During the month of May, the NW Film Center will be featuring A Quest for the Sublime: The Films of Werner Herzog. A central figure in the 1970s New German Cinema movement, Herzog has risen to prominence with acclaimed films from his early Aguirre to the more recent Grizzly Man. His films are characterized by his "disregard [for] the distinction between narrative film and documentary in pursuit of a more profound truth."
The series begins on Friday, May 2nd with his 2007 film Encounters at the End of the World, an exploration of Antarctica in "all its stark beauty." The film airs at 7pm in the Whitsell Auditorium.
South-Africa based artist Roger Ballen will present the U.S. debut of nine images from his new series this month at QPCA. Acclaimed for his documentary portraits of the small villages of South Africa, Ballen has recently begun taking a more directorial approach. In addition to his new images, Ballen will be showing select works from his Outland and Shadow Chamber series, in which he initially began to explore the theatrical methods that allow his subjects to become active participants in the making of his photographs. There will be a book signing in the gallery following Ballen's May 7 lecture at PICA. For those up north, visit the QPCA website for the Seattle lecture date.
"It isn't necessary for a work to have a lot of things to look at, to compare, to analyze one by one, to contemplate. The thing as a whole, its quality whole, is what is interesting. The main things are alone and are more intense, clear and powerful." -Donald Judd in his essay Specific Objects
Donald Judd rafting down the Clackamas River with Bob Peirce
Photograph taken by Bruce West at the Bottom of the Carter Bridge Rapids
The Portland Center for Visual Arts (PCVA) was based on a very simple premise: artists talking to artists. The PCVA was founded in 1971 by three artists Jay Backstrand, Mel Katz, and Michele Russo. The exhibition space was located on the third floor of 117 NW Fifth Ave. Katz wanted to give something to the community as well as bring to Portland some of the things that he missed from New York. Usually, the PCVA sent a letter to an artist explaining that they wanted to have a exhibition of the artist's work in the Northwest and could they follow up with a phone call the following week. This was a strategy that proved to be tremendously successful and they were soon able to attract some of the best artists in the country to come to Portland and have a show. The PVCA was unique in every sense of the word. The artists liked working with the PCVA because although there was a limited budget for each of the shows, there was never any limit to an artist's ideas. After the first few New York artists had a good experience working in Portland, the PCVA had an excellent reputation and the original artists often recommended other artists who might be willing to come out here.
The founders set three objectives for the PCVA. First, they wanted to exhibit the best contemporary art that was being done in all regions of the United States. Second, they tried to stimulate commnuntiy awareness of the diversity and excellence of contemporary art through both exhibitions and others programs. Last, they wanted to bring the artist themselves to Portland to discuss their work. Over the 17 years they were able to put on an exhibition schedule that would have been successful and relevant even to MoMA. To give you some sense of the caliber of artists that have spent time in Portland because of the PCVA: Carl Andre, Yvonne Rainer, Lynda Benglis, Sol LeWitt, James Rosenquist, Daniel Buren, Ed Moses, Allan Kaprow, Frank Stella, Donald Judd, Alice Neel, John Baldesari, Chuck Close, Richard Serra, Chris Burden, Dan Flavin, Robert Irwin, James Turrell, Lucinda Childs, Andy Warhol and Agnes Martin just to name a few. It is hard to think of an arts institution that would have been more dynamic and relevant during that time period. The PCVA put on ten to fifteen visual arts exhibits every year as well as equal number of dance, music, and theater performances. There were a lot of things that were different about the PCVA and a comparable institution would not be created on the East or West Coast until the Dia Center was created in the late seventies.
Untitled, 1974 (Detail)
3/4" Plywood on 2" x 4" subframe
65'-4" x 46'-3" x 40'-6"
Installed at the Portland Center for Visual Arts in November 1974
(c) Donald Judd 2008
The 2008 PDX Experimental Film Fest starts this week. Check out our review of last year's festival right here. For a full schedule of film fest 2008 events, visit their website.
The festival will open with a reception at Gallery Homeland for the installation Surreal Systems. Curated by Mack McFarland and Stephen Slappe, the installation features work by 13 artists "[e]xamining networks of colonialism, nature, motion, observation, pyramid schemes, and memory." Other PDX Experimental Film Fest events at Gallery Homeland include Proving Ground with Travis Wilkerson on May 1, and The First Ever Experimental Filmmaker Karaoke Throwdown on May 2.
