature piece with a sprawling, room-sized, cartoonish asterisk form, formed by several thousand polymer clay pieces shaped by hand.

Teardrops, many-pronged stars and cloud-like blobs were carefully arranged, a gradation of rainbow colors radiating from the cool blue center to the striking red edges. The arrangement threatened to coalesce into a rigid pattern, but George retained vibrance in the piece by creating a loose and slightly irregular mosaic of shapes...

Posted by Katherine Bovee on October 24, 2005 at 8:46 | Comments (0)

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Sunday 10.23.05

Collecting stories on collecting

The Guardian has nice article relating to Portland's new hot topic (finally), serious collectors. Thanks to the guys just down the street (well if I-5 counts) at the OC art blog for pointing it out.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on October 23, 2005 at 13:28 | Comments (0)

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Friday 10.21.05

Nixon Nation

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MAN offers a nice post citing the recent national prominence of Nicholas Nixon's The Brown Sisters. I was fortunate to see this series at Western Bridge over the summer. I found it to be thoughtful, compelling and, well, moving. The series consists (thus far) of 30 annual photographs of Nixon's wife and her three sisters. The women are always posed in the same arrangement. What I found most captivating was how they aged inconsistently, some years looking younger than the previous year. Equally fascinating were the shifting interpersonal dynamics read through body language. One can't help but be impressed, too, with the Nixon's conceptual foresight and execution. With a strong line up of exhibitions and some noteable sales, MAN asks astutely, what makes this work particularly meaningful now?

Posted by Jennifer Armbrust on October 21, 2005 at 0:14 | Comments (1)

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Thursday 10.20.05

(William + Lecture + Free) x 2

Two Lectures this weekend to satisfy your critical cravings....

A Voice in the Crowd: The Art Exhibit and the Citizen by William Ray
Ray, Reed College Professor of French and Humanities, will present a talk on the roles that public art exhibitions and museums have played in the formation of the modern citizen, exploring "how the enjoyment of art introduced the larger public to practices of self-expression and consensus that were crucial to the development of modern citizenship and representative government." The lecture is followed by a reception in the newly restored Field Ballroom of the Mark Building. Hey, why not?
Friday, October 21 • 7p • Free
The Whitsell Auditorium • Portland Art Museum • 1219 SW Park Ave

African American Vernacular Art: A Secret Language, A Hidden Tradition by William Arnett
Arnett will lecture on the often-overlooked aesthetic traditions of Black art in the American South with particular attention to the Quilts of Gee’s Bend, which demonstrate a sophisticated color play evocative of 20th century abstract painters. Quilters Mary Lee Bendolph and Louisiana Bendolph will be in attendance. The original quilts were exhibited at Liz Leach last June.
Saturday, October 22 • 6p • Free
Kaul Auditorium • Reed College • 3203 SE Woodstock Blvd
Park in the West Parking lot, off Botsford Drive, via SE 28th Avenue

Posted by Jennifer Armbrust on October 20, 2005 at 0:11 | Comments (0)

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Wednesday 10.19.05

Mike Rathbun at the Art Gym

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One of the most impressive solo shows in recent memory, Portlander Mike Rathbun's (N45°23.871' W122°38.864') combines the physical intersection of fabrication by hand and the more abstract problem of location.

The show consists of a massive 20 foot long boat suspended high above a wave floor in a matrix of hand cut two-by-twos. The boat looms ominously overhead the pleasant waves while listing athletically to one side as if it is being propelled by a phantom wind. Yet, the scaffold of two-by-twos seem to freeze both the waves and boat in a form of stasis, an important thing if one wants to pin down to one's location.

Beyond the impressive scale the installation correlates craft with location, two things one is keenly aware of when on a real ship. First, when on the water you realize how your location is constantly in question and second, one hopes the craft has structural integrity lest it shortly become a visit to Davey Jones's locker.

In contemporary art the quest for location has become a key issue, especially with biennials and art fairs decentralizing the art world.

Other artists like Martin Puryear are less engineering heavy and more poetic and if one has any qualms about this show it is how reliant on theater as a kind of surreal craft stunt it can seem. It is true Puryear can seem like a craft fetishist as well and similarly walks a fine line. But for these eyes the installation differs sharply from Puryear in that it addresses its temporal nature more. Instead of sculpture, this is an event which hearkens to the theme of discovery and vastness that ships and seas always evoke and it reminded me of the first time I read Kon Tiki. It's an apt metaphor for the art experience as a series of difficult to pin down inner and more tangible journeys as well.


