Portland art blog + news + exhibition reviews + galleries + contemporary northwest art

recent entries

R.A.W. Ego
Edie Tsong at PSU's Monday Night Lecture Series
Quick and Dirty Plus
Ghosttown is Everywhere, Especially New York
Hanging Judge: quick and dirty reviews
Mexterminator vs. the Global Predator
The impossiblity of more Damien Hirst in the mind of someone living in the art world?
Hans Holbein's Madonna of Mercy at PAM
Arnold J. Kemp Lecture at PSU
More February Calls to Artists
Courtney Booker Tonight at Homestar Cafe!
New Trajectories I: Relocations, at Reed College (Part 1)

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Tuesday 02.28.06

R.A.W. Ego

It's nearly time for Reed Arts Week, an annual frenzy of activity that descends upon Reed's campus in SE. This year, the student-organized festival has taken as its central theme the notion of ego, manifesting itself in everything from the alter ego of Paul D. Miller operating under his performance moniker, DJ Spooky, to the mutable sense of self in the performance art of Eleanor Antin. Some R.A.W. events that might be of interest to PORT readers:

Kick off the week with a dancepod party, a collaborative project masterminded by painter Marty Schnapf that "begins as a conventional art exhibit and devolves into an uninhibited and live webcast dance party."
"Dance party/postmodern dance performance" • Wednesday, March 1st • 9 pm – midnight
Student Union • $3 suggested donation for the public, free to the Reed community

On Friday, Eleanor Antin will discuss her work as a performance artist, creating a cast of historically-based identities through which she delves into issues relevant to the present. Lecture • Friday, March 3rd • 6 pm
Vollum Lecture Hall • $7 general, $5 students, free to the Reed community

If you missed Paul D. Miller's lecture during the PICA's tba Noontime Chats, you missed the best part of his appearance at the festival. Happily, Miller is back to present another iteration of "Rhythm Science," teasing out the parallels between art and hip hop in an engaging and articulate lecture.
Lecture • Saturday, March 4th • 3:30 pm
Kaul Auditorium • $10 general, free to the Reed community (limited seating)

The photographs of Elena Dorfman explore both the banal and erotic lives of RealDolls and their owners in the mostly suburban environments they inhabit. While Dorfman's photos lure the viewer with images of fetishistic attachments normally hidden behind closed doors, her close attention to light and subtle compositions allow her to reach beyond pure shock value, lending the scenes a rather surprising tenderness and humanity.
Slide lecture • Sunday, March 5th • 2 pm
Vollum Lecture Hall • Free and open to the public

Nan Curtis' Pregnancy Peep Show

In addition, projects by Nan Curtis, Paige Saez, Chas Bowie and Reed students will be on display. If you're a Reed student, things get even better, with workshops lead by Chas Bowie, Eleanor Antin and Harrell Fletcher taking place throughout the week. Check the R.A.W. 2006 website for a complete schedule.

Reed Arts Week – Reed College • 3203 SE Woodstock Blvd
Tickets: 503.777.7758

Posted by Katherine Bovee on February 28, 2006 at 0:08 | Comments (0)


Sunday 02.26.06

Edie Tsong at PSU's Monday Night Lecture Series


A few years ago Edie came to Portland on a residency and proceeded to raise hell. She showed in the extinct but excellent Field Gallery at the Everett Station Lofts, dressed up as Miss America while strolling down Burnside and livened things up at many of the 2Girls performance festivals. Then she left for San Francisco and promptly landed herself in the very prestigious Bay Area Now triennial (we'd like the upcoming Oregon Biennial to be as relevant). Now, because Portland consistently steals a lot of SF's best talent (Chris Johannson, Harrell Fletcher, Patrick Rock, Brendan Clenaghen and Jesse Hayward etc.) she's back.

Edie Tsong's recent projects have utilized fax, video, teleconference, performance, and plasticene to explore identity as an interactive group project. She has performed collaboratively with Pete Kuzov in Portland's enterActive Language Festival in 2002, 2003, and 2004.

Tsong has exhibited and lectured nationally. She has recently shown at the Mattress Factory, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and Atlanta Center for Contemporary Art. Tsong lives and works in Portland, OR.

