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Tuesday 04.11.06

« Back in Session | Main | New Trajectories II Opens »

Around the web but mostly in the backyard

There has been a lot of good local art coverage recently, and a dud that requires a slight rejoinder.

In the Mercury John Motley penned a nice review of the excellent: From Anxiety to Ecstasy: Themes in German Expressionist Prints show at PAM. This is probably the single strongest show Ive ever seen at the museum (runner ups are the Diane Arbus show last year or the Let's Entertain spectacle back in 2000).

Also, the Oregonian's DK Row interviewed Gregory Crewdson about his show at Reed's Cooley Gallery which opens tonight. Crewdson is kinda like Hans Hoffmann, more influential for his effects upon students like Justine Kurland who have surpassed him by being less contrived (Hollywood does that better).

Ok so it wasn't all good, yesterday's Fresh review in the O by DK "Death" Row had all sorts of intellectual holes. True, I agree with David that the show is underwhelming but it shouldn't be critiqued for lack of craft or youth vapidity (vapidity knows no age), much less the ability to draw the human figure. This is especially true since Fresh isn't a show of figurative draughtsmen, it's like critiquing his review for being a poorly executed tax return!

Bocci on the back wall of Fresh

Also, his charge that Chandra Bocci is just "saccharine" misses the point to make an argument unsupported by a simple read of the work. Sparkle Fallout far from being untitled (as Row reports) seems to point to the cost of electricity (the whole fallout with PGE and Enron anyone?) and how it fuels our consumer culture of desire and disposable consequences. Instead of an anime knockoff, this is multifaceted social critique that can be criticized for other reasons.

True Sparkle Fallout isn't her best work to date but had he bothered to note the title it would have been nice. I felt her piece in my Fresh Trouble show was more visually arresting and a forest fire of celebrity hair was a more than witty bonfire of the vanities in a time of hyper celebrity saturation. The works by Sean Healy and Brad Tucker are the strongest on view here. In the coming days expect PORT to publish a review that may or may not be as forgiving of this not exactly stellar show, but trust dear readers any dismissals will be relevant. Also, pay attention to the Oregonian's letters to the editor, a local arts writer (not affiliated with PORT) has made a pithy response. Will they dare publish it?

For some non-Portland related art news check out this interesting Artnet article on Presentation Paintings. Portland's own Jacqueline Ehlis and other Dave Hickey alumni like Yek or Europe's Katherina Grosse all could have made this survey much stronger. To flesh out the theme, others like Karin Davie, Jennifer Steinkamp (to add video), Ingrid Calame, Francis Celentano, Jaq Chartier and James Boulton all relevant too. Other relevant Portland notables here are Michael Knutson, Tom Cramer, Eva Lake and Brendan Clenaghen.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on April 11, 2006 at 0:35 | Comments (3)


I think you must have misread it. DK said:

" Bocci's installation in "Fresh" is yet another schoolgirl reverie by an artist who specializes in conjuring fantastic worlds made out of such saccharine fare as Otter Pops and gummi bear candy."

He seems to be saying that Bocci is able to make magic out of "saccharine fare", not that her work is saccharine.

He goes on to say:

"... her labor-intensive sculptural pieces are as high calorie and protein free as a Pop Tart, eye candy notable because of the artist's imaginative cannibalizing of materials."

Your reading of Sparkle Fallout as a comment on the cost of electricity seems to have gone over Row's head completely. Maybe, he was too enchanted by her "imaginative cannibalizing of materials" to notice that what she really was saying is that ENRON SUCKS. I didn't notice that either. The same goes for her piece at your Fresh Trouble show. It seems like what she was saying is that hair kind of looks like fire. "Imaginative cannibalizing of materials" is enough content for me.

Posted by: jerseyjoe [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 11, 2006 08:56 AM

It isnt a mis-read, describing it as saccharine fare is essentially a defacto assesment of the work as sweet without substance, especially by not acknowledging other substantial aspects of the work. David often makes points like this passively and there is nothing wrong with it, except that he ignored something obvious (like the title) to do so.

Also, he stated the work was "untitled" which is completely incorrect. I doesn't suprise me at all that you missed the whole Enron part of the equation but you aren't being paid to write a review. The details matter. Also, her message isnt just "Enron Sucks," it is more about appetites and the consequences of those appetites. Bocci plays it both ways, desire and aftermath and it's why Row's critique here rings hollow. Note, I agree with him elseswhere.

Yes Chandra makes worlds, that part isn't disputed. What is disputed is that there is no further content besides the imaginative use of materials... which is false and which Row has often used on Bocci. I thought he made some interesting, even valid points about engagement, but the argument of purely inward fantasy art falls apart with Bocci's piece.

Posted by: Double J [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 11, 2006 09:49 AM

The only thing "wrong" with Chandra's piece was that I wish it were much larger, filling much more of the room, in fact, covering up the sins of a few other works on view. Alternatively, a larger two-person examination of her and Amanda Wojick's work would have been twice as fresh. Though that could also be said for Adam Sorensen/Daniel Sturgis or Pierre Gour/Brad Tucker as a dynamic duos as well. Or even Sean Healy and Melody Owen (but I can patiently wait for Healy's Fall tour-de-force). I kept making duo connections. Otherwise, it reigned in playful/bent color and formalities, and made the usually uber-hi-brow gallery space something of a "hang" for a change. Liz always has this flavor playing in the background and has an eye for those artists out there who have great technical skill, sometimes tedious craft-style repetition - but always a feel for the HAND in the work. To this end, in my humble opinion, Daniel Peterson, Elise Engler and Kristan Kennedy seemed like the only sore thumb misplacements within the basic visual codec in this group.

Posted by: TJ Norris [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 12, 2006 11:38 AM

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