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

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Rose Art Museum collection survives assault
Murderer and the Victim: An Interview with Silvia Levenson
Last Thursday June 2011
calling northwest filmmakers
Friday news and links
(C.)O.P.S.
Craft Conversation: Elizabeth Whalen
Rebel Life: Wes Lang's "A Head Full of Dead"
Ai Weiwei is free!
get your art distributed
making nothing
Why are new grads so lame?

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Thursday 06.30.11

Rose Art Museum collection survives assault

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a sample of the Rose Art Museum's collection

Some really great news, The Boston Globe reports that the Rose Art Museum's collection will not be liquidated to augment Brandeis University's budgetary situation. The Rose Art Museum is one of the better university museums in the country and has a fabulous collection of postwar art.

We have been following this story for a very long time as Brandies' now former president sent a chill through all university museums... suddenly museums were seen as a source of revenue rather than a collection held in trust for the students and community.

I love University art museums since they are a little more nimble than larger generalist art museums. Now if only alums like Peter Norton and Steve Jobs will push for a University museum at Reed College? Reed does have an interesting collection but it will take some major alumni muscle to make it happen. Also, the Museum of Contemporary Craft has certainly stepped up after merging with PNCA, though University museums are nearly always challenged financially unless they have a decent endowment... that wasn't the issue with the Rose Art Museum.

Instead, Brandeis University (of which it is part) sought to remedy its own larger financial difficulties by selling off the collection, which went against the wishes of many Rose Art Museum/Brandeis donors. It was essentially a financial/cultural civil war within Brandeis University.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 30, 2011 at 17:04 | Comments (0)

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Wednesday 06.29.11

Murderer and the Victim: An Interview with Silvia Levenson

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Silvia Levenson's Something Wrong? (2005)

Silvia Levenson is an international artist who was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1957 , lives and works between Buenos Aires and Italy. Her work is part of Fine Art Museum, Houston; USA, New Mexico Museum of Art, Santa Fe; Corning Museum , Corning USA; Bullseye Glass Company, Portland, OR; Alexander Tutsek-Stiftung , Munich, Germany and many others. She was in town this last weekend for Bullseye's BECon 2011 and Crossover so I had the opportunity sit down and talk with her.

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Alex Rauch and Silvia Levenson (Photo Steve C. Immerman)

AR: Your interplay between title and the work seem salient. How important is word play for your pieces? Do the titles imbue more meaning?

SL: Yes-for me titles are an important part of the work. I work in the space between reality and imagination. The title's help me extend... (more)

Posted by Alex Rauch on June 29, 2011 at 13:20 | Comments (0)

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Last Thursday June 2011

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Daniel J. Glendening & Michael Welsh

Appendix presents Neverland, a collaboration between Daniel J. Glendening and Michael Welsh in which they "collapse their individual practices into a single dreamlike environment, a survivalist clubhouse seemingly torqued out of time. Over the course of their month-long residency, the artists inhabited a cycle of production and re-uptake, pushing aesthetics of social breakdown and youthful wonder toward a singular gravitic point."

Hay Batch, connected to Appendix, presents Weird Fiction's Artificial Empathy Machine.

Opening receptions • 7pm • June 30
Appendix • south alley b/w 26th & 27th off NE Alberta


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Michael Endo

False Front presents Michael Endo's Pain Scale, the result of Endo executing a single monumental-scale painting on site just days prior to the opening. "Centered on producing a singular, stately painting, Endo will work from six smaller reference works, each based on a self-constructed color code system inspired from the present-day methodical diagrams of sensory and emotional measurement. "

Opening reception • 7-10pm • June 30
False Front • 4518 NE 32nd • 503.781.4609

Posted by Megan Driscoll on June 29, 2011 at 10:57 | Comments (0)

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Monday 06.27.11

calling northwest filmmakers

The NW Film Center is seeking submissions of recent work for the 38th Northwest Filmmakers' Festival (formerly the Northwest Film & Video Festival). Permanent residents of Alaska, British Columbia, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington may submit two works of any length or genre released since August 1, 2009 and not previously entered in the Festival. Student entries (college and university only) must be from a school located in the Northwest. Submissions are due August 1. You can get details and submissions info on the festival website.