(Last Weekend) The Art Gym, Marylhurst University, B.P. John Administration Building, Third Floor, 17600 Pacific Highway (Hwy 43)

Hours: Tuesday - Sunday, 12 noon to 4 p.m

Posted by Jeff Jahn on October 19, 2005 at 21:47 | Comments (0)

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WWeek vs. Oregonian & vis art coverage

Ahh the latest WWeek jab at the Oregonian... must be a slow news week (yet still no art feature in the WWeek... in fact no review this week), whereas the Oregonian has been lavish with visual art coverage. Also, Ive always thought that "Death Row" is about the coolest nickname a critic could possibly have. If the editors are gonna fling mud at eachother they might as well fling some arts coverage around as well. The last WWeek feature article on the visual arts was in June!!!* Even the Mercury ran a feature on the affair art fair last month.

*Correction the WWeek ran 1 feature article between June and today's date but it is not archived online, "PAM Deconstructed" on September 28th. Similarly the old reviews are not archived either but that is by design... (bad design but design it is).

Posted by Jeff Jahn on October 19, 2005 at 1:31 | Comments (12)

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Super-8 Opera Prima Encore

A couple of months ago I attended an under-publicized screening of films made by 10 up-and-coming artists (many with no filmmaking experience) on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Super-8 film. These short films were beautiful, humorous, chaotic, experimental and unexpected. This Thursday, the Northwest Film Center offers an encore presentation for those of you who missed the first event. Included in the program are Ryan Boyle, Zachary Reno, Sean Healey and Andrea U-Ren, Chris Johanson, Chris Larson, Philip Cooper, Matt McCormick, Morgan Currie and Melody Owen. The films will be accompanied by an original score by Tara Jane O'Neill recorded live at the initial screening.
Thursday, October 20th • 7pm
Guild Theatre • 829 SW 9th Ave.

Posted by Jennifer Armbrust on October 19, 2005 at 0:01 | Comments (0)

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Tuesday 10.18.05

Troca Brasil at Feldman Gallery

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Walking into Troca Brasil, one might expect to uncover a set of cultural cliches - lurid color, sensual forms, exotic content. Each of the five artists in the show is connected in varying degrees to A Gentil Cariocia, a Rio de Janeiro gallery whose name makes reference to the city's inhabitants as well as the traditions that permeate Brazilian culture. Upon entering PNCA's Feldman Gallery, however, one is greeted by a spacious and sparsely installed exhibition that doesn't exactly engulf visitors with sensuality or exoticism.

Portland's press have discussed the show primarily in terms of its sensual qualities, but, while there is plenty to be found, Troca Brasil is successful for its resistence to the cultural and artistic cliches of sensuousness. The artists of Troca Brasil balance a regard for sensory experience with formalism and ideas that elicit much more than just a gut-level emotional response.

The occupants of Laura Lima's chicken coop are decked out with brightly dyed feathers, typically used for carnaval, ridiculously fastened atop their own plumage. It creates a convivial atmosphere within the gallery (and during lectures in adjacent commons when intermittent cawing is heard in the background), but it's also a continuation of Lima's ongoing work exploring the ways that ritual and costume interact. Earlier work includes a gallery performance recreating a 16th century painting of a formal ball, complete with period costumes, as well as more contemporary costumes that oftentimes restrict the wearer in some way. Her Doped Woman performance at ARCO 2000 consisted of a woman cocooned in a long knit costume that was directly attached to the wall. Pieces from her Man=Flesh/Woman=Flesh series, explores the relationship of two humans constrained by a shared costume. One photographic documentation shows two nude men locked in a fighting embrace, heads completely obscured by a shared and blinding hood (find pictures at Casa Triangular's website). Lima's Gala Chickens is not the first piece she has created exploring the concept of costumes through the animal world. During "A Little Bit of History Repeated," curator Jens Hoffmann's two day survey of noted performance art pieces as translated by younger contemporary artists, Lima's homage to Yoko Ono's Cut Piece replaced the performer with a goat.

