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Thursday 02.16.06

« Josh Mannis at small A | Main | New Trajectories I: Relocations, at Reed College (Part 1) »

February Calls for Artists

p_modern_saturation.jpg

Portland Modern's next issue promises to take an interesting twist, deviating from their format that has previously favored emerging artists, this time inviting all artists to apply with work relating to the theme, "Saturation." The fourth issue, set to hit the streets in May, will be curated by Kristan Kennedy (PICA) and Matthew Stadler (Clear Cut Press). Deadline for submitting work is March 11.
Download submission guidelines here

RACC awards annual fellowships in rotating arts disciplines, and this year, it's turn for the visual artists. With a cash award of $20,000, the prize is geared towards established artists, designed to "help individual artists of high merit sustain or enhance their creative process." Past visual artists who have received the prize include Christine Bourdette, Terry Toedtemeier, Michael Brophy and Judy Cooke. Deadline to apply is April 17.
Guidelines are available here


Posted by Katherine Bovee on February 16, 2006 at 8:41 | Comments (8)


Comments

Portland Modern is doing great things and seems to be getting a crop of increasingly sophistcated artists after a shakey start (aren't all starts shakey?). The new window project is nice too.

Portland's art scene does its thing in public for the most part not behind closed doors and PM is one of the brighter spots... especially when they organize 2 person shows to showcase these artists.

As for the jurors, its a writer and an artist:

Matthew Stadler recently had a piece in Artforum on TBA and also penned something for the latest Dwell magazine about a home in Portland. Oh yes, and in 1992 he was a Guggenheim Fellow. He's a very approachable person to boot.

Kristan Kennedy is one of my favorite portland art people... she's direct, fiery and has made great strides with her own art in the last year or so... besides her PICA gig.

Still I've gotta ask this (because people should ask this question of the organization), "Is PICA still a valid visual arts organization?" I ask because all they seem to do is co-sponsor other people's initiative in lectures etc. So where is the leadership that Portland Modern has shown? Are the visual arts just a fundraising opportunity for a performing arts + some performance art organization?

Also, will PICA originate any serious exhibition programming like they once did? Weve heard that TBA should have an art exhibition but a token affair seems like too little, too late?

... this is my standard PICA rant 101 and I'm bored of stating it ad nauseum, hence the reason its in a comment not an article.

The question all organizations should ask is, "are we relevant?"

2003 vs 2006?

Now that Reed, the Art Museum, the Feldman Gallery and Portland Modern all seem to have eclipsed PICA by providing challenging contemporary exhibitions their board really should ask the question because everyone asked it 5 or more months ago and came up with an answer.

If you think I'm cheesed off, just talk to some who put a lot of work into the organization's visual art efforts over the years.

Posted by: Double J [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 16, 2006 09:32 AM

What does Kennedy's contribution as a juror for Portland Modern have to do with your concerns about PICA as valid visual arts organization?

Posted by: jerseyjoe [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 17, 2006 12:09 AM

Simple, Portland Modern is actively originating visual art programming. PICA is turning into a professional co-sponsor. The comparison is academic.

capeesh?

Posted by: Double J [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 17, 2006 01:11 AM

Jeff,

What frustrates someone like myself currently living away from Portland but looking to PORT to keep me abreast of what's going on in town is this insistence to put art into categories. While there have been a few good posts on performance, film, dance, design, etc. PORT clearly is for the visual or fine art crowd. Therefore PICA can only be seen through your lens of visual art. Did I miss the post looking at the TBA festival becoming the most important festival in the US for live art? Looking at PICA as an institution 2003 vs 2006, today wins out. I'm clearly biased having just returned from a second UK tour as a direct result of TBA, but I'm certainly not alone in the growing ranks of local artists getting national and internationally opportunities because of PICA. Isn't this what you've always said was imperative for the progression of the scene?

But what I feel makes PICA today so relevant it's refuses to put up barriers between kinds of art. A recent well written and frequently commented-upon PORT post focusing on object-based performance in Portland neglected to mention any local dance, experimental theater, avant garde sketch comedy, or performance lectures going on. Music was discussed as a different world altogether, siphoning from the potential performance pool. And yet there were innovative local and international rock musicians performing every night at the Works during the TBA Festival as *part* of the community, not competition.

Why not expand the focus of PORT to include the very best creative artwork being done in Portland as well? Artists today are increasingly working in more and more disciplines and are increasingly collaborating over genre lines. Why for instance, did the major papers all cover the latest Monster Squad performance but it wasn't even mentioned here? From what I read elsewhere the show is exactly what I'm talking about and where the Portland scene is most exciting. A dance group emerging into the national scene collaborating with an established visual artist, a celebrated musician, a noted fashion designer, and a talented filmmaker.

