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Jesse Hayward on KBOO
Enter to win
Friday roundup
Bea Fremderman at Appendix
RIP Franz West
Documenta 13 Photoblog Part I
Discussion on KBOO
Monday Links
Priming the Cultural Pump: Rethinking Portland's Relationship with the Arts
2013 Contemportary Northwest Art Awards Finalists Announced
Hot Haus panel at Victory

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Tuesday 07.31.12

Jesse Hayward on KBOO

Weather Helm

Jesse Hayward is perhaps Portland or even the Pacific Northwest's most radical abstract painter (and a close friend). Today he spoke to Eva Lake on KBOO. It is bittersweet timing as Hayward's show at Gallery Homeland is opening so soon after his mentor, Karl Benjamin... the dean of West Coast abstraction has passed away. Hopefully Eva asked him about his relationship with this central figure in west coast art.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on July 31, 2012 at 10:11 | Comments (0)


Monday 07.30.12

Enter to win

The deadline for the annual Betty Bowen award is August 1st but you can't win if you don't enter. True the $10 entry fee is lame (I'm spending my 10 bucks on a burger in delicious protest) but the avowed aim of foregrounding an undiscovered yet brilliant artist is a refreshingly romantic gesture. In practice though the artists who win this are often well known and associated with a major gallery and/or art school in the area (and PNW galleries and colleges aren't exactly radical art havens so they should be looking outside of those institutions). You can call me a hopeless romantic but the award (and all other Northwest art awards) should be a ladder for acknowledging excellence rather than perpetuating tepid career stability and if it did a little more of that risk taking maybe it would matter more? Last year's winner Jenny Heishman was a reason to pay more attention since she wasn't the typical craft-driven academic that usually wins. How about new media and installation? Don't get me wrong craft is fine but I prefer to see as much emphasis on the intelligence of the work as the fetish of how well the materials are worked (work that isn't working with intelligence is a vain and petty thing). Look, there is craft and then there is Kraft. For example, the intelligent and delegated craft of a Judd piece absolutely kills the gee whiz Kraft that is Roy McMakin or Trimpin, egads! Even the workmanship of Roxy Paine (often executed by Roxy himself) is forged by his intellectual need to understand the construction. This is a nuanced distinction between outward fetish of work ...and work that builds understanding. This is a distinction I find utterly lacking in Pacific Northwest discourse except when the Museum of Contemporary Craft does things like Ai Weiwei. Best of luck to everyone, I will order my burger rare!

There are two public art opps for San Francisco that have been extended to August 15th:

Central Subway Public Art Opportunity for Moscone/Yerba Buena Entry Plaza: Sculpture: The Arts Commission is seeking to purchase a significant, museum caliber sculpture of the highest aesthetic quality for permanent installation at the entry plaza to the Moscone Center/Yerba Buena Station. Sculpture for this site must be made of durable materials suitable to this urban outdoor location. We encourage professional, practicing artists working in sculpture and commercial galleries to apply. Click here to read the RFP.

Central Subway Architecturally Integrated Two-Dimensional Projects: The Arts Commission is seeking artists to be considered for three large-scale architecturally integrated public art projects located at the following three stations (one art project per station): Chinatown, Union Square/Market Street, and Moscone Center/Yerba Buena. We encourage professional, practicing artists working in two-dimensional media (such as painting, drawing, photography, etc.) to apply. The San Francisco Arts Commission's goal is to commission unique artwork of the highest aesthetic quality for each project location, which will be translated into a durable material for permanent installation within the station. Applicants should not develop proposals at this stage in the selection process. Any proposals submitted along with application materials will be disregarded. Click here to read the RFQ.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on July 30, 2012 at 12:58 | Comments (3)


Friday 07.27.12

Friday roundup

Hyperallergic has a compelling interview regarding the corrosive influence of money on the arts (many Portlanders will find those words highly ironic, but in some ways it's the lack of $$$ that has made Portland so interesting). The fact is there is money in Portland, the question is are we directing it the right ways? It has improved, but we do need to take a good hard look because things are much different than they were 15 years ago.

