Steve McQueen does the ultimate
political mailart piece, read about it in the Guardian
the Pacific Northwest from a different angle
Also, there is a discussion about the Tacoma
Art Museum's art critic panel on regionalism last Saturday on Art Dish
My opinion on such discussions is short and sweet, those who wallow in the
regionalism thing beget more wallowing regionalism, it's a defensive self-perpetuating
cycle that becomes brittle and trite. I've said it a lot, "on the Internet everything
is local." The art wold has never been so regionally level and one's focus determines their trajectory (not to say you wont have to work hard if you are in Portland or Seattle).
Also, the Northwest and Portland
in particular are indicative of a different kind of America and people are flocking
here to find it, it isn't regionalism it's a kind of lightning rod and a conscious
decision to find a new way. Really, it's a leadership thing now and the TAM biennial
missed the mark there, once again giving Seattle reason to mock Tacoma
. I hate being right about these things
the show just a ploy to get Seattle to pay attention? Also, though the Portland
selections are fair it definitely doesn't give one any idea of the scope of
things that are going on down here, if anything it sidesteps the most active
art scene in the two states. I think the show could be important but the cramped
potpourri curatorial model didn't make that case. To be fair, TAM has been doing the best job of collecting PNW artists of any museum in the area. They have even been giving them coherent solo shows, which is partly why this show has sparked so much dissapointment.
On a related note, weve heard from Jennifer Gately that the next Oregon Biennial
at PAM will have a different format from the 2006 version (too soon to say what
that will be but if artists are to be commissioned a year of lead time will help,
that = notification this summer?). Though a class or two above the TAM effort the OB
still wasn't very consequential as it took its lead from all of the previous
gallery and warehouse shows and in most cases had less depth and scale. Instead
of a Whitman's sampler where each artist presents old work in a truncated setting
it would be better if the biennial allowed the region to realize art on a scale
and scope that is not possible in smaller spaces. It's the lead not follow model. The
biggest problem with 25+ artist regional shows is by trying to include so many
artists it actually devalues the region's offerings by turning them into token
tropes rather than fully developed arguments that can stand up to higher levels
Lastly, The Oregonian's Brian
Libby reviewed Matt McCormick's Future So Bright
, breaking their recent
string of reviews that have had a very regionalist/reactionary tone to the massive
influx of internationally savvy/active artists and dealers to the city. Let's
see more of this for balance sake, and maybe they will start being taken more
seriously by the vis arts community... Im kinda sick of meeting newcomers to
the city who are horrified by the O's vis arts coverage (the city has grown
up a lot and the O can't scare the new standards away). I've been on them about this and the jury is still out. Of course it's ok to look back, but trying to turn back the clock isnt too bright when the present has so many important challenges.
Splitting hairs. Mail-Art generally requires that the work go from one person to another through the postal system. McQueen made a proposal for a Mail-Art piece that probably reads better as art if people can imagine the stamps being used, than if they actually were. Either way, McQueen's piece is fairly interesting.
Yes, well he tried to get them sanctioned as official stamps... since he had already gone through official channels he kinda had to go that route. I dont know if any have actually been used in the postal system yet?
Still it's a simple, clearheaded project... I'm really impressed. I bet someone has tried this before but McQueen's official post being embedded with the troops makes it all the more interesting.