Monday, February 27th • 7 pm
PSU 5th Avenue Cinema • 510 SW Hall St. Room 92 (on the corner of 5th & Hall)
Sponsored in part by PICA, PNCA, and Reed College

Posted by Jeff Jahn on February 26, 2006 at 23:05 | Comments (0)


Saturday 02.25.06

Quick and Dirty Plus


Today is the last day to get a glimpse of the PDX Window Project by PORT's own Jeff Jahn. As Jahn's statement explains, the project has less to do with "bodice ripping paperback novels and Valentines Day" than devising a visual language through the two "installation/paintings" on view. It is also unafraid to create desire, mostly through a series of pleasing contradictions that play off of one another. In the forefront of the window is a sweetly-scaled drip castle constructed from white sand. The two-tiered structure alludes to monumental architecture, no surprise given Jahn's long history with architecture. The fact that it is created from sand—which has long had a symbolic association in art with the passing of time and brings with it other connotations given the fact that this unstable material is essentially made from the ruins of rocks—undermines the architectural associations. Jahn also plays with formalism here, creating a sculpture that is in essence a result of hundreds of gestural drips, a quality one would normally associate with painting. Leaning against the back wall is a thin, angular panel topped by a Burton-esque spiral. Its red, white and pink hues, horizontal stripes and indulgent impasto make the work pure visual candy, but the ambiguity of its status as painting or sculpture inserts a problematic tension that resonates neatly with Jahn's sandcastle.

Posted by Katherine Bovee on February 25, 2006 at 8:41 | Comments (7)


Friday 02.24.06

Ghosttown is Everywhere, Especially New York


Red 76's Ghosttown, U.S.A., which descended upon Portland in January, is now going to New York City. As part of Reshuffle: Notions of an Itinerant Museum—organized by students at Bard's Center for Curatorial Studies at Art in General—Red 76 questions the differences between one's experience within the white box versus one's experiences on the streets and in the cities. Beginning today and continuing through March 2, Red 76 will enact projects throughout the five boroughs, creating the kinds of ephemeral structures and social encounters that define many of Red 76's projects. They will kick off Ghosttown's NYC iteration by a DJ Parasite performance tonight in Manhattan and continue the project throughout the week with "Sounds of Ghosttown," playing an NPR broadcast recorded on-site at the Ghosttown Clothing Exchange in Portland last January; a lecture by Kris Soden exposing the historical underbelly of Washington Square Arch; an Incident Report from the steps of the Met, relayed via cell phone by Stephanie Snyder; a Memory Dinner in Brooklyn reliving Hope Hilton's gastronomical roots in the South; and a clothing exchange at an undisclosed location in Manhattan.

A complete schedule of events is posted on Red 76's website. A reception for Reshuffle, which also includes work by Portlander Harrell Fletcher, will take place tonght at Art in General, 79 Walker Street, from 6-8 pm.

Posted by Katherine Bovee on February 24, 2006 at 8:33 | Comments (1)


Wednesday 02.22.06

Hanging Judge: quick and dirty reviews

This is the last weekend for a few worthy shows that you might want to check out. Here is a flurry of short reviews to help you decide. read on...

Shin Tanaka's T-Boy sculptures at Compound

Posted by Jeff Jahn on February 22, 2006 at 23:01 | Comments (2)


Tuesday 02.21.06

Mexterminator vs. the Global Predator


Guillermo Gómez-Peña will give Portland audiences a dose of his classic genre-busting, politically potent performance this Thursday at PNCA. A MacArthur fellow and longtime performance artist, Mexico-City–born Gómez-Peña brings to the forefront issues of globalization, immigration, identity politics, cyber culture and post-colonial theory in a mix of video, audio, spoken word and performance. Portland is no stranger to Gómez-Peña's breed of performance. He has been through town before and was part of Reed's Film Series exhibition in 2002. He also shares a close affinity with the work of fellow performance artist Coco Fusco, who presented a PICA-commissioned work dealing with many of the same themes for the first tba festival. In 1992, Fusco and Gómez-Peña collaborated on a notorious performance, which involved the pair posing as "undiscovered" and caged Amerindians from a fictitious island, originating at the Walker and continuing to both the Sydney and Whitney Biennials.

