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Wednesday 02.03.10

« First Thursday Picks February 2010 | Main | First Friday Picks February 2010 »

Portland2010 Biennial artists announced

Eighteen Oregon visual and performance-based artists have been selected to present a series of one-person exhibitions at for the Portland2010 biennial at; The Art Gym, Disjecta, Rock's Box, Alpern Gallery, IFCC and The Elizabeth Leach Gallery starting March 13th.

It's a solid list... maybe too solid since many will complain the majority are already well known, omnipresent or alumni from the now discontinued Oregon Biennials at PAM. The well deserved Crystal Schenk and Ditch Projects are the only riskier new names in the list, the other inclusions just gives us an opportunity to revisit some of our favorite artists. Question is, is that enough? Portland currently is in the midst of a strong new wave of new talent (probably more than ever before) that can't be found here.

Curator (and PORT pal) Cris Moss considered 300 artists and will include the following in Portland2010:

Holly Andres
Corey Arnold
Pat Boas
John Brodie
Bruce Conkle & Marne Lucas
David Corbett
Ditch Project
David Eckard
Damien Gilley
Sean Healy
Tahni Holt
Oregon Painting Society
Melody Owen
Jenene Nagy
Crystal Schenk
Heidi Schwegler
Stephen Slappe
Kartz Ucci

Let's further analyze this. From a 50,000ft view one wonders if scattering the show throughout the city helps either the show or Disjecta, which originated the show and applied for the original grant money to make this possible. Most of these artists are already showing regularly in venues scattered about the city, though the stipends for these deserving artists are always welcome (and Moss' idea).

What's more it has been a long time since a group show meant all that much in Portland (partially why The Oregon Biennial was discontinued)... it's a city of strong solo shows now and what's more weve seen solos from most of these artists recently.

Lastly, where these large group shows have been useful in the past has been in introducing new talent on a big stage. The legacy of the 1999 Oregon Biennial alone introduced Heidi Schwegler, Sean Healy and Jacqueline Ehlis. I miss the fact that none of the artists on this list are at that "undiscovered" stage... they have already been introduced... ok maybe Crystal Schenk if you discount her Milepiost 5 and PNCA Biennial notables last year. Maybe the problem is that new noteables are constantly being discovered.

At the same time I'm certain this will be a good show, but will it be consequential since it likely wont be a turning point in anyone's career? Then again good shows are always worthwhile, let's wait and see what these artists deliver. Though making a list is hardly the easy part, the actual work and how it is handled is what it all comes down to.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on February 03, 2010 at 14:12 | Comments (6)


Comments

kinda disappointed.I love these guys, they are my friends and family here but none of these artists are new to pdx scene. we do know every inch of their work in fact. they are pdx rising stars. so where is the surprise? the unknowed emerging artists that could benefit from this exposure? I think they will just accuse us of nepotism.

Posted by: Modou [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 4, 2010 02:38 AM

Does the presence of the new Portland Biennial say something about the Portland Art Museum's decision to scrap the Oregon Biennial in favor of the Contemporary Northwest Art Awards?

Posted by: Brian Libby [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 4, 2010 10:23 AM

Probably cause and effect.

These shows are rungs on a ladder.

Many artists saw the Oregon Biennial as a ladder to getting gallery representation. But that causes all sorts of rats nests for the museum... really a major museum should not be in the talent scout business but that is precisely what many artists missed...

That talent scout role is more for alt-spaces, critics and the gallerists. 10 years ago Portland didnt have as many galleries and alt spaces so the OB filled a purpose... things are way more robust now.

That's why some will be irked even if Portland2010 is a good show... artists were looking for a ladder rung... instead this is kind of a role call. Any PORT reader will know all about these artists. I think a few artists like Dandridge Geiger, Bailey Winters or any # of other rising but not yet widely celebrated artists would have satisfied this need. Biennials are often a big break.

The CNAA's are striving to be a different rung on the ladder... a way of call attention to excellence ready for national recognition. The First CNAA's were a lil safe but a good 1st steps, as were the 2001-2006 Oregon Biennials. 1999's OB really really mattered and changed peoples concept of Portland's art scene (Kanjo made bold curatorial moves in that show).

Now Portland's scene has been validated by all of the now national and international artists working here.

Will the 2011 CNAA's and the Portland2010 do this situation justice? Time will tell. It takes a strong show.... which is an especially difficult thing for any curator. Esp. when neither Disjecta of PAM currently has someone in a full time position devoted to the task. It takes years of watching with such a show in mind to really hit it out of the park.

I thik the Couture series was the first thing to really capture themment... half the shows were really great, half were good experiments... a great mix of surprise and followthrough.

My personal feeling is that the artist scene is simply more developed than the institutional scene here. That situation presents opportunities. Im certain that the CNAA's and Portland 2010 will be good to strong shows, but will they define Portland or the region?


Maybe that is asking too much... maybe not? I see both sides.

I think people forget that its better to let the artists or "the scene" to lead and have institutions follow... biennials are a kind of moment for the general public to catch up with the scene. That has civic value too...

Posted by: Double J [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 4, 2010 12:21 PM

ah. art debates, you have to love them...
I was expecting this exhibition to ruffle some feathers. And if it didnít I would be more concerned. There are numerous definitions of what a Biennial is and/or should be. I have reasons for selecting the included artists and am fully prepared to discuss them. At some time around the last week of March and the first week of April I will be hosting an open forum to discus this topic. There are numerous great minds, artists, and curators in this community and I hope you all will attend. Please keep your eyes open for when it is posted.
p.s. I will be supplying a box of MMA gloves in case it gets a bit out of control.
Cheers.
Cris Moss

Posted by: cmoss [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 5, 2010 12:43 PM

Wait...MMA gloves. We actually get to fight? Hell yes!

Posted by: jenene [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 8, 2010 10:02 AM

dumb question: is there some form you fill out to throw a show called the Oregon Biennial? I understand that PAM no longer puts on these shows, but why would you put on a show and call it the oregon biennial when people have associated it with the museum? why not make something new and bring attention to portland for putting on a successful new show rather than trying to resuscitate a dead exhibition series?

Posted by: Pearl [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 8, 2010 05:11 PM

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