Ernesto Neto's My Little Castle...Blue (two times for infinity), a womb-like nylon structure grounded by testicular sacs of rice and sand, invite associations with the sensual and sexual terrain of the body. But just as important is the gravity-defying construction of the piece, whose lycra walls stretch nearly two stories high, with only a single, freestanding aluminum rod for support. During Neto's lecture in early September, in which he revealed an effusive charm and knack for storytelling, the artist repeatedly referred to both the role of sensuality and to his ongoing engagement with formalism that has allowed for his work to develop...

Posted by Katherine Bovee on October 18, 2005 at 12:37 | Comments (0)

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Radius Studio

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Mark Brandau is a busy man. In addition to working as a director of operations at Gallery 500 and publisher of Portland Modern, he also runs Radius Studio with his wife Kim McKenna. Radius offers workshops, services and facilities to artists in a variety of media and experience levels and they have just announced classes for their fall session. This season's offerings include oil painting, ceramics, super 8 filmmaking, printmaking, bookbinding and more. Session begins November 14. For more information, visit the website, www.radiusstudio.com.
Radius Studio • 2515 SE 22nd Ave (at Division, behind the Red & Black cafe)
Tel. 503.231.4145 • art@radiusstudio.com

Posted by Jennifer Armbrust on October 18, 2005 at 11:17 | Comments (0)

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Sunday 10.16.05

Jubitz till you can't Jubitz no more

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Tim Bavington's Voodoo Child a slight return, solo (in PAM's collection)

Ok, so there is even more ink (or electrons) on Portland's new museum wing out there.

In The Oregonian D.K. (Death) Row agrees with many of the same things in my review. He's dead on about the lack of Pop art in the collection. Although, he's a bit funny when he complains of a lack of collecting over the last 15 years then gets all frumpy about Laurie Reid, Din Q. Le and Tim Bavington being in the top floor's collection because the work is young.

Row makes lots of good points but this is preposterous. First of all Reid was in the 2000 Whitney Biennial and Le was in the 2003 Venice Biennale. Lastly, Bavington is an exemplar of an important group of artists who studied under Dave Hickey in the 90's. He is also in LACMA's and the Albright Knox Gallery's collection (I might add our Bavington is better than theirs). Seriously, all of these are hardly unproven regional West Coast artists and these are exactly the sorts of aquisitions that strengthen the collection.

If you got a problem with respected California artists, tough... welcome to yer typical West Coast museum being all youthful and snappy. Actually, that top floor of the Jubitz Center is for exactly that type of young work.

The Oregonian also ran an architectural review. Lastly, here on PORT (in the comments) the debate has been going on for some time.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on October 16, 2005 at 11:11 | Comments (4)

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Saturday 10.15.05

Whittle Away the Weekend

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Today and tomorrow mark the last two days for free admission to the Art Museum. Your best bet is to pick your free tickets up at Fred Meyer but you can also score some at the door. And, if you're wanting to know more about the collection, architecture, and the long-term plan for the New Wing, one of the museum's most contentious figures, Bruce Guenther (the Museum's Chief Curator and Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art) will be giving a lecture tomorrow on The Vision Behind the Center for Modern and Contemporary Art.
Sunday, October 16th • 2p
Whitsell Auditorium • 1219 SW Park Ave • $10

Tonight, if you're looking for an opportunity to officially usher in fall (as if the wind and rain weren't enough), the Guild Theater presents Murnau's Nosferatu with live musical accompanyment by Boston's Devil Music Ensemble.
Saturday, October 15th •7:30p
$10 general • $ 8 members & students
Guild Theatre • 829 SW 9th Ave.

Image (above): one of my favorite surprises in the new collection.

Posted by Jennifer Armbrust on October 15, 2005 at 10:01 | Comments (0)

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Thursday 10.13.05

out there on the inter-heck


Edward Winkleman has a great post on the recurring death of arts funding.

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Also, Chas Bowie at the Mercury chimes in on the new Portland Art Museum and writes some similar things to my PORT review about the hang. He is absolutely right but many museums who have had their collections mothballed intentionally overhang for their openers and it can be fixed. It is a way to get key aquisitions as well. Still, he misses how absolutely crucial (but unglamourous) office space is to running a museum. At 28,000 sq feet of new galleries it adds a great deal more than the recent Walker expansion did. Besides, it isn't like the staff didn't have their offices in the other half of the wing before the renovation.