Posted by Megan Driscoll on June 27, 2011 at 10:23 | Comments (0)

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Friday 06.24.11

Friday news and links

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Eric Stotik's Untitled LR181 (arms, legs emerging from red smoke) 2010

The winner of RACC's top Fellowship in Visual Arts for 2011 is Eric Stotik, which conveys 20k and only comes around every 4 years. Congratulations Eric! I particularity like it when artists doing their very best work win awards (like Bruce Conkle for the Hallie Ford and now Eric). When artists who are past their prime win such awards it brings down the entire arts ecosystem... not so in this case. Just do good things and that justifies itself. Awards are a bonus and sometimes a curse.

On Sunday, The Henry will host a public forum on The Brink Awards in Seattle at 1:00. I'm tempted to go partly because the CNAA's at PAM were so dissatisfying. The Brink is a different award, focusing on young artists from Oregon, Washington and British Columbia within 5 years of their terminal degree. Nominees were Grant Barnhart, Debra Baxter, Dawn Cerny, Tannaz Farsi, Allison Hrabluik, Anna Gray & Ryan Wilson Paulsen and the winner Andrew Dadson. Seattler's have a somewhat undeserved, yet tremendous inferiority complex and the fact the Brink Award has gone to B.C.-ers the two times the awards has been held has em a little worked up. In Portland we don't care, we have a world class art scene with numerous rising stars and a system that pretty much focuses on export rather than the often smallish local politics one finds in any city. It is a fact you can count on, artists are always taken for granted in any city they live in (hell I've NEVER even received a grant I've personally applied for in Oregon despite being paid to sit on national and local grant panels... there is a moral about being a hammer rather than a nail in there). In fact, Awards matter little unless the institution is a kind of international bellwether but the process is revealing about the structure and assumptions of a place and perhaps this discussion will shed some light on the way the sausage gets made. Here are some other questions, will the Tacoma Art Museum's NW biennial happen again? If so will it be another overfull grab for big sister Seattle's attention (bad idea but predictable). Why was PAM's show sooooo retarde? In Portland the artists are more sophisticated than any of its institutions so we simply ignore our institutions when they don't make the bar set on the street and in the studios. In the Seattle's case... not so much, especially the case of the Henry (my favorite NW Art institution). Suck it up Seattle you are fine, right now Portland and Vancouver BC are a bit better (art production wise) with a lot better attitude. On the bright side at least you don't have me living there and bringing you down?

Jen Graves of The Stranger had a similar reaction to the CNAA's as I did... Neither of us are giving it a formal review... it's the kind of snub seasoned critics with a long history can get away with. There are other types of critics (career flatters?) who fear reprisals from a snub and not being invited but I hate the polite death such things consign our visual artists to. Institutions get stronger through avid engaged critique.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 24, 2011 at 17:33 | Comments (0)

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(C.)O.P.S.

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Oregon Painting Society

OPS presents Angelo's Game, an installation and performance at Ditch Projects. The full performance is this weekend.

Installation/Performance • 8pm • June 25
Ditch Projects • 303 S 5th Ave #165, Springfield, OR


Registration opens this weekend for the conceptual.oregon.performance.school (C.O.P.S.) at Rocksbox, "a free, artist-run, experimental summer school, with a focus on contemporary performance strategies." Hotdogs & beer are available for purchase in lieu of tuition and classes run Saturdays from 6-10pm through July & August.

Registration • 8-11pm • June 25
Rocksbox • 6540 N Interstate • 503.516.4777

Posted by Megan Driscoll on June 24, 2011 at 13:17 | Comments (0)

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Thursday 06.23.11

Craft Conversation: Elizabeth Whalen

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Elizabeth Whalen

This weekend Elizabeth Whalen is discussing her residency project at MoCC in conjunction with Laurie Herrick: Weaving Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow.