Exciting TBA festival visual arts lineup announced
Last night PICA announced their "On Sight" visual arts lineup for
the TBA festival September 5-14. Overall,
a much stronger and more rebellious visual arts lineup than last year (there
were grumbles and bad installs) with a real vis art festival feel than just some appended element
to primarily performance oriented TBA lineup. For the first time since they
canned their year round visual arts exhibition program I'm truly excited. Overall the curatorial
arc has lots of recent Whitney Bi approved names.
9 years & last chance for an impressive April gallery junket
April marks my ninth year in Portland and it is really satisfying to say that
this was probably the single best month of shows I've seen since moving here.
What's more there were strong offerings in every genre imaginable.(list of strong shows ending this weekend below).
A lot has changed since 1999, now there really are several scenes not just one... ... (more)
Overall, a gloriously absurd exercise... especially the live interview between Mack McFarland and Kate Mondlach taking place within the studio less than 40 feet from the TV's. For more context here's Amy's review of the BYOTV show at NAAU.
The Goodfoot is opening a duo show this week for Last Thursday featuring Chris Haberman and Mario Robert III. The two artists share a colorful, "folk"-like style, created on and with a variety of untraditional media. Haberman is a highly prolific local artist and curator, and Robert III hails from El Paso, TX, with a background in carpentry.
Opening reception • 5-11pm • April 24 The Goodfoot • 2845 SE Stark • 503.239.9292
Rudolph M. Schindler, "Lovell Beach House," Newport Beach, CA, photographed by Marvin Rand
The NW Film Center presents German experimental filmmaker Heinz Emigholz's Schindler's Houses. The latest in Emigholz's series Architecture as Autobiography, the film explores "a selection of buildings designed by the Viennese architect Rudolph M. Schindler," who completed his most important work in the 1920s in Los Angeles.
Film Showing • 7pm • April 23 • $4-$7 NW Film Center • Whitsell Auditorium • 1219 SW Park AVE
PICA and the PSU Monday night lecture series present a talk by influential curator Regine Basha, who has worked for the past 15 years in Montreal, New York, and Austin. Her career has primarily focused on "realizing context-specific situations for the production of new work," including her work in the 90s with artist collectives Mayday Productions and the Brewster Project. Her "recent and upcoming exhibitions include an exhibition about listening with Steve Roden and Stephen Vitiello (Lora Reynolds Gallery), an exhibition with Berlin-based Setareh Shahbazi (Contemporary Arts Forum, Santa Barbara [see above]), and a town-wide sound sculpture project in Marfa, Texas called The Marfa Sessions (Ballroom Marfa)." Read more about Basha here.
The other night I stopped by the Safeway on my way home from work. I popped in to purchase toilet paper, toilet paper, and only toilet paper when I suddenly found myself in the shampoo and conditioner aisle. My gaze lingered lovingly and languorously over the many options afforded me. . .(more)
Jeff Jahn, "Eutrophication" (detail) site specific installation
PORT's own Jeff Jahn will be speaking next week on his site-specific installation, Eutrophication. Jahn will discuss his wide artistic influences, including Robert Irwin, Robert Smithson, Donald Judd, Paul Klee, Sol LeWitt, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner and Frank Lloyd Wright, as well as his relationship to architecture and the aesthetic effects of his musical interests.
Artist talk • 7-8pm • April 22 PNCA • 825 NW 13th• Manuel Izquierdo Gallery (3D building)
On Saturday April 19th @ 7pm, The Video Gentlemen present "Media Archeology,"
the second in-studio live broadcast as they continue to program their BYOTV
installation at NAAU.
Featuring research and analysis, questions and answers from Stephen Slappe and
a really intriguing presentation by art historian Kate
Mondloch (come to the gallery and phone in your ?'s):
Static Age: The Early Years of Television Culture A presentation by Stephen
This program of archival 16mm films examines the early years of television as a technological and cultural phenomenon. The program includes behind-the-scenes
glimpses at television studios as well as references to television in popular
culture from the 1930's to the 1960's.
Look at This: The Problem of Participation in 1970s Video Installation A
presentation by Kate Mondloch
Look at This scrutinizes how media objects and their customary viewing regimes
actively define the relationship between bodies and screens in media installation
art. The talk complicates the notion of an inherently progressive, liberatory
"spectator participation" that is celebrated in most accounts of media
installation by detailing the ways in which screens are also capable of generating
oppressive viewing conditions that strictly delimit the viewer's interaction
with the work.
