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Last Weekend for Marie Watt's Lodge
Gazed Upon
Monday Links
Free hours and an Avery depiction of Rothko
Last Weekend picks March 2012
Endowed: Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at PAM
Dr. Katz on the culture wars
Monday Links
Pat Boas 2012 Bonnie Bronson Fellow
Interview with Richard Serra
Betty Feves: Generations
There is always a bigger rock

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Thursday 03.29.12

Last Weekend for Marie Watt's Lodge

Inside view of Marie Watt's Engine

I've been meaning to post on Marie Watt's Lodge but was hoping to catch it first. Well fellow procrastinators (I know it has been a busy) it is now the last weekend for this extensive show at the Hallie Ford Museum, so this is everyone's last chance. The show runs through April 1st so get on down to Salem.

"For the past decade, Watt has worked as a mixed media artist whose work explores human stories and the ritual implicit in everyday objects. Organized by anthropology professor and faculty curator Rebecca Dobkins, the exhibition will feature a range of work from the past decade, including stacked blanket sculptures, portrait blankets of Jim Thorpe, Ira Hayes, Susan B. Anthony, and Joseph Beuys, and Engine, a felt cave-like structure that honors the act of storytelling and the storytellers in the artist's life."

Posted by Jeff Jahn on March 29, 2012 at 22:37 | Comments (0)


Tuesday 03.27.12

Gazed Upon


April is photo month in Portland but Ampersand is out of the gates early with Gazed Upon, opening this Thursday. Curated by Amy Elkins the show features work by Jen Davis, Cara Phillips & Stacey Tyrell. Meet Elkins and Tyrell at the opening with drinks courtesy of Ninkasi Brewing Company.

Opening Reception & Book Release on March 29, 6- 10PM
Ampersand : 2916 NE Alberta St. March 29 to April 24, 2012

Posted by Jeff Jahn on March 27, 2012 at 16:30 | Comments (0)


Monday 03.26.12

Monday Links

Today Oregon College of Art and Craft (OCAC) has announced it is launching a Master of Fine Arts degree in Craft in the fall of 2013. According to the press release the program, "emphasizes problem solving through the manipulation of materials and the vigorous exchange across disciplines and media." Ok, these days Portland art schools seem to be launching new programs all of the time but this one seems absolutely core to a school like OCAC. In other words, they needed to do this and do it well. It should be a signature program for Portland's most focused/specialized art school.

More details, "With its expansive and versatile approach, the College has designed this MFA as an intellectual investigation of process, purpose, and communication distinguished by its methodology as much as its outcome. The 60 credit program in Advanced Craft Studies combines courses in studio creative practice, interdisciplinary studies, graduate seminars, and electives.

'This new program is the natural outgrowth of OCAC’s long tradition of educating entrepreneurial, critical thinkers and creative makers who innovate through engagement with materials. Craft in the twenty first century, the tradition of what it has been and the innovation of what it will be in the future, is the essential focus of this new degree,' said Denise Mullen, OCAC President. 'The MFA in Craft allows us to grow our programming to a new level, and to enhance our core mission at OCAC of educating professionals at the highest level of object and image making.'" Those interested as MFA candidates should join the contact list at www.ocac.edu/MFA to receive announcements about the new program.

There is a new Kieth Haring retrospective at the Brooklyn Museum. I've never been able to decide if he is underrated or overrated so this is probably way overdue.

The Brits get things right for a revitalized transportation hub at Kings Cross. Why doesn't Portland pay closer attention to its transporttation nodes as a way to showcase itself?

Portland Architecture rounds up a group of recent architectural awards for Portland designers.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on March 26, 2012 at 12:09 | Comments (0)


Friday 03.23.12

Free hours and an Avery depiction of Rothko

First of all, everyone in Portland should know that tonight from 5-8 PM the Portland Art Museum will be open free of charge. It's a lovely day and likely a lovely night out on the town to check out the Rothko Retrospective, Joseph Beuys, John Frame etc. What's more the Portland Art Museum has more Rothko on display than already advertised (I know how is that possible?).

