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Saturday 03.08.14

« First Thursday Picks March 2014 | Main | Women In Art for 2014? »

Second Weekend Picks March 2014

Amy Bernstein

We have waited an incredibly LOOOOOOOONG time for PORT's own Amy Bernstein to do a solo show of her paintings but on Sunday it will finally be here with Notes at Nationale. I can safely say she's obsessed with possibilities and permutations of meaning... and I don't think there is a distinct difference between the visual moves of painting and the meaning of words in her world. She moves between the two fluidly but never really settles. Perhaps the visual and language are two sides of the same coin, one which always comes up heads as she keeps tossing it? She's one of Portland's best painters and really pushes herself hard.

Notes | March 6 - 30, 2014
Reception Sunday, March 9, 2 - 5 PM
811 E Burnside


Once again Disjecta's biennial offering dubbed Portland 2014 will open in various locations (some better, some worse) but the main opening is today march 8th from 6-10PM at Disjecta. Already, this year is notable for not having very many female artists.

As a replacement for the Oregon Biennial at PAM their offering has always lacked the weight of a museum. Since so many Portland artists have been involved it has become primarily a social event, not a career maker. The first two instances suffered from having too many or too familiar artists (we do know one another around here). It was also a mistake by not showcasing new names (since Portland constantly attracts new artists) and this year repeats the gaff. Nearly all of the artists have shown extensively and have already garnered critical reviews from their solo efforts. One bright spot, choosing a curator from outside Portland this year was a step in the right direction.

In 2012 the show reached extreme dissatisfaction with an overcrowded/poor hang at Disjecta and the Art Gym. It was also a show that missed the artists associated with the two best artist run spaces in the city, Appendix and Worksound. This year, both those spaces are no more, and you'll find them at Portland 2014 with artists like Zachary Davis and Modou Dieng etc. Thus, Portland 2014's list looks 2-6 years too late. Using Amanda Hunt as a curator was smart but also means they didn't have an insight into the artists that are tearing things up now (oh wait people like Kyle Thomspson and Paul Clay still run their own scrappy artist run spaces that compete for attention in the press). Lastly, using a commercial gallery space like Upfor is also problematic, because it is essentially a solo show (a good looking one by Ellen Lesperance this year) and will get more traffic and be more self contained than the others. In general, I like it when an institution takes ownership of a show and puts it all in one place like the Tacoma Art Museum's Northwest Biennial does. Doing otherwise is mostly a way to diffuse critique.

Regardless of these concerns, check it out. It might look like Portland's scene did several years ago but it is decades ahead of other institution's surveys in town. I'm curious to see how much it leans on of often repeated crutches like "hand made craft" genres vs providing an accurate expansion of disciplines that is in keeping what we all see in the scene. Digital and new media along with installation art are typically Portland's strongest visual art offerings because they don't flaunt tired Northwest whittling, carving and hand shaping fetishes. Generally, these survey shows serve the institution more than the artists and I don't expect much else from them... their most redeeming quality is to give a few new names a platform for higher visibility and keep the very small art worlds we live in from becoming complacent and overly familiar. Show up and see if that is achieved? These sorts of biennials are also a great occasion to critique institutions that are supposed to represent the scene they exhibit.

Opening Reception: March 8 6-10PM
8371 N Interstate

Leave it to Rock's Box to do a mock triennial of wind chimes with way too many artists at the same time as the Whitney Bi. Since wind chimes make noise when people walk by, pass gas, talk or breathe it should create some deafeningly clique-y / chime-y noise.

The International Invitational Triennial of Contemporary Wind Chimes | March 8 - April 27
Reception: March 8, 8-11PM
Rock's Box
6540 N Interstate

Posted by Jeff Jahn on March 08, 2014 at 14:03 | Comments (0)


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