Since 9-11, Gómez-Peña has been coming to terms with a political and culture climate increasingly restrained by conservatism and fear, and much of his most radical work, often done in collaboration with his troupe La Pocha Nostra, is now being performed outside of the United States. In a recently published statement, Gómez-Peña made a frank declaration of his decision to perform his more "extreme" works outside US borders, finding a last refuge to confront the most provocative issues in his solo, spoken word performances, "since language in the contemporary USA appears to be less dangerous than live art." In Thursday's performance, Mexterminator vs. the Global Predator, Gomez-Pena will present a solo performance, unleashing "demons, both personal and political, and...[inviting] them onstage for a mano-a-mano, from which no one will emerge unscathed."

Thursday, February 23 • 7 p • Free
Pacific Northwest College of Art • 1241 NW Johnson • Tel 503.223.2654

This performance is the Oregon College of Art & Craft 2006 Jamison Lecture and is part of Contemporary Crafts Museum & Gallery's Excellence is Craft Lecture Series. Co-presented with 2 Gyrlz Performative Arts and Pacific Northwest College of Art.

Posted by Katherine Bovee on February 21, 2006 at 22:11 | Comments (1)


Monday 02.20.06

The impossiblity of more Damien Hirst in the mind of someone living in the art world?

In Sunday's Observer Sean O'Hagan had a nice chit chat with Damien Hirst whose latest show opens up in Mexico City on Wednesday.

A couple of things:

1) This is not in New York, London or even LA, which is very smart. Mexico City at 21 million dwarfs New York and Hirst is reminding the art world of this. In an equally calculated move last March, Hirst treated New York to a show of his less than best work, a series of paintings. The message from Hirst was clear, he could dominate New York with second stringers and it was hilarious to watch. Basically, he's out to show he can make his own weather, and in a deeply religious and syncretic country like Mexico he should do fine. Also, it's not like people with the cash for a Hirst would somehow be impeded by any location, especially if he's showing better work than was available in New York.

2) The article points out that Hirst is, "more famous and more powerful than any other living artist." This seems like a foregone conclusion for the British but for us here stateside this isn't that obvious. Why? Hirst hasn't had a major US museum retrospective and Americans for better or worse defer to their institutions (possibly because we treat what little culture we have with kid gloves, whereas the British assault its suffocating tenure). Still it's a good move to remind American museums that he hasn't had a retrospective by hitting us below the belt in Mexico (Canada wouldn't quite work as well you know).

3) The spin paintings are drivel but entertaining as bad painting drivel. The butterflies are interesting and his vitrines are usually amazing. Despite the inherent camp in his work the focus on death insures it a certain immutable resonance even if he acts up for the ham loving British press. Like Picasso, he very much controls his own market and that is a big deal… if you cant beat the market system's inherent influence… just control the market... it's not that tough when you control production. To boot he synthesizes minimalism, pop and was doing autopises on the dead ideas that have not been resuscitated way before Dana Schutz did.

It should be curated; Hirst, Schutz, Warhol, Murakami, Durant, Furnas, Cao Fei and maybe Banks Violette... call the show "Mortality?"

Posted by Jeff Jahn on February 20, 2006 at 22:00 | Comments (2)


Hans Holbein's Madonna of Mercy at PAM


The Madonna of Mercy, currently on view at the Portland Art Museum (!)

Just as Jacob Meyer found himself clinging to the fading Orthodoxy as the Reformation demanded justice in the real world, Holbein himself was torn between worlds. His painting was an objective practice, an aesthetic orthodoxy, and he followed it out of the real world and away from his responsibilities and connections. Was Hans Holbein an ideologue willing to sacrifice anything in support of More's radical humanism? Did Holbein abandon everything to become a citizen of More's Utopia, the Not-place which could yet become real? Absolutely not. He worked for Henry the VIII in the exact same capacity that he served Thomas More. Holbein's personal Orthodoxy of objectivity never altered, and separated him from the world in the same way that Jacob Meyer was separated from his Madonna of Mercy. Ultimately, Hans Holbein cannot be considered a citizen of More's Utopia. He lived instead in the Outopia, the not-place which can never be made real...

