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Monday 03.12.07

« This Week: One Lecture | Main | "Paper Chase" at the Guestroom Gallery »

Why not?

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. Was 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 of critique.

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.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on March 12, 2007 at 18:25 | Comments (2)


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.

Posted by: jerseyjoe [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 13, 2007 11:14 AM

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.

Posted by: Double J [TypeKey Profile Page] at March 13, 2007 11:53 AM

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