The former interim director of MOCA asks Eli Broad to have Deitch removed now that this situation has become a, "four alarm fire." Honestly, I think Dietch would want this... he's up a creek without a paddle at this point and a change could galvanize more support for MOCA in the short and long term. Broad can actually save face by admitting a mistake instead of doubling down on a bad bet at this point. At the end of the day it will be Eli Broad who saves Moca... not Deitch and that fact alone means Deitch has failed and needs a replacement.

In more icky news, MOCA just announced it was withdrawing from the planned Richard Hamilton show. I fail to see how pulling out of a seminal Pop Art retrospective is anything but political as this was a show created by Moca's former chjief curator Paul Schimmel. What? LA not interested in the roots of Pop Art from they guy who started it all?

Finally, some good news to report, the Portland Art Museum has hired a new Director of Education, Michael Murkowski. It is a key role and PAM has become a place where talented individuals want to work (as a good career move) and Murkowski is considered a leading thinker in Museum driven education. Welcome to Portland.

BTW it is the 4th Friday so PAM is free tonight. Check out Francis Bacon, Ellsworth Kelly, Bruce Nauman and Mike Kelley.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on July 27, 2012 at 10:53 | Comments (0)


Thursday 07.26.12

Bea Fremderman at Appendix

Bea Fremderman @ Appendix Taking another ride on the appropriating-corporate-aesthetics wave, Appendix presents a series of, let's say, assemblages by Bea Fremderman. Appendix states "The recuperation of such standard materials subverts use value in a form of resistance. Much like the bureaucratic condition of office environments, the valid structural organization of things remains enigmatic and unknown." Born in Moldova and living in Chicago, Fremderman recently received a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Delve deep into the source material of her work to give currency to its purported subversive function.

S,M,L,XL | Bea Fremderman
July 26th | 8 PM
Appendix| South alley between 26th and 27th on Alberta St.

Posted by Tori Abernathy on July 26, 2012 at 12:56 | Comments (0)


RIP Franz West

Franz West sculptures disrupting the imperial civic tableaux

Honestly, I'm too busted up about Franz West's passing at age 65 to do a detailed obit (of which there are many)... perhaps a more comprehensive historical essay in the near future is the better thing? He was a hero of mine and getting to spend a bit of time with him here and there became crucial to my perception of art's role in the human experience. As a sculptor, his approach to civic space alone was the most successful since Calder. His sculpture leveled the playing field between the real and implied power of real estate and the individuals within a civic space.

Just a week or two ago I was chatting with Dan Attoe about his sculptures as hats for skyscrapers. Too good for this Earth.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on July 26, 2012 at 11:03 | Comments (0)


Wednesday 07.25.12

Documenta 13 Photoblog Part I

It seems like a lot of Portlanders have made the trek to see Documenta 13 this year, but for those who can't we have you covered. Generally it is billed as the least commercial of all the big art festivals... if you believe that? Really, it is just drier than the competition for attention that is Venice etc. and it only has one curator, rather than a polyphony of curatorial voices.

Since everyone can't go, Portlander and East-West project alum Damien Gilley (during his residency in Europe) took a couple of hundred good photos to share with PORT's readers. It dovetails nicely with the simmering discussion about Portland's approach to international level expectations for art, awards, grants, presentation and the overall support of excellence that has been going on for the past week too.

I always find the presentation and overall intellectual tenor to be the most interesting thing in these Big-ennials. Not that everything here is brilliant, just that a general awareness of events like Documenta in Kassel Germany is a good thing, perhaps next time some Portlanders will be exhibiting? ... as perhaps the first US City to grow up on a civic level, some of our artists are doing things that in many ways competes with and or is far ahead of what I see here (not that there isn't a lot to learn from here). Enjoy Part I and feel free to comment or ask questions about various images (I'll try to dig up answers):

Fabio Mauri makes the most of the floors (all photos Damien Gilley)

Documenta gets in on the Occupy thing...?