Posted by Isaac Peterson on February 20, 2006 at 6:56 | Comments (5)


Sunday 02.19.06

Arnold J. Kemp Lecture at PSU

arnold_j_kemp_played_twice.jpg Arnold J. Kemp, Untitled (Played Twice series), 2001

This week, Harrell Fletcher welcomes Arnold J. Kemp, artist, writer and former associate curator at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. During his 10 year stint at YBCA, Kemp was involved in curating the first three Bay Area Now shows, Rapper's Delight, and solo shows by Laylah Ali, Tracey Moffat and Mark Dion. His own work has been shown at the Studio Museum in Harlem, The Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts and Chisenhale Gallery. Kemp is represented in permanent collections at the Met and the Studio Museum. From PICA's press release: "Kemp is currently at work on several projects including a series of paintings and a radio-film inspired by Dada and what curator Thelma Golden has called the 'post-black.'"

Monday, February 20th • 7 p
PSU 5th Avenue Cinema • 510 SW Hall St. Room 92 (on the corner of 5th & Hall)
Sponsored in part by PICA, PNCA, and Reed College

Posted by Katherine Bovee on February 19, 2006 at 23:53 | Comments (0)


Friday 02.17.06

More February Calls to Artists

HORIZON LINE Current PNCA employees and multi-dimensional artists Jenene Nagy and Josh Smith have recently opened a new gallery at the Everett Station Lofts called Tilt Gallery and Project Space. The duo are definitely providing new dimensions to the lofts, and the space is worth checking out. For their upcoming juried exhibition Horizon Line, "the gallery is interested in showcasing new and experimental work that pushes the concept of landscape beyond its classic definition." The May exhibition will be juried by Mark Brandau, Publisher of Portland Modern. Deadline is March 20. Contact the gallery for more information.

by Nicky Kriara

Posted by Nicky Kriara on February 17, 2006 at 14:28 | Comments (0)


Courtney Booker Tonight at Homestar Cafe!


Courtney Booker, Freelance Animator and figurative painter has an opening of new work tonight (!) from 6-10 pm at the Homestar Cafe. Booker's expressive linear approach to the figure is rooted in Kathe Kollwitz, Egon Schiele, and Alice Neel, but her animation work and hip-hop flava bring a new personal dimension beyond simple emulation of the masters of figurative expression. Booker has shown extensively in the San Francisco area.

*With Music by Casey Neill!*

Courtney Booker • Opening • Friday, Feb. 17th (today) • 6-10 pm • Homestar Cafe • 4747 SE Hawthorne •

Posted by Isaac Peterson on February 17, 2006 at 13:35 | Comments (2)


New Trajectories I: Relocations, at Reed College (Part 1)

David Thorpe's The Great Conspirator, in front of David Schnell's Tontauben, in front of Mark Handelman's Vision

Michael Ovitz is one of the World's top art collectors and known for getting what he wants. Apparently, he's also very generous and has been gracious enough to lend major parts of his collection to Reed College for two concurrent exhibitions. Portland is an art mad city going through nearly violent upheavals in sophistication, so we really appreciate this treat. Yes, writing a review of a personal art collection like the Ovitz Family Collection is a bit like writing a biography, except this isn't his whole collection so it will seem slightly schizophrenic. Still, the sheer quality of the work and the fact that much of the best stuff should find its way to MoMA demands some attention. Besides, despite the theme of "relocations" there is a coherence to this first of two Reed College Cooley Gallery shows. It will be...

Posted by Jeff Jahn on February 17, 2006 at 0:11 | Comments (2)


Thursday 02.16.06

February Calls for Artists


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)


Wednesday 02.15.06

Josh Mannis at small A

mannis_obsessed_by_cruelty.jpg Josh Mannis, Obsessed By Cruelty (video still)

On Thursday, Chicago artist Josh Mannis, who had the best work in small A project's inaugeral show, will be on hand for the opening of Iron Eagle, a solo exhibition featuring new video and large, gloriously Bavarian photo collages. "Mannis' videos and photo montages are populated by characterizations and dramatizations drawn from the canons of science fiction, PBS, drug culture, National Geographic, cultism, astronomy, soft-core pornography, the evil mysticisms of rock and roll and of course, Modernism."

