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Sunday 01.30.11

« art schooled | Main | First Thursday Picks February 2011 »

2011 Curatorial Roundup

Now that we have put a little critical distance between 2010 and started 2011 it's time for PORT's curatorial roundup. It's been a few years since we have done this so we are due again. Check out 2008 and 2007 as well.

Why focus on curators? Portland's hard working curators are often the liaison's between artists and the rest of the world, and every serious Portland artist should get to know them, in fact they should join their ranks. One would also be remiss to think of curators as monogenic as there are as many different types of curators as there are venues. University curators are very different from museum curators and artist/curators or critic/curators. This post allows us to look at the recent past and near future with a keener sense of the polyphony of voices that make up the local scene.

Stephanie Snyder Cooley Gallery, Reed College

In 2010, I greatly appreciated and learned from the exhibitions, people, and projects on this list, but there are many more.

Storm Tharp’s refined, multi-dimensional, and magical installation for Human Being, curated by Kristan Kennedy as part of PICA’s TBA Festival; and Charles Atlas’ installation for the same festival … it was so apparent that he and Kennedy had a rich, critical dialogue. The work was profoundly strange and wise. Anissa Mack’s residency at the Lumber Room during TBA was also a pleasure to engage.

Mack McFarland’s Nina Katchadourian exhibition at the Feldman Gallery, PNCA, also a part of TBA, but shaped and formed in the mind of McFarland. A joy, and a joy to see Mack developing his program at PNCA.

Bruce Guenther’s remarkable Lee Kelly exhibition—along with his earlier Hilda Morris show, both outstanding. These two rigorous exhibitions demonstrate everything that is possible for a major retrospective of the work of a deserving regional artist.

Michael Brophy at Laura Russo. Sumptuous, engaged. Painting!

Jeff Jahn’s Donald Judd exhibition at the White Box Gallery was a gorgeous and historically rich investigation into the work of an artist with great relevance to the region.

Though I often have to do a testosterone detox after spending time there, ROCKS BOX is an amazingly irreverent and vital place! I love their collaborations with Ditch Projects.

Miracles Club! And it’s time for everyone to really process what an amazing artist Ryan Boyle is! http://www.gorillavsbear.net/2010/12/02/video-the-miracles-club-church-song/

Elizabeth Leach’s exhibitions of Justine Kurland and Christopher Rauschenberg’s photographs and Christine Bourdette’s drawings were perfectly hung and rich.

Jessica Jackson Hutchins’ astonishing exhibition at the Timothy Taylor Gallery in London—the framed “piano” prints including collage elements (paper maché cups!) were a revelation that reawakened my belief in the intelligently abject.

Pakistani / British artist Rasheed Aareen’s remarkable “minimalist” work (much of it made before Donald Judd began his investigations) at the Aicon Gallery in London. The Aicon Gallery is an invaluable London gallery that works with East Indian and Asian artists.

David Shaner at the Museum of Contemporary Craft! A truly perfect exhibition of an artist and his relationship to the organic materials of the earth, curated by Namita Wiggers.

The Hoffman Gallery exhibition of Alison Saar’s work at Lewis and Clark College, curated by Linda Tesner—honest, emotionally challenging and perfectly installed.

Reading the Veneer library! What a remarkable sensibility Flint Jamison has contributed to literary and object-based culture. I hope that YU Contemporary becomes all of the things that Flint, Curtis Knapp, and Sandra Percival want it to be!

Inge Bruggeman’s continued brilliant exploration of what books are, and what they might just be telling us. Part of Terri Hopkin’s programming at the Art Gym. Not to mention, that Terri celebrated 25 (yes, 25!) years of dedicated curating and publishing, at the Art Gym. We should have a parade for Terri.

The birth and growth of Publication Studio, Matthew Stadler and Patricia No’s invaluable addition to the literary and artistic culture of Portland. Publication Studio is generating an instant history of the region that will be read, studied, and valued for many, many years to come. The 2010 Publication Fair was a communal gift to everyone who attended, especially those of us selling books.

Stand Up Comedy! A new model for a new generation; extremely smart and exciting.

Natascha Snellman at 1430 Contemporary. Jeannine Jablonksi challenges us to get involved and open our eyes. I can’t wait for John Motley’s book of essays to be published this year.

Monograph Bookwerks! I love the mischievous look that Blair Saxon Hill gets in her eyes when she pulls just one more book off of the shelves that she knows I can’t live without!

Sam Korman’s experiment in autonomy and extension—Car Hole Gallery—we should all be so brave. Alex Felton, Kevin Abel, Matt Green, Derek Franklin, and Israel Lund are making extremely exciting work and deserve continued exposure and opportunity. Who is going to provide it?

Kelly Rauer’s beautiful, sensuous multi-channel exploration of phenomenology and the body—Shaping Sequence—at the New American Art Union.

Léonie Guyer’s exquisite in situ painting installation—Constellation—at the Lumber Room, Sarah Miller Meigs astonishingly generous and perfect space.

OK, that’s it, but not all … come find me this year, come to the Cooley, and I’ll come visit you too—xox Stephanie

Blake Shell: Archer Gallery, Clark College

Reflect on 2010 what was memorable (the good and the bad) 2010 was very busy for me, but with all good things. This has been my first year of curating at the Archer Gallery and I loved it.

How did you get into curating? I volunteered to run a non-profit gallery during grad school, unpaid. There was very little curating but I learned the ropes of organizing as we had a new show every week! Thursdays were install nights and Saturdays were reception nights. It was crazy; I would never do it again but it is how I got into gallery work.

How do you define the role of curator?For me, that changes depending on the venue, and even on the exhibition. I have worked primarily in non-profit educational galleries with a focus on contemporary work. I believe in presenting work that is engaging with the larger contemporary art world and also connects to the educational goals of the school. I want to connect students to work that is exciting, thought provoking, and even a bit out of reach at times in order to inspire them. For the artists, I want to create an exhibition that is exciting in its combination of artists and works and to give as much room for creative freedom as I can or as much guidance as I can, depending on the needs of the artist. These are my goals as a curator, but it means different things to different people.

Curatorial dislikes? Unprofessional attitudes from artists can be frustrating.

Years in Portland (in your current role)? I've been here over 2 years, about a year and a half at Archer.

What gets your attention? Oh, a lot, I am easily distracted. But keeping my attention is what makes something important to me.

What are you reading? Bret Easton Ellis, Art and Today by Eleanor Heartney, and I want the new book by Steve Martin. I love him.

What are you listening to? Well, I need some new music these days, that's for sure. Alt country always, my favorite is Dwight Yoakam. I also like Band of Horses and Wolf Parade a lot. Suggestions are welcome.

What are you looking forward to most in 2011? The upcoming Archer Gallery shows- Sean Healy will be showing at Elizabeth Leach and Archer this year, which will be fun, Jenene Nagy's curatorial projects at Disjecta, some of my own art projects. And I'd like to take more trips and listen to more live music, but these are ongoing wishes.