Lots of book art like this installation by Amar Kanwar

...(much more)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on July 25, 2012 at 16:15 | Comments (1)


Tuesday 07.24.12

Discussion on KBOO


Today I appeared on KBOO's Art Focus with host Eva Lake, Jane Kate Wood and Stephen Slappe. It's a continuation of the Hot Haus discussion and my developing Priming the Cultural Pump essay. It was interesting, similar yet different and a lot shorter... with some new talking points that developed in the wake of the first discussion. I'll be working on the essay for another few days then I plan to put the heuristic discussion to bed... so I can get back to the nitty gritty that is criticism. Overall, a good Summer discussion to have before the second half of the year begins in earnest like it does every year in August.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on July 24, 2012 at 11:11 | Comments (0)


Monday 07.23.12

Monday Links

Rest in Peace Herbert Vogel, one of the world's greatest art collectors... and among the most generous too. Mr. Vogel and his wife Dorothy gave the Portland Art Museum 50 works of art in 2009.

Biennials, relevance, backlash... all good topics in the LA Times.

The city of Portland has approved the designs for a subtle and stylish new Apple store downtown. The fact that the design commission keeps bringing up the fact that it is different than the surrounding architecture continues to be a problem. Look, new buildings should look new, let the old buildings look old while updating the mechanicals and other systems. That is good urban design, change is good... especially if a design honors its own time. That way the new and old highlight each other and the fact that this has been approved might improve the quality of other projects since most of the new construction in Portland tries to mask the fact that it is new construction (12+ story fake brick buildings anyone?).

Now for our weekly dose of MOCA's sad spiral. Jeffrey Deitch has finally responded to his critics basically stating that he has the support of his core board. That's probably true but the problem is he needs to expand the board and diversify it in order to be successful. Instead, most of his leadership activity has been programmatic, and though that is valid... concentrating on programming without fixing the endemic weakness of the board is worrisome. Then there was this fine article on the way institutions approach their public from Buffalo. Then this LA Times interview summarization by Reed Johnson presents a situation where Deitch feels he's being misinterpreted... problem is if people believe the version that Mr. Deitch denies it means he isn't making any progress on digging out of this mess. He will have to try something different if he wants to succeed. Roberta Smith thinks Deitch should do a 180 from what he has been doing, but honestly I think he's building an subtle exit strategy by not doing those things. If he leaves without fully implementing his plans he can claim a kind of lynch mob of scholarly public opinion thwarted a good plan. If Deitch's inevitable departure (the job doesn't let him be Jeffrey Deitch, which he IS good at) can galvanize a backlash leading to a resurgent and more active board with renewed commitment to curatorial rigor I'll be happy. So far no happy ending in sight though.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on July 23, 2012 at 11:16 | Comments (0)


Thursday 07.19.12

Priming the Cultural Pump: Rethinking Portland's Relationship with the Arts


Last January I authored an OP Ed piece on Portland's somewhat troubled relationship with supporting internationally notable levels of excellence with special focus on the arts. Before tonight's town hall style panel discussion on the subject I'd like to dig a little further.

First of all, it is an indisputable fact that the artists who have been flooding into Portland since at least 1999 (often educated outside of Portland) have changed the expectations and awareness of the city as an interesting art city worthy of international attention. Now the New York Times stalks Portland for its edgy funky charm... they never quite get it that it is the permissive arts atmosphere. It all started when the 1999 Oregon Biennial shocked people with multimedia work. In 2002 I staged a show called Play to show just how different things had become and in 2003 a series of large warehouse shows Beamsplitters, The Best Coast, The Modern Zoo, Core Sample and Battle of the Artist Curators all hammered the point home. Portland has been interesting for at least 13 years now but...


Posted by Jeff Jahn on July 19, 2012 at 18:05 | Comments (2)



Variations of the Truth #1, 22" x 30", Ali Gradischer, 2012

Lowell is a new shop + gallery in the southern region of the Mississippi neighborhood. While perusing their collections of tchotchkes and garments with 'interesting' cuts, take a look at the series of cyanotypes by Ali Gradischer hung along the walls. "Variations of the Truth examines the act of map-making as a means to draft visual abstractions of the Portland locale. The result of this work aims to compose a quiet expression of the particular geometry of this place." Take a look and revel in the stripped contours of our urban framework.

Ali Gradischer| Variations on a Theme
July 20th - August 24th
opening reception | July 20th | 6-9 PM
Lowell | 819 N Russell St.