Opening Reception • Thursday, February 16 • 6 to 9 p
Small A Projects • 1430 SE Third Ave • Tel 503.234.7993

Posted by Katherine Bovee on February 15, 2006 at 19:55 | Comments (2)


Monday 02.13.06

ESL and cafe's 1, would be institutions 0

February in Portland has been filled with a number decent quality to strong shows. It's been a weird month and the combination of seemingly relentless drizzle has been broken up with unbelievably gorgeous, sunny days. Read on and see how the Everett Station Lofts and cafe art (indicating a yet another new wave of serious artists in town) stacks up this month...

Andrew Myer's "Hunting Ground" (detail)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on February 13, 2006 at 23:35 | Comments (6)


Sunday 02.12.06

Monday Night with Dan Attoe

dan_attoe_slayeronice.jpgDan Attoe, Slayer on Ice

Dan Attoe will be this week's Monday night guest. Born in Washington and, according to his Chicago gallery, based in Portland, Attoe is a painter who makes pseudo-narrative work, often with a Lynchian eerieness and an obsession for pine trees, lonely landscapes, woodsy interiors and tents, attesting to his Pacific Northwest origins. If he is indeed based here in town, he keep a low profile, probably because he's busy showing work at Peres Projects (LA), John Connelly Presents (NYC), Hiromi Yoshii (Tokyo) and Vilma Gold (London). Read a nice interview here or just show up Monday evening to hear for yourself.

Monday, February 13th • 7 p
PSU 5th Avenue Cinema • 510 SW Hall St. Room 92 (on the corner of 5th & Hall)
Sponsored in part by PICA, PNCA, and Reed College

Posted by Katherine Bovee on February 12, 2006 at 12:36 | Comments (0)


Friday 02.10.06

Comics Battle Title Bout: Duford v. Heffernan


Seamus Heffernan, the student champion of last year's Comics Battle at PNCA, now faces a titanic onslaught not from another student, but from the faculty! Daniel Duford will challenge Heffernan for his title at 12:30 on Valentine's Day, a day that will live on forever in infamy. Both contenders are given specific themes they must address while rapidly improvising narrative, dialogue and imagery in sequential art form. Kind of like Iron Chef, only with comics. The winner is determined by audience applause and will henceforth be known as: Omniversal Intergalactic Sequential Art Overlord, as well as recieving a substantial prize. That is of course, until next year, when a new challenger must arise! With commentary and trash talk by your MC, last year's challenger, Ryan Alexander-Tanner. The vitriolic ink slinging has already begun, with spontaneous comics throw downs appearing mysteriously over night...

This one's for all the marbles, folks!
Will Seamus (the incumbent) defend his title from the onslaught of Earth Elemental Daniel Duford?
Will a lone student comic artist topple the faculty Goliath (once and for all)?
SEE the dreadful collision of Behemoth and Fledgling Hero!
FEEL the shockwaves ripple outward from the event horizon of burning graphite and splattering ink!
HEAR lightning split the sky as nature itself recoils from the spiritual fission of this fearsome melee!
SCREAM as the very foundations tremble beneath the feet of these sequential art juggernauts!
FLEE IN TERROR as Seamus and Duford recode the outside of PNCA so that in place of the Rimbaud poem, the visual encryption henceforth reads "ITS CLOBBERIN' TIME!!!!"
um... maybe I went a little too far with that last one.... so, um... you get the general idea, right?

Daniel Duford vs Seamus Heffernan • Comic Battle Title Match
Tuesday, February 14th • 12:30 to 1:30 pm
Swigert Commons • PNCA • 1241 NW Johnson St. • Portland, OR • 97209 • 503•226•4391 • www.pnca.edu

Posted by Isaac Peterson on February 10, 2006 at 13:06 | Comments (9)


Thursday 02.09.06

Psychedelic Logging


A modern symposium, replete with food, drink, and music, exploring the spatial logic of late capitalism as expressed in art, logging, and dancing...
Inspired by the spatial cacophanies, utopian visions, and intensive labors found in the Cooley Gallery's NEW TRAJECTORIES 1: relocations exhibition.

