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Tuesday 10.04.05

« Catherine Clark Gallery Photoblog by Jen Rybolt | Main | Drugs, escapism and restlessness »

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)


I heartily disagree on the drawing issue, there just needs to be a space and curation to show what drawing can be. I for one wish the region had its own Drawing Cener.

Posted by: carolyn [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 5, 2005 05:44 AM

Nothing against drawing as a medium, instead my comments refer to the glut of drawings at loosely curated art fairs.

They tend to show hundreds upon hundreds of formulaic works and it looks like a trend that has been thoroughly "exploited" rather than the vital medium it has always and will continue to be.

The drawing that "must die" is the opportunistic glut, not the creme of the crop.

Posted by: Double J [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 5, 2005 09:08 AM

There was a pretty interesting feature on Jeff Koon's sketchbook/scrapbook last month. (Art Papers?) The author was able to get Koons and his college art instructors/fellow students to acknowledge that he was an excellent draftsman. Koons says that he quit drawing when he was able to render the figure nearly lifelike. Koons' logic went something like this: If the figure was an image of something that appeared life-like, why not take it a step further and make it into a sculpture? I wouldn't expect the Affair @ Jupiter Hotel to be a place to have one's mind stretched about what art can or can not be. I would expect gallerists to offer clean/cheap examples of the work they show year round.

Posted by: jerseyjoe [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 5, 2005 09:30 AM


An art fair is a good place to see trends though and there were some really nice drawings on display at the affair despite the glut. Still this trend has had legs for years and it has become a rather wobbly parody of itself as of late. And yes parody is a valid form of art in the proper dosage.

Posted by: Double J [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 5, 2005 09:40 AM

Trends are a bad thing, right? Off the top of my head, I can't think of many essential artworks/artists whose work could be easily saddled within an art world (marketplace) trend. Koons, Richard Prince, Cindy Sherman, Paul McCarthy, Charles Ray, and John Baldessari were definitely making/presenting interesting work that appealed to other artists, well before the art marketplace knew how to sell it or popularize the aesthetics contained within it.

Posted by: jerseyjoe [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 5, 2005 12:45 PM

Yup... trends often die after a big proliferation (remember beanie babies). At one time there were lots of regional knock-off abstract expressionist painters but its Pollock etal that still matter not the people who got MFA's and took over countless art departments around the country.

It's pretty easy to copy things once the elements of the trends are identified... suddenly everyone is doing it ... then just as suddenly it looks silly and formulaic and its gone all but for the best ones.

the current drawing trend will be remembered as the Dzama effect. He will survive and maybe a few others.

Posted by: Double J [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 5, 2005 09:16 PM

Picasso talked about how it's better for an artist to copy a work that has inspired him/her, rather than to create a work that is inspired by another artwork. He says that the inaccuracies of the new copied work will reveal the personality of the copier and what exactly within the work he/she found inspiring. The resulting piece may or may not be something to show to the world, but is a better practice than creating derivative works.

A well-versed local curator explained that often times, even reputable galleries will pick up and represent the work of artists who work in a popular style, knowing full well that when the trend is over, that artist will be kicked to the curb.

It's doubtable that the majority of the work being presented at the Affair @ Jupiter Hotel over the weekend would even be of interest to people who might have purchased it in two years time. The same could hardly be said for Damien Hirst's shark, Charles Ray's "Unpainted Sculpture", or just about anything by Felix Gonzalez-Torres.

Posted by: jerseyjoe [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 5, 2005 09:47 PM

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