Favorite shows in 2010? There were a lot of great shows. This is just a few- Isaac Layman at Lawrimore Project, Paula Rebsom at the Art Gym, Anna Gray and Ryan Wilson Paulsen at PDX Contemporary, Jenene Nagy's work in the basement of the Portland 2010, and Grant Hottle at Half Dozen. And everything that I saw by Jack Ryan and Josh Smith was fantastic.

What did the Portland art scene do well in 2010? A lot of great shows happened here in 2010. I only named a few.

Where could Portland's art scene improve in 2011? I think consistency is something we could use more of. Also unpolished shows are fun, but they need energy behind them, which doesn’t always happen when there are too many thrown together events. Fewer and better would be my preference.

What is your best advice for an artist? Meet people, volunteer for anything, and be professional and polite. Just that will get you pretty far. Oh and mostly, just keep working on your art.

If you had to choose, what 3 pieces of art would you pick? Ooh, for my house? This is my favorite game. An otter pop piece from Isaac Layman, Sean Healy resin cinderblocks, and the moon piece by Jack Ryan. Those were the first local artist's works that came to mind, but I want a lot more than that. Anything Baldessari. Now I'm going tomake a crazy long list for myself.

Who are your heros? The gracious, smart, and hardworking people that I get the chance to work with in this profession.

Namita Wiggers: Museum of Contemporary Craft

Reflect on 2010 what was memorable (the good and the bad, what deserved more credit): Looking back specifically on exhibitions at MoCC, the series of six artists-in-residence for Gestures of Resistance (Sarah Black and John Preus, Anthea Black, Carole Lung, Mung Lar Lam, Ehren Tool and Theaster Gates) was memorable for my own education and experience. Because each artist added work in response to one anothers' projects, the project as a whole required incredible trust, collaboration and communication between the Museum, the artists and the co-curators Judith Leemann and Shannon Stratton. It was a powerful learning experience for all of us because it challenged how we -- and our visitors -- expect a Museum to "behave."

The exuberance and depth of Collateral Matters, guest curated by Kate Bingaman-Burt and Clifton Burt, provided a survey of graphic design history through ephemera and printed materials from MoCC archives. Getting these archives out for the public to engage was great, but doing so through a jewel of an exhibition creatively designed by Kate and Clifton even more rewarding. I relished watching people use the typewriter and practice writing cursive, flip through stacks of letters, receipts and photos, and take time to discuss the design of the materials on display with one another. Kate and Clifton designed a simple but multi-layered exhibition that called attention to other parts of collections that are important - but often overlooked or only looked at by a few.

Years in Portland (in your current role)?

beginning my 7th year as curator at MoCC

What got your attention?

How easy we have it when artist's in other places lose their studios - even their lives. And how the power of the internet, communal memory and unity can make the 'culture wars" very different this time around.

What are you reading?Just finished Art and Activism: Projects of John and Dominique de Menil, about to start Patti Smith's Just Kids and Salman Rushdie's Luka

What are you listening to? At this very moment, David Bowie.

What are you looking forward to most in 2011? Observing how the students being taught design through Emily Pilloton's Project H grow, develop, and help us turn their experience into an exhibition this fall, and considering how different each of the three retrospectives of women artists from the Pacific NW will be: Laurie Herrick, Nikki McClure and Betty Feves.

Favorite shows in 2010? "The Cabinet," Redmoon Theatre, Chicago.

What did the Portland art scene do well in 2010?
Strong lectures and programs to provide context and creative ways of thinking

Where could Portland's art scene improve in 2011? Continue visible and vocal support - and encourage thinking, writing, and thinking through writing. Find ways to broaden and diversify the community so more out there understand the visual arts as part of their daily lives

What is your best advice for an artist?
Ask questions. Make work. Repeat.

Who are your current heros?
John and Dominique de Menil and the late Peter Marzio, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, and each and every member of the board of directors of the Warhol Foundation.

Victor Maldonado: Artist/Curator

Keeping in classic Portland style 2010 witnessed art everywhere and almost all at once. If that doesn’t sound like a lot of trouble mixed in with solid gold – you weren’t tuning in.

It could be said that 2010 was the year of the box, or cube, depending on how you defined what went on last Spring inside (and outside, too) of the White Stag Building, home to U of O’s White Box gallery that played host to "Donald Judd: Delegated Fabrication” conference and exhibition.

The co-organizers of the conference and exhibition, long-time Judd fabricator Peter Ballantine, local artists Arcy Douglass and Jeff Jahn brought together great art around the theme of delegated fabrication as they graciously folded dialogue around Judd’s contentious history through a handsome and resourceful exhibit.

As Curators of the exhibition Ballantine and Jahn made smart use of a surprisingly heterogeneous offering of art objects, ephemera and a video, borrowed from important local and East Coast collections using an “exhibition as wet lab” model that must continue to be standard practice for presenting and understanding collective concerns on the autonomy of the artist and the dialectics of authenticity relevant across generations and genres.

Building on long term and interdisciplinary creative practices, Lisa Radon and Patrick Collier’s respective pieces at galleryHOMELAND’s group show “Doing It To It” this past summer mined the rich variety still possible in appropriation practices.

Radon’s ever evolving Mine King project, installed at HOMELAND as a busybody office desk, amidst a mad production of rich anthologies culled and gleaned from the artist’s social network and intellectual rhizome, cured and collected for re-consumption. The re-contextualized workstation appeared heavy with wonder. Radon’s installation was crammed with the granular details necessary to trace the flow of information occurring within the silent, but filling, out box.

Collier’s installment for “Doing It To It” at HOMELAND was nothing unexpected for the Ford Building unconventional environs for art. Collier’s small heap, a mere sample from his farm, of compost was wry and knowing in its sights and smells. The rich irony of Collier’s soil and un-degraded top shelf art magazine debris was a fitting epitaph to the shifting values, and platforms, of a world centered on art’s vagaries. Collier may have his opinions but he is no square.

Fine and conceptual art dominated the inaugural biennial exhibition PORTLAND2010. Slated as “a biennial exhibition of contemporary artwork significant to Portland's art landscape” exhibition curator Cris Moss, local curator and gallery Director Linfield College, seemed most interested in creating a model distinct from the Portland Art Museum’s various treatments of the Oregon Biennial.

PORTLAND2010 made use of Moss’ deep knowledge of the local art ecology and provided the most real estate per artist witnessed in a Northwest biennial that I can remember.

His unique approach to curation also allotted deeper readings into familiar artists work like the exquisitely staged, deeply psychological photographs of Holly Andres. Jenene Nagy’s subterranean gnarl of an installation thrived in its ruin in the basement of the Templeton Building – not a surprise.