Psychedelic Logging begins at 6 pm, in the Reed library with the viewing of Case Works 9: The Valentine Exchange, and New Trajectories I , then moves to the Reed student union at 7 pm for live performances by The Watery Graves and We Two and the Universe.

Love poem recitation by Heather Watkins, curator of The Valentine Exchange; and a lecture on the history of logging by Doug Sackman historian at the University of Puget Sound. The event includes mind bending archival films of high-lead logging, and interstitial ephemera by Matthew Stadler accompanied by a slide exhibition curated by Stephanie Snyder.
Logger's stew prepared by Mickey Murch '06; Craft-in by Reed art collective Vitamin A.

Psychedelic Logging is organized by Stephanie Snyder and Matthew Stadler. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, visit Reed's public events website,REED, or call the events line, 503/777-7755.

Saturday • February 11 • 2006
Reed College • Portland • Oregon • 6 pm
Hauser Memorial Library + Cooley Gallery • 7 pm Reed Student Union
Reed College • 3203 SE Woodstock Blvd • Portland.

Posted by Isaac Peterson on February 09, 2006 at 20:25 | Comments (0)


Wednesday 02.08.06

Controversial ho hum

Appreciation of Beauty by William Park

The most controversial art show in Portland (as determined by very unscientific means of overhearing "what's the deal with?") isn't what you would think. Sure we have shows about Nigerian genocide, naked girls eating frootloops and ecoterrorism but the show in question contains a few paintings by William Park that address middle-aged white guys with bald heads at Mark Woolley Gallery. Really, it is the familiarity and omnipresence that is causing a stir, not so much whether the subject is taboo (unless you are Zach Lund). I like some of these paintings a lot (mainly because they are so not my thing) and would have asked him to be in my Fresh Trouble show had I known of these new works.

I find it interesting that they evoke such a response from young men and women who see them as symbols of boomer tyranny as they gentrify Portland left and right. Whereas boomer women have more varied responses and as expected gen-x and boomer men get all antsy if they are in the process of losing their hair. I'm not going to review this and instead make this an open thread for comments, so fire away...

Why does foregrounding balding boomer men positively get people so stirred up???? Arguably, they are the demographic who wield the most power in this country and yes there is a lot of dissatisfaction but can't the bald enjoy their moment in the sun? Don't they deserve it? I don't think a hairless pate in itself is much of the issue, lots of other shows have clean shaven heads in the city.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on February 08, 2006 at 21:33 | Comments (12)


Art vs. Craft: The Debate Continues with Paula Owen

The art vs. craft debate has been perpetuated in part because of the lack of analytic and critical thought devoted to craft, leading to an ambiguity that leaves crafts at the margin of art discourse. No doubt a DIY-inspired breed of craft has given new mainstream visibility for craft in the early 21st century by a generation of 20 and 30-somethings who are involved in knitting sessions and eschewing big business in favor of the handmade. But there's much more to it than that. Paula Owen, writer and curator at the Southwest School of Art and Craft in San Antonio is calling for a concerted effort on behalf of the craft community to establish a critical framework for craft. In a recent essay, she cites Roberta Smith's writings in 1999 calling for the "rematerialization" of art to provide a counterpoint to the emphasis on non-material practice in art since Conceptual art took root. Owen also sees Dave Hickey's observation and championing of a more material-based practice at UNLV as a key sign of the return to the tactile. It's clear that without a more sharply defined critical discourse artists like Teresita Fernandez—recent MacArthur winner who works with textile, glass and bamboo—will continue to be more readily compared to Robert Irwin than contextualized within in the craft lineage. Likewise, without such discourse, thousands of craft artists will continue to work in relative anonymity at the margins of the dominant art practice. Hear more from Owen on the craft establishment at tonight during her lecture, given as part of Contemporary Crafts Museum & Gallery's Excellence in Craft Lecture Series.