If PORT is as well regarded and read outside Portland as you often claim (and I suspect it is), I would think you'd see an obligation to present a more holistic view of what's happening in Portland. If there is another site where writers who clearly care so much about Portland and its entire art scene and have the facilities and time to discuss it critically exists, point me the way. In the meantime I selfishly hope you'll present a more holistic view the Portland scene. Because I'd love to read about it. The upcoming PDX Fest would be a great place to start.

Posted by: Andrew Dickson [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 17, 2006 10:22 AM

Thanks Andrew,

PORT is holistic and we do cover visual arts, perfomance art etc. But there are REAL differences between genres. Also, the fact remains that although the visual arts are arguably the most active part of Portland's cultural landscape it is also the most underserved... so yes, we have our prioraties straight.

That said PORT straddles a permiable cultural fence between disciplines but as we all know all resources are finite. A broad interpretation of the visual arts is our focus. Our coverage of Ghosttown, TBA and gallery exhibitions proves this assertion. We lean towards the "visual art" genre because to adapt my favorite Disraeli quote, "a cultural institution can become so comprehensive no one can comprehend it." Also, as you can attest expertise is important.

As to PICA, Ive commented several times about the success of TBA... the issue is PICA itself seems to have drawn a line between the visual arts and its performing arts/ performance art side (suggestion, a major video exhibition at TBA would bridge the gap nicely). Their actions have polarized the debate and all Ive done is point out that the gap has widened significantly since the last TBA festival. Also, I hear outright disgust from people were were and or are major PICA supporters at a level I've never heard before. On a personal level until late last year I supported PICA with $$$... I was very patient. The patience ran out.

PICA still has an identity problem and I feel confident PORT does not. Maybe PICA is simply becoming more defined and that's why the issue of "are they a relevant visual arts institution?" has become even more heated than it was a year ago.

Still, If they expect the issue to go just away... it won't. Look, people talk to me and they often dont have the luxury I have in voicing my views but many who once took your stance 6 months ago are really pissed off.

Also, instead of addressing the percieved "atrophy in the visual arts program" head on, PICA has buried major announcements about the program in their press releases and expected nobody to notice.

Since PORT's mission is to notice, don't be surprised when we do. We give credit where credit is due to institutions like Reed, the Miller Meigs Endowment at the Art Museum, Portland Modern, and the Portland Art Center's. PORT even gave credit to PICA for having made it possible for Red Shoe Delivery Service and Justin Harris to do their thing in Melbourne last year.

Still, I think everone has noticed how some institutions aren't getting much press these days, it's because organizations who are taking leadership roles and making strides are getting all the ink.

As one of the brighest people I've met I appreciate your angle AD, but this issue isn't going away.

Posted by: Double J [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 17, 2006 11:18 AM

What a dialogue!

I have noticed that none of the arts press, none, have critically covered the current Portland Modern exhibition that closes next week, save for something in PSU's student paper saying something about the "annoyance" of birds in contemporary art and how it relates to Andrew Myers work. No one has opened this vault. It makes me wonder. Not because I am a participant, but because I crave a potent critical eye. Because I live for the communication the arts provide. So, absent are the Mercury, WWeek, Port, not tot mention any of the glossier reads (Art Papers, etc.). It would be cool to see how this whole thing stacks up from a curatorial perspective, from an art context, from the use of a temp space. The show closes in a week, and no word on the street - save DK's preview and the razz-ma-tazz of the upcoming issue's call for entries. Did something get lost in translation?

Posted by: TJ Norris [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 17, 2006 12:08 PM

well TJ,

Regarding Portland Modern at PAC, I know I havn't made up my mind yet and PORT's other writers keep their own counsel as well... there is a lot of good work there but the hang is such a mess. Really the hang can be a serious deal killer when determining what to review. I plan to stop in again this weekend.

Also, that show has a ton of competition from the Holbein Madonna, Ovitz collection at Reed, Carol Hepper & Judy Cooke at Liz leach, Jay Steensma at PullDeff, the other Portland Modern show at Ogle, New American Art Union, Tilt and Rae Mahaffey at Laura Russo etc... There are ceramics shows at the Hoffman and archer galleries too.

Portland currenly has at least 50 debatably worthy shows up at its 130-250 exhibition spaces. Portland Modern at PAC has already done well by getting the Oregonian bit.

Hell, it's possible David might get all meta and review my discourse with you discussing the coverage of Portland Modern at PAC! Then we could turn it into a movie and call it a sequel to Tristam Shandy?


Posted by: Double J [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 17, 2006 12:38 PM

Dear Jeff and the People of Port(land),

Is PICA a relevant arts organization?

Yes.

What PICA was, is, and continues to be is of relevance to artists of all genres and to artists and audiences here at home and out in the world. We work within a particular model that is often hard to define. It seems important to me right now to rattle off our mission statement because it is the point from which we start every day , and it might help to clarify what PICA is, instead of what it isn�t. However, in the interest of getting right to the point I will start with the issue at hand and then in an unorthodox move get back to the mission at the end.

