Portland art blog + news + exhibition reviews + galleries + contemporary northwest art

recent entries

Lectures
Bridge Design Panel
Todd Johnson at PNCA
Politics & Community
Tuesday Links
The Butterfly Effect
Vito Acconci at the Nevada Art Museum's Art + Environment Conference
Goings On
Pointy
Andrea Zittel follow-up
Calling Artists & Curators
Models of Critical Production

recent comments

categories

 

Calls for Artists
Design Review
Essays
Interviews
News
Openings & Events
Photoblogs
Reviews
Video
Links
About PORT

regular contributors

 

Amy Bernstein
Katherine Bovee
Arcy Douglass
Megan Driscoll
Sarah Henderson
Jeff Jahn
Jenene Nagy
Ryan Pierce

archives

 

Guest Contributors
Past Contributors
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005

contact us

 

Contact us

search

 


syndicate

 

Atom
RSS

powered by

 

Movable Type 3.16

This site is licensed under a

 

Creative Commons License

Tuesday 10.09.07

« Bruce Conkle in New York, opens Oct 12th | Main | Wilson Benefit »

NAAU is the time for Couture

Back in June PORT brought you the scoop by announcing the New American Art Union's series of stipend shows, where each artist gets $7,000 for producing a show that transforms the gallery space and $1,000 for materials. Now called Couture, the plan was an unheard of act of bravura, laying a direct challenge to The Portland art Museum's Contemporary Northwest Art Awards (which should announce its 3-5 finalists in November). It also allowed a commercial gallery to behave more like a non commercial space. The Oregonian (probably not wanting to be so scooped again) has the list and promises a full article tomorrow.

The recipients are:

Rose McCormick (whose current show at NAAU is a bit of breakthrough, her Wolf in the Henhouse is superb)
Ty Ennis
Jim Lommasson
Jacqueline Ehlis
TJ Norris
Stephen Slappe
Vanessa Renwick
Laura Fritz
Ethan Jackson
The Video Gentlemen: Carl Diehl, Jesse England and Mack McFarland

Overall, the list is heavy with perceptual experience artists like Ehlis, Jackson, Fritz, McFarland and Diehl. While Renwick and Slappe tend to create narrative tableaus with their video installation work. McCormick, Ennis and Lommasson are more traditional to their medias which are painting, drawing and photography respectively. Norris, McCormick and Lommasson are represented by NAAU but if this last year's group shows and this list are any indication, the gallery wont look anything like a sales gallery.

Now all that matters is how the actual shows deliver.

*Update: The Oregonian has published their digestion of the decisions and I'll refrain from discussing too many of their factual distortions but one has to be challenged... Renwick, Lommasson, Fritz and Ehlis are hardly the greenhorns David Row portrays them as. When Row states, "None is an established figure regionally, although critics have praised the work of Ehlis and Renwick during the past decade. None is commercially oriented." He's simply full of it, all those artists I just listed are essentially mid career stars in the local sense and most are emerging nationally.

First there is Renwick, an internationally celebrated indie filmmaker who was the star of last year's Oregon Biennial and was just announced as runner up to the Betty Bowen Award. Not exactly just a critic's favorite, one should keep an eye peeled for her at the big Art Basel Miami Beach Art Fair. Then there is Ehlis, whose shows with Tracy Savage have been some of the best selling exhibitions in recent Portland history. Even when she showed old work at NAAU last June it sold well. She was also in the ultra influential 1999 Oregon Biennial. Hardly non-commercial the combination of her position with critics and her rather rock solid market make her one of the most established artists in Portland. Row obviously knows this because his review of her last show tried to explain why her work was so popular with collectors, tsk tsk. Ehlis is also director of drawing and painting at PCC Cascade and curator of their gallery. Fritz is my girlfriend so I wont say more other than link to what the Seattle Post Intelligencer's Regina Hackett said about her reputation (it's sad then the PI has more cred than the O on Portland's art scene). Lastly, Lommasson just had a solo show at the Portland Art Museum and has gotten "national attention" for his book (which Row actually manages to mention, thereby internally contradicting his unsupported thesis). I mean no disrespect but huh?

True, besides those 4 most of the other artists are emerging but Row's characterization of Couture as having less established artists than the finalists in the CNAA is misrepresenting both entities. Renwick, Lommasson , Fritz, Jackson and Ehlis are actually more established than some Contemporary Northwest Art Award finalists and vice versa. Both artist opportunities have the possibility of being stale and somehow I suspect neither will be. Either exhibition scenario will be laughed at if they don't deliver fresh new work that challenges Portland viewers and both Ruth Ann Brown and Jennifer Gately know this.

One of the biggest problems in Portland is that many of the arts patrons don't know the score (this effects funding from new donors) and PORT is challenging the O to do a better job there. Right now their coverage is part of the problem, we are talking about a publication that once compared conceptual installation artist Matthew Picton to a painting elephant, sevaerl weeks later Christopher Knight at the LA Times gave him a glowing review. All I'm asking is that our local paper be at least as clued in as those in Seattle and LA are?

Posted by Jeff Jahn on October 09, 2007 at 11:56 | Comments (0)


Comments

Post a comment

Thanks for signing in, . Now you can comment. (sign out)

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)


Remember me?


s p o n s o r s
Site Design: Jennifer Armbrust   •   Site Development: Philippe Blanc & Katherine Bovee