Lecture • Wednesday, February 8 • 7 p
Pacific Northwest College of Art • 1241 NW Johnson • Tel. 503.223.2654

Posted by Katherine Bovee on February 08, 2006 at 9:23 | Comments (6)


Tuesday 02.07.06

Around the web + welcome new sponsors

I'm a big Gilbert and George fan and I'm very happy with the one on permanent display at the Portland Art Museum but I found this Adrian Searle review interesting. So now that all the newspapers are terrified of running offensive cartoons only Gilbert and George can lampoon sacred things?

Also, closer to Portland the Oregonian has been running amuck with visual arts coverage, admirably calling for free days at the museum and talking to city commissioner Sam Adams (but how much does Adams really know about good art?… supporting lots of crappy art and shoddy organizations is just as stifling as no support). Then the O managed to write about Red 76's Ghosttown without mentioning they have national reach... they even have a show at Yerba Beuna in the spring. Yes, the O's coverage is all very populist (possibly to the exclusion of not giving credit to major accomplishments) but that is what the Oregonian does best and I'm glad they are foregrounding art as a major civic issue. Its editors and writers see that the city seems to be reinventing its self image and art seems to be where the action is… even politically.

Also, a new visual arts publication, Visual Codec, has been officially on line for nearly one week and I had fun meeting some of them at the Lowbrow Lounge on First Thursday. Visual Codec is dedicated to increasing the flow of visual art information between Vancouver BC, Seattle and Portland. And yes I wrote an exhaustive but no where near complete anatomy of the Portland art scene for them. I like how the massive # of links make it a kind of index or primer for what is going on here, the web is definitely evolving language.

Finally, Port would like to officially welcome three new sponsors; the Elizabeth Leach Gallery, Gallery 114 and the brand new Sugar gallery. You can check out their links to the right. Thank you sponsors, your support is invaluable.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on February 07, 2006 at 21:58 | Comments (1)


Sophie Calle at PAM

Sophie Calle, Exquisite Pain (Day 6), 2000
Embroidery, photo panels, ed. 2/3
Lent by the artist and courtesy of Paula Cooper Gallery. © Sophie Calle

Sophie Calle has been accused by critics (and subjects) of being a voyeur, a spy, an amateur detective, a "world class snoop" and a specialist of intrusion in the private lives of others. Calle's work originates in aspects of performance or experience, oftentimes autobiographical in nature and involving the lives of strangers. Since the 80s, the French artist has embarked on projects that include covertly following an acquaintance that she met once at a party in Paris—where Calle lives and works—to his vacation in Venice; dutifully recording the contents of strangers' hotel rooms while posing as a chambermaid; and documenting stolen paintings through photographs of the empty voids left behind along with transcriptions of interviews with guards and curators who worked in close proximity to these masterpieces. Although Calle's work emerges from ritual and experiential behavior, only the documentation of these actions are presented within the gallery.

Calle's work poses a problem for both the critic and the viewer. On the one hand, her dry presentations—marked by an documenter's indifference and often consisting of unremarkable photographs alongside framed texts—exhibit a cool, formal distance that deflect emotional attachment. On the other hand, the subject of Calle's work is often autobiographical and extremely personal, inviting a false sense of intimacy shared between the artist and viewer. It is for this reason that Robert Storr cited the "forensic qualities" of her work and Donald Kuspit accused Calle of being nihilist. It is this point of tension that also inspires many critics (including Kuspit) to use the word "seduction" to discuss her work. It is also for this reason that one of the subjects (or some might say victims) of Calle's intrepid documentary impulses was so angry that he published a nude picture of the artist in a widely circulated French newspaper. Yet a young Parisian fan of Calle's work was so inspired that she presented Calle with her personal diary after meeting her at an opening. Calle's work indeed seduces, with its obsessive documentary urges that lure the voyeur in us all...