Object lessons abounded as the multi-venue exhibition rolled out across the city with far too few moments of post-minimalist opulence. Overall, PORTLAND2010 highlights included prolonged viewings of enrapturing sculptural abstractions by David Corbett at Disjecta and Kartz Ucci’s, looping, multiple video monitor installation “I Want to Be a Lighthouse Keeper” at Alpern Gallery.

Missing from this important biennial is the catalog that will further gel and contextualize the stances Moss took as a curator and how he related the various practices to each other and a more general public. I’m counting on Disjecta to keep the most important exhibition for Oregon artists going and I look forward to anything Moss offers in writing.

Timing may be the most difficult skill to learn for many artists. But timing, charting it all and taking it on, one thing at a time, is what conceptually driven artist Emily Ginsberg’s exhibit of new works titled Choreograph did last Fall and into Winter at the Art Gym at Marylhurst University.

By bringing attention to detail through the careful application of diagrammatic dramas, as in her large digital print on photo cotton rag paper “Conversation” Ginsberg speaks in code, in various forms and formats, bringing graphic syncopation and flow to a variety of intimate and public acts of our daily rituals.

Weather with “Dance Card,” a fetish objects with oil on laser engraved Plexiglass, etched aluminum, and mirror), or in Ginsberg’s digital prints and vinyl on the gym floor all become meaningful contextual supports for her skillfully rendered mindscapes.

Cast as individual acts Ginsberg meticulously isolates in each card the various scores associated with our everyday lives. Taken individually or together is a practice in complexity enlivening the mind to multi-layered, multi-meaning orchestration. For conceptual artists making meaning is the most important skill to have and deploy amidst all the noise and meaningless chatter that the coming year will undoubtedly bring with it

How did you get into curating? Compatriots Mark Brandau and Kim McKenna asked me to curate Portland Modern 5.

How do you define the role of curator? A curator brings insight and emotion, careful thinking and moderating to an exhibition and prepares for the desired outcomes.

Curatorial dislikes? Lack of curatorial vision.

Years in Portland (in your current role)? I arrived in 2001 and started teaching at PNCA in 2007.

What gets your attention? Fresh perspectives and abiding practices get my attention.

What are you reading? Pictures of Nothing by Kurt Varnadoe and Pollock and After edited by Francis Franscina.

What are you listening to? Pandora: Sublime and Nirvana stations, among others.

What are you looking forward to most in 2011? Starting my new position as Inclusions Specialist at PNCA.

Favorite shows in 2010? Ai Weiwei, Dropping the Urn, at the Museum of Contemporary Craft

What did the Portland art scene do well in 2010? The Portland art scene stayed contemporary by learning how to make use of the past.

Where could Portland's art scene improve in 2011? The Portland art scene could learn to make use of it’s diversity by visiting the malls on East Burnside and at Pioneer Place and could take a more active role in an Open Engagement this spring at PSU.

What is your best advice for an artist? Learn how to take no for an answer.

If you had to choose, what 3 pieces of art would you pick? What a horrible way to die.

Who are your heros? Radical artists.

Linda Tesner: Ronna and Eric Hoffman Gallery of Contemporary Art, Lewis and Clark College

One of the great highlights of 2010 was the celebration of The Art Gym's 30th anniversary and the recognition of Terri Hopkins' considerable accomplishment in growing that institution. We are so lucky in Portland to have an established venue for the exhibition of contemporary Pacific Northwest art-what The Art Gym has brought to our community in terms of conversation, scholarship, and experimentation is invaluable. Brava, Terri!

Along similar lines, I think it was brilliant for the Portland Art Museum to appoint Bonnie Laing-Malcolmson as the curator of Northwest Art. Bonnie has the experience, connoisseurship and confidence to investigate NW art in the broadest and most inclusive way. I can't wait to see what programming Bonnie brings us. Thank you, Arlene and Harold, for making this important curatorial post possible!

One of the most difficult, but most satisfying, professional projects of the past year (if not my entire career) was the Lewis & Clark College's commission of Alison Saar to commemorate York, the African slave of William Clark (there's a good case study in this project). Saar's York: Terra Incognita was installed on campus in 2010-a brilliant representation of a historical figure for whom we have nothing more than a few sketchy anecdotal descriptions (he had "big hands"). Saar successfully crafted a sculpture that shows York as "slave and significant." It was a difficult assignment for all sorts of reasons, but working with an artist as authentic, knowledgeable, and wise as Saar is made the process fascinating. By the way, we had a committed selection committee and the expert help of Kristin Calhoun at RACC, an indispensable resource-all of whom persisted steadfastly on this project.

Finally, looking toward this next year, I am most excited about the fall 2011 exhibition in the Hoffman Gallery to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Bonnie Bronson Fellowships. The Hoffman Gallery is collaborating with the Cooley Gallery at Reed and The Art Gym to focus on this unparalleled fellowship program, their permanent collection, and the artists who have been recognized. We are publishing an extensive catalog, which is always a hugely enjoyable project. Details to follow on the Hoffman Gallery web site, but exhibition dates will be September 8 through December 11. Mark your new calendars!

Terri Hopkins The Art Gym, Marylhurst University (drawing Joe Macca)

Reflect on 2010 what was memorable (the good and the bad, what deserves more credit) In 2010, artists created ambitious new work for The Art Gym's main space and project spaces. The artists did their work, but often the press in its depressed state did not. Great shows that deserved more attendtion included:

Melody Owen "So Close to the Glass and Shivering;"

Paula Rebsom's "If We Lived Here" connected the gallery to her family's homestead in North Dakota

Paul Middendorf and Brandy Cochrane reflected on how a life can be examined through "The Dregs" that remain after death

Anna Gray and Ryan Wilson Paulson's "The Imaginative Qualities of Actual Things" also explored the meaning of objects that survive loss, in their case a fire.

"Motherlode" presented the work of seven artists and one poet in response to motherhood.

Our fall season did get off to a good start with the 30th anniversary exhibition and publication "Album". Featured were 28 artists portraits of more than 200 other artists.

We finished the year with Choreograph by Emily Ginsburg and Jane Lackey and Inge Bruggeman's "The Possibility of Being Fully Rewritten.

Years in Portland (in your current role)? 30

What got your attention? All the artists above andTahni Holt.

What are you reading? War and Peace, The Scarlett Letter, Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout and Native Guard by Natasha Tretheway.

What are you listening to? Birds and traffic.

Where could Portland's art scene improve in 2011? Much more press. There are many, many good shows and very little being written about them.

What is your best advice for an artist? Be ambitious. Make work. Show it to people.

Jeff Jahn: Curator/Critic (photo Sarah Henderson)

Curatorial dislikes: Anything that isn't serious about reaching it's full potential or lacks ambition. To be specific; overhung, overshown, underdeveloped and unoriginal shows beholden to specious agendas that dont trust and push the artist, viewer and venue... so 95% of what I see here. It used to be 99.5%. For comparison the #'s for LA are about 95% and New York 92%. It's just scrappier, somewhat more original and more energetic out on the West Coast overall. I'll say it again, a terrible hang with too much stuff is frequently a HUGE problem in Portland. NO is a good word, use it. A lack of toughness and or the fetish of laziness. Not wanting to "offend" is also a death of a thousand cuts.

