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

recent entries

Giving Thanks Readings
Meet RACC's new leader Madison Cario
November Reviews
Early November Links
Spooky reviews
Countdown to Portlandageddon?
Mid October Links including PNCA/OCAC merger talks
Paul Allen, philanthropist and arts champion dead at 65
Midwest Art Initiative Tour
Haunting October Picks
End of September News
September review cluster

recent comments

Owen Hunter



Book Review
Calls for Artists
Design Review
Openings & Events
About PORT

regular contributors


Tori Abernathy
Amy Bernstein
Katherine Bovee
Emily Cappa
Patrick Collier
Arcy Douglass
Megan Driscoll
Jesse Hayward
Sarah Henderson
Jeff Jahn
Kelly Kutchko
Drew Lenihan
Victor Maldonado
Christopher Moon
Jascha Owens
Alex Rauch
Gary Wiseman



Guest Contributors
Past Contributors
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
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






powered by


Movable Type 3.16

This site is licensed under a


Creative Commons License

Saturday 08.15.09

« STOCK fashion | Main | Ty Ennis' You'll Love It Here at NAAU »

Manor of Art at MP5

Last night the Manor of Art and The Grid shows at Milepost 5 both seemed to achieve the desired effect of attendance reminiscent of shows like The Modern Zoo in 2003 and the Charm Bracelet's meeting people in 2002 or the perpetual stew at the Everett Station Lofts. Each exhibition had more than just a few things worth seeing but granted these are essentially group shows that focused more on group than the show. This is not necessarily a bad thing as art thrives on proximity and social interaction. The resulting good energy in an odd smelling building in need of renovation is the sort of thing that opens up new possibilities to artists from time to time.

For me Cris Moss' video installation in Room 306 was the highlight of the evening.

Though definitely good intentioned but somewhat oddly located on 82nd Milepost 5 is an non profit effort to establish an artist community in a city where artists tend to cluster, divining the next hot neighborhood on their own (in the past 2 decades it has been the Alphabet District, the Pearl District, North Mississippi, North Williams an now near N. Interstate). In fact, other projects like the Falcon Arts Community on N Albina or the Everett Station Lofts seem to be doing well because they are close in. Whereas Milepost 5 has always seemed like a well intentioned herding activity on the outskirts rather than actually tracking the where artists would naturally colonize. That said, if the economy turns around MP5 could be successful. The die has already been cast so this whole stunt is an exercise in wishful thinking... not a bad thing really. I think everyone involved would have done this differently in hindsight... like a location in North Portland or the central east side industrial district.

As expected with over 100 artists and only a few established names the art at the Manor of Art show was a mixed bag ranging from the awful, to decent but unoriginal to a handful highlights. Cardboard and tree clippings were very popular materials.

Jonothan Stanish's room full of devils was an over the top effort worth noting.

Gary Wiseman and Meredith Andrews work made use of the creepy institutional feel of the building.

A little video from the third floor.

Amy Ruppels "Mean Birds" series

Video Installation in Room 304 by Jason Squamata and Andrew McKenzie

Brennan Conaway made reference (literally) to the plaster lathe construction of the rooms and their role as end of life "passage" as an old age home.

TJ Norris reconfigured the benches from his NAAU show last year, successfully channeling deconstructionist architecture with a soothing sound component

Kieth Rosson, like TJ was a veteran of the Modern Zoo show in 2003... this show lacked some of the large interesting spaces of that effort. Overall Manor of Art was filled with a lot of iffy but energetic stuff with a handful of things that made the trip worthwhile.

TJ Norri's curation of the Grid Show at the MP5 Condo's lobby stepped the general level of art up quite a bit. My favorite was easily Heidi Schwegler's creepy clown titled "Juggernaut".

One thing, TJ's group shows over the years like Grey|Area, meta and invisible.other all seem to be VERY similar to one another. In this case the show was laid out as a grid. It is always a worthwhile show but somehow they are a bit anonymously interchangeable. I chock it up to TJ being more of an artist that curates around his artistic interests rather than having a programmatic/institutional outlook. It's a valid stance and who says artists must abdicate the right contextualize their peers work? Still, what MP5 really needed was a strong anchor exhibition space to make it an important player in Portland. Giving a good artist/curator TJ Norris a mere lobby doesn't quite cut it in terms of putting MP5 on the cultural map on a persistent and critically noteworthy basis.

Now that MP5 has played its group show card it will get increasingly diminished returns from that format in terms of attention... unless of course it manages to sell a lot of condos (in a major economic downturn)or actually renovate the phase 2 rental units.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on August 15, 2009 at 9:06 | Comments (2)


You can find a taste of what you'll see at the Manor of Art here:




Follow us on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/GoodinPDX

Posted by: GoodinPDX [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 17, 2009 10:17 AM

Thanks for the coverage, Mr Jahn.

The video installation that you reference was created by Jason Squamata and Andrew Mc Kenzie.

As someone who has been out there was some frequency (but doesn't live there) I can say that the space in the condos is beautiful but also completely out of so many artists' price range. I'm no economics expert, but it seems that some money could be made on 'The Manor' if it were to undergo absolutely minimal renovation and the spaces were rented out as strictly studios at rock-bottom prices. I think I can speak for a lot of artists when I say that there's no way I could afford to pay $300+ monthly for a studio space, but I could almost definitely scrape together a hundred bucks for a scratty room in a derelict old folks home. This would probably appeal to a number of artists living in southeast, especially those on relevant Trimet lines.

That being said, Gavin and Chris did an excellent job and the show went off very well, considering the time there was to set up, and the volume of participants.

Posted by: Owen Hunter [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 23, 2009 09:46 PM

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