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Aerial Tram at 5 a Renaissance Revisited
Ligorano/Reese Lecture at PAM
Matt Connors Lecture and Exhibition at PSU
Edge of Vision at L & C
Bruce Nauman Basements at Reed
Interior Margins: A Question of Language
Artist | Architect John Holmes
Monday links
Weekend Goings On
Interior Margins Conversation II
Sandra Percival leaves YU
10th NW Biennial at Tacoma Art Museum Opens

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Tuesday 01.31.12

Aerial Tram at 5 a Renaissance Revisited

Aerial Tram on its first day of public operation (photo Jeff Jahn)

Brian Libby has an important look back at the Aerial Tram which is now 5 years old. Here is my original review of this watershed architectural moment for Portland.

How does it hold up today? It still feels contemporary and very very European (OMA, MVRDV-esque). Still, it remains a controversial benchmark... some architects call it a glorified parking garage. So what? Of course it is! (BTW, interesting parking garages are the rage now) The point is it remains an elegant solution to OHSU's campus expansion problems on Lair Hill keeping Portland's largest employer in the city core. It is also an extroverted piece of architecture... (more)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on January 31, 2012 at 13:44 | Comments (0)


Monday 01.30.12

Ligorano/Reese Lecture at PAM


Tomorrow, catch the latest of OCAC's interdisciplinary Connection lecture series with, Ligorano/Reese who will discuss, "50 Different Minds: Art and Design in the Age of Crowdsourcing," presented in conjunction with the Portland Art Museum. Last year I considered OCAC's Alfredo Jaar talk the best lecture of the year.

"The collaborative interdisciplinary art team of Ligorano/Reese selects unusual materials and industrial processes to test the impact of art on social and political systems. Utilizing limited edition multiples, videos, sculptures and installations, they move easily from electronic art and computer controlled interactive installations to dish towels, underwear and snow globes, conveying vital, even urgent, commentary with a touch of humor.

OCAC's lecture series, Connection : Intersecting Tradition and Innovation, is a program of guest makers and thinkers invited to Portland to explore and articulate the relationship of craft to other disciplines and fields."

Lecture: 50 Different Minds: Art and Design in the Age of Crowdsourcing
with Nora Ligorano and Marshall Reese

Tuesday, January 31 from 7:00-8:30pm
Portland Art Museum | Mark Building
Marion L. Miller Gallery | 1219 SW Park Avenue

Posted by Jeff Jahn on January 30, 2012 at 17:39 | Comments (0)


Matt Connors Lecture and Exhibition at PSU

Matt Connors' studio

PSU's MFA Studio Lecture Series starts up again for 2012 with Matt Connors, who also has a related exhibition Dark Rooms, which opens a day later (also at PSU). It should be of interest to all the reformed formalists (deformed-alists?) that Portland is chin deep in.

"Matt Connors is a New York based artist who uses painting and abstraction to pursue an open ended and informal dialogue between form, style, material and meaning; exploring questions, problems (and problem solving) and propositions rather than assertions or solutions. Drawing from the history of painting as well as from non-fine art fields of language, music and design, Connor's work and it's subsequent installation creates embodied and at times theatrical instances of materialized thought. Selected exhibitions: Gas... Telephone... One Hundred Thousand Rubles, Kunsthalle Dusseldorf, Dusseldorf, Germany (2011); Line Breaks, Veneklasen / Werner, Berlin, Germany (2011); You're gonna take a walk in the rain and you're gonna get wet, Luttgenmeijer, Berlin, Germany (2011); Concentrations 54: Matt Connors and Fergus Feehily, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX (2011); Matt Connors, Four Boxes Gallery at Krabbesholm, Skive, Denmark (2010); Dromedary Resting, Cherry and Martin, Los Angeles, CA (2010); You Don't Know, CANADA, New York, NY (2010)."