What is your best advice for an artist? Your friends often define, limit and inspire you.... figure out who is helping and who isn't serious enough. Cut out the dead wood, determine what you really want and let everything else fade to the background. Some Portland artists just want a Pabst and an opportunity to be vaguely sarcastic while walking slowly, those people are worthless. Others simply like others who like them, which is a numbing strategy. Concentrate on making each show a quantum level better each time out and make each exhibition count (those uninterested in these ideas are probably dead wood).

Years in Portland (in your current role, define that role)? I do shows that actively try to redefine Portland in terms of seriousness, expectations, genres and execution. It is 11 years closing in on 12 on April 1st. Defining my role is difficult by design. Im like carbon, my atoms can be inserted between other atoms and augment their properties so I borrow spaces from Universities and warehouses. Im a free agent and I curate with an eye for extremes and contrasts, also toughness. I can say at first there was great resistance to what I was doing say in 2002 but in 2010 I felt a great deal of love all of a sudden and people went out of their way to tell me (which I never expect and try to discourage with my grumpy guy act). Also, I suspect the reason I often specialize in video and installation art is because the gallery/museum system here does not support it well, though it's often the best we have to offer the world. I believe that Portland has a role as the conscience of the United States (both the good and bad) and what is going on here matters. I act accordingly, you should too.

Favorite shows in 2010? Predictably, Donald Judd was my all time favorite and turned out much better than expected... it was a dream fullfilled and a pretty special show with a difficult to replicate integrity and far reaching consequences. It was very tight and yet provided a very faceted and non didactic approach (I just don't see this sort of thing on the West Coast much... generally too much showmanship not enough show depth). Working with Peter was an instant primer in the radical art of the 60's. It is unlikely we will see another non print Judd show in the PNW during our lifetimes. I enjoyed Bruce Guenther's Disquieted (despite the fact it had a gawd awful Bill Viola>> the surprisingly good Robert Longo countered it) and Mark Grotjahn, Stephanie Snyder's Terry Winters print survey had the kind of depth I crave and seldom find in solo shows here and the Scarecrow show though dense was really rewarding to visit multiple times. MoCC's Ai Weiwei show was a validating turning point for the institution (a bit overhing). Im a stickler for installation and Allison Saar at Lewis and Clark was near perfect. Charles Atlas at TBA was strong (so strong it made the much of the other work look uneven or uncommitted). Then there were people I know; Corey Arnold's Fish Work Europe showed his existential/buster Keaton touch, Michael Knutsen's show at Blackfish was his best ever, Bruce Conkle's Magic Chunks and Laura Fritz's Intrus at Worksound were full of surprises despite my knowing them so well. Kelly Rauer at NAAU was tight and worth repeated visits. DE May is one of the few artists that is always good and keeps getting better. Michael Brophy's solo show at Laura Russo was his best painting to date. Frankly, after so many heart wrenching travails of late he's come out of it a surer and more original painter. Victor Maldonado's solo show showed he is more than just a talker. Storm Tharp's Hercules (secretly a bit about Judd) was his best since the 2007 breakout show. Damien Gilley's hallway at Big Little Burger is excellent, no artist in Portland has greater public art potential. Arcy's show at Chambers was perhaps too familiar (I like his paintings a lot) but it was a very solid execution of a novel idea... a show that would take a trillion years to see in its entirety. I saw a lot of shows outside of Portland but the best were mostly in Seattle; Liz Brown's Kiki Smith Photography Retrospective at the Henry and the Picasso show (how predictably unpredictable is greatness?) at SAM were superb. I can say I enjoy going through Portland's scrappier galleries a lot more than New York's Lower east side ones. There is a lot of crap in both locales (the half assed minimalism stuff has got to go folks) but I feel like it's more genuine here, which shows up in the end product and a less disheartening feeling at the end of the day.

What did the Portland art scene do well in 2010? In general our opportunities are excellent and we provide a lot of moral support with lots of great alternative venues and a supportive even competitive scene. This is the most supportive art community on the planet, but we have to stay tough and focused. Our alt-spaces are where the energy is but despite this PAM has made great strides in presenting serious contemporary art. Having a Curator of Northwest art is important but in 2010 the idea of NW art was pretty much dismantled at every turn and has been debunked since 2003.

Where could Portland's art scene improve in 2011? Be more discriminating about who what when where and why? Some mediocre artists are celebrated because of friendship rather than being good (you know who you are> your friends are often curators), it's a problem. Also, let's find a way to support alt-spaces financially... let's also make certain each venue's programming is unique and provides artists better support for doing good shows (quality over quantity in 2011 please). Portland artists often do their best shows outside of the city. Artists should concentrate on doing the best and tightest show they can every time they show here instead. Tighter more thoughtful curation of group shows with fewer artists. Let's reward artists who are at the top of their games, not has beens with those few accolades (awards, grants and prestigious shows) we have to award. Right now the accolades don't matter much and every serious artist is is more focused on opportunities internationally. In 2010 we rewarded too much lightly amusing art that takes easy cheap shots, it's Richard Prince lite. A little more rigor can turn a cheap joke into something much more... Manet's Olympia and Rauschenberg's Canyon are good examples to measure oneself by.

What got your attention? Rock's Box coming out of hibernation and no major Patrick Rock solo show in Portland. I'm particularly waiting for solo show statements from the Appendix artists, Ben Young and Zach Davis are the most developed but I have a good feeling about Josh Pavalacky, he's got this very intense way about him, he's like a safe cracker and I feel like Im watching him work on the lock. I feel like Maggie needs a solo show too. Carl Diehl and Laura Hughes are special as well. Bluesky, MoCC and OCAC all seemed to turn a corner for the better. Still the lack of gallery that truly taps the better new artists to Portland is a major mistake. Just trying to be a LA starfucker isn't impressive unless you take some of Portland's better new blood on too (Our best can easily hold our own). What I really notice is how little direct grant support exists for our alt-spaces. This is a major flaw, fix it. Small alt spaces don't want to become 501.c3's but deserve support. Can there be grants for alt-spaces?

