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Ann Hamilton Weekend
Portland2014 list analysis
Monday Links
Weekend Picks
Calls for New Media Artists Fall 2013
Interview with Jorge Pardo
Suzanne Opton at Linfield College
Bridge named after Rothko?
Brenna Murphy at Upfor
Mike Rathbun opening and talk
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Wednesday 10.30.13

Ann Hamilton Weekend

Thanks to Liz Leach and PNCA this weekend is officially Ann Hamilton Weekend in Portland with 2 ways to see Hamilton (an artist who is very interested in the body) in the flesh. Hamilton was last in Portland back in 2005 and this time she has an exhibition at The Elizabeth Leach Gallery to boot.

Ann Hamilton's installation, The Event of a Thread, (2012) at the Park Avenue Armory, NYC

Hamilton's lecture at PNCA on Friday night is perhaps the most accessible way to catch the MacArthur Award winner this weekend.

Artist Talk : Friday November 1st
PNCA | Swigert Commons
1241 NW Johnson St

The second event on Saturday should be interesting as Hamilton discusses the body in context to fashion and another artist, Josiah McElheny. Titled, "THE ABSTRACT BODY & FASHION Some thoughts on the abstract body," this should be a more intimate event so get there early.

Hamilton, "has created installations that bring together sensory landscapes with performance, crafting spaces and outfits for her works' participants that investigate the line between objects, subjects and bodies. In relationship to Josiah McElheny's work, which culls from modernist narratives constructed around sartorial fashion, Hamilton and scholar Jessica Burstein will address what it may or may not mean for the body to be abstract when it comes to fashion.

Screening: Oskar Schlemmer's "Triadic Ballet" will follow the conversation."

Ann Hamilton and Jessica Burstein | November 2, 3-5PM
Lumber Room
419 NW 9th

Posted by Jeff Jahn on October 30, 2013 at 16:57 | Comments (0)


Tuesday 10.29.13

Portland2014 list analysis

The Portland2012 Biennial was a failure mostly because nearly everyone was in it except the most exciting group of artists in town (all associated with the alt spaces Appendix, Worksound or both), it didn't discover anyone new, it was in too many locations and was installed incredibly poorly at the two largest spaces (Art Gym and Disjecta).

The list for 2014 by LA curator Amanda Hunt should address some of those problems by including some of the scene's favorite practitioners who were noticeably absent last time but there aren't many women on this list:

Zachary Davis (cofounder Appendix)
Modou Dieng (founder Worksound) and Devon A. Vanhouten-Maldanado(Worksound)
Alex Mackin Dolan (curator Appendix)


Posted by Jeff Jahn on October 29, 2013 at 13:04 | Comments (0)


Monday 10.28.13

Monday Links

What else is there to write about Renzo Piano? The New York Times tries to make his choice as the architect for the Whitney seem daring but nobody can (though he is solid). The real problem is that projects like the Menil and the Beyeler Foundation are intimate in a way that these larger museum situations will never be and though always good he peaked a long time ago. Somehow the Whitney seems ok with that kind of statement about the museum's place in the world...?

Banksy has finally done something interesting, critiquing the utter failure of imagination that is the One World Trade Center building in an op ed that the NYT's refused to run (also interesting). True he's an attention whore seeking attention but writing, "That building is a disaster. Well no, disasters are interesting. One World Trade centre [sic British] is a non-event. It’s vanilla. It looks like something they would build in Canada." Deserves to be repeated and passed on.

