Time for the results of PORT's annual readers poll (aka the popularity contest).
Storm Tharp (photo Marne Lucas
Which Portland artist had the biggest 2010?
Storm Tharp was the overwhelming winner with 55% of the vote on the strength
of his numerous local and national solo shows and appearance in the Whitney
Biennial. He edged out Jessica Jackson Hutchins who was perhaps the lone break
out star of the Whitney Biennial and David Eckard who won both the Bonnie Bronson
and Ford Fellowships.
Ai Weiwei's Dropping the Urn at the Museum of Contemporary Craft (photo Jeff Jahn)
Biggest Comeback of 2010
With 59% of the vote the Museum of Contemporary Craft wins this category easily.
Caught short with the recession and with a new building MOCC needed a merger
with PNCA. With it they came back with an even stronger season including Ai
Weiwei's Dropping The Urn and their current show Object Focus: The Book. Portland
doesn't like being a one collecting museum town and if we could somehow get
Peter Norton and Steve Jobs to spur Reed into building something for their
collection we could have three.
Patrick Rock (photo Marne Lucas
Portland Art scene MVP, an award for those who went above and beyond the call
With 42.5% of the vote Patrick Rock wins this year's poll. A big guy who is
as self-effacing as he is omnipresent Rock curates shows in 3 PSU galleries
plus his own home Rock's Box where he often does riskier shows. That is dedication.
In second place was the Portland Art Museum's Chief Curator Bruce Guenther who
curated an astonishing # of serious shows in 2010 starting with Cy Twombly then
Disquieted, Leon Golub, Sanford Biggers, Sol Lewitt, Mark Grotjahn, Lee Kelly
and Catherine Opie (covering for several open curatorial positions as well).
Did PAM's votes get split? Christina Olson's votes when added to Bruce's would
have given them 44% of the vote. Ohh the meaningless controversy. Everyone nominated
did a great job this year and it's certainly absurd to pick just one... I don't
think Bruce is going to get a Facebook account just to improve his showing next
Solo Show of the Year:
With 40.3% of the vote Storm Tharp's Hercules at PDX Contemporary wins. Funny
thing is it wasn't even his best show, his break out 2007 show was absolutely
perfect which is interesting because Hercules was all about perfection. Needless
to say Storm has what it takes to go the distance. 2nd place with 18.5 % of
the vote each was Bruce Conkle's Magic Chunks at Worksound and Ai Weiwei's Dropping
the Urn at MoCC. With 16.9% of the votes Eva Lake's Targets at Augen Gallery
took 3rd place.
Group show of the Year:
Ditch Projects at Rock's Box had a slight lead over A Dark Show to winter with
Disquieted at PAM and Tropical Depression at NAAU tied for third.
A work by Melis van den Berg in Ontologue at The White Box (photo Jeff Jahn)
Best New Art Space:
The White Box at the University of Oregon with shows like Weegee, Ontologue
and Donald Judd took top honors above the scrappy and now defunct Car Hole Gallery
and PLACE in third place.
Gallery that will be most missed in 2011:
Fontanelle just narrowly edged out Igloo for the nostalgia moment prize.
Most disappointing show of 2010:
A perfect tie between Disjecta's attempt at a biennial, "Portland 2010" and PICA's
TBA Visual Art's offerings. What they both share in common was a rambling layout,
not always optimal presentation shoehorned into spaces and vague curatorial
inclusiveness. More isn't always more. So are PORT's readers demanding tighter execution
or are they just pissed that so many Portland artists were included in these two shows but they
weren't. Either way these two were the antithesis of tight shows. Last year the
Portland artists in the TBA show were this highlight, this year not so much
and for "Portland 2010" a lot of the work was literally work from 2009, only
presented in a less optimal setting. Next time insist on new work.
Breakout artist of the Year:
Laura Hughes narrowly edged out Matt Green and in third place Eva Lake. Neither
Laura nor Matt is fully developed but they are doing everything right as new
graduates. Eva Lake seems to have impressed everyone last year. Watch all three
Cooley Gallery visitors watching Lynda Benglis' The Amazing Bow Wow at Scarecrow (photo Jeff Jahn)
Most consistently tight shows:
Reed College's Cooley Gallery with 50.4% . Makes sense this is one of the most
consistently rigorous spaces in Portland.
Favorite space for challenging shows in 2010:
A tie between PICA's TBA offerings and Rocks Box for top honors (see PICA has friends too). Second Place
Appendix and third NAAU. All four were separated by only a handful of votes.
MIA but overdue for a solo show in 2010:
With over 60% of the vote Patrick Rock wins hands down. His newfound standing
as Mr. Popular might be difficult to accept.
Most Over Shown Artist:
Oregon Painting Society edges out Calvin Ross Carl with 37.4% of the vote.
Sure they appeared in Vogue and the Tate's turbine hall but OPS seemed to be
showing somewhere in Portland every month of 2010.
Best reason to look forward to 2011:
With 54.9% of the vote the YU Contemporary Art Center beat out PNCA taking
possession of the 511 building by a large margin but it remains to be seen if
YU can make the kind of impact that PNCA has. Either way 2011 is looking up.