Matt Connors Lecture: Wednesday February 1st 7:00 pm
Portland State University: Shattuck Hall Room 212
1914 SW Park Ave

February 2 - February 27, 2012
Opening: February 2, 5 - 7 PM
2000 SW 5th Ave. Portland, OR 97201

Posted by Jeff Jahn on January 30, 2012 at 14:08 | Comments (0)


Friday 01.27.12

Edge of Vision at L & C

Bill Armstrong, Mandala #450, 2003

Cameras are more common now than in any time in history, which should = more experimentation right? So what happens when the subject is no longer bound to documentation? To help answer that question twenty international photographers have been gathered for, The Edge of Vision: Abstraction in Contemporary Photography at Lewis and Clark College's Hoffman Gallery. The exhibition is curated by Lyle Rexer and presented by the Aperture Foundation.

"The works explore diverse aspects of the photographic experience, including the chemistry of traditional photography, the direct capture of light without a camera, temporal extensions, digital sampling of found images, radical cropping, and various deliberate destabilizations of photographic reference. This abstract use of photography often combines other mediums such as painting, sculpture, drawing and video. All artists join a broad contemporary trend to look critically and freshly at a medium commonly considered transparent."

Edge of Vision features photographs by; Bill Armstrong, Carel Balth, Ellen Carey, Roland Fischer, Michael Flomen, Manuel Geerinck, Shirine Gill, Barbara Kasten, Seth Lambert, Charles Lindsay, Irene Mamiye, Chris McCaw, Edward Mapplethorpe, Roger Newton, Jack Sal, Penelope Umbrico, Randy West, Silvio Wolf, and Ilan Wolff.

The Hoffman Gallery January 19 - March 18 2012
Hours Tuesday through Sunday, 11 AM to 4 PM (Free)
Lewis & Clark, 0615 SW Palatine Hill Rd.
Parking on campus is free on weekends. (503-768-7687)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on January 27, 2012 at 13:54 | Comments (0)


Thursday 01.26.12

Bruce Nauman Basements at Reed

Bruce Nauman's Wall-Floor Positions, 1968, 60 min., B & W, sound, 16 mm film transferred to digital video displayed on monitor. (c) 2012 Bruce Nauman / Artists Rights Society (ARS)

In 1968, while living in Northern California, Bruce Nauman signed with the Leo Castelli Gallery, which helped fund an important series of performance/video works. The latest show at Reed College's Cooley Gallery, Basements, explores this crucial period in Nauman's groundbreaking career. To discuss this period on February 17th, Nauman scholar and NYU professor Robert Slifkin lectures on the artist's early film and video work.

Cooley Gallery • January 27 - March 9 (all events free) • 3203 SE Woodstock Blvd
Hours • Tuesday through Sunday 12 - 5 PM
Slifkin Lecture and Reception • February 17 7:00PM
Curatorial Conversation & Walk-Through • March 3rd 12PM with Stephanie Snyder

Posted by Jeff Jahn on January 26, 2012 at 10:19 | Comments (0)


Wednesday 01.25.12

Interior Margins: A Question of Language

Judy Cooke.jpg
"Animal", Judy Cooke, 2011

There are just three short days left to see the exhibition Interior Margins at the Lumber Room. Granted, this is not much time to observe and ponder the abstract experiments of the artists exhibiting therein, but to miss the questions posed by this eloquent exhibition entirely would be quite a loss. As one of the newer exhibition spaces to Portland, the Lumber Room is a fantastic addition, enriched by a live-in residency program that is on display as part of the gallery. . .(more)

Posted by Amy Bernstein on January 25, 2012 at 7:31 | Comments (0)


Tuesday 01.24.12

Artist | Architect John Holmes

It's crazy world with architects who think they are artists, artists who think they are critics, critics who think they are curators and curators who think they are architects. Yes there is a point to made there but truth is, there is no reason one can't be very proficient in multiple disciples (Michelangelo, da Vinci, Judd, Irwin etc. all did it well indeed). The latest case in point is John Holmes (one of the principles at Holst Architecture, most recently responsible for the Bud Clark Commons.)