Reflect on 2010 in detail, what was memorable (the good and the bad, what deserved more credit): I think a lot of artists treated 2010 like it was the end of the world. They were promiscuous and showed as often as possible, others finally got down to business and put on a serious solo show. Needless to say we are still here and we should concentrate on the best shows possible. 2010 was a year of ok group shows with some great solo shows like Judd, Ai Weiwei, Mark Grotjahn, Terry Winters, Michael Knutsen, Jesse Hayward, Storm Tharp, Bruce Conkle, Laura Hughes, Michael Brophy, Eva Speer, Andre Kretez etc. making it all worthwhile. Hell I even had a good solo show according to the Huffington Post but what do they know? There was a TON of architectural installation art; Sol Lewitt, Judd, Damien Gilley, Laura Hughes, Laura Fritz, Arcy Douglass, myself, Gary Wiseman, Alex Rauch, Josh Smith, Jenene Nagy, David Corbett, The Appendix crew, Jordan Tull, Victor Maldonado and Jesse Hayward. Some of it was easily the best work I saw this year.. some of it was not (like Nagy's Tidal even though I wanted it to be great, it was a learning experience for her). It is a serious genre in Portland, we are interested in it on a deep level and it exceeds the abilities of most of our institutions to present in the proper fashion. The genre doesn't reward sloppiness so big shows require budgets and time.

I think we have to be more careful about group shows, the same names keep showing up and making the shows anonymous. When I do a group show it is mostly done to present new names and faces or a few old favorites who haven been put in context with the noobs. Bruce Guenther had a very big year in 2010 with Cy Twombly, Sanford Biggers, Sol Lewitt, Mark Grotjahn, Catherine Opie, Disquieted, Lee Kelly etc., seriously that's a career's worth in one year so I hope he isn't planning to retire soon. What happens to Ed Cauduro's collection will define his career in Portland though, if it goes to auction houses it will be an unmitigated cultural catastophe. The install at PAM needs to be thinned out, anyone in this design oriented city with a good design sense notices this and writes PAM off because of it. Other excellent things in 2010 that deserve more credit are Stephanie Snyder's Terry Winter's print show and all of the great scrappy efforts by the Appendix crew and some of the stuff at Worksound. Portland's biggest strength are its constantly evolving alt-spaces. Larger spaces with expensive ambitions like YU and Disjecta need to be very focused about their programming. Are they being too mid and late career since their missions are supposedly more edge oriented?

David Eckard's wins of the Bonnie Bronson and Ford Fellowships were noteworthy because normally we don't give major prize awards to those doing the best work. Our local politics don't pick the best and brightest as they peak, instead they are more political (even Eckard was since he left for over a year, but he's still doing his best work). Luckily our best and brightest sidestep local politics by finding international audiences and THAT makes our institutions look a day late and a dollar short. Originally the CNAA's billed themselves as similar to the SECA awards, ok prove it? Most of the finalists for 2011 are from 4 galleries in Portland and Seattle. I expect this... even the Northwest Biennial in Tacoma is pretty predictable. Will they even do one in 2011?

Cris Moss' curation at Linfield is noteworthy, he often sets the bar with his solo shows out there. He takes chances but it is too bad Portland 2010 lacked that same focus, restraint and refreshing permissiveness... instead just becoming a roll call of predictable familiarities. That is something we didn't do well enough, the group shows are really there to give new names a chance to step out, and just using all those names as an opportunity to ingratiate yourself as an institution is less than inspiring. So many new names last year emerged yet they didn't have the showcase they deserved, maybe that is for 2011.

Portland's strength is it's permissiveness but the other side is we don't say NO judiciously enough. One has to say NO to keep efforts from being diluted. For example the George Johanson retrospective at PNCA's Swigert commons was inappropriate space and Melody Owen's solo show at the Art Gym was just too overhung to be effective. 2010 had more good solo shows than any year I've experienced in Portland to date though... but all institutional shows should be better vetted for their appropriate scope and scale. The programmatic voice of our institutions still could use a lot of refining but PAM's focus on drawing last year was nice... I don't think enough people noticed how coherent they were. The Ai Weiwei show was important for MoCC as a way to open up the craft/contemporary design discourse. That show was the moment that museum fully proved its worth while plotting a course into the future as a dynamic relevant institution. Last but not least Bluesky Gallery has really tightened up its exhibition program, no institution or gallery improved over its 2009 self more than they have. Not certain how much Todd Tibutus has to do with this as director but he's definitely part of the equation.

What are you reading/watching? Survival Through Design by Richard Neutra, Michael Heizer by Germano Celant and a lot of plays once attributed to Shakespeare. I'm into apocrypha. I've been watching Christopher Guest films and Dr. Who Season 5. I loved the Pandorica episodes.

What are you looking forward to most in 2011? Portland artists showing outside of Portland who leapfrog some of the rather timid local politics. In town: Jesse Hayward's latest curatorial venture at the White Box and Damien Gilley's very important solo show at Linfield in February. Sean Healy at the Archer Gallery. Bruce Conkle at Ditch Projects. Keith Boadwee's return to Rock's Box... honestly a lot of what Rock shows is Boadwee lite and I like the real deal. How well will YU accomplish their very important mission?

For myself: Three long term curatorial projects I have in the works. The only way I can execute the kind of quality projects that inspire me is to plan 2 or more years out.

Who are your current heros? I wont get too deep into it but my very brave Mother and Father.

Kristan Kennedy: PICA

What is there to say about this year that won’t be too revealing—or too divisive—among the anointed, the ignored, the ubiquitous, the relentless amongst us? I am usually against disclaimers, but I have to admit the following: I am secretly terrified by quantifying my bests and worsts. Then again, I am not afraid at all. I am also sorry to subject you to my ramble and, then again, not sorry at all. So yeah, conflicted—that is me at the end of 2010, and maybe that is Portland, too.

The local art world seemed to grow like a weed this year with new people and new spaces pushing through the cracks and causing all kinds of invasive art happenings. I would say the best of these pests was Sam Korman and his Carhole Gallery; a garage, a cave, a hovel for the hangers-on and the unwashed. He presented some good shows and some passable ones – maybe its best was its very first, featuring now-familiar names Alex Felton, Jax Gise, and Derek Franklin. Although I also am still thinking about Liam Drain's ceramics and Chase Biado's video's and the drawing an errant slug made whilst crawling across the plywood. What made Korman’s foray into curating among the best of the year were not the exhibitions, but the press releases, the documentation, and critical discourse generated and dispersed freely in stacks of now-coveted Xerox catalogs. The other stellar moment of this project was its end; at the very moment we got a handle on Car Hole, it disappeared. Smart. Korman’s writings are now gathered together into one fat tome of ramblings by Publication Studio. Put it next to Janson’s on your bookshelf and look at it some years from now and I bet it will have earned its place.

Speaking of discourse, one of the worst moments of 2010 was when Lisa Radon's column CULTUREPHILE bit the dust, what is it going to take for this cities media outlets to give some serious respect to intelligent writers. I am glad she is keeping hope alive on Ultra, and that others are doing the same by any means necessary. Rob Halverson debuted his serious project with the not-so-serious name of Cool Art, a project that revealed his careful and point on curatorial view and moreover proved that great "exhibitions" don't have to have walls. Then there was Rachel Pedderson and Mia Nolting delivering &Review to our doorsteps, Gary Robbins at Container Corps making four-color magic on a tiny offset press, and John Brodie and Blair Saxon Hill opening up Monograph Bookwerks. HOORAH!