Craft lecture • 2-3pm • June 25
Museum of Contemporary Craft • 724 NW Davis • 503.223.2654

Posted by Megan Driscoll on June 23, 2011 at 15:22 | Comments (0)

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Wednesday 06.22.11

Rebel Life: Wes Lang's "A Head Full of Dead"

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"Wes Lang's Greatest Hits" (Detail), Wes Lang, 2010

Brooklyn based artist Wes Lang's "A Head Full of Dead" at the downtown Stumptown cafe is an exhibition of the (High)times. . .(more)

Posted by Amy Bernstein on June 22, 2011 at 21:57 | Comments (0)

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Ai Weiwei is free!

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Apparently Ai Weiwei is now free on bail. The LA Times also has a report and an up to date photo. The offical story is he confessed to tax evasion but that seems dubious.

Being a fan of Mr. Ai who had an exhibition in Portland last year at MOCC, PORT has followed the story from the beginning. Honestly, all we could do is hope to keep up any pressure we could and I'm glad Ai Weiwei has been freed and perhaps this is a good thing for China (sadly, it doesn't effect the art world much other than provide a moral rallying post and hasn't freed other captives).

Ultimately, the Chinese Government overreacted to the toppling of dictatorial governments in the Middle East... (more)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 22, 2011 at 13:00 | Comments (0)

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Tuesday 06.21.11

get your art distributed

The Present Group is a triannual art subscription service that sends out limited edition works from contemporary artists. They're seeking artwork submissions - selected artists receive a $500 honorarium, project costs covered, and other benefits. They accept rolling submissions, the deadline for the next review is July 8. Get more info on their website.


Papergirl Portland, "an all-inclusive participatory, analogue, non-curated, and impulsive art distribution project for artists and enthusiasts," is open for submissions until August 19, the launch date for Papergirl 2011. Learn more about the project and how to be included on their website.

Posted by Megan Driscoll on June 21, 2011 at 16:54 | Comments (0)

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Monday 06.20.11

making nothing

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PORTstar Alex Rauch & Victor Maldonado present "MAKING NOTHING: Kinda Nothing - A Phenomenological and Philosophical Exploration of Various Contexts." This collaborative lecture & project explores "the different contexts society applies 'nothing' to and the various meanings the concept then derives."

Presentation • 6:30pm • June 22
Praxis @ Place PDX • Pioneer Place Mall • 3rd floor

Posted by Megan Driscoll on June 20, 2011 at 21:28 | Comments (0)

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Why are new grads so lame?

It's an annual occurrence... the lament against the derivative nature of recent grads and this year Jerry Saltz does the honors. He often does it best too... though Robert Hughes' original ending for The Shock of the New lamenting how art has become a "vocation" not an "avocation" is the all time best (he later wussed out and took the teeth out his argument by writing an amended ending for the second and subsequent editions).

Overall, I agree with Jerry's assertions, but I want to get at the real issue, why is the thinking behind new art so derivative? Yes it is the academy (which promotes a clubby group think) and the system (which is subject to trends more than intellectual curiosity)... and it's partly why Portland keeps churning out interesting international level artists like Storm Tharp, Jessica Jackson Hutchins, Matt McCormick, MK Guth etc. They all pretty much were allowed to develop on their own according to their own idiosyncrasies for a decade plus. Portland lets you do that (other places do too but Portland has that magical combo of being off the beaten path and being a hot place where international curators will find you). San Fran artists like Harrell Fletcher and Chris Johanson came to Portland to do their own thing and the place still attracts and develops artists. Id say there are 30-50 artists (young and not so young) who make work worthy of serious international attention and maybe 200-400 with potential to join their ranks (17,000+ artists active in the city). So if you are looking for a lost world of excellent artists you didn't quite know existed, check out Portland's busy studios. BTW, many of the best ones do not have gallery representation since they are installation and video artists and yes many show outside the city. For an information gathering resource, PORT's reviews and interviews are the best collection of who to watch.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 20, 2011 at 15:26 | Comments (0)

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Saturday 06.18.11

John Grade wins Schnitzer Prize

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John Grade's work at The Portland Art Museum's 2011 CNAAs

Congratulations to Seattle based John Grade. I was happy that he received the nod for the Arlene Schnitzer Prize, which comes with $10,000 and even greater exposure within the CNAA's purview. Though, as I mentioned earlier this week I found this second iteration of the Contemporary Northwest Art Awards an even bigger (and ghettoizing) restatement of Northwest stereotypes (whittling, smudges, gray haze, fussy handmade craft, politeness and some nature)than the first one. Quite simply we are more than that... the silicon forest and a region which leads in so many international fields like design, green technology, communications and aircraft etc. Still Grade's work is handsome, engaged and excellent (especially his very large indoor installation pieces).

