Unlike New York, LA or London, Portland's gallery season starts on January 1st and ends on December 31st... perhaps because our excellent summers attract people from elsewhere while keeping us here? Instead, we tend to flee Portland's arch-soggy December through February months.
The first half of Portland's 2012 visual art season was a doosy headlined with a Mark Rothko retrospective that transformed the way a many Portlanders view its local art museum + civic cultural history. Also, the news that our alternative scene was worthy of international attention, leaving more traditional galleries in the dust was a wake up call. Why the galleries don't at least attempt to harness some of that energy in their inevitable summer and winter group shows like they used to... I'll never understand? I guess they think selling the same art to the same collectors over and over again is a good idea? Especially when new players keep moving here and begin looking for the action they read about but cannot be found in the Pearl District. C'mon you know I'm right, Portland is going through massive changes... act accordingly, there is a new set of waves to catch.
So what is in store for the second half?
At MOCC Design with the Other 90%: CITIES (Photo: (c) Haas & Hahn for favelapainting.com)
Besides being part of the Appendix illuminati Zachary Davis has been showing nationally for the past year and even received a nice review in Sculpture Magazine for his show in Philadelphia. He was a stand out in the foreGROUND show I curated last year so I'm anxious to see his upcoming solo show Flanks and Slopes at False Front on August 31st. Davis is one to watch.
Kara Walker, (detail) Fall Frum Grace, Miss Pipi's Blue Tale (2011), Courtesy of the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co.
On September 4th the Cooley Gallery re-opens with Kara Walker's More and Less. Featuring prints from Jordan Schnitzer's print collection and her latest film "Fall Frum Grace, Miss Pipi's Blue Tale" (2011). Walker will come to Reed to speak on October 2nd... you might want to take that day off to get a good seat!
Storm Tharp is one of only a handful of Portland artists that everyone always follows because he is consistently excellent and doesn't over show making each exhibition a major event. Since his breakout in 2007 he has avoided calibrating his work to the Portland game (ie making ok but not awe inspiring art to get grants+fellowships or teaching positions) instead aiming to flat out blow people away. His show at PDX Contemporary is just the sort of thing that gives us all a great reason to visit the main Pearl District Galleries this September. Opens September 4th.
10 years after the infamous PLAY show (which threw down a new gauntlet of expectations for new media art in Portland) I return to the scene of the crime at Portland State University's Littman Gallery to curate Collider. Not your Mamma's puritanical abstract painting show, this is a 6 person particle accelerator of impure abstract painting by; Amy Bernstein, Calvin Ross Carl, Jesse Hayward, Victor Maldonado, Nathanael Thayer Moss and Eva Speer. Opens September 6th.
The show is yet untitled but Vicki Lynn Wilson has been working all summer on a large scale installation in the 1900 sq ft. Northview gallery at PCC Sylvania. She got our attention year ago at Blackfish and she's been due for something big as a followup. Apparently it is happening and the show opens end of September. PCC Sylvania has been doing really good things as of late.
Opening on October 7th, MK Guth's, "when nothing else subsists, smell and taste remain," at The Art Gym. The Art Gym has been undergoing even more renovations so we are excited to see how MK makes the most of this non-commercial space. For contrast, there will also be a show at Elizabeth Leach Gallery so we can see how different or similar the non/for profit worlds compare (her last solo show at ELG was rather non-commercial looking). Since Guth is a fantasist installation/video artist at the core there will be a lot of expectations for a show that lets her branch out a bit.
Comic book panel drawn by Jack Kirby
Artists as curators are interesting because one can often see their interests so nakedly. For example, early in his career I wasn't much of a fan of Daniel Duford's work because it always seemed like weaker illustrative versions of greats like Jack Kirby's comic book work or Peter Voulkos's ceramics. That said he's grown and his interests are interesting so his turn as curator of Fighting Men at Lewis and Clark College's Hoffman Gallery combining the work of legend's like Leon Golub, Peter Voulkos and Jack Kirby promises to be compelling. The exhibition probes images of violence and masculinity through these three diverse artists whom I feel still eats the artist's lunch a bit... perhaps doing this Duford can find a way around his masters' daunting influences? Opens October 25th. (PS good on RACC for funding this)