Prior to the renovation they lacked air conditioning as well and Portland does get uncomfortably hot during the summer from time to time. In a smart move the offices have been designed so they can be easilly turned into gallery space in the future. Lastly, does the rental sales gallery have to be housed on museum grounds? Nice that the collection is stronger than expected though.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on October 13, 2005 at 23:55 | Comments (5)

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TJ Norris opens at Chambers

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Don't let this mid-month opening slip by you. TJ Norris opens Nucleo tonight at Chambers, the second in a tri-part series of installations entitled tribryd . The artist explains, "It is the centerpiece of the series and as such acts as a balancing point. The work includes photographic imagery (or "evidence"). The images were found in mostly industrial and abandoned areas of cities in the Pacific Northwest, New England and Montreal. These images have gone through many manifestations to end up in a spherical state, representing a sort of zen center, by editing the edges of my own perception (my peripheral vision), and in a way mimicking the camera's lens."

Opening recepetion tonight • 5:30 to 8:30p • Through November 26
Chambers • 207 SW Pine St No 102

Posted by Katherine Bovee on October 13, 2005 at 10:25 | Comments (0)

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Some Post-Affair Thoughts

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Love it or hate it, the Affair 2005 has come and gone. Yes, the small art in cramped rooms. Yes, the people. Yes, even the rain that threatened to spoil (but only tempered) Friday night's parties.

I was out sick last week, no doubt a victim of the elements (standing outside for hours in winter temperatures in the courtyard of the Jupiter will do that), which has given me lots of time to mull over exactly what went on at the Affair.

As expected, there was far too much art in hot little cramped rooms - which is part of the joy, because, hell, it's an art fair. It's supposed to feel like a bazaar. It's not supposed to be the ultimate aesthetic experience, but a way to see lots of work from lots of places in a condensed context. Plus, it's rooted in commerce (at least theoretically - read DK Row's comments on that in his "After the Affair" wrap-up). Both last year and this year, I heard complaints about the size of the rooms from several people, but I didn't find that the work suffered any more damage than work at large fairs, for example, in row after row of nondescript booths at NYC's armory fair. And, of course, being in close quarters provides the kind of chance encounters and intimacy that attracted the galleries, particularly those from out of town, in the first place.

Portland being Portland, the Affair is, naturally, a different kind of art fair and its strength lies in its scale. Since Portland is still developing a strong collector's base, and one that still seems to suffer from an attitude of indifference towards collecting work from outside Portland, the sustainablility of its art fair depends on its differences. Talking informally with gallery owners from outside of Portland, who trekked here from cities including San Francisco, Seattle, Atlanta and Houston, it's apparent that this, along with the Portland's well-deserved reputation as a must-see city, was what brought them here, not the promise of lucrative sales. That said, I hope that these types of events will encourage a more sophisticated collector's base, since it's such a crucial element to bringing Portland through its adolescence as an art city...

Posted by Katherine Bovee on October 13, 2005 at 1:12 | Comments (0)

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Wednesday 10.12.05

The New Portland Art Museum

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Anyone who was in Portland the first weekend of October knows it was an art endurance test that most of us here are still recovering (or deinstalling) from.

Ok it wasn't as ridiculous as Art Basel Miami or the Armory Show/Whitney Biennial Weekends but it was a lot more active and spread out than say a Site Santa Fe opening. What it amounted to was a hell of a lot more than one human being can hope to take in. In fact, I was involved with the three biggest events: the opening of the Portland Art Museum's Mark Building, the Affair @ the Jupiter Hotel art fair and my Fresh Trouble show. Then came all the First Thursday openings a few days later. A very busy time.

The main event, the Portland Art Museum's new North Wing includes the new Jubitz Center for Modern and Contemporary Art (28,000 sq feet of new galleries) and we note that the younger members of the Jubitz clan opted to fund it to the point of naming rights. In conversation I've been impressed with their knowledge and this bodes well for the long term vitality of the museum. Now for some generalist first impressions (I will leave the Sophie Calle exhibition for another time)…


The Collection:


We lack the strong collection of my hometown Milwaukee Wisconsin (or the big guns at the Art Institute in Chicago) but I'm pleased to no end that the Dan Flavin, the Gilbert and George and the Ernst Ludwig Kirchner are all on display for the fist time in memory. We aren't going to have MoMA's...