...(more)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 18, 2011 at 22:03 | Comments (0)

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Thursday 06.16.11

this weekend at the Settlement

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Will Justice

The Settlement (a collection of galleries in Pioneer Place Mall) is having a bunch of openings this weekend.

At Place: 6.11, a group exhibition including Will Justice, James Mulvaney, Rebecca Steele, and Ním Wunnan.
Also at Place: Five, a group exhibition including Felicity Fenton, William Rihel III, Ryan Burns and Roger Peet, and Stephen Kurowski and Marina Tait.

At Store: Remember That Night, a group exhibition including Joey Ben-Chetrit, David Eastwood, Ross Farrier, Alexander Florence, Mitch Posada, Nathan St. Onge, Zachary Sea, Austin Turley, and Craig Willams.

At Peoples: Do It Yourself: Self-Printed Art, including 30 artists, featuring Bite Studio, Reading Frenzy, Independent Publication Resource Center, DIY Press/Radio, Just Seeds, etc.


Opening receptions • 6-9pm • June 18
Settlement • Pioneer Place Mall • 3rd floor

Posted by Megan Driscoll on June 16, 2011 at 11:58 | Comments (0)

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Some Links

Brad Cloepfil's firm Allied Works is a finalist for yet another Museum, this time in Lausanne Switzerland. His design is a bold sculptural effort with more than a little bit of Louis Kahn in it. It is a more porous design that builds on his Clyfford Still Museum, which is starting to take shape. Cloepfil, whom I've described as having a heavy and an airy side seems to be reaching a point where his designs are capable of juggling both. Locally he is doing the renovation of PNCA's 511 building.

Anyone remember the Vorticists? I bet some PORT reader's know who they are and they have a retrospective up in Britain... bully!

Jerry Saltz's Venice adventure.

YU responds to DK Row's article, which we discussed on June 3rd. Honestly, the best response will be forming a decent board to vet this ongoing process and get some buy in for all of this planning they have planned and planned for years now. The founders need to have accountable input in forming/alter-ing that plan to create buy in for their project. In the letter George Thorn described YU as, "unlike any organization I have worked with and is the most complex organization I have ever worked on." That complexity isn't necessarily a good thing and a little more focus will help them sell their plan to others. Also, the founders still seem to be phobic of basic things like curatorial staff (wanting a multimillion dollar artist-committee run space), but a curator is necessary for programming a demanding 8,000 sq ft main gallery coherently. An example why a curator is necessary... they still have the Carl Andre's inappropriately installed as if they have no idea what Carl Andre is about (hint anything but an artifact). For example it's made of humble materials to avoid the preciousness a glass case imparts and placing it next to archival ephemera simply disrespects the work. We wish them well (unlike the O which continually heckles the art scene) but at some point the founders need to share the planning responsibility with knowledgeable board members who ultimately will make this happen. Right now it's just spending seed money which is ok for now but in say 6-7 months will just seem like the staff is on some extended vacation provided by one donor who doesn't appear to exercise any oversight. YU needs to avoid that at all costs but Row's article was too busy being sensational to make that point.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 16, 2011 at 11:12 | Comments (0)

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Tuesday 06.14.11

Weekend spectaculars?

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Rocksbox at night

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is it art?

...(more)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 14, 2011 at 9:30 | Comments (0)

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Monday 06.13.11

public university art, miami beach

There are two public art opportunities currently available through the OAC. First, the Lewis Integrative Science Building at UO is looking for "artwork that is luminous, impactful and intellectually motivated," and second, PSU's Lincoln Hall is looking for "ceiling or wall suspended work that engages the natural (and also flood-lit from above at night) lighting conditions, and as well work that interacts with the many different viewing positions at four levels." Both are due July 12 and you can get info on both projects on the OAC website.