Posted by Tori Abernathy on July 19, 2012 at 13:34 | Comments (0)


Tuesday 07.17.12

2013 Contemportary Northwest Art Awards Finalists Announced

The Portland Art Museum has released the list of finalists for the 2013 Contemporary Northwest Art Awards. The list looks solid but on the tame side, though it should avoid the unmitigated disaster that was the 2011 CNAA's (which felt not so contemporary). Although better, it still seems like the process isn't highlighting much in terms of "edge" or very demanding contemporary work and most artists have very strong affiliations to the regional art schools (which is a problem when Portland is full of grads from Columbia, RISD, AISF etc).

... (more for the list and analysis)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on July 17, 2012 at 13:58 | Comments (2)


Monday 07.16.12

Hot Haus panel at Victory

This is a town-hall style panel discussion that has been a long overdue regarding Portland's ever increasing profile as an international art city.... and the changing "expectations" that have been in effect amongst the Portland artists whose presence have made such a difference for the city in the past decade or so.

Featuring Panelists: Modou Dieng, Mack McFarland and myself as moderator. Artists, patrons and administrators are all encouraged to attend. This issue has been danced around long enough, though I'm going to keep this civil and constructive.

Here's the PR: "The New York times stalks us, the Wall Street Journal recently dubbed us a 'Utopia' and 'The Next Art Capital,' but within Portland's very active national and international art scene there has been widespread grimacing about how Portland's art infrastructure responds to this new higher profile. Often there is a schizm between between the old Portland and those whose careers are inherently international.

Hot Haus will be a panel for discussing this dynamic and how to make improvements.

Sure, most of Portland's support sources and presenting institutions have stepped up their efforts but there is a sense that they learn about what is excellent in Portland from outside instead of supporting it early from within. Should someone have to have a major museum show elsewhere before they are received more seriously here? Also, when well regarded international art is shown here are we giving the artists a proper reception and funding? Overall, there is a sense that the grants, awards, media outlets and supposed survey shows don't adequately present what is internationally interesting... instead being hidebound to old ideas and artists who were established names before artists flooded Portland in the late 90's to the present.... transforming Portland into an interesting art city.

It makes some people hot under the collar... let's all convene for a little town hall moment to explore this Hot Haus... and see if we can't provide better support with the resources we already have as well as potential sources in the near future.

Come bring you pet peeves and some models that might provide solutions." (apologies for quoting myself...)

Discussion: Thursday July 19th | 7:00 PM
Victory Gallery
733 NW Everett St.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on July 16, 2012 at 17:01 | Comments (0)


Weekend developments

The sad spiral that is MoCA's ongoing restructuring (covered by Christopher Knight) saw the resignation of three of it's artist trustees, John Baldessari, Catherine Opie and Barbara Kruger. Only the great Ed Ruscha (the Prince of LA's art world) remains and is reportedly "dismayed." *Update: Ruscha has now left the building... at least as a trustee. Opie and Kruger's letter of resignation IS stunning but in some ways it only reveals how the artists were have been largely figureheads on the board for quite some time. This is notable because it wasn't always like that in the 80's and early 90's. You see, when MOCA was founded artists like Robert Irwin (and Eli Broad for that matter) were very involved and it is what made MOCA special... the museum had a commitment as a laboratory of ideas at its inception (something that MoMA has already lost). There was a sense that MOCA was the new frontier, but as Knight pointed out, the reckless neglect by the trustees in the recent past (using the endowment for operating funds) brought the institution to the brink. Though many onlookers see these artists leaving as a bad sign (and it is) some prominent art dealers are excited about a changing of the guard. I remain skeptical.

Clearly Deitch is not handling this situation well, and I suspect we will hear something from him shortly (he's been very quiet... expect it in the New York Times). As a gallerist Deitch could make very unilateral decisions with very little consequence but by now he's discovered just how different a situation a museum director has it. Director's build coalitions and the main problem is the lack of Deitch building any new coalitions. Right now it is the same old dynamic of Eli Broad, Maria Arena Bell and David G. Johnson calling all the shots. Right now Deitch has the support of Broad (whom I see less as the villain as many do but as a tough love giving yet over-correcting uncle, at least Broad is a man of action and did save MoCA from LACMA etc.) but that support will dwindle if Deitch can't make any of his own weather. That weather would be new blood at the board and a worthy successor to Paul Schimmel as curator (one of the finest on the planet, he's now become THE temporary martyr for quality curation, which is good for the museum industry's own identity crisis). The "Disco show" Deitch is creating is programmatic and therefore looks to be overstepping his bounds and it is no surprise Schimmel stepped down. Yet, truth is a very good disco show could be done, but not with the skeleton curatorial staff Deitch currently has available.