According to sources, "His artwork is about transformation - a natural process we see in nature and in our own inner lives. By transforming wood from solid to gas through fire and recording on paper, the patterns created reveal the astonishing Beauty hidden within natural phenomenon." Ah, so he's an alchemist as well!

Opening reception • Thursday January 26th 6pm - 8pm
Holst Architecture • 110 SE 8th Portland, OR 97214

Posted by Jeff Jahn on January 24, 2012 at 16:13 | Comments (0)


Monday 01.23.12

Monday links

OHSU has gotten approval for it's latest South Waterfront expansion by CO Architects and SERA. Interesting, it reminds me a bit of Thom Mayne on the south end but the 12 story tower seems underwhelming in comparison. Still it should blend in with other nearby buildings.

Curator sharing between Detroit and Kansas City? It is common in the orchestral world but I think it is problematic in the museum world. Why? because curators don't just plan and execute shows, they are the public face of the institution and interface with the interests of the community. Half the face time? ....half the interface! Overall, I'm not a fan of half time curators at major museums.

As Kodak files for bankruptcy the Guardian takes a look at the role of women in their identity.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on January 23, 2012 at 13:53 | Comments (0)


Friday 01.20.12

Weekend Goings On

Catch a special screening of !Women Art Revolution a film by Lynn Hershman Leeson at the NW Film Center on Sunday with a special introduction by Reed College's Stephanie Snyder.

Screening • January 22 • 4:00 PM
NW Film Center • $9 general $8 members • free to students and faculty
Portland Art Museum • Whitsell Auditorium
Sponsored by: Pacific Northwest College of Art, Oregon College of Arts and Crafts, Portland State University, Reed College, Northwest Film Center and Elizabeth Leach Gallery.

...(more after the jump: Peter Halley and PLACE)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on January 20, 2012 at 22:44 | Comments (0)


Thursday 01.19.12

Interior Margins Conversation II

Interior Margins (1st guided conversation last December) photo Jeff Jahn

Like a dinner party with a theme (which did in fact instigate this project)... the predominantly white, black and grey (or at least color muted) dress code tips viewers off that Interior Margins isn't so much of a comprehensive or even super tight survey of Northwest abstraction as much as it is a salon conversation starter amongst 11 ladies with a close connection to drawing (+ toasting Leonie Guyer) in their work. Curious about that that conversation? Join curator Stephanie Snyder and Interior Margin's artists Saturday for another guided conversation at the Lumber Room. The first talk was looooong winded yet worthwhile.

Guided Conversation • 11am-1pm, Saturday • January 21
lumber room • 419 NW 9th • info@lumberroom.com

Posted by Jeff Jahn on January 19, 2012 at 14:59 | Comments (0)


Sandra Percival leaves YU

former YU Director, Sandra Percival

Last Fall I raised questions about Sandra Percival's role and basic questions of board oversight, which was a reiteration of what I was first to point out a year before.

Now YU just announced that, "We, Curtis Knapp and Flint Jamison, Co-founders, announce that Director Sandra Percival will leave YU. Curtis Knapp will become Acting Director, effective January 20. There will be complete continuity in the day-to-day functioning of YU and in the assumption of strategic and programmatic planning imperatives at the director level, some of which we will discuss below....(more)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on January 19, 2012 at 13:25 | Comments (0)


Wednesday 01.18.12

10th NW Biennial at Tacoma Art Museum Opens

It is an even numbered year and like clockwork 2012 is predictably a giant survey show year. The first of them, the 10th Northwest Biennial at the Tacoma Art Museum opens Saturday and explores the multinational region from Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Washington States as well as the British Columbia Territory of Canada. In fact, it is the first time the Canadians have been invited to play and let's hope it spurs on more trans-border exhibitions (it's true that it is easier for humans to cross the US/Canadian Border than it is for art). Of the 30 artists 13 are from Portland (including myself, look I did try to dissuade/dare them I have a history of disliking these shows). In March Hide/Seek will open in the next galleries over so there is an interesting programming confluence here... by not being in Portland, Seattle or Vancouver BC perhaps Tacoma can sidestep or at least juggle some very local politics? Designed by Antoine Predock TAM's is the best Museum building in cascadia.