The passing of two giants, Arthur Danto and Anthony Caro continues to gather voices to mark their passing. The Portland Art Museum has a pretty extensive collection of Caro's work from the Greenberg Collection.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on October 28, 2013 at 1:18 | Comments (0)


Friday 10.25.13

Weekend Picks

Weekends just keep getting busier in Portland's art scene. Here are my 3 picks:

Samantha Wall, Amelia (2013)

Samantha Wall's Indivisible at Ampersand should be a winner. A few years ago I considered Samantha Wall to be one of the most fully realized artists to come straight out of a Portland MFA program and should go far nationally if she can avoid looking anything like Storm Tharp's work (it isn't necessary and her Robert Longo meets early chuck Close realism is inherently more spartan). A Joan Mitchell Fellowship this past Summer didn't hurt either and now she has been picked up by the Laura Russo Gallery (which has needed some new blood for quite some time). But before then Ampersand is having an exhibition with a limited edition artist book of 100, with 10 deluxe signed editions which come with a small drawing by the artist.

Indivisible | October 26 to November 30, 2013
Reception: October 26 from 6 to 9PM
2916 NE Alberta St., B

... (more including Free PAM friday night and Zena Zezza)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on October 25, 2013 at 16:29 | Comments (0)


Thursday 10.24.13

Calls for New Media Artists Fall 2013

Interstitial Theater in Seattle has 10,000 square feet that they need to fill with video and new media art on short notice as part of the Storefront initiative. The exhibition is scheduled for November 22 through December 20, 2013. Deadline for submissions is November 1.

Submission Guidelines: Email a maximum of 3 images/videos per single proposal to interstitial.theatre@gmail.com with the subject reading "INSTALLATION Exhibit." In the body of the email include a 1-2 paragraph description/statement of the work you've submitted and a brief bio or CV that lists past exhibition information and the city in which you currently live and work in. All images/videos must be representative of the work you wish to exhibit.

Laura Hughes' Passed Presence in the Portland Building (2010)

One of the very few opportunities in Portland that comes with a $1000 honorarium for installation art is the Portland Building's ongoing Installation Series (2014/2015). Deadline Is November 4th. More info can be found here. In the past I've sat on the selection committee for this space and it is an excellent way for artists to get their work seen outside the college/alt-space environments in a working building where most people are not expecting to see installation art.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on October 24, 2013 at 14:05 | Comments (0)


Wednesday 10.23.13

Interview with Jorge Pardo

Streetcar Stop for Portland (detail inside at night) photo Jeff Jahn

Jorge Pardo's work raises questions about the artificial separation of art, design, architecture and the orthodoxies that shape the way we consume all of them as cultural products. For his 1998 exhibition at MOCA he paradoxically shifted the site from the museum to a home at 4166 Sea View Lane, which he had built for the exhibition. Afterwards he moved in, upending the entire patron/institution/artist dynamic. He now has a similar, but more extensive project in the Yucatan called Tecoh. Rather than simply show in white box galleries he has even created installations that function as lighting for restaurants. In 2010 he was awarded a MacArthur fellowship. In 2008 he was commissioned to reinstall LACMA's pre-Columbian galleries but for PORT he came to speak about his Station for Portland Streetcar, commissioned by the Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC).

Jorge Pardo

Jeff Jahn: You are originally from Cuba?

Jorge Pardo: Yes I was originally born in Cuba and my family emigrated to Chicago in 1969. I was six so it is where I spent most of my life as a child. I pretty much grew up there...(more)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on October 23, 2013 at 0:47 | Comments (0)


Tuesday 10.22.13


How not to restore Qing Dynasty frescoes.

Ted talks and the Met lead to a whole lotta ugly. That said how is this any different than the sorts of things that happen all the time at museums? Perhaps it is the participation of the curators... but according to the article they provided the only useful stuff.

New study suggest that cognitive ability has even less to do with inherited traits and more to do with intellectually stimulating environments... think culture.

This entertaining article proposes that minimalism as a mode of fashion (it certainly isn't an art movement) has lead to a proliferation of antiseptic personal space for the collector class? It is true that whenever I do wince when I hear someone talk about how "minimal" their art, design choices or installation procedures are. I like to refer to it as, "the new fussy." Whatever it is called it does mean that the dead white room is very very dead.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on October 22, 2013 at 10:26 | Comments (0)


Sunday 10.20.13

Suzanne Opton at Linfield College


The Linfield Gallery presents, 2009 Guggenheim Fellow, Suzanne Opton's large-format photos and audio/video works. Opton's work explores the complex emotional states of veterans.