Instead, what Deitch needs to do is twofold; 1) install another talented curator capable of backing the flash up with intellectual rigor and 2) add board members capable of balancing Broad's influence. After all this hullabaloo Broad would logically just want to concentrate on his new museums in Michigan and LA (right next door to MOCA) so his patience with the way this has been handled has to be waning (evne if publicly he supports Deitch). Still, I understand Broad's take... he doesn't want to cut MOCA any more big checks, you'd think 30 million would buy you some love in LA... but NO. That has to change if LA's funding dynamic is to become healthier.

Overall, I think Deitch has a max of 2 years (or as little as two days) of Museum directorship left in him (because it is more difficult/less profitable than returning to being a dealer) so he needs to form a transition coalition. Best case scenario... appoint a young curator who can help save Deitch's face programmatically as well as build the board into something sustainable and active (not the passive thing that got them into this mess). Whether that board includes artists (as was once the tradition) will probably rest on Ruscha's shoulders, which means the transparency Opie and Kruger called for will need to be in effect. Can MoCA recapture some its core values? Last Week's letter from several other Life Trustees suggests yes. The ball is in Deitch's court and I think he has only got a few good options left, Broad has given the director enough rope to hang himself with or create a rope bridge over this yawning chasm that has developed. A good director will effectively turn all this this drama into an opportunity to normalize this situation. Time to find out if Deitch has the chops?... it is much harder to add new trustees when the place is full of high drama and bad feelings...

In much better news, Portland artist/designer/editor Joshua Berger addresses the Portland Community from which he is drawing strength after his harrowing brain injury. This is going to be frustrating and slow, but Josh is showing improvement... he's a smart talented guy and we all wish him the best. We've all got your back.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on July 16, 2012 at 9:24 | Comments (0)


Saturday 07.14.12

Some kind of nature in NE

Michael Iauch, Cowboy(still), 2012, high-definition video, stereo sound, 4:02 minutes, looped, image courtesy of FalseFront

False Front presents a new series of video works by Michael Iauch. The artist writes, "Is our romance more like a disease? Do we like S&M? I am concerned with an inspired by the tension between my desire for a "pure" experience, to truly transcend the barriers of my mind and body and the decadent utopic visions of American culture that animate this desire; a mix of rock and roll promises, 60's back-to-the-land ideology and the moralistic horizons of greening."

Cowboy / Natural Beauty | Michael Iauch
Opening Reception
July 14th | 7-10 PM
FalseFront | 4518 NE 32nd Avenue


With their second web-based release, Appendix presents [Rare Earth Sculptures] - Cerium by Iain Ball, part of his ongoing project E N E R G Y : P A N G E A. Beginning Tuesday July 17th, this new work will be visible at www.appendixspace.com through the end of July. In Ball's project, Appendix is transformed into one module of his/the greater systemic machine, alongside the mechanics of hydroshearing seen in a dormant Oregon volcano, alongside your computer, alongside your attentive inquiries. Ball conceives of the show as "mind space which creates metaphysical undercurrents directed towards hyperobjects distributed through various technological apparatus, minerals and weather patterns... Cerium uses detritus associated with filtration, transformation and a composite formula resulting in carbon dioxide to create a kind of homeopathic remedy, filtering escalating climate-anxiety as a catalyst towards the ecological thought." Navigate your browser their way on Tuesday. Implore further. Stay plugged in 'til the end.