For me, another "best of" in 2010 was that I finally reached my limit. After 15 years of trying to be everywhere at once, my schedule and my tolerance made it impossible. And so, I was an observer—often from out of town or from the side of my eye—and not a direct participant. This reflects a change in my personal philosophy and also is indicative of a year that was double- and triple- and quadruple-booked. How was one supposed to be at the always-compelling Rocksbox and at a PICA board meeting and Half/Dozen all on the same night? It is strangely satisfying to not be on top of it all, to eschew the spectacle of openings to have to work to see shows in the in-between hours, to make my way directly to the artists studios and to spend hours culling the internet for evidence of installs I could not see while I was out of town. Some of the best things of 2010 I surely missed. For example, I was full of regret for missing B.Y.O.B. the other night; It looked like the best, but I will never know.

Of the things I did make it to (on purpose or by accident), I am still feeling a short-but-killer spoken word / sandwich eating performance by Matt Green and Nathan Howdeshell at Valentines and Abstract at the Cooley curated by Stephanie Snyder with Lynne Woods Turner's subtle and vibrational lines. Similarly, I was taken by Arnold Kemp's black and white pyramids, their weight so heavy it puckered the paper, and also at PDX Contemporary, Adam Sorenson’s electric paintings and Brad Adkins' return. Boy, I missed Brad’s sick and serious humor. More of that in 2011, please. Justine Kurland's show was simultaneously epic and quiet I am excited by new blood at Blue Sky in the form of Todd Tubutis, and, if Julia Dolan’s rehanging of the photography wing at the Portland Art Museum is any indication of things to come, newness rules.

On a recent trip to Seattle, I petted and pranced my way through Martin Creed’s show at Western Bridge and was transfixed by Corin Hewitt’s video, but it Sara Krajewski's Image Transfer show that made me really envious. I can’t get Anne Truit’s show out of my mind, and Paul Thek’s show at the Whitney made me cry. I was standing in front of a small painting that looked like my insides or confetti, and on it was the number: “86.” A number, but also a year, and one that sticks out in my mind for several reasons, but mostly because I was coming of age in New York, AIDS was decimating the art world and Reagan was in office. Yeah, it was fucking scary. Which brings me to the ABSOLUTE worst of 2010: the fear and hate propagated by the Catholic League of Washington D.C and incoming House Speaker Boehener, the absolute cowardice and ethical lapse of the Smithsonian Institute, and the continued silence of our President in the face of the inequity and bigotry facing so many of our citizens. Time to bust out the ACT UP handbook.

Other bests? Sarah Meigs opening the lumber room with it's bouncing blues from the Sandback and the Klein and Anissa Mack’s stained glass moment, tiny and true; Sarah Johnson emerging from the primordial drum kit at Rocksbox; Storm Tharp and Jessica Jackson Hutchins at the Whitney (despite the Biennial being the WORST install job ever) and both of their solo shows in New York – Hutchins at Laurel Gitlen and Tharp at Nicole Klagsbrun; Dark: A Show to Winter at Fourteen30 Contemporary; Theaster Gates, Jr. at the Museum of Contemporary Craft; Linda Austin's blog A Head Of Time; Fin de Ciinema at Holocene with AU and Dragging an Ox Through Water; Israel Lund’s giant T shirt painting in Minor Threats at the Manuel Izquierdo Gallery; Jeremy Wade’s radical performance at Pussy Faggot; every Our Hit Parade I had the pleasure of attending; Erin Sheriff at the Met; Adam McEwans' Fresh Hell show, especially his slight but effective collaboration with Nate Lowmam (a homage in tape to Sigmar Polke, swoon!); discovering I was a socialist at the FRAC Lorraine; EXCREMENTAL EXEGESIS: A RABELASIAN PUPPET SHOW BY Professor Clistere Caldo, commissioned by the Cooley Gallery for the exhibition SCARECROW, the guilty pleasure of Jerry Saltz’s maniacal face book posts; Barry Sanders ' lecture at PSU and the nape I gazed at in front of me; and Bob Nickas’s lecture/performance at PNCA where he told us the art world is a brutal heartache and to stop asking him to explain why. Nickas, I am with you. 2011, here we go again.

Kelly Rauer: New American Art Union

Reflect on 2010 what was memorable (the good and the bad)?

Unfortunately, the experiences I had earlier in the year are not as easy to recall so the most memorable are all within the last six months. The most memorable moments this year go to several dance performances: Maria Hassabi’s SoloShow for PICA’s TBA festival, Tahni Holt’s Culture Machine blew me away…really…I was astounded, and tEEth’s Home Made was incredibly poignant and moving. The ABSTRACT exhibition curated by Stephanie Snyder for Reed’s Coolley Gallery was very refreshing and inspiring and I must say that having the opportunity to witness Timothy Scott Dalbow in daily action for six weeks at NAAU in February was really excellent. Tim’s work is worthy of greater recognition.

How did you get into curating? Through my work with Portland Art Center.

How do you define the role of curator? To support artists by believing in their vision, aiding in aesthetic articulation, presentation, and by creating platforms for career progression and audience engagement.

Curatorial dislikes? arrogant and aloof behavior

Years in Portland (in your current role)? I grew up here but left for undergrad. Since returning in 2005 I have been consistently supporting and facilitating exhibitions of all types and sizes.

What gets your attention? Rigor, quality and thoughtfulness in execution, a willingness to experiment, playfulness, and dedication.

What are you reading? Michel Foucault’s Technologies of the Self and I just started Masculinities, a book on the nature and construction of masculine identity by sociologist R.W. Connell

What are you looking forward to most in 2011? Seeing what YU has to offer

What did the Portland art scene do well in 2010? Maintaining the intense bustle of up and coming artistic production.

Where could Portland's art scene improve in 2011? Cultivating greater avenues for the work being made here and the artists who make it to reach national audiences.

What is your best advice for an artist? Get into your studio! and get others (artists you look up to - but may not know, mentors, curators, teachers, family members, friends etc) to visit you while you are there working your butt off.

Who are your heros? my mother, my grandmother, and people who courageously pursue their dreams full throttle.

