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Thursday 06.22.06

« Weekly Web Round-up | Main | BBQ for PICA Artist-in-Residence • Tuesday, June 27 5-8p »

Getting Tiki with it

a cool Tiki mug

Yes, PORT will have some pretty hefty content for you on Monday night (Matthew Day Jackson) but until then here is some weekend fodder to sacrifice to the volcano god:

Portland's TIKI-KON starts on Friday, click here for details. If you love kitschy pseudo Polynesian culture and strong silly drinks this is for you. Apparently they will be taking a big tour of Portland's best private Tiki bars on Sunday. The main event though is Saturday which starts at the Jupiter Hotel, features a School of Rum bus and of a tour of Portland's public Tiki bars. There's even a sneak peek of the soon to open Thatch bar. Go and appease the volcano gods!

Oh and you thought the upcoming I-5 bridge was a big project, take look at this mega bridge under construction in Bangkok (yes it's real). This is one project where adding Tiki's wouldn't add any more zaniness to its appearance.

Also, the Mercury had an nice review of Grey|Area at Guestroom, but why don't Portland's critics (outside of PORT) really take on the subject of a group show. Instead, the formula is to reduce the theme to a catchphrase, which is given a quick glance then shuffled off in order to discuss the few works they liked. Sure it's valid but this was a good opportunity to discuss the theme through the work and seemingly nobody will take it on. I can see someone doing a Tiki show with 20 artists and the Tiki theme would be described like this in the Portland press, "it's an ode to a kitschy fad touched off by Thor Heyerdahl's Kon Tiki voyage. Yet, Tiki culture like a bunch of rum filled zombies just keeps coming back." That kind of treatment doesn't tell you anything about how American W.W.II GI's experienced other cultures during the war and left them with a taste for exoticism that Tiki culture filled for a short time. That thirst for other cultures seems worlds away from the current xenophobia in 21st century America. Maybe Tiki wasn't a deep understanding of Polynesian culture but it was an interesting cosmopolitan development compared to the "learn English" movement of today.

On a literally beyond life and death serious note, The Oregonian had this sad but fascinating look at the state of Milton Wilson's estate here. It's been said many times but an artist's reputation often depends on the savvy of those in control of the estate. Frank Zappa's widow is schrewd and smart and Richard Pousette-Dart's widow put him back on the map through her deal with the Met. Milton Wilson deserves that kind of serious treatment and his show at Pulliam Deffenbaugh with a number of his peers (especially Clifford Gleason) is very impressive.

Then there is Jerry Saltz's funny take on Berlin on Artnet. Ive had the same conversations for over a year now. Also, I think Portland is one of the only places which can legitimately claim to "not be all about the money" and that's part of the reason hoards of creatives are moving and working here, we are an oasis. If anyone can claim a reaction to the influence of the market its Portland and its been written about in Artforum, ART News and Modern Painters (by moi) already. That said, it isn't like money is absent from any art scene's equation, we are an oasis not an island (hence all the galleries).

Lastly, you know I love Frank Gehry, he's great and for an architect he's got credibility as a true artist but Jonathan Lethem's open letter to Gehry in Slate is one of the best reads I've had in years. Frankly putting a 60 storey tiki head in Brooklyn would have been less obtrusive than this plan.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 22, 2006 at 22:43 | Comments (0)


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