Mondloch states: "As in everyday life, screens and their illuminated moving
images can offer a sort of siren song-calling spectators to largely involuntary
behavior, begging them to look and pay attention, and to discipline themselves
and their bodies in the process. The talk analyzes a series of influential closed-circuit
video installations that intentionally explore the "architectures"
of media spectatorship, including Frank Gillette and Ira Schneider's pioneering
Wipe Cycle (1969), Bruce Nauman's video corridor works (1969-72), and Dan Graham's
Present Continuous Past(s) (1974). I analyze how these early video works employ
two apparently contradictory processes. Artists underscore the coercive nature
of screen-based viewing by varying the arrangement of cameras and monitors-combining
live and pre-recorded feedback, inverting viewers' images, divorcing cameras
from their monitors, introducing time delays, and so on. Simultaneously, however,
the technological apparatuses themselves arguably impose precise kinesthetic
and psychic effects upon their audiences. This discrepancy between active and
passive viewership presents an unresolved paradox for the artform's criticism."
The new Milepost 5 building is launching its arts programming this week with Self Projections. Video, film, sound and installations by 19 artists will be exhibited throughout the first floor of condos. Curated by Gary Wiseman, the show explores the idea that perception is innately personal and unique, and that art is in many ways about sharing that perspective.
The venue itself is an interesting Portland development. Milepost 5 is a new condominium development in far-out NE that is styling itself as "affordable and sustainable live/work spaces for artists in a supportive and interactive, community setting" - that is currently being pushed by Gavin Shettler. With the economic and real estate situation being what it is, one has to wonder if selling condos to build an artist's community from scratch might be even an more ambitious project than the recently closed Portland Art Center. It's another intriguing idea... But is it viable? I suppose you can come to the opening and find out.
Opening reception • 8pm-midnight • April 18 Milepost 5 • 900 NE 81st AVE • 503.724.6933
Art on Alberta is seeking new board members. Their mission statement: "[T]o promote Alberta Street's distinct culture and identity through public art, visual art events, and educational activities." They have six board positions open. There will be a special AoA meeting next week, and potential board candidates are encouraged to attend. For more information about the requirements and qualifications to be on the AoA board, visit their website and/or download this PDF.
In True Colors, Nan Curtis uses quotidian objects such as cotton, lighters, and carpet to explore "family, social taboos, sex, and pregnancy." At once playful and slightly unnerving, her work challenges the social conventions that we rely upon to approach these touchy and yet utterly human subjects.
Opening reception • 6pm • April 16 Linfield Gallery • 900 SE Baker St. McMinnville • 503.883.2804
Chris Bennett, "Fence (diptych)"
Chambers presents New Antiquarians, a group photography exhibition. Five artists toy with 19th century "antiquated" photography techniques, updated with modern sensibilities and aesthetics. Featured artists include Leanne Hitchcock, Rachel Heath, Christine Laputa, Chris Bennett, and Sika Stanton.
Opening reception • 5:30-8:30pm • April 17 Chambers Fine Art • 207 SW Pine St. #102 • 503.227.9398
Damien Gilley at Portland Building + other Portland space rangers
Gilley's Plus Minus at the Portland Building
Portland's art scene is host to pretty much every genre imaginable but spatially
concerned installation work has become a very
prominent element over the past 6 years. It's time to add Damien Gilley
to the ever-growing list of first rate to promising practitioners of the genre.
This focus on redefining space makes sense as Portland is currently reimagining itself as a city
(many would argue that it is a city state built on civics rather than corporate
Plus Minus at Michael Graves' history making Portland
Building makes use of vinyl tape to render and conflate the cityscape and
interior space on a wall based web. The effect isn't unlike a city planner's
PowerPoint slide manifested in real life by some giant graphic design obsessed
spider (it is so very Portland). ...(more)
PNCA has always wanted to buy its current home in the Pearl district, even
before plans were announced to acquire the 511
building. Now the college has announced they plan to acquire the current
building for an undisclosed sum (read about the
details here). I'm guessing it's an undisclosed amount because air rights
are valuable and real-estate valuations are currently in complicated flux. Also,
Brad Cloepfil of Allied Works (the schools master planner and architect of the
511 building) will oversee some light architectural modifications. Needless
to say this positions art
as a major industry for Portland, one of my pet subjects.
Yes, all of this capital campaign activity is great but here are a few suggestions:<br>
Modify the Feldman
Gallery space to make it a more coherent for showing larger scale work (it's
a bit tight and the wainscoting's gotta go), also endow its sometimes
awesome exhibition program with at least 2 million with fully endowed curatorial
position (PSU should do similar
things for its galleries).