Verge Art Miami Beach has put out an open call for artist submissions to their (blind) juried exhibitions (there are a few). All work should be not-yet-shown; entries are judged in the order they're received. Details about the fair are here and the open call is here.

Posted by Megan Driscoll on June 13, 2011 at 18:20 | Comments (0)

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Friday 06.10.11

Venice links

So it's been Venice Biennial time again, here are some links if you want to keep tabs (It's ok I'm just not stunned):

Here is a photoblog with a lot of good images.

Jerry Saltz's best and worsts photo essay.

Artnet's guide and images.

Perhaps it's the fact that Ai Weiei is still in prison? Here are his zodiac heads, currently installed in New York... I'd rather have seen them in Venice.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 10, 2011 at 17:08 | Comments (1)

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Thursday 06.09.11

Second Weekend Picks June 2011

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Gallery Homeland is hosting the Research Club's Body of Knowledge Part I: Vision, featuring work by Laura Hughes, Michael Iauch, Vanessa Kauffman, and Bradley Streeper. "Vision seeks to exhibit and examine the evidence of the continual process of searching, synthesizing, and learning. Each artist employs a practice that has evolved from a variety of unique, often personal research paths; whether their inquiry has been into material, performance, installation, or personal interviews."

Opening reception • 6-9pm • June 10
Gallery Homeland • 2505 SE 11th #136 • info@galleryHOMELAND.org


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Paintallica

Rocksbox presents Sensitivity Training by Paintallica: "Paintallica is a collaborative group of artists who make work that is intentionally confrontational and impulsive. Our installations emerge from a short series of rapid-fire all-night work sessions that incorporate drawing, painting, sculpture, and performance. The raw and uncensored nature of Paintallica is integral to the mission of addressing sensitive, immediate, and often taboo issues." Opening night will feature a performance of chainsaw carving.

Opening reception • 8-11pm • June 11
Rocksbox • 6540 N Interstate • 503.516.4777

Posted by Megan Driscoll on June 09, 2011 at 11:36 | Comments (0)

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Wednesday 06.08.11

artists wanted: photography, digital media, public art

Newspace is seeking submissions for their 7th annual juried exhibition, juried by Raymond Meeks. All photographic themes and processes are welcome, but the work should be from the past five years. The deadline is June 18, and details are on the Newspace website.


The Oregon Arts Commission and the Regional Arts & Culture Council are developing a joint Oregon Public Arts Roster. Submissions are due July 1, and you can learn more the project and how to submit with this PDF.


Reed College is looking for a digital/photo media assistant for the art department. Applications are due June 17, and you can view the job posting here.

Posted by Megan Driscoll on June 08, 2011 at 16:47 | Comments (0)

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Wrong way to address the Ai Weiwei situation

Tyler Green isn't someone who is easy to shock, but the Director of the Milwaukee Art Museum has done just that, with impressively arrogant statements about the effectiveness of protesting Ai Weiei's now 2 month imprisonment. It is one of the biggest PR blunders ever for a museum director and no it wont go away.

An artist shaves his head as the director of the Milwaukee Art Museum redefines ineffectual with his statements about Ai Weiwei protests.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 08, 2011 at 15:13 | Comments (2)

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Tuesday 06.07.11

Ross Palmer Beecher at Willamette University museum

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Ross Palmer Beecher, "Radio Flyer Flag," 2006

Willamette University's Hallie Ford Museum of Art presents Americana, a mid-career retrospective of Seattle-based artist Ross Palmer Beecher, who has "developed a highly personal iconography based on American history, folk tales, colonial American art and aspects of contemporary American pop culture."

Exhibition • June 4 - July 31, 2011
Hallie Ford Museum @ Willamette University • 700 State St., Salem, Oregon

Posted by Megan Driscoll on June 07, 2011 at 17:20 | Comments (0)

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Architecture on the radio

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Mt Angel Abbey Library by Alvar Aalto (photo Jeff Jahn)

I'll be discussing architecture with Tom Cramer today on KBOO's Art Focus program at 11:30 am PST (a link to the archived audio will appear on that link after the show).

