Both of our friendly neighborhood NPOs have interesting events for you to enjoy this week. Tomorrow night head down to the Portland Art Center
for the Collectors Symposium, a round table discussion about collecting from the perspective of gallery owners. Jeffery Thomas, Justin Oswald
, Rod Pulliam
and curator of The Inside Game, Joel Leib will be on hand for the discussion and hopefully questions afterward. The show offers an interesting glimpse of the personal interests of those who move and shake the Portland art scene. This one has been on my calendar for weeks.
Wednesday September 27 • 7p
Portland Art Center
32 NW 5th Avenue • Portland, OR 97209
$3, members free
This summer kicked off what appears to be some pretty regular programming at Disjecta
. Opening September 30 is Haunted
, an exhibition bringing together an impressive group with one similarity; Contemporary Installation Art. The Templeton Building seems like an appropriate venue for a show of this magnitude (and theme). I also sense with curation by the Blood Rainbow Family we won't be disappointed. The opening night will include special performances with many of the artists in attendance.
Haunted • An exhibition of contemporary installation art
Opening Saturday September 30 • 7p
Disjecta • The Templeton Building
230 E. Burnside • Portland, OR 97214
Enter under the Burnside Bridge
So much for the collectors symposium. There were five peolpe on stage and maybe twelve people in the audience. It wasn't really so much about the heart and soul of collecting, but rather, a few insiders talking about cherry picking hot artist prospects with their understanding of the system works in the Art Biz.
I suggest we need to focus a little less on the business and more on how and where the general public can find the relevance of art in their lives. All the insiders of the local art scene rail on about the pitifully small local collector base, but I have yet to see any these insiders publicly make the case for why original art is an important and benificial component of life for the general public.
There was a recent article in the New York Times that simply stated that a gallery is just a store; a store with a very specific line of merchandize. The piece did a great job of defusing the public preciption of art galleries being elitist.
Why can't that kind of story be helpful in this market? There are literally thousands of people wandering through the galleries on First Thursday, and we all know how few of those people actually buy art. Are we asking those people why they don't buy? Do we talk about what the very personal rewards and benefits of owning and living with original art in a broad public forum? Do we try to demonstrate how affordable good quality art can be here in Portland?
I don't see or hear much of this from all the insiders. That's not how the game is played in the world of the Art Biz where cash is king and where a few big sales are much easier to deal with than many more smaller purchases.
The real elephant in the living room lies in one simple question. Is original fine art for everyone or just a small, select group of cultually savvy enthusiasts? How we answer that question goes a long way toward determining how big we make the tent of fine art for the public.