"Each body of work embodies a form of portraiture. From intimate close-up frames of the soldier's heads lying flat on a table and gazing in the direction of the lens, faithful moments of soldiers embraced by their loved ones, and soldiers standing in a unique studio setting holding a comforting blanket, Opton's photographs explore the transformative experiences of war. These images bypass the loaded ideas of soldier and warfare and provide a silent dialogue from one human being to the next."

Suzanne Opton | October 21 - November 30 2013
Artist Talk: October 23, 6 - 7PM | Delkin Hall, Vivian Bull Music Center
Opening Reception: October 23, 7PM in the Gallery, Miller Fine Art Center
Linfield College Gallery, McMinnville Oregon

Posted by Jeff Jahn on October 20, 2013 at 23:45 | Comments (0)


Thursday 10.17.13

Bridge named after Rothko?


Trimet is taking public input for the naming of the exciting new transit, pedestrian and cycling only bridge over the Willamette.

Sure, it could be named after a general or some politician but as I've mentioned before should be named after Mark Rothko, who is Portland's most famous son... and remains unacknowledged in any memorial within the city. The fact that he was a Russian immigrant Jew who rose to become one of the most consequential artists of all time should be enough but Rothko himself had quite a connection to the site as the western side of the bridge was host to numerous Jewish business and homes. He even painted the site and had a special fondness for mass transit... (more)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on October 17, 2013 at 13:42 | Comments (1)


Wednesday 10.16.13

Brenna Murphy at Upfor

Pattern is information. Whether it be; lace, proteins, cities, ceremonies, binary code, languages or maps of the internet, all have a crystalline organized structure to them. Patterns are used extensively in places of worship, military maneuvers, theaters, sporting events, dance clubs and other large public gathering spaces, employing recurring visual motifs to emphasize collective attention.

Brenna Murphy's Lattice~Face Parameter Chant

Simply, our brains (and computers) are trained to recognize pattern and it is precisely why Brenna Murphy's Lattice~Face Parameter Chant at Upfor gallery is the most talked about show in town this month (beating out hefty competition from Chuck Close, The CNAA's, Dinh Q. Le and Josiah McElhney etc.). All of these are worthy shows but Murphy's is exquisite and a moment of revelation for the Portland art scene, which hasn't had a show like this in a commercial gallery since the much missed NAAU space shut its doors in 2012.


Why is it so interesting? Partly, it is because Murphy's anthropological gumbo of patterns gives nods to Mayan, Chinese and Navajo designs, mostly rendered by computers... simply resonates more with our times. We live in an age where everything has been reduced data and algorithms to process it. Conversely, one can also think of Murphy's installation as a labyrinth of access or a type of encryption as personal expression... (more)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on October 16, 2013 at 4:51 | Comments (0)


Monday 10.14.13

Mike Rathbun opening and talk

Mike Rathbun's Attend (detail) at Clark College

Over the years Mike Rathbun has proven himself to be one of the Northwest's most consistent large scale sculptors and his latest, Attend, at the Archer Gallery shouldn't disappoint.

Attend | October 8 - December 7
Opening Reception: October 15, 6 - 7PM
Artist's Talk: October 15, 7 - 8PM
Closing Reception and Talk: December 7, 12 - 1PM
Archer Gallery | Clark College| Penguin Union Building
1933 Fort Vancouver Way, Vancouver Washington
Gallery Hours: T-Th 10AM to 7PM, F & S noon to 5PM

Posted by Jeff Jahn on October 14, 2013 at 16:47 | Comments (0)


Monday Link

This Monday there is just one link, Jerry Saltz on the problem with mega galleries. Jerry is pretty fair here and the main problem is understandable, the lack of constraints leading to a lack of edge. I liken it to the Frank Herbert Dune model. In that book the Fremen have to make the most of an incredibly inhospitable planet which sharpens them as a force, conversly the mega galleries do seem like foregone conclusions where critical debate doesn't even seem to matter (though this is a problem everywhere). It a done deal and that is the whole shape of the problem (though the case of Matthew Day Jackson does indicate that some shows are not too big to fail).