Mack MacFarland: Feldman Gallery Pacific Northwest College of Art

The past year was one which presented more cultural programing than I had time to take in. Some of the most fascinating were: “The Metaphysics of Notation” series at Portland Center Stage presented by Third Angle New Music Ensemble, Jenene Nagy's "Tidal" and even the more successful "Destroyer" for the Portland:2010 curated by Cris Moss. Another Portland Biannual hit was Tahni Holt‘s "Culture Machine" (in progress) and its precursor and one of the highlights in dance of 2010 for me, "event.space." "The Quadratic Logogram of Almost Everything" curated by Derek Franklin at Half/Dozen was a bright spot of a constantly well programed gallery. Performance Works NorthWest’s (Linda Austin and Jeff Forbes) Alembic series and STOCK Dinners, (Amber Bell, Ariana Jocob, and Katy Asher) are two exciting examples of alternative funding processes which will continue on for 2011. There were new spaces and spaces doing more programing as well. First the new: Grand Detour in the Portland Strogage Building is a sorely needed addition to the moving image scene, GD's lecture series this summer capitalized on Portland's love of a great talk and introduced the the artists and public to the space. Sharing the office with Research Club, a kind of gallery / event producer who is part programmer of Trade, a store front on the upper floor of Pioneer Place Mall, these two will be worth keeping an ear open to in 2011. Pioneer Place Mall has a lot to offer these days with its consortium of galleries know as The Settlement. In addition to Trade there are, Place, Store and People. People is the most commercial gallery-like of these, Store is being used by PNCA classes taught by Victor Maldonado, and has potential to be as interesting as Jon Rubin's Waffle Shop and Conflict Kitchen in Pittsburgh which are part of the curriculum at Carnegie Mellon University. And finally, Place, which could serve as an anchor tenant of these mall pop-up-shops, all of which will be most successful if they can capitalize on their location while creatively playing within and slyly breaking the rules and norms of mall life. Publication Studio found a home and hosted events and readings and I am looking forward to attending more in 2011. A space which expand in programing and square footage was Appendix. With the now closed Little Field (quality shows from this space were Zach Rose and Midori Hirose) and the still operational Hay Batch, the crew of these spots, Maggie Casey, Zachary Davis, Travis Fitzgerald, Josh Pavlacky, Benjamin Young (Appendix), with Jill Campoli (Little Field) and Matt Green (for 2010 Hay Batch) were able to further their desire to see and produce non-boring, non-conforming, non-typical art (we once called this Avant-garde) in bastion of sameness on Alberta Street. Two other spaces which transformed and expanded programing and became neighbors are Nationale and Stand Up Comedy. SUC hosted Rob Halverson's Cool Art and a reading by Stuart Bailey (of Dexter Sinister), the latter of which I missed, but am thrilled to know it happened. Nationale transformed from thrift shop / gallery to gallery / shop, with shows from Eliza Fernand (who also performed) and Midori Hirose. Nationale set itsself apart on the First Friday circuit this year.

2010 also began and ended with two sad closures, Fontanelle and Fourteen30 Contemporary. The loss of these galleries are a symptom of economy that is not adding jobs, bonuses, or confidence in our Nation and its leaders. This coupled with the fact that the average attendant to an exhibit in Portland makes less than $40,000 a year, and have student loans anywhere from $30,000 - $70,000 does not add up to sales. One thing that would help is a Walter Hopps type to drum up support, education, and sales for the Fourteen30s, NAAUs, Fontanelles, Half/Dozens, and Appendixes of our fair city. Perhaps too the artist, critics, producers, and curators could all agree to pay a tithe to ourselves from grants or sales which would be set aside to purchase or commission artworks for our homes. This is but one idea of the many out there, such as Anna Gray's and Ryan Wilson Paulsen's brilliant plan to have thousands of citizens default on their student loans all in the same month, forcing a Wall Street style bail out for the over educated. To capture and ferment all these ideas and plans around us I propose a open hearing of sorts, ala Art Workers' Coalition meeting of April 1969 at SVA which resulted in a small publication. This to air these ideas, questions, and concerns, many of which are too big to fail.

With so much going on in Portland, a deadline and head cold looming, and feeling like the NEW NEW has been covered as best as my Internet aided memory can provide, to follow will be a partial list of things I found over and above compelling in 2010 in no particular order:

"Human Being" curated by Kristan Kennedy for TBA:10 at Washington High School
Dark: A Show to Winter' Group Show. Curated by The Blood Rainbow Family, at Fourteen30 Contemporary
Josh Smith "Working With Doubt" Manuel Izquierdo Gallery at PNCA
Gestures of Resistance, curated by Judith Leemann and Shannon Stratton at The Museum of Contemporary Craft
SCARECROW at Cooley Gallery
Ricardo Dominguez talk at Lewis and Clark College (maybe the best artist talk I have ever seen)
Mary Weatherford's talk at PNCA
yesterday. Yellow, Avantika Bawa at Milepost 5
Future Death Toll at at Tractor Gallery
Bailey Winters's Ambush: The Story of the TDA at NAAU
Tropical Depression at New American Art Union
Leon Golub at the Portland Art Museum
Emily Ginsburg at Art Gym
Mari Carmen Ramírez lecture "Color Embodied in Space," at PAM
Vantage at Archer Gallery
Arnold J. Kemp at PDX Contemporary Art
Alembic #9: Organizam: A Mutant Cabaret of Non Acts
Francis Celentano at Hallie Ford Museum
Mike Bray, It was never about the audience Fourteen30 Contemporary
Of Walking in Ice, White Box Gallery
Victor Maldonado LESS at Froelick Gallery
Drawing the Slight Uneasy at Worksound
Car Hole Gallery (RIP)
Summer Skype at Fourteen30 (another instance of something I missed, yet happy to know it occurred.)
Signs of Change: Social Movement Cultures 1960s to Now at PNCA. Curated by Dara Greenwald and Josh MacPhee
Paired Spectacular at Performance Works NW
Ai Weiwei: Dropping the Urn at The Museum of Contemporary Craft
Jesse Hayward's at Linfield
Woolly Mammoth Comes to Dinner at TBA:10
Kelly Rauer’s Shaping Sequence at NAAU
As Easy as Falling Off a Log Vanessa Renwick at PDX Contemporary
Emily Johnson / Catalyst in TBA: 10
Maggie Casey & Zachary Davis at Tractor Gallery.
Anna Gray & Ryan Wilson Paulsen, "Modular Mondrian Block Set" at PDX Contemporary
Hercules Storm Tharp at PDX Contemporary Art
Shirin Neshat Women Without Men
Ditch Projects Are You Ready for the Country? at Rocks Box Fine Art
Sayre Gomez at Fourteen30 Contemporary
Alembic #6: Emily Stone's "Domestic Wild" Performance Works NorthWest

This list is far from complete, yet makes me very excited for 2011.

Elizabeth Lamb, White Box Gallery, Univerity of Oregon, Portland

2010 was the first year for the White Box at the University of Oregon Portland at the White Stag Block in Old Town Chinatown. It was a great year to dive in, get our feet wet and learn what we might contribute to the Portland arts discourse.

As a part of our academic mission, the White Box has a particular interest in curatorial proposals that are experimental in nature, participate in a global contemporary conversation, and relate to the Portland art community and greater public. To build an exhibition program that reflects this mission, the White Box works with an advisory committee, composed of leaders in academic and cultural communities, to select exhibitions for the season. With the help of the committee’s proposal selection, the White Box focuses on developing new ways of understanding a range of exhibition subjects.

