This November Portland was full of interesting shows that probably deserved more attention
and if you want to walk off some of those Thanksgiving calories you can check
out these shows that aren't by Kentridge
. Yes, those are still my top picks but here are some other
vexing shows that collectively show just how varied and unpredictable Portland
can be. Recently Jen Graves
and Regina Hackett started a conversation in Seattle
about the center of their scene... for contrast things are too varigated
here in Portland to even consider a center these days. Sure we had a center or two back in 2002-2004 with
and the original
but now each of the 100 or so factions is pretty much capable
of getting 100-500 of their cohorts to show up to a big event
There just isn't a single room big enough
to fit everyone and a lot of these groups have international connections that
make trying to "be THE place" in Portland a bit of a waste of time.
Instead we have lots of alt spaces and old haunts:
Bryson Gill's Atrium Surrealism in Grey
is a great
new altspace addition to the Portland art scene started by a couple of recent CCA grads.
This hybrid altspace/waffle house in the Portland Art Center's beautiful old
home on Belmont has been doing increasingly interesting shows and is packed
on openings. The latest show by Bay Area artist, Bryson Gill mines the very
popular trend of slightly surreal drawings on paper works that weve seen in
droves since Marcel Dzama started making a killing at Art Basel Miami Beach
back in the early 2000's. Well executed these works differ from the Dzamist
mode with a strange Balthus meets Mormonism and Edward Hopper meets grant wood
. with a dash of disco. His interiors are particularly
enticing, with their stuffed bald eagles and strange presentation cases, the
best being Atrium Surrealism In Grey. Ends November 28th
Pollution Party at The Life
Another recent altspace The Life grew out of the long running Zeitgeist gallery
in the Everett
Station Lofts and this latest show by Pollution Party
Bettina McEntyre and Rochell Koivunen) is the gallery's best show to date. Well
executed with so much pink faux taxidermy, junk and antiques
plus a soundtrack
of burping and farting this was kinda like a 6 year old reimagining bear country
as fart country. Errm, yes the art world is a place for some who never want
to grow up and this seems to be a satire on that omnipresent art trend of juvenile
entertainment meets recycled materials. Nearly everyone who saw this show took
note of it but Pollution Party will need to develop a few more layers to fully
develop this landfill/playground of nostalgia and juvenilia into a reputation
in town. This was a good start. Ends Nov 30 contact 971.544.1365
Work by former Portlander Isaac Lin at Elizabeth Leach
The recent CCA graduates show at Elizabeth
is a rather handsomely installed show, but despite the expert presentation it possesses only a couple of notable works. Curated by Larry Rinder (whose
ubiquity has become old, even dull news in Portland) the show is also completely familiar because
Portland is already full of former CCA grads... the net effect is somewhat like sitting through a relative's summer vacation pictures.
Mitzi Pederson's untitled works at Elizabeth Leach Gallery
The best works are all in the main gallery including former Portlander Isaac
Lin's wall piece, which are energetic and have a Barry McGee mission school aesthetic.
Paul Schiek's Similar to Baptism photograph is also well done with it's quasi
Mel Gibson-esque religious fervor. Amongst everything else the untitled works
by Mitzi Pederson are head and shoulders above the rest... especially her sculpture
which effectively channels the ghost of Fred Sandback and the influence of Richard
Tuttle (very popular in SF)
it's nonchalant but highly tuned minimal work.
Pederson has been showing in Portland for several years but this is better work
than Ive seen shown here in the past. Through December 22
Work by Sven (lower left) at Albina Press
One reason Portland is so nice is that our coffee houses often look as good
as or better than the Nada art fair. Case in point the
has an intriguing melange of artists from Antwerp and LA. I
like Sven's photos of drawings of falling people (Antwerp) and Ticuta Racorta's
(Antwerp) strange zombie leotard woman photos.
Randell Simms #6 and #7 at NAAURandell Simms'
works at NAAU
are a complete reversal since I last saw his grisaille figurative
work a few years ago. My favorites are the more geometric and textured works
like #7. This new work is still developing but I like how the geometric works
could be dress designs or an early sketch for a building. This maquette like
aspect of #7 highlights paint's strength as an indeterminate, almost
chameleon-like substance. Ends December 8
1977 351/M at Small A
Sincerely John Head's Box Set show at Small
is noteworthy for its fanaticism, focused mostly around the band
Foghat and a 1977 Ford Ranchero. In a muscle car geek fest I got into a complicated
discussion about the 351 ford engine with SJH's R Scott Porter. He contended
it's a "Cleveland" block 351 when I thought it had to be a "Windsor"
casting because they weren't making that fabled engine in 1977. Turns out it's
which was touted as a Cleveland in literature by Ford when
in fact it was neither a "C" Cleveland or "W" Windsor block.