Posted by Jeff Jahn on October 12, 2005 at 1:00 | Comments (1)

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Tuesday 10.11.05

Hackett weighs in: Seattle v. Portland

Carolyn Zick's blog points the way to Monday's big story up north. Some people will consider this old news, but the Seattle Posts' Regina Hackett sounds the alarm to her fellow Seattlites who haven't been paying attention the past few years: Portland is gaining on Seattle. And, the way she admiringly describes the implications of the new PAM wing, perhaps she is harboring feelings that Portland has already caught up? Her solution: find ways to collaborate and make the Portland-Seattle-Vancouver corrider as accessible as possible.

Posted by Katherine Bovee on October 11, 2005 at 10:34 | Comments (1)

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2 things

The Portland Architecture blog has two good art-ish posts right now. The first on the Lovejoy Columns and the second is on the "really new" economy. The report on the new PAM wing will be tonight.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on October 11, 2005 at 1:57 | Comments (0)

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Sunday 10.09.05

Cranky, ascerbic radio time

Just a note, Ill be on Eva Lake's Art Star Radio on Monday the tenth at 5:00 PM. For those outside Portland you can access it on the web here.

OK, I officially hate to discuss myself (and PORT is about Portland Art, not my mood) but here Eva seems to think Im some sort of ultimate optimist which is hilarious since generally the only thing I care about is high caliber art, criticism and an involvement with the challenges of the day. All of which is rare and the exception rather than the rule. I'm cranky and not very forgiving and I can be counted on to bitchslap the people who need it. If necessary, I'll draw blood critically. So I really don't know what she's talking about other than my belief that really high caliber art does change the world in a small, obstinate but important way by bringing a tacit form of visual poetry into being. Still, it's only for that tiny audience that still cares about the details... remember those things that can't be turned into a soundbyte?

Maybe it's because the Pacific Northwest has a bad habit of fetishing a kind of self-imposed irrelevance that simply isn't my gig (although Portland has really changed its attitude in comparison to Seattle). I am a tactical, very discriminating optimist, it's a weapon and it only means something if you keep it sharp. I like to see talent develop to its fullest expression... nothing less.

Maybe it is because she senses that I don't really feel disenfranchised? Well, it's because I'm not and I do believe part of it is because I'm an overeducated white male, 200lbs, 6'2", happy childhood and a generally charmed life who makes a point of backing things up with action, hard work etc. It is weird but Ive really noticed how much the art world seems to respect/tolerate cranky hypercritical men (like myself... and curator Bruce Guenther or legends like my role model Alfred Stieglitz, Dave Hickey, Robert Hughes, Jerry Saltz, Greenberg, Clyfford Still, Richard Serra) and has a problem with most women who try that shtick. Yet most of my favorite art world denizens are women, like the recently departed Linda Farris, Jane Bradley (RIP), Lynne Cooke, Karin Davie, Justine Kurland or Portland gallerists/collectors like Sylvia Engelman, Liz Leach, Jane Beebe or MaryAnn Deffenbaugh. These individuals all seem to be interested in getting the job done and are supportive without lots of posturing.

Oh yes and my critique of the Portland Art museum's new Jubitz Center for Modern and Contemporary Art will be here tomorrow.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on October 09, 2005 at 23:40 | Comments (4)

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Friday 10.07.05

First Friday

a.jpg Barb Choit at small A projects

Well, there were a few changes and missteps last night and turns out Erwin Wurm isn't at Liz Leach this month after all and PDX didn't debut their new space yet, but all in good time. Sorry for any confusion or misdirection. Eight days of art madness is winding down tonight in the Central Eastside Industrial District with three openings and one tailgate party.

