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

recent entries

Resist: Inauguration at Una Gallery
Early February links
First Thursday Picks February 2017
Dead tree media & dead horse flogging news
Post Snowpocalypse Weekend Picks
More Disjecta'd
New Year opportunities
Monday Integrity Links
First Thursday Picks January 2017
Jason Berlin + Alanna Risse at Rainmaker
Saying goodby to 2016
Mid December Links

recent comments

Double J
lsd
Double J
lsd

categories

 

Book Review
Calls for Artists
Design Review
Essays
Interviews
News
Openings & Events
Photoblogs
Reviews
Video
Links
About PORT

regular contributors

 

Tori Abernathy
Amy Bernstein
Katherine Bovee
Emily Cappa
Patrick Collier
Arcy Douglass
Megan Driscoll
Jesse Hayward
Sarah Henderson
Jeff Jahn
Kelly Kutchko
Drew Lenihan
Victor Maldonado
Christopher Moon
Jascha Owens
Alex Rauch
Gary Wiseman

archives

 

Guest Contributors
Past Contributors
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005

contact us

 

Contact us

search

 


syndicate

 

Atom
RSS

powered by

 

Movable Type 3.16

This site is licensed under a

 

Creative Commons License

Friday 09.15.06

« Round Up | Main | Print That: A Studio Visit with Rae and Mark Mahaffey »

Reviewing the week

It has been a good week of reviews. More than occasionally, both random and not so random people stop me and unload a rant about the state of art criticism in Portland and the world in general. Agreed, art criticism isn't in some golden age but I dont think it is in the same imminent crisis others ascribe to it either.

This week, besides my own abomination (blithely doing things that would have made my 600 level, critical writing prof get "all paperchase and Housemanesque" on me 13 years ago) we had some nice reviews. Instead of focusing on personalities or being reactionary towards the success, fame or "newfangledness"of an artist they took subject matter and the overall effect into account. An exciting development considering that and the fact there were 4 serious reviews published this week. Too bad I count about 25 shows worthy of reviews this hyperactive month.

First off was Richard Speer's review of Brendan Clenaghen's show. Short, eloquent, on topic and yes it's a great show that definitely shows that sometimes Portland artists are superior to anything similar nationally. Pulliam Deffenbaugh has really improved as a gallery since moving into the new space and with the addition of Matthew Picton (just this week) alongside Clenaghen, Linda Hutchins and Laurie Reid there is a reason they might just be the most reviewed gallery in Portland.

Then John Motely (whose role seems to be one of the last bastions of non-tabloid twaddle at the Mercury) penned this evocative bit on Sutapa Biswas at Reed. Reading it, I was reminded how frequently video shows receive one-dimensional reviews that simply provide a travelogue account of the experience or simply a one line description. Instead, this was a layered and at length.

Last but not least, David "Death" Row published this relevant thing on Tad Savinar. True, if I were to go "Snark hunting" with any local writer DK would have to be at the top of the guest list but I agree with his focus on gentrification as a major civic issue in Portland and Tad's show. Besides, it makes sense that the pithy Savinar would get the attention of a purveyor of snark. Dont misconstrue this, snark can be a good thing, obsequious pleasantness is so dull and generally favors mediocrity.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on September 15, 2006 at 11:00 | Comments (4)


Comments

I am enjoying the fact that you are, in a sense, reviewing the reviewers. Why should they be not held to the same scrutiny that artists are?

Posted by: lsd [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 17, 2006 05:54 PM

Absolutely... Ive been doing it for years and hopefully it has had an effect. We can do things here that some of the dead tree media couldn't get away with. Actually, I think publishing some of the streetcorner discussions betwen PORT staffers and other critics would be really interesting

Also, Ive been debating an open review thread each month... People could post their reactions to shows and other reviews but Im not certain enough people would chime in. The art world runs on proprietary knowledge and although the blogosphere opens the doors a little bit I still thing there is something to be said for not showing all the cards.

Posted by: Double J [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 17, 2006 06:25 PM

Of course there is still something to be said for not showing all your cards, because (for just one reason) it could kill your career. Or so goes the logic.

.....But could it? I wonder about this. The assumption is that critics can make or break careers. Maybe they do, maybe they don't; sort of depends on many variables. Exposure of the right thing at the right time would be key.

But who is to say that artists are powerless, that they cannot put writers in the hot seat?

Posted by: lsd [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 18, 2006 10:30 AM

Art critics rarely make or break careers... theater critics, some food critics and Robert Parker (wine) have held that kind of power more often.

Instead; reviews, chatter at shows and other activity matter in clusters in the art world (chatter from the right people is best). I think it is almost superstitious the way critical attetion is attributed as some sort of make or break activity in the art world. In a scene like New York that kind of superstition can have a monetary effect, in Portland it more or less functions as a way to keep people interested in a show's particulars after the opening. Either way its good for people to take up positions and then challenge those positions.

Posted by: Double J [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 18, 2006 02:04 PM

Post a comment

Thanks for signing in, . Now you can comment. (sign out)

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)


Remember me?


s p o n s o r s
Site Design: Jennifer Armbrust   •   Site Development: Philippe Blanc & Katherine Bovee