Needless to say SJH are mining some obscure subcultures
like the 70's arena rock nostalgia seem trendy while others like the obsession
with the Ranchero have a better Richard Prince style nostalgia. Stand out pieces
are the DVD Translation Foghat Live and 1977 351/M. Both pieces beatify fanatical
activity into something really egregiously uncalled for. Still is it just mining
nostalgia like the recent Chuck
Norris trend (I hear he once beat up a 351/M engine)
or is it something
truly nuts like Green
Bay Packer Fans
whom I think only Joseph Beuys could understand?
DVD Translation Foghat Live
SJH's prints and trophies bore me; they don't have enough of their own fanatical
charge to stand on their own outside this exhibit. Ive written about SJH before
and the question remains if they can continue to convincingly mine the Ranchero
and Foghat vein for nostalgia or if they need to bring in heavyweight fanaticism like the NRA,
religion or the Green Bay Packers to develop a convincing body of work the way
Richard Prince has with cameros, jokes, advertisements etc. Through Dec 21 but
its by appointment only in December so call ahead 503 234 7993
Bawa's Framed at PSU
Avantika Bawa's Sit Stack at PSU's
mined minimalist tropes but instead of cultivating uniform
serial designs like Judd would have Bawa's pieces are all slightly irregular
or possess diagonals that mess up the symmetry. Experientially it makes one
pay close attention to details
and is kind of like discovering the inner
freak of puritanical minimalism. Bawa, from Atlanta does good stuff and worth
a look. Ends November 30
(PS PSU's website needs work, sweet hell it's bad)
I'm also uncertain who did this piece on the side of Stumptown
Coffee on Belmont
but it seems to sum up the zeitgeist of the moment...
tense and bracing for worse. (*Update
The artist is Andy [last name please?] who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Benedikt Ender at Rock's Box
Last Weekend Benedikt Ender's
WWIII: The General of Freedom opened at Rock's Box
. Needless to say
its an anti-war think for yourself anti-idealogue show, which is a necsessary
but always somewhat predictable subject for art. WWIII made up for the predictable
subject matter with its general vehemence, including a tunnel of propoganda. Ender is
from Cassel Germany and his work seemed to exist somewhere between the ecclesiastical
chaos of his late freind Jason Rhoades and Thomas Hirschhorn's war meets porn
installations. Frankly, I liked it better than Hirschhorn who has increasingly
taken to covering every inch of his installtions with stuff... thereby decreasing
the saliencey of everything he appropriates. Ender is simply more surprising
and gonzo than Hirschhorn has become and his Portland performance featuring black hot glue, vodka, military outfits
and the humping of soldiers to the tunes of Black Sabbath and early Metallica
though not original seemed true to how unoriginal wars always seem to be.
Ryan Trecartin's A Family Finds Entertainment
Last but not least is Igloo
, a welcome addition to the Everett Station Lofts which has a group show
of New York artists (Portland seems to have one of these every month). It's
noteworthy though because it has Ryan
Trecartin's 2006 Whitney Biennial video, A Family Finds Entertainment
I havn't seen it yet but it's worth seeking out, it's in Saatchi's collection
and Im curious if it strikes me as mostly forgettable as the rest of that last
Whi Bi, or maybe it rises above? Last Day Saturday Dec 1 12-5 (make a trip to
and check out Ogle, Tilt, Sugar, Rake and The Life as well)
The line "Open your parachute and grab your gun" is from King's Crossing by Elliott Smith. I don't know who put it up on the side of Stumptown, though. What was that British lady's name that painted lyrics of Bob Dylan's songs on walls in galleries? Maybe it was her?
Yeah, I know the Smith song and at first I thought the artist might be Harvest Henderson, but it's not. I hope it stays there forever or Stumptown keeps changing the quotes. Hell I dont even know if it's technically supposed to be art... but I think it is so why not.
PORT's November mystery artist?... someone will track down the name.
Ok ok, I'll fess up. I did the stumptown "art", but actually I wrote that line, so your audiophileness holds no water( get back to the books) In the future JJ, just staple my name on any anon."art" (umm... copywrite!) I'd sign the sky but it's already been done.
hello, my name is andy. my friend May, a stumptown employee, just let me know that there had been some comments/ruminations on my installation on the brick wall outside of stumptown. the "parachutes" piece was the second in a series that i am calling "if words end up counting". The first piece was installed over a year ago, on the market wall opposite of Stumptown, "Every heart is a revolutionary cell". anyone remember that? at any rate, I have just installed the third piece, outside of Stumptown, "this too shall pass". i make the letters and curate with quotes. i do a few other things too. let me know what you think. TheWeatherReport@gmail.com
Awesome, glad you could take credit for the great work. Ill make the updates. Also, great site... the Stumptown coffee on Belmont really has a great outside wall for what you are doing. Is there a last name and or website I can direct people to?... or are you just Andy like Sing and Slash?
Hey Dr. Double-J! Thank you for the credit under the photo. i appreciate it. have you seen the newest piece? I put it up in the middle of the night, saturday. i anticipate that it will be taken down soon. One small correction: you missed one crucial "R" in my email address which is TheWeatherReport@gmail.com. -respec, andy.