My pick of the evening is the housewarming party at Laurel Gitlen's small A projects. She kicks of her new digs with All I Want is Everything a group show celebrating everything rock 'n roll. The reception starts at 6p and at 8p there's a free screening of Heavy Metal Parking Lot, a cult classic that chronicles a day in the life outside a Judas Priest concert circa 1986. There will be a tailgate party throughout the evening with hot dogs and libations. Be there or be, well, wussy.
small A projects • 1430 SE Third Ave • Tel. 503.234.7993

Newspace shows Station to Station by Lisa Gidley (PDX). The exhibition maps NYC through a collection of photographs shot within one block of the Metro stations, 443 in total. A nice homage to public transit and the Big Apple.
Opening Reception • 7 to 10p
Newspace • 1632 SE 10th Ave • Tel. 503.963.1935

At NAAU Arcy Douglass presents Panta Rhei, a bold series which negotiates the line between representation and abstraction.
Opening Reception • 7 to 10p
NAAU • 922 SE Ankeny Street • Tel. 503.231.8294

After a last minute relocation, Homeland debuts tonight in the Hall Gallery. I can't seem to find the press release but I think the show is still Zak Margolis, Charles Moss and Amy Steel. I'm guessing from 6 to 9p or 7 to 10p, something in that range.
Gallery Homeland @ The Hall Gallery • 630 SE Third Avenue

* Don't forget, only one more weekend of Fresh Trouble. Saturday and Sunday, noon to 5p. 4246 SE Belmont.

Posted by Jennifer Armbrust on October 07, 2005 at 14:44 | Comments (0)

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Thursday 10.06.05

Portland is becoming.... Portland of course

Portland's visual arts coming of age this week isn't just about the visual arts, its about how the city conceives of itself and Portland blogger Gretchen wonders if it's still Portland?

My answer is a resounding Yes, our visual arts scene is now more engaged internationally (new museum wing, art fair, and international artists in the galleries... some happen to live here) but there is a sense that Portland has something that other places don't have (from the ground up with lots of small businesses) and the artists are articulating that reality. Yes, there are "shiny people" but there are more funky artists as well and the great thing is how frequently they mix. The new Portland doesn't hide from the world, it engages it. People here seem obsessed with a "better way of life" and a cooler less souless city that is the envy of most people who know much of anything. It is the anti-imperialist but opportunist and forgiving America that Portland celebrates. It generally doesn't matter if you are a republican or democrat here, people feel enfranchised in this city.

It all spills over into the visual arts. The people moving here want something different than New York or LA and so do the artists who keep streaming here. Instead of merely vetting inside jokes, quality of "experience" (often through design quality) is a big deal here. Now instead of Portland "not being like other places" it is really starting to articulate what would work better. Its a shift towards acknowledged civic leadership that is openly discussed elsewhere as a model. Seriously, what other US metropolis of 2.1+ million people is so obsessed with art, bicycling, ecology, neighborhoods full of small businesses and good food?

Posted by Jeff Jahn on October 06, 2005 at 23:56 | Comments (0)

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Ah yes, First Thursday

yoder.gif Robert Yoder at Froelick

First the Affair, then the Museum wing and now, don't forget, First Thursday! This month offers the best line-up of shows I've seen since PORT launched. Things have been so busy in gallery land, I've hardly had a wink of sleep though, so this month's post is a list of top picks (with the gallery's name as a link to their site where you can get more info including address and reception times). See you all tonight!

• Bernd and Hilla Becher at the brand new Pulliam Deffenbaugh space
• Masao Yamamoto at the brand new PDX space
• Robert Yoder at Froelick Gallery
• Erwin Wurm at Liz Leach
• Megan Whitmarsh at Motel
• Tom Cramer x 2 at Mark Woolley East and Mark Woolley West
• Gregory Grenon at Laura Russo
• T.J. Norris at Chambers

• Plus, the launch party for Fake Your Own Death, a new art magazine with Issue 1 featuring Ryan Jacob Smith, Jessie Rose Vala, Emily Counts, Nathan McKee and more, at Valentine's (232 SW Ankeny).

Posted by Jennifer Armbrust on October 06, 2005 at 7:48 | Comments (0)

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Wednesday 10.05.05

Drugs, escapism and restlessness

Tyler Green over at Modern Art Notes is absolutely on fire with posts on the Getty and Tomaselli. I agree Tomaselli's work is likable but there is something so innocuous about his work... I suppose its the difference between listening to Frank Zappa or Phish covering Zappa. Something about the original was so much more threatening and interesting and Tomaselli lacks that edge. It all seems relevant with MOCA's Exstacy show and that whole Drunk vs. Stoned series of shows in New York. The question is, is all this escapism part of the reason things got the way things are in the White House? Hans Ulrich Obrist and Daniel Birnbaum have a show in Oslo about the Uncertain States of America that takes place this weekend... Portland's beloved Matt McCormick will be part of it. Yes he's in my show too.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on October 05, 2005 at 21:57 | Comments (0)