Endow department chair positions and have more full time positions with salaries
in line with national standards.
Overall though PNCA has become the most ambitious business/cultural enterprise in the entire state of Oregon... it makes me wonder how many places can claim that their flagship art school sits at such a pole position? Yet this makes sense Portland's high profile employers like Nike, Adidas, Ziba Design, W+K etc... all need a very serious art school.
PSU has launched a radio program to complement their Monday night lecture series. From 12-1pm each Monday on KPSU, hosts Alex McCarl and Cyrus Smith will be interviewing the visiting artists from the lecture series. (Note: You can stream KPSU broadcasts live from their website.) Tomorrow's guest will be Marie Watt.
Check the schedule and learn more about the interviewees on the ArtTalk Blog.
In 2005, Carole Zoom purchased a building in Eugene with the goal of providing a shared space for non-profit arts organizations. By offering them highly reduced rent for three years, the organizations were able to raise sufficient funds to purchase the building from her, and it is now the Eugene MidTown Arts Center (above), home of the Eugene Ballet and 7 other arts organizations.
Zoom is interested in creating a similar space in Portland. It would follow a similar model: She would purchase the building, non-profit arts organizations could move in for very low rent, and over time the building would be purchased from her. This is an excellent opportunity to create a much-needed hub for non-profit arts in Portland, but Zoom needs to assess interest in the project before she can go forward.
To that end, she will be hosting an informal meeting to discuss the project at 6pm on Wednesday, April 16. For more information about the project and the location of the meeting, please contact Carole Zoom at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jenene Nagy & Stephanie Robison, "Sitelines" (detail)
Sitelines, a joint exhibition by Stephanie Robison and PORT's own Jenene Nagy, explores ways that painting and sculpture can intertwine and reinvent the gallery space.
Opening reception • 3-5pm • April 13
Gallery talk • 12pm • April 30 Art Gym Main Space • Marylhurst University, 17600 Pacific Highway (Hwy 43) • 503.636.8141, ext. 3383
Oregon Handmade Bicycles at PDX Airport
Ten custom bicycles are currently on display at PDX airport's artOBJECTS showcase in Concourse E. The bikes are all handmade in Oregon, and "demonstrate [the] combination of engineering skills, precision metal craftsmanship, cutting edge design, and passion for cycling" that has made Portland (& Oregon)'s bike culture so legendary. Because the bikes are only viewable by passengers, a short video about the exhibit and participating framebuilders will be available at the RACC's website. You can also view pics on bikeportland.org.
Damien Gilley's PlusMinus is currently on view at the Portland Building. The large-scale installation uses vinyl tape to create elegant architectural drawings on the walls, playing with "the phenomenology of perception."
Ongoing exhibition • On view 7am - 6pm, M-F • April 7 - May 2 Portland Building • 1120 SW 5th AVE
This Friday, the Jupiter Hotel is hosting the Buckman Bash, an art auction and benefit for Buckman Elementary, Portland's own arts elementary school. The event features emcee Andrew Dickson and solo musical performances by James Mercer (The Shins) and Stephen Malkmus (The Jicks), as well as a student art show including animated shorts. Some excellent local artists have donated their work, including Storm Tharp, Joe Thurston, Scott Wayne Indiana, Marlana Stoddard Hayes, Eugenia Pardue, PORT's own Jenene Nagy, and more.
clockwise from top L: Gabriele Basch, keychain from Guggenheim
Berlin, Raymond Pettibon, Holocaust Memorial, graffiti, Hamburger Banhof visitors
Place is a fundamental concept. There is something about a change in geography
and language that reveals to the traveler a whole new way of thinking, a unique
aesthetic. "Culture shock" is the relatively pejorative term we use
for breaking out of our paradigm of living, but sometimes shock is both essential
and welcome; an unfamiliar cultural environment is a wake-up call to those of
us operating on autopilot.
Like me, you might be sorry to see this perspective cast aside with a dismissive
wave in last week's NYT Style Magazine. A Travel Spring 2008 article proclaimed,
"Expats in Berlin have turned the city into one big arty party," as
though the best reason to go to an international arts hub is for the revelry.
But for artists and arts patrons, the best Berlin has to offer isn't the party,
but the culture shock. Here are some of the highlights of what I found there
Generations: Ken Shores opens this week at the Museum of Contemporary Craft. The exhibition "seeks a new understanding of Shores' work in the context of his role as a student, teacher, leader, artist and foundational figure in the American Craft Movement," placing his work in the context of his "home, travels, and experience."
