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Sunday 02.05.06

« First Friday February | Main | Yan Chung-Hsien at PSU »

East Burnside report on First Friday

action on East Burnisde for First Friday

Portland seems to sprout a new hip neighborhood every 6 months and more often than not it involves a couple of art galleries and hybrid fashion boutiques that also show art. The latest one has grown up along East Burnside directly across from The Jupiter Hotel, which hosts the annual Affair art fair. The adjacent and hopp'n Doug Fir lounge certainly doesn't hurt either. To be fair though, the very good Holst Architecture, KBOO radio, the Imago Theater and the New American Art Union were all there before The Affair and gave the area good bones as an arts district. Now it filling out with the Denwave & Yes fashion boutiques as well as the Renowned gallery. As expected, First Friday's openings had a great deal more energy than First Thursday's fare, these artist are all developing but it does indicate that Portland continues to attract a huge number of new artists each year.

At the Yes boutique [811 E. Burnside] there were photos of cassette tapes by Greg Olin. I've seen them at various locations around town and generally liked them from a distance. It's a nice concept and punk rock to boot but he should print them on nicer paper to let them sing upon closer inspection. Denwave was mostly clothes except for a very very nice Dan Ness painting of some escalators that Luc Tuymans would have been proud to have painted. It's a pretty funny pun on big department stores in a small boutique.

collectively drawn image at Renowned gallery

Next door to Denwave and Yes, the Renowned gallery is one of two dedicated art galleries and their latest show, "Walters Daydream" was a potpourri of funny, self conscious drawings by A.J. Purdy, Andy Rementer, Andy Dixon, Andrew Dick, and Justin B. Williams. Some of the work by each artist was good and at $30-$150 was affordable egalitarian fare. It also puts pressure on the Affair at the Jupiter Hotel art fair which sells similar drawings for $500-$1600 that aren't appreciably better. Obviously pedigree comes into play here but I've railed against this trend for this very reason… almost any half competent art school grad does this sort of thing and it's rather indistinguishable from one another. If you are collecting for posterity buy a good Marcel Dzama.

Burr's Bountiful Little Dudes #10 = Front Massage

The best stuff of the night came from the New American Art Union's "The Den" show. I was skeptical at first because any show with dreamcatchers and a 30 foot rainbow cobra in it should set off the cheese alarms but Ross Christy's work is sincere and well done, if a little bit too much like standard tree hugger propaganda. Christy's work needs an angle if it is going to go beyond preaching to the Portland choir (we all like trees). The best stuff was Peter Burr's really screwed up magazine collages enhanced with puff paint.

I've seen literally thousands of artists try to do this sort of thing but Burr gets it right. The scale constantly shifts and the menace of the image overload is very palpable. His best one was, "Bountiful Little Dudes #10 = Front Massage." He's like the child of James Rosenquist and Peter Saul...with Jorg Immendorff as his nanny. I like these and it will be interesting to see this young artist develop. He's doing a residency in Omaha for a few months and that should either kill him or otherwise he'll surely come back with even more bizarre work.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on February 05, 2006 at 23:25 | Comments (5)


I too was a big fan of Burr's work, which for me is saying a lot. It had that very "high school" bored sketching quality to it which seems so hot these days (but looks like it may be on it's way out), but he seemed to have it down very well. And the puff paint, good lord, how could you not love puff paint being used sincerely in a piece of artwork? His images are bright and colorful, slightly chaotic, and the naivety of the images make them very fun.

Posted by: Calvin Carl [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 6, 2006 10:03 AM

Some quick comments from East Burnside...Fix actually changed it's name to Denwave in December...drive by and check out our bitchin' new sign! Also, February's opening celebrated Hazel Cox's fabulous collection of drawings and prints, as seen in the window space. Sleeping horses, lunar explosions and sonar! Definitely worth a peek. Come by!

Posted by: gdellinger [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 7, 2006 10:48 AM

Thanks GD

Its fixed... I just went by the CEAD guide as the opening was so crowded it was tough to view signage (I tend to watch street as I drive in that area... the stoplight at Sandy often presents ample opportunities for wiggy driving). Also, I saw Cox's work but once again the crowd made viewing tough. The whole thing kinda got swallowed.

I'd like to note that all these hybrid fashion/art spaces like Denwave, Ogle, Visage, Hacklewood and Compound, etc. are integrating art and daily commerce in exciting Superflat ways and really add to the vibrancy of the Portland. It also helps artists get the exhibition chops up before bigger statements in dedicated spaces like the New American Art Union. It's all part of a process.

Portland is just full of such exhibition opportunities and I should note Lou Reed recently had a photography show at Hermes in NYNY. It happens in a lot of cool cities but nowhere have I seen art and shopkeeping so integrated as in Portland. (we have a huge # of small businesses).

The biggest trick is having work that thrives in such mixed use spaces.

Posted by: Double J [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 7, 2006 11:32 AM

That was something I forgot to mention, I was going to say that Fix wasn't "Fix" anymore, but then I got all distracted talking about puff paint.

Posted by: Calvin Carl [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 7, 2006 11:34 AM

Puff paint does that to a person....

and suddenly "Den" seems to be the secret word for February... everybody scream when you hear the secret word (ala peewee's playhouse)

Posted by: Double J [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 7, 2006 11:40 AM

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