Jen Graves at the Stranger has reviewed
the Northwest Biennial at the Tacoma Art Museum
. I saw the show this past
weekend and I pretty much agree with her assessment, except the Schweder had
kinda disintegrated by the time I saw it. Ive seen most of it before in much
better settings, which is sad because the Tacoma Art Museum is a lovely museum
with great gallery spaces.
I actually liked the Northwest Biennial in 2004 much better. Yes, it was more
uneven but it also had more memorable bits. Also, in case anyone cares... the
Oregon Biennial last year
was significantly better, but it shared the same
faults as this effort; open submission, too many artists and not enough new
work. I do know why weve got these, "county fair" shows though (great
term Jen)... the Northwest hasn't demanded otherwise until recently. Those days
are over, let's curate local artists (especially the flood of ones who are showing
in a not so regional capacity) with more care and a more inspiring spatial considerations.
for example, any show with 25+ artists can't achieve those goals without a huge
space and a year's lead time. While everyone is at it, why not commission or
insist that the artists show new work?
Look, Im not trying to be crab or grouch but I
pointed out this obvious pitfall when the TAM call was announced
just avoid these mistakes ok? From earlier conversations I suspect PAM's Jennifer
Gately is already on the format issue (time is "scrunched" but this
summer would be cuttoff for the 1 year lead time for the Oregon Biennial). The local scenes in Vancouver
BC, Seattle and Portland are filled with serious stuff that absolutely deserves
to be presented that way. Also, in fairness TAM usually does a better job of presenting regional artists than this. Comment away...
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