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Tuesday 10.04.05

Adolescent Lemming Crossing

My latest Critical i article is out now. It discusses the "what next" now that Portland's art scene has officially achieved its adolescence. Yes, I'll have a post on the new modern and contemporary art wing at the museum soon. For a teaser I liked the athletic gallery spaces and numerous stairs, the placement of the Gilbert and George and think it is intentionally over hung to show off the collection's strengths (sculpture, minimalism) and holes (many... including Pop and major 80's artists). The photography galleries are wonderful.

Also, just in case anyone in Portland missed it Michael Brophy has a review in Art Forum... I know I know I fully expect the world to end too but for the record he deserves the attention. I want to see an ecology/contemporary artshow with him Tom Uttech, Alexis Rockman and Bruce Conkle.

As for the Affair art fair... for an initial reaction lets just say its still 1000 times better than any of the Scope Fairs Ive seen. Although one artist summed it up best, "after seeing room after room of adolescent images on paper the whole drawing thing must die." Agreed, drawing has been uncool and formulaic since it became so ubiquitous. Hopefully the lemmings are just about to jump off the cliff! I was absolutely sick of it at least 2 years ago.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on October 04, 2005 at 23:49 | Comments (7)

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Catherine Clark Gallery Photoblog by Jen Rybolt

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Posted by Guest on October 04, 2005 at 16:19 | Comments (0)

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Jeff Bailey Gallery by Jen Rybolt

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Standouts from the Jeff Bailey Gallery were a series of colored pencil tongues by Julia Randall (entitled Lick Line). The mouths were solitary on their sheets of white paper, and tissue really seemed to glisten with spittle as the mouths formed various expressions.

Posted by Guest on October 04, 2005 at 16:13 | Comments (0)

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Bucheon Gallery at the Affair by Jen Rybolt

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San Francisco's Bucheon Gallery had a major standout item in the form of the pompom, felt and object-covered fabric draped over the room's bed like a natural coverlet (it usually hangs on a wall). This was by David McDermott. Jenny Dubnau's faces hung enigmatically on one wall, larger than life and definitely cryptic in their dead-ahead facing of the viewer. David Gerard Romero had a selection of smaller facial portraits-all in the throes of ecstasy, all hanging in formation above the latrine-and also a collection of erotic science fiction comic-style pieces.

Posted by Guest on October 04, 2005 at 1:53 | Comments (1)

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Solomon Fine Art by Jen Rybolt

solomonfineart_elengarvens

Solomon Fine Art (hailing from Seattle) featured a number of interesting objects and paintings, including pieces by Paul Shakespear and interesting wall pieces that contained sculptural elements by Ellen Garvens. The curator, Meli Solomon, nailed something that had been in the back of my mind all night: that people could experience art at the Affair as they would in their own homes- or at least in something more like their own homes than a gallery usually is. The size and content restrictions inherent in displaying in an enclosed space were outweighed favorably by the viewer's unconscious relationship with the more intimate space and lighting. Emily Isenberg had mentioned the same thing about Allston Skirt Gallery's selections; the shipping was prohibitive since they're located in Boston, and the space was limited, but that helped them to create a more intimate, homey atmosphere.

Posted by Guest on October 04, 2005 at 1:27 | Comments (0)

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Sunday 10.02.05

Well Within the Realm... A Casual Conversation with Hamza Walker

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The back-story for this interview is that I met Hamza in Cincinnati as a graduate student. He was a guest lecturer in our visiting artists program and sat in on critiques for a couple of days. I bumped into him again at the Affiar, I'm transcribing this conversation as faithfully as I can remember it...

Isaac: Hi Hamza, do you remember me from Cincinnati? I was on the visiting artists committee and we went out to dinner after your lecture. My name is Isaac.

Hamza: Oh yeah! What was that place called?

Isaac: Biagio's

Hamza: That's right.

Isaac: Some of your critiques became the stuff of legend in Cincinnati.

Hamza: Oh really?

Isaac: Yeah, there was a color field painter you were critiquing and you told him to look at Frank Frazetta....