At the same time mega galleries are too easy a target. To me it seems like the mega collectors (who make mega galleries possible) are less about being patrons who wish to be challenged than simple trophy hunters. It is why I appreciate mega collectors like Eli Broad, the Kramlichs and the Papajohns. There is depth and a cumulative civic program to what they do but ultimately the best art comes when one patron decides to support an artist of infinite ambition, rather than one who already has infinite resources... kinda like when Peggy Guggenheim got behind Jackson Pollock or Gertrude Stein pitted the best of the best in civil competition with one another. Even Judd needed Heiner Freidrich and Philippa de Menil. I wish I could mention them by name (they seem to want to be low key) but I do really like what these collectors are doing with Doug Aitken.

Overall, some artists like Richard Serra naturally work on a huge scale. For others it resembles Axl Rose's infinitely overproduced album Chinese Democracy, which was so far removed from what made Gun's n Roses work as a band.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on October 14, 2013 at 9:27 | Comments (0)


Friday 10.11.13

PAM hosts Wiki edit-a-thon


This Sunday from 1-4 PM the Portland Art Museum will be holding an edit-a-thon for Wikipedia articles on notable Oregon artists and works (perhaps curators too?). The state and Portland in particular happens to be crawling with strong artists who merit mention.

This is much needed as this rather incomplete this page on the Portland art scene can attest (to dispel a sometime misappropriation, no I didn't create it). Bring your laptop.

Wikipedia Edit-a-thon
October 13, 1-4PM
Portland Art Museum | Mark Building
1219 SW Park

Posted by Jeff Jahn on October 11, 2013 at 9:59 | Comments (0)


Wednesday 10.09.13

Mark Morrisroe one night show and book release


For one night only Monograph Bookwerks presents both an exhibition and the Portland book release of Mark Dirt: Mark Morrisroe, a survey of the artist's non-photographic works, compiled by Ramsey McPhillips.

"Containing much previously unpublished work, Mark Dirt includes spreads from Morrisroe's punk zine Dirt ('he sort of invented the Boston punk scene,' Jack Pierson later recalled of his former lover), as well as correspondence and notes by the artist, sketches and even his last will and testament. All of these documents have been assembled by Morrisroe's former partner Ramsey McPhillips, and represent the most complete survey of the artist's non-photographic works."

Mark Morrisroe
One night exhibition and book release
October 10 from 6-9pm
Monograph Bookwerks 5005 NE 27th Ave

Posted by Jeff Jahn on October 09, 2013 at 23:44 | Comments (0)


Tuesday 10.08.13

Kartz Ucci, a force for new media art RIP

Kartz Ucci

Installation artist and popular professor Kartz Ucci passed away Sunday, ending a recent battle with brain cancer. Kartz, wasn't a household name but she was one of the State of Oregon's most influential experiential artists... often using light and space, or the sensuous roll of words made sublime with form and color.

I remember fondly every long conversation we had about Neruda or the way artists approach form differently in places like China. She wasn't some guarded regionalist and her overall level of "questioning sass" made her such challenging fun to be around. It showed in her work...


Posted by Jeff Jahn on October 08, 2013 at 11:54 | Comments (0)


Monday 10.07.13

Monday Links

David Byrne has had it with the 1% stifling creativity. It certainly is true that the quality of patronage has gone down as the popularity of contemporary art has turned more into an investment than an avocation.

The Observer asks if the Frieze art fair is elitist? Short answer = Duh. Look, most things that involve money are elitist but the real question is how does forward the development of art patrons and institutional collections? Since it is a touchstone for London as an international art city it clearly has value.