Milton Avery, Bathers Coney Island (1934) in the Portland Art Museum's collection

Here is how... ever since I moved to Portland in 1999 I noticed a rather striking Milton Avery in PAM's collection called Bathers, Coney Island (1934). It is a good painting for an Avery beach scene, which are generally not regarded as highly as a more formal Avery portrait or landscape. regardless, what instantly got my attention was the large figure in the foreground with a green visor.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on March 23, 2012 at 13:12 | Comments (0)


Thursday 03.22.12

Last Weekend picks March 2012

"Perceptual Control" Resident Artist's Talk #1 @ Worksound

Worksound presents the first round of artist talks for their "Perceptual Control" residency program. Participants Nathanael Thayer Moss and Kyle Raquipiso will give presentations on their work. If this is anything like the series of lectures that accompanied the group of artists in "Shred of Lights", it'll be a Friday evening well spent. Also, this is a good chance to hear the elusive PNCA grad, Kyle Raquipiso, speak about his often enigmatic yet enthralling work. Moss @ 7pm; Raquipiso @ 8pm.

Artist Talks | March 23rd | 7 - 9 pm
| 820 SE Alder

...(More: Half/Dozen & Appendix)

Posted by Tori Abernathy on March 22, 2012 at 8:45 | Comments (0)


Tuesday 03.20.12

Endowed: Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at PAM

Photo of the endowers, Robert and Mercedes Eichholz at their wedding in 1963

The news of a 2 million dollar endowment for the curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Portland Art Museum is an important upgrade for the community in many ways. For example it couples the role of modern and contemporary art while ensuring that the Portland Art Museum should always have the position filled as soon as possible. That's because drawing from the general fund incentivises any museum to let positions sit fallow during times of economic stress. Also, it improves the museum's overall credit rating and financial portfolio. Still, it would be even nicer if Modern and Contemporary art duties were always coupled to the Chief Curator as it is now, and an endowed acquisition fund for contemporary art would also keep things even more contemporary. It also shows how the heirs of important philanthropists choose Portland and change the cultural landscape... in much the same way that artists choosing to call Portland home over the past decade and a half has similarly changed expectations for the city. The convergence on Portland is no accident, money (at least the interesting kind) follows talent. Here is the Press Release:

"The Portland Art Museum is pleased to announce that a gift of $2 million was recently pledged by the Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Foundation. The gift from the foundation, headquartered in Santa Barbara, Calif., will endow the curator of modern and contemporary art. The position, currently held by Bruce Guenther , will now be known as The Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art.

"We are grateful to Mercedes Eichholz and her family's foundation for this generous and important gift,” said Brian Ferriso, The Marilyn H. and Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr. Director. "Endowing curatorial positions ensures that the core mission of the Museum is fulfilled."

... (more)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on March 20, 2012 at 16:40 | Comments (0)


Dr. Katz on the culture wars

David Wojnarowicz

Today Reed College presents a very interesting talk, Twelve Seconds out of 120 Years: Anatomy of a Culture War.

"In this talk, structured for a general audience, Dr. Jonathan D. Katz will address the stakes of the U.S.'s repeated cultural skirmishes over the depiction of same sex desire. Katz explores the very different valence of homoerotic desire in early 20th century America, and, deploying numerous images from the exhibition Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, traces the key shifts in that understanding up to the present day. He will conclude with a showing of the exhibition's censored film by David Wojnarowicz, A Fire in my Belly, and address why the conflict took the form that it did, turning on the question of anti-Catholic bias instead of homophobia. Paradoxically, Katz will argue that the refusal to frame the objections to the film in terms of sexuality is a kind of victory, but also a telling indicator of the newest front in the ongoing U.S. culture wars.