With this model, we built up a 10-exhibition program, had the privilege of working with talented artists and curators, developed supportive partnerships within the Portland community, and established strong audience participation. We have a lot to be thankful for from 2010. Thank you, Portland.

Through our year as the new kid on the block, the White Box took part in a few Portland art-world trends.

Digging through Oregon’s past to support a contemporary and compelling Oregon present: The White Box made its mark this way with the opening exhibition, “Inspiration China”, a collaboration between the University of Oregon’s digital arts program, the University of Oregon’s Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art (JSMA), and John Jay of Wieden + Kennedy. “Inspiration China” borrowed objects selected by John Jay from JSMA’s ancient Chinese collection and paired UO digital arts students with the artifacts to respond to the objects through a contemporary digital lens.

Interest in project-based space: This trend is very much at the core of the White Box as we have programmed this last year with a focus on the research and development of new ideas within curatorial and artistic practices. By focusing on project-based space, the White Box facilitates contemporary curatorial endeavors through local, national and international collaboration and partnerships. Exhibitions such as curator Joshua Kim’s “ONTOLOGUE”, a dialogue, installation and public panel discussion between four emerging international artists on the study of being, was a high point for realizing the White Box’s ability to further site specific, experimental contemporary art experiences in Portland.

Looking forward to 2011, we are eager to further develop a program focused on the White Box’s state-of-the-art multimedia projection room, the Gray Box. This program will support explorations in sound and video art. April will mark the first installment of 2011s Gray Box program with "Bloated City | Skinny Language," an interactive video installation, by HUNG Keung, imhk lab, Hong Kong, brought to the White Box by Oregon digital artist Colin Ives. With this and other exhibitions, the White Box looks forward to a second year of building audiences through engaging programming and furthering the dialogue between the academic and regional art audiences.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on January 30, 2011 at 21:54 | Comments (7)


wow Great review!
Congratulations to all of you.
we need to get the nation wide audience and critics that this is going on here.

Posted by: Modou [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 31, 2011 04:11 PM

Love ya, Jeff, but did you really just interview yourself in third person? :)

Posted by: Brian Libby [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 1, 2011 09:50 AM

Don't you think you loose credibility interviewing and writing about yourself? Is your ego in check?

Posted by: Art Girl PDX [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 1, 2011 10:19 AM

Ha... no and no. It's hardly a true interview format in PORT's book, more of clearinghouse... also it's the same format as the other two previous versions and they are popular.

Technically, an interview would be much more probing, these aren't probing questions. These are somewhat stock survey questions that everyone could answer or choose to ignore. I decided to be a lil more pointed in my answers (also waiting for everyone gave me time to write longer answers). If you think organizing artists is tough try organizing curators!

Basically this is an opportunity to give give curators a forum to talk about things... its a blank check (one which I technically always have and use). Many of the other curators wrote more about the shows they curated. I curated 4 last year and spoke of one, briefly.

As to your true interview question about my ego. Look I have one, Ive done this for over a decade in Portland... having one is not a crime and mine is in the service of a bigger picture. It's that simple. My credibility comes from having insight and doing good shows.

Self confidence is a hard won privilege and it really helps to know yourself if you embark on judging and realizing the dreams of others. Im lucky to have a role where I can speak part of my mind, but it's no accident.

Back to the real topic curators; each has a pretty clear worldview. Some are deflectors, others care a lot about what their friends think and some are provocateurs... all are politicians of a sort. Seeing them all grouped here gives a contrasting sense of how they see their role and the ecosystem overall. It is valuable information.

Posted by: Double J [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 1, 2011 11:29 AM

JJ: I don't think anyone here is questioning that your roundup serves as a record of sorts.For that I thank you. But you've definitely undermined your integrity (and PORT's) by including yourself.

It's pretty revealing that the only comments on a post full of all this "valuable information" pertain to your ego, rather than the topic. Or is your ego the topic?

I don't care how big your ego is. However I do understand maybe an ego of any sort is required to do what you or any other curator does.

The way you presented the questions- by e-mail - seems democratic enough, but yet completely lame that you then present the questions to yourself (as the administrator and technically the interviewer) and expand MUCH further than the other curators. Seems like a transparent way to outwit your peers and attach yourself transparently to a crowd you may or may not be recognized by otherwise.

I understand you are very accomplished (far more than I certainly). PORT is also recognized as an art blog of record in Portland. But you severely undermind your credibility and PORT's by shamelessly planting yourself in it.

Posted by: Stephan P. Ferreira [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 2, 2011 11:04 AM

Jeff, you are hilarious. And very nice roundup. It's always wonderful seeing curators get the attention they rightfully deserve.

Posted by: Calvin Ross Carl [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 2, 2011 12:20 PM

Thanks CRC, this sort of stuff comes with the territory (not being just one thing, breaking down boundaries and playing things a little less safe), perhaps some miss the humor and assume I'm wearing iron gauntlets as I type these things?

So S your logical argument is that by writing on PORT (which I do all of the time) I've undermined it's credibility... that logic is difficult to follow. Esp. since it's the same format as the previous two (and they damaged PORT and my credibility so much!). It's small minded bickering and a bad habit of the internet. It's also too laden in conspiracies. It's just a round up clearinghouse, if it's wrong to point out the work of others... then indeed Im horrible. Just dont fixate so much on me, the other curators are horrible too.

Also S, are you actually asserting that I'm not known as a curator and that I'm somehow trying to insinuate myself is equally dubious. The real reason for including myself is to have a variety of voices and I have a voice as a curator that is different than as a critic (though obviously related, that's the variety). I rarely talk curatorial shop on PORT... which is exactly what this is (how shameful to present a variety of important voices, yes mine too... openness folks). All of us on this list talk shop and this is merely an opportunity to present it publicly. The important part of this is giving curators a chance to speak about their peers and their programs.

Lastly, I'm interested in a variety of voices but PORT's comments are not a venue for attacking the fact that it's writers write on it. If you have something constructive to say... say it but if you want to argue that I'm not a curator or have the right to present a subjective viewpoint in a subjective round up you probably need professional help.

PORT is a subjective publication and always have been... no newspaper would give 10 curators a blank check to speak their minds... we do and it is a strength. We do have rules but they are different from the idea that the writer is separated from the subject. Here the participants are engines of subjectivity and valuable as such, the form was established years ago and it's done this way partly because of how much work there is in putting it together. Actually, Stephanie and I were discussing a round table discussion on curation itself as a follow up to this. I would probably take part in that too (it's an old format).

I think collectively the piece gives a wide sampling of the very different ways these curators look at the world and the post has been extremely popular, which achieves its real aim... a reflexive multi-dimensional discussion about the recent past and near future of Portland art. A discussion of old style journalism vs a new style subjective journal like PORT has already been hashed out here years ago. Different animals.

Posted by: Double J [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 2, 2011 12:55 PM

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