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Monday 11.25.13

« Weekend Links | Main | Interview with Kengo Kuma »

Holiday Links

We will have an amazing interview for you to digest before and after Turkey Day this week but till then here are some links:

One of my favorite critics Matthew Collings interviews Swedish painter Hilma Af Klint. It is on the spiritual and art... and the interview is... surprisingly, great.

At what average age do most great artists start to enter their most productive and influential age.... about 42 according to this. Yet in the US most attention is paid to the very youthful (under 27) and the quite old 69+. That productive mature middle area isn't all that neglected in Oregon, which seems to focus on the same mid career names over and over again (perhaps too much for a place swimming in new talent who are often focusing on showing outside of Portland).

Curators Bacigalupi and Alligood have already been through Portland a while ago but they are in LA this week working on the rather ambitious State of the Art exhibition, a survey of contemporary US art. I like the "boots on the ground" approach they are taking because it gets one out of their institutional bubbles. One thing is for sure... it will have to be exceptionally good (ie not fomulaic and predictable) in the way most "toss off" regional art surveys tend to become (cheap blockbusters to draw eyes and attendance). The connection to Walmart only ups the ante here. To be relevant it can't afford to merely ok or capriciously acceptable the way that things like The Whitney Biennial tends to be... ie put a ton of artists in the room and 2-3 stand out. Instead, if this actually produces great work and new names that we will remember 15-50 years from now it will be worth it. Also, depending how rigorous/adventurous it is I might like their approach of teasing out art historical threads using tropes in "American" art (the Whitney is a little like American Idol). If they go bold it will give the project weight and that shock of the new that is often missing in surveys. If it is conservative it will contend with massive indifference or worse. Right now the art world is VERY distracted by the commotion of commerce but I've found that great work, if given a chance and a few resources makes the best case for itself. By using their own curatorial staff this project is putting the institution's fledgling (with huge endowments) reputation on the line... when is the last time any major museum had the guts to do that?

Quitting NYC at age 24... Part of what I like best about Portland is that nobody sees this city as an endgame.... its a rebel base that is supportive with a lot of great people that one can manage. Perhaps it is healthier to consider no one place a defining destination?

Posted by Jeff Jahn on November 25, 2013 at 10:11 | Comments (0)


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