Portland has undergone a bit of a resurgence in architecture after decades of atrophy as my recent articles on the; Bud Clark Commons, OCAC's new buildings, Ziba HQ, Willamette Transit Bridge, Brad Cloepfil and the Aerial Tram can all attest.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 07, 2011 at 1:27 | Comments (0)

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Monday 06.06.11

2011 Hallie Ford Fellows announced

The Ford Family Foundation today named its 2011 Hallie Ford Fellows in the Visual Arts. Fellows selected were Sang-Ah Choi (seen at Chambers and the Art Gym recently), Bruce Conkle (very happy about this one because I reminded him to apply) and Stephen Hayes (a longtime painter who recently and rightly made a high profile fuss about not getting any funding locally). The purpose of the award is to recognize mid-career Oregon visual artists who have demonstrated excellence in their work, significant potential for future accomplishments, and for whom an award now would help them take their work to an entirely new level. Both Conkle and Hayes teach and this year the award has a very northwest feel, with Conkle's eco-conceptual focus and the more traditional craft angle of the other two.

From their press release: "The purpose of the award is to recognize mid-career Oregon visual artists who have demonstrated excellence in their work, significant potential for future accomplishments, and for whom an award now would help them take their work to an entirely new level."

"As with last year's inaugural Fellows, these $25,000 unrestricted fellowships are meant to give this... (more)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 06, 2011 at 13:02 | Comments (0)

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Friday 06.03.11

Friday Links

The Oregonian for once is asking basic questions about the YU project. Welcome to the world of competent analysis. PORT asked these questions 8 months ago when we were the first to write about YU Contemporary Art Center), better late than never and it's always ironic as hell when DK uses quotes from others to editorialize (that's not a slam, it is genuinely entertaining passive aggressive writing that often reveals a lot about the quotee's). Still, his analysis is a little wrong headed. To be more precise, "secrecy" isn't an issue, it's accountability. Instead of spending so much time on innuendo DK only grazed part of the biggest problem, the lack of a board of directors who are not staff. Board members are the best indication of a project's potential and as I mentioned again last month, I do not understand how or why YU thought it was OK to go public without at least a proto board (say 3+ respected members of the community with contacts and deep pockets), some lead gifts and a detailed plan that satisfies those board members. It's art institution 101 and it's partly why the Portland Art Center failed (well that and not realizing they were out of the league/institutional expertise or able to take good advice). Last month I also noted a completely inappropriate installation of Carl Andre pieces at YU's inaugural exhibition as well *Update: on KBOO this week Curtis Knapp stated the Andre's are archival but he's wrong, other similar pieces from the PCVA show are in MOCA and the Guggenheim's permanent collections. At least YU has some seed money and a general art world sophistication several tiers above Disjecta and the Portland Art Center (who always talked a better game than they could ever deliver, that's not a slam just a reality check. They were never true contenders for anything other than large alt-spaces of local shows with eager artists that cut them slack). Analysis: YU has now reached a point where they need to shape up, and it is not like they weren't given this same friendly advice a long time ago. Let's hope they can turn it around.

For the WSJ, Terry Teachout blasts museums like The Milwaukee Art Museum (my old hometown haunt) for being complicit with the Chinese Government who continues to hold Ai Weiwei, NOW their most famous contemporary artist. Last month I vowed to mention Mr. Ai in any article regarding China until he is freed.

Jerry Saltz takes a swing at some embarrassingly weak American art at the Venice Biennial.

There were 2 major new "white box" Museum designs for SFMOMA and The Whitney last week. Of the two the SFMOMA is better, the Whitney's design isn't even as good as Renzo Piano's recent addition in Chicago. Why? Because it just luxuriates in its "whiteness of the whale" rather than engaging or at least a few idiomatic floorplans and ideas that integrate surprising sight-lines within the city around it. IE it is too generic. Overall, I'm tired of this white box thing, in fact it is why I like the current Breuer designed Whitney with it brutalist slate floors and dark gridded ceilings is so endearing to me.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 03, 2011 at 14:49 | Comments (3)

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Thursday 06.02.11

Bud Clark Commons: design to save lives

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Resource Access Center (Bud Clark Commons)

If you've recently spent any time at all in Portland's tony Pearl District you've no doubt seen the dramatic rise the new Resource Access Center or Bud Clark Commons just across from the Post Office and PNCA's soon to be 511 building. Much has been written about its sociological underpinnings (like Housing First, which has been proven to lessen the burden on social services) so I'll focus mostly on design here.