On March 17, the Tacoma Museum of Art opened Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture, the first queer exhibition at a major museum in U.S. history, sponsored by the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery. Katz wrote the eponymous book accompanying the exhibition. Katz is a queer studies scholar of post war art and culture, is director of the doctoral program in visual studies at the University at Buffalo, and president of the newly opened Leslie Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in New York, the world's first queer art museum. He cofounded the activist group Queer Nation, San Francisco, and founded the Queer Caucus of the College Art Association, and the Harvey Milk Institute in San Francisco.

Dr. Katz's lecture was organized by Assistant Professor of Art History and Humanities Michele Matteini."

Lecture: Dr. Jonathan D. Katz
Tuesday, March 20, 5 p.m.
Reed College Chapel

Posted by Jeff Jahn on March 20, 2012 at 11:16 | Comments (0)


Monday 03.19.12

Monday Links

The New Criterion asks what is a Museum? There is a definite need for idiosyncrasy with an eye for relevance that makes the authority of such institutions a source of civic pride. Otherwise it's a temple to missed opportunities.

Check out Roberta Smith's critical take down of Adel Abdessemed's well intentioned but hackneyed solo show. This is a problem critics often face when surveying the scene, exhibitions that try so hard to be relevant that they end up being derivative.

The Hammer Museum's new regional art prize and awards show for LA makes the Contemporary Northwest Art Awards and Disjecta's ongoing attempt at a biennial seem so tame and non-competitive (collegial familiar names not discoveries) by comparison.

It isn't the 100k either, it is the way the Hammer effort is designed to be a taste making show that points out bright new lights just as they flicker onto the scene. This positions LA as being more interested in its cutting edge (Portland's institutions, apparently are not... well except PICA's TBA festival, which can be EVEN less polished than the alt spaces). For example, the CNAA's haven't taken many chances and have felt very safe and so solidly mid career... rather than picking work that spoke the most to our uncertain times. The last CNAA's had zero edge, whereas the current Portland2012 doesn't so much present new names as reconvene a group of artists who have had academic shows in the past few years... with an overall feel that is well, academic. It is often a throwback to the 90's, which is something that happens when you use a guest curator not someone who has been in studios for years before the show. The sad thing is Portland's alt spaces are doing a lot of very interesting work that certainly can give LA a run for their money (if only our institutions could get their heads out of the sand and made a point of doing a show about the times.... one has to take more chances to be relevant as a taste maker). My sense is that Portland's institutions are so busy trying to ingratiate themselves with the constituents they already feel comfortable with that the potential shock of the show itself becomes a foregone conclusion. Rather than lead, they insinuate. The Hammer doesn't have that problem, they lead by taking chances.

Then there is this cathedral converted to a bookstore... ahh if only all sacred places could be a place of learning. The cross shaped conference table seems a tad much though... we get it and yeah some ex-catholics will dream of having sex on it.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on March 19, 2012 at 18:43 | Comments (1)


Saturday 03.17.12

Pat Boas 2012 Bonnie Bronson Fellow

Pat Boas' Against Nature series (2005)

Pat Boas has been named the 2012 Bonnie Bronson Fellow. This continues the more conceptual direction of the past 3 years with David Eckard and Nan Curtis (all three are well established educators who have been active since the 90's). Boas' work is fastidious and somewhat obsessive in nature and she usually works in discreet series. My favorite works by Boas are the Against Nature series, which biomorphically shift between various animal skins... as if to summon the specter of genetically engineered food. Congratulations!

Award will be presented April 18
6:00 - 7:30 PM at Reed College's Gray Center Lounge

Posted by Jeff Jahn on March 17, 2012 at 13:43 | Comments (0)


Thursday 03.15.12

Interview with Richard Serra

Richard Serra (2012) photo & interview by Paul Middendorf

Set for an encounter with the art and the man I scurried into The Menil Collection to attend the meet and greet press event for Richard Serra Drawing: A Retrospective.  There was already quite the crowd forming, so I made sure to get a quick glimpse of the show before the rooms filled up with people. Here is a short description from the Menil Press Release

Richard Serra Drawing: A Retrospective is the first-ever critical overview of the artist’s drawings, as well as the first major one-person exhibition organized under the auspices of the Menil Drawing Institute and Study Center. The exhibition - which opened at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, traveled to San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA), and now concludes at the Menil Collection - traces the crucial role that drawing has played in Richard Serra's work for more than 40 years.