Sean M. Johnson's Family Portrait (2008)

According to TAM, "The 10th Northwest Biennial will examine the vital questions of who we are as residents of the Pacific Northwest, what we look like, and what are our aspirations for our communities. The Biennial will seek artworks that address the critical issues that underpin the larger issues of identity and community including the fluidity of regional identity in an age of global capitalism, increased urban migration, and the virtual diffusion of a discernible regional style. Because of the extraordinary complexities of these issues, The 10th Northwest Biennial will focus on the newly revitalized and resurgent forms of interdisciplinary art practices."

Yes I've seen the show in an unfinished state and I'm happy to report there are at least 5 large installation pieces of which at least 3 of which are new works and there is a lot more video than we've seen in recent TAM Biennials. Importantly, being focused on “ interdisciplinary art” a good deal of it is not traditionally craft or landscape oriented but with this many artists you know it is going to be a bit of a zoo of a show. It is also important that many participants are not represented by galleries (though their presence is felt). Most prominent Northwest galleries tend to be a bit conservative and relying on them for bleeding edge trend analysis is not the best idea.

Artists: Cynthia Camlin (Bellingham, WA), Pamela Caughey (Hamilton, MT), Dana Claxton [Hunkpapa Lakota Sioux] (Vancouver, BC), Harrell Fletcher (Portland, OR), Flicker Art Collabratory [Kenneth Newby and Aleksandra Dulic (Vancouver, BC), Wynne Greenwood (Seattle, WA), Wendy Given (Portland, OR), Gray & Paulsen [Anna Gray and Ryan Wilson Paulsen] (Portland, OR), Laura Hughes (Portland, OR), Allison Hyde (Eugene, OR), Abraham Ingle (Portland, OR), Ariana Jacob (Portland, OR), Jeff Jahn (Portland, OR), Sean M. Johnson (Seattle, WA), Susie J. Lee (Seattle, WA), Benjamin Love (Boise, ID), Kirk Lybecker (Portland, OR), Jeremy Mangan (Fife, WA), Matt McCormick (Portland, OR), Kelly Neidig (Portland, OR), TJ Norris (Portland, OR), Paul Pauper (Seattle, WA), Juliette Ricci (Tacoma, WA), Paul Rucker (Seattle, WA), Reza Michael Safavi (Pullman, WA), Seattle Catalog LLC [Gretchen Bennett, Matthew Offenbacher, and Wynne Greenwood] (Seattle, WA), Henry Tsang (Vancouver, BC, Matika Wilbur [Swinomish/Tulalip] (Seattle, WA),Jin-me Yoon (Vancouver, BC), Joshua Zirschky (Portland, OR)

Opening Reception • January 21st • 6:30 - 9:00 PM
Tacoma Art Museum • 1701 Pacific Avenue • Tacoma, WA 98402
Free for Members • Non-member Guests $10

Posted by Jeff Jahn on January 18, 2012 at 22:38 | Comments (0)


Tina to Williams

Christina Olson

It would be sad news if it weren't something we hadn't seen coming the moment she took the Director of Education job at PAM but Christina Olson is leaving her post in Portland to become the "Class of 1956 Director of the Williams College Museum of Art" (WCMA for short). During her tenure in Portland she was THE point woman for Brian Ferriso's very successful revamp of PAM's education department and her accomplishments go far beyond the annual Shine a Light events. With Tina the museum took what was a very hit or miss program and made education a part of every single museum activity. The busloads of kids I see at PAM every week are a testament to her but so is the greater community/interpretive involvement... like the fantastic Artist Talks series (of which I've taken part). She leaves PAM as one of the most successful employees the museum has ever hired.