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The Commons with lockers right around the corner from showers etc. in the Day Use area.

The RAC designed by Holst Architects is perhaps the boldest exterior architectural statement for a building in the city core since Graves' disastrous Portland Building put the city's downtown into a passive aggressive design coma for over nearly two decades...(more)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 02, 2011 at 16:35 | Comments (1)

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First Friday Picks June 2011

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Matty Byloos

Worksound presents Drawing Shades, a group drawing exhibition featuring work by Matty Byloos, Jane Schiffhauer, Nim Wunnan, and Rebecca Ruth Peel in the project room.

Opening reception • 7-10pm • June 3
Worksound • 820 SE Alder • mojomodou@gmail.com

(More: The Phantom Street Artist at Denizen @ MP5, 2 group shows at the newly relocated Half/Dozen, uneasy young photographers at Nationale, and Kendra Larson at Launch Pad.)

Posted by Megan Driscoll on June 02, 2011 at 8:41 | Comments (0)

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Wednesday 06.01.11

PORT's 6th Anniversary

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Today is PORT's 6th anniversary and I like to use these annual occasions to draw attention to all of the excellent writers who have helped make this ground breaking publication what it is. PORT is much less a business (barely a business) and more of a community service as a venue for cogent, decisive information and critical discussion. With 1,000,000+ unique readers in 2010 alone the site is infinitely more popular than we ever imagined it would be when Jennifer Armbrust, Katherine Bovee and I started it back in 2005. With notice from Art in America, The Walker, Andy Warhol Foundation and The Whitney... PORT is arguably the most influential art publication in the history of the Pacific Northwest. Just yesterday Amy and I were chatting about how strongly we feel about this (though we seldom dwell on it, anniversaries give us pause to do such) ...but with the demise of full-time art and design criticism in newspapers it is obvious. Also, PORT does things that traditional journalism has always struggled with, namely levy relevant criticism, rather than mere glad-handing praise or disinterested heckling. For example, in 2010 PORT published the major and timely review of OCAC's fantastic new arts buildings and delved into what it might mean for the school. It was a milestone in that school's historic development and Portland's design ecology but the newspaper was MIA. Fact is, when you don't have staff critics and just rely on freelancers you miss major developments. At PORT we can't miss such things because they are central to our lives as citizens of the area's arts ecosystem.

Our often in depth interviews have no equal in the region:

Catherine Opie interviewed by Megan Driscoll

Charles Atlas interviewed by Gary Wiseman

Alison Saar interviewed by Gabe Flores

Deborah Kass and Jessica Jackson Hutchins interviewed By Amy Bernstein

Robert Storr and Ai Weiwei interviewed By Alex Rauch

Mark Grotjahn interviewed by Arcy Douglass

Our reviews probe more of the Portland art scene with depth, going beyond exposition and influences to do truly critical reviews like:

My reviews of Collect Four, Hung Keung and Dan May (I felt he had never received an adequate review). Then there was a trio of architectural art shows that exemplify a major school of artists in Portland

Matt McCormick's Great Northwest by Megan Driscoll

Patrick Collier's thoughts on No Painting Left Behind, Vanessa Renwick and Open Engagement

We even do more complicated/experimental reviews where the curator is involved in the show as an artist sch as Amy's You'll Never Walk Alone or my review of Reader on a Black Background... not everything needs to be unpacked, simple or even fully digested to have value and that is where a publication that caters to a visual arts savvy audience is important. Sometimes we like it when things are recursive, frayed and elliptical. PORT is about the art and our world, not about writers using art as an excuse to effuse... (more)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 01, 2011 at 12:11 | Comments (0)

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