[Rare Earth Sculptures] - Cerium | Iain Ball
a part of TheEnergy Pangea Project
Appendix (via the web) | http://appendixspace.com

Posted by Tori Abernathy on July 14, 2012 at 13:25 | Comments (0)


Thursday 07.12.12

Home on the Range (or at least in SE)

Ranch @ RECESS

Lori Gilbert, Ralph Pugay, and Jason Zimmerman are the major players in the power trio that is F* Mtn. They debut their first solo exhibition as a collective at RECESS this Friday. "The ranch is a simple place. While this majestic, natural lifestyle is painted idyllic, It is also lonely, boring, and where stories of small-mindedness and inbreeding seem to stem from. F* Mtn.'s premier solo exhibition at RECESS balances tragedy and fantasy. With motifs birthed from language, the news, and popular history, the works in Ranch take form in sculpture, video, and installation." Ranch, not unlike the condiment it shares a name with, could be considered a celebration of loneliness and bad taste.

Ranch | F* Mtn.
July 13th - 27th
Opening Reception
July 13th | 7-10 PM
RECESS | 1127 SE 10th Avenue

Spatial Personality at Worksound

A collaborative curatorial effort between Modou Dieng (PDX) and Jesse Siegel (SF), Spatial Personalities is a group show of sculptural works from emerging Portland and San Francisco-based emerging artists. "Objects inherently ask for interaction, they exist in a context based reality in which they are not subjected to our mental scrutiny. Devoid of this context of normalness[sic], our perception of the objects changes and our interactions with them become more cadenced and intent[sic]." This might be one of the last chances you have to enjoy mingling and merriment in this classic establishment, so don't miss it.

Participating artists include Brynda Glazier, Lacy Davis, Lydia Rosenberg, Judith Sturdevant, Julia Sackett, Kara Cadwell, Michelle Ramin, and Kevin Champoux.

Spatial Personality
July 13th – August 3rd
Opening Reception
July 13th | 6-9 PM
Worksound | 820 SE Alder

(More behind the cut... Jaik Faulk @ Nationale)

Posted by Tori Abernathy on July 12, 2012 at 20:34 | Comments (0)


This Is To Be Looked At @ Valentines


Calling all voyeurs, apparently, seeing is supposed to be believing here. Modou Deing curates "This is to be looked at" at Valentines with artists, Teresa Christiansen, Kaija Cornett, Melanie Flood and Christine Taylor.

Teresa Christiansen was born and raised in New York City. "She now lives in Portland Oregon where she is an Assistant Professor at Pacific Northwest College of Art. Teresa is currently making photographs in the studio of constructed sets through which she plays with the notion of re-presentation and the fusion of object and depiction within the picture."

Kaija Cornet is a 2012 graduate from PNCA. "The Boys Room as a series, evokes in Kaija a pull of both anxiety, and sarcasm. She is a woman seeking the secrecy of what goes on in the minds of men, when no women are looking."

Melanie Flood was born in 1979 in New York. "As Managing Editor of zingmagazine, she directed collaborative curatorial projects with Zac Posen, Karin Davie, and the Donald Judd Foundation. Later Melanie curated two solo features- photographs by Todd Hido and a text project by Jenny Holzer, and for three years accepted a position as Photo Editor of The New York Observer. She enjoyed a short stint as a Gallerist, running Melanie Flood Projects out of her Brooklyn apartment dedicating her time to exhibiting young artists. Two years ago Melanie moved to Portland, Oregon where she rediscovered her own practice." Supposedly, "she materialises ideas such as unicorn vomit, formal studies of fluorescent spandex, she constructs still lifes & witnesses cotton candy fossilize." Alrighty then, come to see the cotton candy fossilize! Can't see that every day...

Christine Taylor is a Portland-based photographer who, "choreographs and poses her subjects to bring into question control and power issues experienced in the worlds which they interact. Each image shows an intimate peak into the frustration experienced when trying to have power over the uncontrollable."

Opening Reception: Thursday July 12 at 7 pm til late
Dates: July 11 to July 30 2012
Valentine's 232 SW Ankeny

Posted by Jeff Jahn on July 12, 2012 at 16:03 | Comments (0)


Wednesday 07.11.12

Wednesday Links

Portland Architecture interviews Skylab's Jeff Kovel. Most of the design savvy people I know in Portland also share a fondness for the Union Bank of California building. Did you know the grey/green slate was quarried from a site nearby where Stonehenge's bluestones originated?