... (more)

Posted by Guest on March 15, 2012 at 10:31 | Comments (1)


Tuesday 03.13.12

Betty Feves: Generations


The Betty Feves retrospective opens at the Museum of Contemporary Craft on Thursday, adding to an already wonderful series of retrospectives weve already been treated to this year by Nauman and Rothko. Feves, a ceramicist who studied with Clifford Still isn't terribly familiar to me so I relish this chance. Apparently, she is pretty much THE driving cultural force for the Pendelton area and even its current leading light James Lavadour owes a great deal to her. The woman left a modernist legacy 50 miles wide. Maybe its the research of the curator or perhaps it is the uncovering of a life's work but few things get me up in the morning like a good retro of an opinionated woman who redrew the cultural landscape in the region.

Here's the PR: "In Generations: Betty Feves, Museum of Contemporary Craft situates Feves and her work within the context of the overlapping arenas of Modernism, American Regional Art, and the American Craft Movement. The exhibition connects her functional and sculptural work to the community, music, mentors and advocacy for higher education that influenced and marked her career.

This retrospective, which is supported by a generous grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and which marks the close of the Museum's 75th Anniversary year, honors the significant cultural and artistic impact of an under-appreciated regional artist. It traces Feves' formal and conceptual evolution through her sculptural work, her sketchbooks, her exploration in experimental firing processes and her deep roots in the community and landscape around Pendleton, Oregon."

Exhibition | Betty Feves: Generations
March 15, 2012 - July 28, 2012
724 NW Davis Street, Portland, 97209

Posted by Jeff Jahn on March 13, 2012 at 23:07 | Comments (0)


Monday 03.12.12

There is always a bigger rock

It is often funny when people think they know which artists I'm most obsessed with. Over the years some have thought the AbEx greats or Donald Judd. I understand why they might think these things but they are wrong. The artist who I've thought most about since a massive 8,000 mile land art road trip is Michael Heizer. Without Heizer we don't have Smithson or Walter De Maria and I don't even feel like Double Negative is his best work.

As a child Heizer, grew up in archeological digs throughout the vastness of the Western United States and then passed some of that experience onto his art friends at a crucial time.. but he's actually the most interesting of the three. He considers New York's art world kinda soft (because it is if you are used to living in the harshness of the Nevada desert) and will likely only open his masterwork City to the public only when he dies.

a house-sized rock on the rim of Meteor Crater in Arizona, center (photo Jeff Jahn)

All of this makes the spectacle around his latest project for LACMA seem like a diminutive sideshow. It does bode well though for how his work will be received once the world can see his main focus. As it stands Levitated Mass is at best medium level work for Heizer but it is good that the city folk are getting worked up. In fact, Heizer once had the jones for even larger rocks, like the house sized one on the rim of Meteor Crater in Arizona.

What impresses me most about Heizer is his toughness and the way he thinks in massive geological and anthropological terms. Lots of artists think bigger is better but perhaps only Heizer and Richard Serra have been able to back it up... and what's more Heizer's work seems to step outside time. It is never about the latest technology like Serra can have as a sub plot. Instead the plot is always the same... dealing with the innate basic forces of the planet. In short he mocks human vanity while embracing its innate hubris as an unavoidable consequence of our existence. The fact that he has all of LA watching one medium sized rock must make him chuckle. Good for him, artists should have the last laugh and for once it is nice to see Art grandstanding more than the movie industry in LA. I like the way art places demands on civilization, it is the opposite of entertainment.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on March 12, 2012 at 13:40 | Comments (1)