New York Falls back in "Love" with Robert Indiana... without a Love sculpture. Fine, but my all time favorite Robert Indiana is the basketball court for Kareem era Milwaukee Bucks in the old Mecca arena. Still it is interesting how one popular work could so overshadow an excellent body of pop work so thuroughly.

Last but not least, check out this review of Matthew Barney's drawings at the Morgan Library.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on October 07, 2013 at 6:08 | Comments (0)


Friday 10.04.13

First Weekend October


It is the end of an era as Appendix presents its last show Sallymander by Alex Felton. What constitutes the most culturally significant garage in Northeast Portland the appendix guys and a few gals have done great things with an internationally relevant outlook for the past 5 years. Not certain what to expect but the words, "a kind of encyclopedia made into farce," jumped out at me from the press release.

Opening Reception: October 4, 8 - 11:30 PM
located in the south alley between 26th and 27th Avenues off of NE Alberta St.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on October 04, 2013 at 12:17 | Comments (0)


Friday Links

PNCA sells their current HQ building, partially as a way to fund the upcoming 511 project (a major upgrade). This makes sense, though initially the school had planned to operate both (which seemed excessive). Having a nexus of buildings along the North Park blocks is simply better.

Jerry Saltz on radical vulnerability... it ties a bit into an essay on art criticism that I am still editing (here is a bit of an appetizer).

Roberta Smith on Chris Burden's retrospective at the New Museum.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on October 04, 2013 at 11:36 | Comments (0)


Thursday 10.03.13

First Thursday Picks October 2013

Brenna Murphy at Upfor (photo Jeff Jahn)

As their second show Upfor gallery presents Brenna Murphy's LATTICE~FACE PARAMETER CHANT. As you can see from this teaser image Murphy has a flair for pattern which through circuit design and geometry has come to define science and mysticism simultaneously. Overall, this is an exciting development in the scene as most of Portland's core for profit galleries have become extremely safe and entrenched (especially compared to the internationally active alt space scene in town). Murphy originally burst on the scene with the Oregon Painting Society collective and then more recently the MSHR duo and has been popping up in Europe, San Francisco's Yerba Buena Center and New York City as of late.

Brenna Murphy | October 3 to November 27
Reception: Thursday, October 3, 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm
929 NW Flanders Street


Posted by Jeff Jahn on October 03, 2013 at 1:00 | Comments (0)


Tuesday 10.01.13

Tuesday Links

How conservators saved Chris Burden's A Tale of Two Cities... a piece he wanted to blow up.

MoMA is beginning to explore how they will expand their galleries again. Ultimately though what always seems to draw the most attention is how it will effect the presentation of their canonical collection... something which ultimately puts of lid of conservatism over the boiling contents. Perhaps a non canonical installation is what is needed?

Check out this great new time lapse computer rending of how Antonio Gaudi's masterwork the Sagrada Familia will be completed in 2026. What I most enjoy about this feat of architecture is the way it is taking longer than a single human life span to complete. Long range thinking and execution... not to mention jaw-dropping excellence is so rare on large civic scale projects like this.

Jen Graves follows up her question in gender equality in Northwest Art Awards... One refinement to her argument though, several women have won a spot in the Contemporary Northwest Art Awards at the Portland Art Museum but no woman has ever won the Arlene Schnitzer Prize associated with it. Crunching numbers, 7 of the 16 CNAA finalists (the exhibitors) have been women. Looking at the Hallie Ford awards 5 of the 12 artists chosen have been women. The Bonnie Bronson awards though not gender specific do tend to go towards mid career females with only 4 male artists out of 22 being recipients. I do feel like there is a slight but pervasive advantage given to male artists in panel driven awards in the region but I feel this is a function of the arcane political nature of art panels (a lot, perhaps a majority of the most influential visual arts personalities in Portland are women). Even the the Couture Series (perhaps the best executed series in Portland history) gave more awards to men than women.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on October 01, 2013 at 11:42 | Comments (0)

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