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Wednesday 02.21.07

« Apply! | Main | A little butterfly told me, Damien Hirst has a new show »

TAMpering with the Northwest Biennial?


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... let's 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...

Posted by Jeff Jahn on February 21, 2007 at 16:39 | Comments (0)


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