... (more)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on January 18, 2012 at 14:37 | Comments (0)


Tuesday 01.17.12

Memory and Anonymous

I've made no secret that I'm a little tired of the curatorial crutch of installing grayscale work (photography exempt of course) but two shows this month, titled Memory and Anonymous explore both the reasons for my antipathy and a secret appreciation for the underlying aesthetic. These conflicted feelings are interesting as less colorful shows always seem to be both an easily achieved form of elegance and a well worn road to generic accessibility.


First off is Memory by Jerry Mayer and Ellen George at the Nine Gallery. Extremely simple and elegant the show consists of one large sheet of paper that has been folded and unfolded so much that it resembles a topographic map of the Himalayas. This is riffing on the trope of art as palimpsest as the paper records the wear and... (more)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on January 17, 2012 at 16:41 | Comments (0)


Monday 01.16.12

Monday Links

Nice article on seminal Light and Space artistDoug Wheeler in the New York Times.

Should a Keith Haring mural be conserved or simply repainted as Haring wanted it to be? I'm with Haring on this.

Tyler Green points out a pretty cool Luis Tomasello installation at the Nelson-Atkins Museum.

Roberta Smith gives Damien Hirst's polka dot paintings a fair shake. For me he is a bit too prolific but he's still one of my favorite artists of all time. That said I've always found the dot paintings much less interesting than his installations and I think he knows it. The thing with Hirst is he finds a way to make people form an opinion by pushing buttons... that is a tremendous ability, without which contemporary art dies. She's absolutely right about it being a lot better than the Christos' The Gates project.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on January 16, 2012 at 1:25 | Comments (2)


Friday 01.13.12

Lupification at Archer Gallery


Archer Gallery presents Lupification, or the Divide, works by Bonnie Fortune, Julia Oldham, and Ryan Pierce. The artists in this exhibition approach humanity through its connection to or separation from the natural world. Each presents a unique perspective, whether exploring the relationship, seeking to understand, looking for solutions, or discovering connections to animals, plants, and insects.

Reception • 6-8pm • January 14
Clark College Archer Gallery • 1933 Fort Vancouver Way, Vancouver, WA• 360.992.2246

Posted by Jeff Jahn on January 13, 2012 at 1:22 | Comments (0)


Thursday 01.12.12

Op Ed

Here's my Op Ed in the Portland Tribune. I've mentioned these things time and again... most recently in my 2011 year end wrap-up and a detailed look at regional survey shows. This one was for a more general audience but also places the discussion of excellence and relevance in a wider civic context.

It is true that our art universities and museums have come a long way but it is time to finish the job, not become complacent. Here's a relevant passage from Ibsen's An Enemy of the People that I couldn't fit:

Dr. Stockmann: "They [the young] are the people who are going to stir up the fermenting forces of the future, Peter."
Mayor Peter Stockmann: "May I ask what they will find here to 'stir up. . . ."
Dr. Stockmann: "Ah, you must ask the young people that"

Posted by Jeff Jahn on January 12, 2012 at 0:48 | Comments (0)


Wednesday 01.11.12

Spicero at Appendix

Appendix presents Jasper Spicero's Interiors.

"In his rendered images, Spicero presents chambers optimized for status signaling and contemplation, a fantasy of aesthetically integrated techno-spirituality. Referencing equally the spaces imagined by computer game designers and lifestyle marketing - each simplified, each driven by a few key metrics - Spicero's images and objects suggest an uncomfortable causal tangle between the spaces we wish to inhabit, the creatures we wish to be, and the options that are made available to us."

Opening - 6:30PM - January 13th
Appendix Project Space - south alleyway off of NE Alberta St. between 26th and 27th Aves.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on January 11, 2012 at 23:09 | Comments (0)


Tuesday 01.10.12

Engaging a New Generation

Jenny Holzer (L) and Nancy Spero (R) in Body Gesture

For the concluding month of the Elizabeth Leach Gallery's Body Gesture, an exhibition of historical and contemporary feminist art, the gallery is assembling a pretty promising panel discussion titled, "Engaging a New Generation."