Through February 12 • Jubitz Center for Modern and Contemporary Art
Portland Art Museum • 1219 SW Park Avenue • 503.226.2811

Posted by Katherine Bovee on February 07, 2006 at 9:18 | Comments (1)


Monday 02.06.06

Yan Chung-Hsien at PSU

Yan Chung-Hsien, Still from Knitting Tree

Last week, graciously, the mic was fixed and Jo Jackson gave us yet another invigorating Monday night lecture - especially invigorating for Jo, since she spent lots of time chasing her mop of a dog as he raced down the aisle, barking dutifully at latecomers. In all seriousness, it was yet another reminder of how Portland's art scene is benefiting from the recent influx of artists who are moving here for livability, afford ability, politics and a host of other good things about this city.

This week, Harrell Fletcher has invited Taiwanese artist Yan Chung-Hsien. I don't know anything about this artist, other than a quick visit to his website [warning: be aware there are lots of persistent pop-ups on his site] and I'm really intrigued. Chung-Hsien is a professor of Architecture design in Taipei, has authored over a dozen books and recently, has completed several high-profile international residencies at places including Art Omni and PS1. He creates odd, soft sculptures that sometimes take on architectural implications, other times seem like props from a post-apocalyptic sci-fi movie, and yet other times are employed as costumes. Several of his films involve performances using these costumes in ritualized performances, such as the scene in Knitting Tree, in which a group of figures in soft white costumes with long, tentacle-like appendages, are seen from an aerial view in an elaborate formation. I think this is yet another lecture you don't want to miss.

Monday, February 5th • 7 p
PSU 5th Avenue Cinema • 510 SW Hall St. Room 92 (on the corner of 5th & Hall)
Sponsored in part by PICA, PNCA, and Reed College

Posted by Katherine Bovee on February 06, 2006 at 2:46 | Comments (1)


Sunday 02.05.06

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 Fix & Yes fashion boutiques as well as the Renowned gallery. As expected, First Friday's openings had a great deal more...

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


Friday 02.03.06

First Friday February

Group ShowWalter's Daydream • Drawings and Paintings This exhibit features new work by A.J. Purdy, Andy Rementer, Andy Dixon, Andrew Dick, and Justin B. Williams. The artists seek to represent the memories, fantasies, dreams, fears, desires, and ideas in a stream-of-consciousness creation they call Walter.
Renowned Gallery • 811 East Burnside #111 • Tel. 503.807.8128
Opening Reception Friday February 3, 2006, 6-9pm Show closes February 28, 2006


Posted by Nicky Kriara on February 03, 2006 at 13:28 | Comments (0)


Wednesday 02.01.06

Out on the web

It's a pleasure to write about another web-based art project out of Portland. Local artist Ethan Hamm has created EmailErosion.org as a kind of John Cage inspired, spam effected study in information entropy. Yes you can see it live at the Art Institute of Portland February 2nd but I think the online version with webcam updates every 10 seconds will be more like watching an online art execution... and therefore more interesting. Made possible by a grant from Rhizome.org

The Oregonian's art blog penned by TJ Norris, is it art? (scroll down), has a nice interview with budding art impresario Gavin Shettler. Ok, the whole; I'm not a curator but I know some people who think they might be curators and I talk to them and they think I'm a curator... attitude wears a little thin. We don't need more art, so much as more opportunities to display good art in Portland and that does take having an eye (just to figure out who else has an eye). I've harped on the Portland Art Center before but it looks like they are improving their programming through subcontracting out to the Portland Modern publication and deviating from their previous 2 year schedule. This latest PM issue is excellent, where the previous two, although well intentioned were uneven or worse. Lets hope PAC ups their ante like Portland Modern has, and they do seem to be more responsive to valid critiques than some other orgs in town. These wondertwins will combine their powers on First Thursday too through an exhibit at PAC and the nearby Ogle Gallery. Shape of a bucket of water... form of an eagle!

Lastly, since we are talking about curators Edward Winkleman has a great post on his curator of the month while Tyler Green discusses why MOCA's Ecstasy show is so nice in part 2. It's true New York museum shows often feel cloistered, whereas many MOCA shows have a nice expansive quality.... lets call it free-range arting. Actually so many museum shows are micromanaging crowd dynamics now they make me feel like a molecule of water in a fluidynamics experiment... I'd prefer museums be more than "cultural plumbing."

Oh yes and latest my critical i article is out as well.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on February 01, 2006 at 19:31 | Comments (2)

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