Posted by Isaac Peterson on October 02, 2005 at 17:49 | Comments (0)

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Froelick Gallery at the Affair by Jen Rybolt

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I also had an interesting conversation with the fellow manning the room for Portland's Froelick Gallery as I checked out some painted panels by Wiyot artist Rick Bartow. The curator related that Bartow was a multidisciplined artist who is involved with ceramics, printmaking and other arenas in addition to painting, which led to his introducing Froelick to Japanese printmaker Ritsuko Ozeki (who also had a piece featured in the room). While we were there to see sort of the commerce side of contemporary art, it was nice to be reminded of the interrelation between different artists, mediums and that we are all involved with this because we are passionate about modes of expression.

Posted by Guest on October 02, 2005 at 16:07 | Comments (2)

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We're only together for the kids, honestly (Compound Gallery at the Affair) by Jen Rybolt

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Compound Gallery (a Portland gallery that hosts international shows but also tends to focus on the new generation of Japanese artists) featured pieces by artists including Ren Sakuri (my favorite was a trio of colorfully afro'd women swarming around a long-barreled gun), Re:Verse (paper-collage backgrounds with felt children in the foreground, and terrible events unfolding in the meantime), Auurizum (cute animal-head-hooded figures), Meredith Dittmar (polymer figures), and Junpei Kawamura (amazing, incredibly detailed women comprised of layers of paper hand-inked and colored). The fluidity of Kawamura's fashionably styled females was remarkable considering the pieced-together nature of the whole.

Posted by Guest on October 02, 2005 at 15:57 | Comments (0)

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Heather Marx Gallery at the Affair by Jen Rybolt

davidhevel_paparazzi

Heather Marx Gallery (San Francisco) also was provocative, although in a more highbrow manner than Art Palace. My eyes were first drawn to the Baroque centerpieces sculpted by David Henzel as pop culture commentary. They incorporated taxidermy elements arranged with autumnal dried flowers and pendulous glass beads that would- almost- be appropriate in your Grandmother's house. Pictured is the piece "Paparazzi." Davis and Davis photograph found dolls and discarded playthings in full sets- there was a definite narrative to these pieces. The dolls are left completely in the state in which they were found, from scuffs to tattered clothing, and then interact with each other in a mildly disturbing subtext. Libby Black recreates consumer goods in paper mache, down to the last detail. Her Louis Vuitton boombox and cassette selection (featuring Tina Turner among others) was done to scale and plastered in the familiar LV logo. She seems to ask us to consider our wants and desires against our actual needs. David Lyle paints greyscale (at least these selections) oil on panel versions of found vintage photographs depicting slices of Americana- but the America that isn't always smiling as it moves to pose for the photographer. One in particular, "State Fair Domination," is of an older woman who's just won prizes for all of her cakes but one, and that one she looks at discontentedly.

Posted by Guest on October 02, 2005 at 15:44 | Comments (0)

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Art Palace at the Affair by Jen Rybolt

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I next visited Arturio Palacios' gallery Art Palace (a play on his name, look closer). Austin, Texas has long held a reputation as the home of a thriving music scene and, as embodied by Art Palace, is clearly developing as a hotspot for new art as well. I really, really enjoyed the selections in this room. Ali Fitzgerald's graphite sketches, approximately 2'x3', were frenetic and detailed... apparently, she also does semi-truckload-sized paintings based on her sketches, although the content shifts slightly with the dimensions. Michael Sieben (also the founder of Austin gallery Camp Fig) offers marker/pen illustration-style drawings of comic-y dream-style monster/animals and paints the same on boards. The drawings were actually done on pages from "How To Draw" books...

Posted by Guest on October 02, 2005 at 15:27 | Comments (0)

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I thought I told you never to call me at this number... (The Affair by Jen Rybolt)

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Howard House from Seattle hosted a room dominated by a wall-sized collage of fabric, acrylic and pigment -- emblazoned with a huge skull and called Victory by Default -- by Donald Baechler. There were also a couple of graphite sketches flanking the skull piece by Chiara Minchio (entitled "Neonschnitte") done on neon paper that grabbed the eye.

Posted by Guest on October 02, 2005 at 15:11 | Comments (1)

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The Affair Photoblog

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Posted by Isaac Peterson on October 02, 2005 at 10:18 | Comments (0)

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