Andi Zeisler, co-founder and Editorial/Creative Director of Bitch Magazine
Elizabeth Nye, Executive Director of Girls Inc. NW
Ann Mussey, Professor of Women Studies at PSU
Ellen Lesperance, Artist, Winner of Seattle Art Museum's 2010 Betty Bowen Award
Emily Ginsburg, Associate Professor and Chair of the Intermedia Department at PNCA

Panel Discussion • 6-8pm • January 12
Elizabeth Leach Gallery • 417 NW 9th • 503.224.0521

Posted by Jeff Jahn on January 10, 2012 at 22:37 | Comments (0)


Monday 01.09.12

Monday Links

You saw it here first, the Portland Art Museum has finally gone live with a new website after undergoing a comprehensive identity makeover last September. Once again it is much more contemporary and a cleaner overall design. There is even an enhanced online search option for the collection.

Michael Kimmelman writes on the prominence of parking lots in the built environment. Surely in Portland we are already taking this quite seriously but much more could be done.

Brian Libby posts a riposte to the Washington Post about Portland's already long streak of prominence in the national media.

The Art Newspaper reports on Nicolas Berggruen's plan to create an on loan collection for LACMA, similar to what Eli Broad has already done. There is a local tie in here as Berggruen owns Chris Burden's Three Ghost Ships (1991) that have been on display at PAM for the last few months. Places like Portland, which do not have mega collectors... yet are filled with an viewers hungry for contemporary art definitely gain from this type of lending collection arrangement.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on January 09, 2012 at 0:32 | Comments (0)


Thursday 01.05.12

First Weekend January 2012

California (detail), oil on canvas (in Timothy Scott Dalbow’s studio)

You cant kill painting, because it is like an undead zombie medium... it just gets up again and again, either limping ghoulishly or slinking about as a sexy vampire. That's pretty much what I expect from Nationale's opener for 2012, Highlighter, co-curated by PORT-star Amy Bernstein.

"In Nationale’s Highlighter, co-curators Amy Bernstein and May Juliette Barruel round up six exhilarating young painters for an intimate, studio-style exhibition. Showing only recent works from the artists, Bernstein and Barruel openly engage with the now in order to emphasize the heuristic energy guiding such innovation in the first place.

Through a shared language of brilliant colors and jostling patterns, inspired in part by the excess of modern culture, the canvases of Bernstein, James Boulton, John Brodie, Timothy Scott Dalbow, Marie Koetje and K Scott Rawls function as a playground for symbolic and formal invention. However, despite such non-representational tendencies, the works ultimately renounce the highbrow tenets of traditional abstraction in favor of more relatable, personal experiences."

Opening reception • 6-9pm • January 6
Artist presentation • 6pm • August 8
Nationale • 811 E Burnside Suite 112 • 503.477.9786

(more... Gallery Homeland, The Art Gym)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on January 05, 2012 at 22:50 | Comments (1)


Tuesday 01.03.12

First Thursday January 2012

Robert Frank's Unitled from Painkiller

"Painkiller is an original exhibition of 48 Polaroid images by groundbreaking photographer Robert Frank taken from the 1970s through the present. Blue Sky closely collaborated with Frank in selecting photographs to be reproduced in a special series of enlarged prints for this show. Considered one of the most influential figures in the history of photography, Frank has redefined the aesthetic of both the still and the moving image via his pictures and films." Blue Sky first showed Frank's photographs in 1981.

Opening reception • 6-9pm • January 5th
Blue Sky Gallery • 122 NW 8th • 503.225.0210

... (more Ethan Rose, Jordan Tull, Scott Wolniak)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on January 03, 2012 at 21:51 | Comments (1)

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