, by 2006 Oregon Biennial artist Benjamin Buswell opens
as the final exhibition at the Tilt
in the Everett Station Lofts. PORT was the first to tell you this
a place to watch 2.5 years ago
and it has really held up. Regardless whether any particular show was a success or fell flat, the trek to Tilt was always rewarding because of the surprise and professionalism that could be counted on.
Tilt has had a comparatively long run at "the lofts" for the husband
and wife team of Jenene Nagy and Josh Smith who have another project, TILT Export,
which will do independent curation while focusing more on their personal studio
time. Jenene is also curator for PSU's Autzen gallery and was PORT's business
manager for 2007.
Typically these alt space live/work Everett
galleries last only a year and at 2.5 years it's a good run
for Tilt before moving onto bigger and better things. Tilt definitely makes
the ESL hall of fame, which by my book includes; Fleck, Field, Zeitgeist, Soundvision
,7th of May and Nil. What distinguishes all of those galleries is the fact that
we still talk about some of the artists that showed there. Similarly, Tilt has
been crucial in launching the careers of Stephanie Robison, Paula
, Eva Speer, Chris Held
This month Tilt leaves the lofts much stronger as the collection of 16+ galleries
has seen a recent upturn of ambitious young art smart spaces
like Tractor, Igloo,
The Life, Pip, Sequential and the soon to open On gallery. Tilt pretty much
showed how to do it right, featuring thoughtful solo shows and group shows were
infrequent. Unlike many Chinatown efforts where the # of artists shown is used
to create a crowd, Tilt had the largest # of quality/critically recieved shows
during its run (all with virtually no budget).
So what made the difference? an art background over sweeping declarations,
curation over pandering, a strong team to share the burden, realistic goals
and most of all a good pair of eyes.
Portland is currently in a stage of upheaval, we have lost some solid galleries
like Small A and Motel while gaining new ones like The Lumber Room, Rock's Box,
Quality Pictures or the revamped NAAU programming and
right now I count
no less than 3 completely new and serious commercial efforts in the works (with
no sales tax, Portland galleries have a competitive advantage nationally...
but one has to educate their local base here, it's a cultural pioneering situation
in Portland). Weve lost bigger deal galleries in the past like Savage and PICA
and things just keep moving forward.
What made Tilt so welcome in the scene was it's more experimental nature...
there was no talk of exhibitions being "yet another Tilt show," and
I'd like to see a few more strong artist run or collective spaces take on the
role of introducing and developing exciting new talent in Portland (RACC should
find a way to support them more too).
Instead of waiting around for some Deus ex Machina
of an institution
to discover artists like Stephen Slappe and Stephanie Robison etc... Jenene
(both strong artists
on the move themselves) simply made it happen at Tilt and put the work first.
We'll miss you Tilt! And best of luck with everything, Jenene.