Saturday 03.10.12

Vastness: Joe Thurston and Arcy Douglass

Joe Thurston's Nothing Leading Anywhere Any More Except to Nothing (photo Jeff Jahn)

In this month of Rothko's vast personal spaces populated by nothing but color and texture two current Portland artists, Joe Thurston and Arcy Douglass have also found a way to tap into a related sense of the endless. In fact, they are two of the most convincing solo shows by living Portland artists in recent memory. Yes, people make a big deal of group shows, mostly as a kind of social event but it is solo shows such as these, which ultimately determine who is who. In this case both Thurston and Douglass, though in different places in their career have shown themselves to be A-listers who conceive and execute in a relentless way that a lot of academics simply cannot. For living Portland artists they constitute the best two shows up in March... nothing else is even close... (more)

Arcy Douglass' Ten Thousand Things at PCC Sylvania

Posted by Jeff Jahn on March 10, 2012 at 19:48 | Comments (0)


Friday 03.09.12

Friday Links

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


Thursday 03.08.12

Helen Molesworth lecture


For the past couple of years the 80's have been of new interest to scholars and culture vultures alike and Helen Molesworth might just be one of the best on the subject. Catch her lecture today at the U of O's White Stag Campus in Portland.

"Helen Molesworth is the current chief curator at The Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. She has served as the head of the department of modern and contemporary art at The Harvard Art Museums where her exhibitions included "Long Life Cool White: Photographs by Moyra Davey" and "ACT UP New York: Activism, Art, and the AIDS Crisis, 1987-1993." She is also known for her work organizing Hauser & Wirth's reinterpretation of Allan Kaprow, Yard happening with William Pope. L, Josiah McElheny, and Sharon Hayes. Prior to joining Harvard, Molesworth was chief curator of exhibitions at the Wexner Center for Arts in Columbus, Ohio. She holds a Ph.D. in the history of art from Cornell University.

A distinguished scholar, writer and curator, Molesworth will present her lecture, "This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980's."

Thursday, March 8, 2012, 5:30p.m. | Reception to follow
University of Oregon in Portland
White Stag Block | Event Room
70 NW Couch Street | Portland Oregon 97209
For more information, contact Kirsten Poulsen-House, 503-412-3718, email kpoulsen@uoregon.edu

Posted by Jeff Jahn on March 08, 2012 at 5:07 | Comments (0)


Tuesday 03.06.12

Candidates and the Arts

Last night's Mayoral and City Council, arts and culture Q&A at the Armory (video here) went pretty much as expected, except that Mary Nolan and Jefferson Smith were not able to be present (Smith due to his work in the legislature in Salem). There was a lot of boilerplate and outright dodges but here are some impressions:.

Overall, none seemed that terribly different from one another except Brian Parrot, whose constant equation of the sports and the arts fell on deaf ears. Look I'm a fanatical tennis player and his equation of art and tennis makes no sense to me and I wrote the book on it. Also, his call for an Olympics Winter Games bid as a way to heighten the profile of the arts was also a non starter.

City Council candidates and James Lavadour images

Surprsingly none of the city council candidates knew who James Lavadour was (major opportunity to score points lost, though technically he doesn't live in Portland)... I bet they do now.

All of the candidates (except Parrot) i.e.; Amanda Fritz, Eileen Brady, Steve Novick and Charlie Hales were staunch advocates of core issues like the planned but potentially delayed 10+ million dollar tax levy for arts and education as well as Mayor Adam's current call for diversity in arts funding. None seemed too eager to put the levy to a vote this Fall so the supposed key issue is a non issue. Surprisingly none of them wanted the be... (more)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on March 06, 2012 at 13:13 | Comments (0)


Monday 03.05.12

Monday Links

Hmmm, need any more indications that the Columbia River Crossing's hurried, cheapie design wasn't all that well considered? Well it looks like they designed it too low. I sense this is only the tip of the iceberg and hopefully Washington State's deep funding crisis will kill this thing so it can be begun the right way... not Kitzhaber's rushed, even seismically short-sighted way (cable stay designs are currently superior to all other bridge types in major earthquakes, they also allow for higher clearances... that option was nixed as an option for cost and schedule reasons).