I missed this last weekend but anti BP protestors brought a part of a wind turbine to Turbine Hall to protest BP's sponsorship of Tate Modern. Great protest theater. Has BP reformed? Has the continued pressure on the Tate Modern and BP lead to better behavior? Maybe having BP associated with Tate Modern is a win win (funding and PR stunts) for the Museum?

Posted by Jeff Jahn on July 11, 2012 at 17:37 | Comments (0)


Tuesday 07.10.12

Let's Get Physical: a kinesthetic aesthetic at Place

Type A's Dance

The widely accepted notion, at least among self-professed artists, is that life is art. And, if that is so, then it magically follows that everyone is an artist, which I'd be happy to embrace if making art was not such a struggle with that as the intended goal. The life of an artist is one of sacrifice. Art about struggle, whether emotional or political, even as performance... well, it's still art... (more)

Posted by Patrick Collier on July 10, 2012 at 21:33 | Comments (0)


Monday 07.09.12

Museum and Civic Links

TAM's building by noted architect Antoine Predock, the new wing will compliment it.

The big news this weekend was that the Tacoma Art Museum will be expanding with a 15,000 Sq ft. new wing devoted to Western American art. TAM is already the most focused of the area's larger museums (special focus on Northwest Art) so this addition of the Haub collection dovetails nicely with their current mission. I think it is particularly important to think of everything west of the Mississippi as "The West" so it isn't just California, Santa Fe and Texas centric. There is a Northern, big tree-d aspect as well that includes Alaska and Canada as well. I support including Mexico to compliment the international flavor of this vast region's history as well and TAM has always taken this tack. The problem with regionalism is it usually is so narrow, with a touch of inferiority and bitterness. It doesn't have to be as projects like Pacific Standard have shown. I think it is fine that it is just one collection for the wing... it becomes a coherent anchor, similar to the Greenberg collection at PAM did. Nice that much of the Haub's collection is comprised of living artists. (*Note the Haubs are not the only German Billionaires doing high profile things in the Northwest...)

Tomorrow on KBOO tradio catch Bobby Abrahamson, Julia Dolan of PAM and Myles Haselhorst talk about North Portland Polaroids, which encompasses 2 exhibitions and a book. There are two exhibitions, one at Blue Sky and Ampersand Vintage. Portland is getting better at telling its own stories and these shows are just part of a groundswell in self awareness and a new valuation of our civic worth.

And in the downward spiral that is the discussion of MOCA of late the LA Times has another analysis of how the ouster of one of the world's finest curators is not a good thing when considering the long term health of museums. Eli Broad, whom many want to see as the villain... but I see as more of an over-correcting uncle (an accountant is going to react this way to MOCA's fiscal woes) wrote this not so helpful op-ed. The problem isn't Broad... it is the fact that everything seems to start and end with him. LA needs a few more major players involved to give balance. Then again when your top cultural patron is constantly vilified it doesn't encourage others to join the fray does it? Regardless Schimmel is one of the great living curators and it is more of an indictment of LA's funding climate that they weren't able to support him at MOCA longer. The fact that they did for so long is an indication of important things as well.

Deitch himself must be feeling some incredible pressure as too... LA is a hard place to be a museum director... expectations are incredibly high but culturally Hollywood dominates the scene making museums seem like the backdrop to quaint often self-important dinner parties. Overall, on the West Coast distractions and comparative youth make patronage priorities difficult to negotiate. At the same time the institutional chaos is good for artists who are coming up.

*Update: Edward Winkleman follows a similar line to my thinking... (more)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on July 09, 2012 at 11:39 | Comments (0)


Friday 07.06.12

Friday links

I'm still so jetlagged... but something from my travels is coming soon + lots of other stories from our other writers/interlocutors. Till then:

The Guardian takes a look at a show that explores flight. Sounds like a can't miss curatorial idea, Paul Klee taught at the Bauhaus that his students should master gravity to master composition. That's some incredibly good advice.

Boston artist lands Sellwood Bridge gig.