PICA presents Visual Art programming and the work of Visual Artists through lectures, exhibitions, residencies and - yes, performances. It is true that we pulled back and out of a gallery space and the programming model that filled that gallery in a response to financial realities. This was a difficult decision and at this point it is old news. This does not mean that the commitment to the Visual Arts or Visual Artists is second - it means we needed to evaluate what we were doing and explore how we could remain responsible to our mission, our audience and to issues of sustainability. We did not stop programming or supporting the Visual Arts. Last year alone we had two artists in residence, presented a monthly lecture series, mounted our ten-year anniversary visual art exhibition Landmark, presented several slide talks in our Resource Room and presented video works, installation and performance work by several Visual Artists as part of TBA:05.

My position at PICA is new although my time on staff has now reached three years, with two years prior to that on the Board of Directors, and a decade as a member and volunteer. In my new-ish role at PICA I have been planning visual programming for this year�s TBA Festival. This visual arts programming has been coming together under the radar, mainly by my design. At this time it seems necessary to say - that in addition to the performance (which by the way I find incredibly valuable to my life as a visual artist) , and the film, and the projects that exist somewhere in-between; we will be presenting several important video installations, several exhibitions, a residency that will develop into a full scale installation piece, lectures, walking projects, sound projects, slide shows and other things all by Visual Artists. Each activity exists on its own as artist presentations and not as part of a group exhibition. PNCA and Reed will present two exhibitions in a new and invigorated context through the Festival and we will direct new audiences to them as well as cross-pollinate programming with their organizations and artists. While the compressed activity of the festival will exist for a dozen or so days, the components that exist as part of the visual program will remain on view for several weeks after. In a few short months when everything is confirmed, I just might find myself a bullhorn and shout it all over town! For now I am hoping you might just trust me, and if I have not yet earned your trust, then I hope to do so.

Because it was my directive to program the work of Visual Artists as part of the Festival it does not mean that PICA does not have an interest in presenting work during the year. This year we chose to invest modest sums into some great activity, one of those being Harrell Fletcher's lecture series at PSU, one is a co- presentation of Marina Abramovic with both the Anthropology Dept. and Cooley Gallery at Reed College, one is a zine project that will come to town in March by Future Academy and then go on to Documenta 12, one is a project with NY artist Pablo Helguera that will quite literally drive into Portland in June. These projects are often collaborations with other organizations, artists and educational institutions. We co- present out of a desire to broaden audiences, in order to secure space, in order to provide financial ballast to an otherwise out of reach activity and most of all to present projects that sometimes do not fit into ours (or their) current mandate but that we just cannot pass up.


I am sometimes humbled, sometimes exhilarated, sometimes frustrated and all the time grateful that I have the opportunity to be a part of this community. I believe that PICA and its members, supporters, detractors and collaborators continue to make significant contributions and significant responses to the global conversation about art. I commend PORT and its contributors for helping diversify the discourse. And I thank you for creating a forum for me to contribute evolving answers to this necessary dialogue

Since the closing of the gallery it has been difficult to move the conversation forward. I don't blame people for challenging us to make this place better. I hope that through our continued activity we will generate a greater understanding of what we do and why we do it.

As promised here is our mission:

"Since its founding in 1995, PICA has become a magnet for artists who take creative risks. Through exhibitions, performances, artist residencies and educational programs, PICA enables artists and audiences alike to push the limits of artistic expression and explore provocative new ideas that illuminate life in the here and now.

We support this mission through dynamic programming, an unwavering commitment to artists and a clear vision of the importance of the arts in the lives of individuals and of the community at large. PICA champions creative exploration, leads the curious in deepening their understanding of art and ideas, and supports the aesthetic risk-taking that challenges both artists and audiences with new ways of seeing, representing and responding to contemporary life. "

PICA emerged out of a lack of understanding and commitment to presenting the work of Contemporary Artists in the new ways that they were inventing. That was 1995. Now over a decade later we have helped shape this community, expanded the conversation, and broadened the vocabulary. What this mission does not define is the place where this programming lives (gallery, street, stage�) nor does it lend itself to a particular academic focus. Our name contains the word Institute, not Institution. And it does not reference a particular genre although we speak to methods of presentation related to both Performance and Visual Art. We are a hybrid beast, and as such we have and will continue to go through transition, some out of necessity, some out of desire, and some out of a thoughtful execution of experimentation. We are an organization of the now, of the contemporary, and our work and strategy reflects that. It has not nor will not always appear easily recognizable or familiar.

We are not a museum. we are not a collecting institution, we no longer program for a white cube (although sometimes we will build one if necessary), and we do not pit genres against one another.

We do exist in many places all at once. We are continually changing. We fail. We succeed. We do invest in artist projects, we do award artists creative time, we do present the work and ideas of artists through lectures and installations, we do sit at the table at national foundations and at the tables of our peers and advocate for new funding initiatives for artists, we do collaborate, we do initiate and continue to question our relevance.

Kristan Kennedy

Posted by: Kristan Kennedy [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 21, 2006 06:03 PM

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