Roberta Smith's take on the 2012 Whitney Biennial... honestly the multi-disciplenary concept doesn't seem new to us here (TAM's current NW Biennial, TBA, Core-Sample in 2003, programming by Worksound, Rocksbox, Gallery Homeland, Recess etc.) but I do like the idea of it not being your typical Biennial where too much work is included with a "throw it and see what sticks" strategy. Here's Jerry Saltz's take too. It seems so quaint to us here in Portland that New York is trying to be non-comercial... when so much here is non-commercial as a default. Not that it's bad... it is just that commercially focused efforts seem novel to us in the way non-commercial seems novel to NYC.

And in case you didn't know some of the Appendix crew (Travis Fitzgerald, Daniel Wallace and Josh Pavalacky) are opening a new type of Gallery in New York City called American Medium. Hilariously they are not moving to NYC and I like their focused & too cool for that approach, I'll let them give you details in good time. It's a different type of art gallery for a different type of work. It opens in May.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on March 05, 2012 at 12:28 | Comments (0)


Friday 03.02.12

First Weekend picks March 2012

Well this will likely go down as one of the more epic vis arts weekends in Portland history with the already announced Reed Arts Week lineup and the must be there to support Blake Shell's short-sightedly cancelled but much lauded program at The Archer Gallery on Saturday night. Here are my other picks:

Ralph Pugay's Chicken Pox Orgy @ Rocksbox

Rock's Box is easily Portland's most irreverent and hard hitting alternative space, glad the programming has returned for Spring. Here is the agitRockprop: "Night-tide Daytripping at Rocksbox Contemporary Fine Art features works inspired by the progressively darkening atmosphere that is produced by the present-day state of our political, social and economic systems. A struggle towards brightness is evidenced in many of the works—embodying a need for clarity with regards to the ways that language, mythology, and belief influence the current condition of our lived realities. Ralph Pugay creates visual works that are formulated through the mash-up of ideas mined from philosophical inquiries, themes of the everyday, and binary thought processes. The groundwork for Pugay's practice is rooted in the hybridization, mistranslation, and over-literalization [sic], of various meanings and symbols; leading to the creation of absurd situational propositions. His appropriation from a multiplicity of sources such as popular media, game theory, proverbial sayings, and art history; result in works that attempt to convey deeper humanist concerns. Born out of introspection, Pugay's work is an investigation of empirical truth's influence on the perception of lived experience -- a depiction of the psychological gridlock that results when collective conviction goes on a highway rampage, resulting in a head-on collision with man's search for a purer form."

March 3, 2012 - April 22, 2012
Opening Reception: Saturday, March 3, 2012, 7-11 p.m.
Performance: Saturday, March 3, 2012, 7-11 p.m.

... (more Ford Bldg, H/D, Black Box Gallery)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on March 02, 2012 at 15:06 | Comments (1)


Thursday 03.01.12

First Thursday March 2012 picks

March is always a funny month for shows in Portland (this year it's pretty good though). In fact, at least two of the very best shows from last month by Joe Thurston at Elizabeth Leach Gallery and the current show with B. Wurtz at PNCA's Feldman Gallery are still up for the month of March. Also, if you don't already know about the Rothko or Nauman shows either... well it's good timing to emerge from your hibernation cave. Here's what's new:

James Lavadour's Rose (2012)

PDX presents James Lavadour's Interiors, which I'm pretty sure constitutes the fieriest show of paintings I've yet to see from this Northwest icon. Also, for the first time on exhibit, a new sculpture work cast at the Walla Walla Foundry.

Opening reception • March 1st • 6 - 8PM
PDX Contemporary • 925 NW Flanders • 503.222.0063

... (more: Maertz, Hayward and Buswell + Miyoshi)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on March 01, 2012 at 0:50 | Comments (0)

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