Brian Libby explores the new Vestas HQ in the Pearl District.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on July 06, 2012 at 17:35 | Comments (0)


Thursday 07.05.12

July First Thursday


BCCTV presents Video? Videos. Videos!, the first foray into an education program within/among/alongside/? the Bud Clark commons. The Commons is an innovative initiative for those experiencing homelessness in Portland. I'm really excited to see how this plays out because it's a step in some kind of direction - political works that are not simply dissident, fashionable, or esoteric, but proactive.

Screened artists: Harrell Fletcher, Ted Gesing, Noah Hale, Amy Von Harrington, Stephanie Hough, Andrew Lampert, Oliver Laric, Julie Lequin, Matt McCormick, Tim McConville, Shana Moulton, Serge Onnen, Ed Panar, Doug Potts, Jeffrey Richardson, Mary Robertson, Will Rogan, Catherine Ross, Stephen Slappe, Joon Sung, Weird-Fiction and others.

Bud Clark Commons’ first artists-in-residence
BCCTV presents Video? Videos. Videos!
the Bud Clark Commons Multi-Purpose Room
650 NW Irving Street
July 5th | 6-8 PM

(More... Jenny Vu at Littman and Ryanna at PDX Contemporary)

Posted by Tori Abernathy on July 05, 2012 at 11:53 | Comments (0)


Tuesday 07.03.12


at Rocksbox

It's hard to believe that Rocksbox has turned 5, and you can't spend a more "Portland" 4th of July than this at this venue... hell, the neighborhood is so full of illegal fireworks that it resembles Beruit circa 1986 every year.

Here's PR's PR: "SON OF A SON SON OF A SON BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY is "FUCK FACE" baseball, greasy bologna, water cooler politics, and nighttime neon basking in the cultural cynicism embodied by four heterosexual 'nice guy' white male unconsciousness' examined through the guise of the North American pastime called summer."

The four artists; David O. Johnson, Joshua Pieper, Ian Treasure, and Brian Wasson are 2003 MFA graduates of the new genres department at the San Francisco Art Institute.

Exhibition: Wednesday July 4 2012 - Sunday, August 26, 2012
Opening reception: Wednesday July 4 | 2012 7-11 PM
Gallery hours: Saturday-Sunday, 12 - 5 PM or by appointment

Posted by Jeff Jahn on July 03, 2012 at 11:13 | Comments (0)


Monday 07.02.12

Monday Links

I've been traveling and will have some reports from outside Portland shortly but until then here are some interesting stories over the past few days.

This New York times article on the burden that the recent building expansion boom has put on institutions is fascinating. Chicago's Art Institute expansion seems to be the emblematic case study as well. I visited it last week and I noticed that the article missed one key point about Chicago, that it was a way to tie the museum into Millennium Park... a part of that city's gamble for a Summer Olympics, which failed. Overall, the lesson to be gleaned is never expand without a suitable expansion in endowments... an old lesson that PAM's own arch-prudent Brian Ferriso knew well when he was Deputy Director of the Milwaukee Art Museum. He was ahead of the curve back then and it is interesting how many institutions didn't use MAM's Calatrava expansion as a case study.

Tyler Green's take on MoCA's firing of Paul Schimmel. Look, besides it's collection Schimmel was perhaps MOCA's second most valuable asset. Curators, especially great ones... are still persistently under-valued institutional assets.

Christopher Knight digs into the MOCA situation.

Portland Architecture reports that Portland's GDP has risen more than some might suspect. Overall though it isn't how much money... it is how it is used. For example, Portland has added a lot of excellence to the mix on an individual by individual basis but that has highlighted the difficulty in making consistent excellence a habit at the institutional level. The art schools, RACC, the museums and galleries are often revealed to be a step behind by very active artists (nationally and internationally) though all of them have improved significantly in the past decade or so. Most attempts to survey or award the scene have revealed that a lot of the institutional thinking is still thinking in terms of hierarchies in play in the 1990's. A lot has changed since then and it has lead to a schism between those artists with an international outlook and those who play the Portland game. The lesson is that if you cant adjust to the international game (PNCA and PAM have done this best with lots of room for improvement) then things have trouble remaining relevant and dont translate to the international realities at work in Portland.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on July 02, 2012 at 10:24 | Comments (0)

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