Exhibition • April 10 - July 23
Artist Lecture • 2pm • May 4 • Free, in The Lab Museum of Contemporary Craft • 724 NW Davis St. • 503.223.2654
MoCC's next "Excellence in Craft" lecture is also happening this week. Paul Smith, Director Emeritus of the American Craft Museum (now Museum of Arts & Design), will speak on Reflections: Twentieth Century Studio Craft Movement - Current Observations.
Portland's art scene just keeps getting more (and better) alternative spaces, here were a few of the openings from 1st Thursday and First Friday. Needless to say The Everett Station Lofts have really become an interesting enclave once again after their previous heyday in 2003. It also reminds me why it's ridiculous to try to contain all of this activity under one roof (it can't be done)... Portland is better off with 30 interesting spaces rather than 1 large ponderous space that tries to be everything to everyone.
Igloo Gallery @ the Everett Station Lofts, First Thursday April 3rd:
Igloo, though tiny has turned into one one of the most energetic new spaces in Portland. In general the Everett Station lofts make the Pearl ditrict look tame... all you have to do is cross NW Broadway to catch these spaces which are open much later.
The Archer Gallery at Clark College presents Dialogue: A group exhibition of six artists whose work "spans the divide between two-and three-dimensional art, creating a dialogue on image and form." Many of the artists are Seattle-based, which adds a more buttoned-down formal quality to the show than the more energetic Portland-based work.
Opening reception • 4-6pm • April 8 Archer Gallery • Clark College, 1933 Fort Vancouver Way, Vancouver, WA • Penguin Union Building (PUB) attached to Gaiser Hall
Matt McCormick, from "The Problem of Machines that Communicate"
As part of the Northwest Tracking series, the NW Film Center presents An Evening with Matt McCormick. The Portland filmmaker will be present at the screening of two of his recent films, The Problems of Machines that Communicate (2008 - premiered at SXSW), and Future So Bright (2007), as well as a series of short music videos and experimental projects.
Film Showing • 9pm • April 9 • $4 - $7 NW Film Center • Whitsell Auditorium • 1219 SW Park AVE
The PSU graduating MFA exhibition series begins next week. The shows run in two week cycles, and feature "work ranging from obsessive marks on paper to video and mixed-media installation ... that demonstrate[s] intellectual rigor and aesthetic diversity." There will always be two shows running simultaneously, in the Autzen and MK Galleries. The first run is from April 7-18 (opening receptions listed below). You can view the full list of future exhibitions on the art dept.'s website.
Kate Simmons • Opening reception • 6-8pm • April 10 Autzen Gallery • PSU, Neuberger Hall, 2nd Floor, 724 SW Harrison St.
"o•ver•stock v: 1. vti to stock more of something than is necessary or desirable 2. vt to graze an area with more livestock than it can support n an excessively large supply of something."
Chris Held explores the quasi-religion built around the modern commodity in Overstock, on view this month at Jáce Gáce. Positing that in modern culture, products have replaced the promise of love and happiness that once came from religion, Held has created an immense shrine of boxed goods, topped with a microwave in place of a religious figure.
Opening reception • 6pm-midnight • April 4 Jáce Gáce • 2045 SE Belmont • 503.239.1887
It's a comic marathon! Comic artists from all over the region will gather this weekend at Cosmic Monkey Comics to create a 24 page collaborative work in 24 straight hours of work. Come watch, cheer them on, enjoy refreshments, and get pumped up for the upcoming late April Comics Fest.
Comic Marathon • 10am - 10am • April 5 - April 6 Cosmic Monkey Comics • 5335 NE Sandy Blvd • 503.517.9050
On view this month at the Augen Gallery is Eva and Franco Mattes' Avatars and Other Images from Alternate Universes, an extension of their recent exhibition 13 Most Beautiful Avatars. The prints emerge from avatars built in the Mattes's exploration of Second Life, an online virtual world where users can create the ultimate idealized self. Borrowing from Pop Art sensibility, the Mattes have brought Warhol's influence into the 21st century, "scrutiniz[ing] simultaneous concepts of 'beauty' and 'reality', [and] pointing to the heightened relevance of a post-20th-century cult of superficiality."
Opening reception • 5-8:30pm • April 3 Augen Gallery NW • 716 NW Davis • 503.546.5056