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2014 Hallie Ford Fellows
Robert Adams Photographs to PAM
Advising artists
Interview with Dana Schutz and Ryan Johnson
Friday Links
Bingaman-Burt at Clark College
Monday Links
Jennifer Steinkamp: Critical Voices lecture at PAM
The fascination with finding
Tony Feher Lecture
Friday Links
Last exhibition at current Recess HQ

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Thursday 05.29.14

2014 Hallie Ford Fellows

The three Hallie Ford Fellows for 2014 have been announced, congrats. They are; Tannaz Farsi of Eugene, Storm Tharp and Geraldine Ondrizek of Portland.

True, these panel driven type award decisions are easy to criticize but they do give us an opportunity to provide a heuristic kind of feedback that is necessary, especially since all of these regional awards are so panel driven. On the plus side yes that's 2 women and one man, but it is also two academics and one non (Tharp), which is an underwhelming trend I have mentioned before as academicians tend to explain their work better than create something more original. Of the three only Tharp is a critical favorite (in fact he's one of the state's premier artists (would make everyone's top 10 list). It is good they are picking artists without gallery representation in Oregon (Farsi and Ondrizek) but that shouldn't = academicians like it has frequently. Oregon has a deeper scene than that... (more)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 29, 2014 at 13:00 | Comments (0)


Tuesday 05.27.14

Robert Adams Photographs to PAM

Robert Adams, Kerstin, next to an old-growth stump, Coos County, Oregon 1999

Last year the Portland Art Museum mounted an exhibition of world renowned and Astoria based photographer Robert Adams. It was wonderful and bittersweet, partially because it is Robert Adams' work (which measures the pang inducing endurance of nature in position to man's destructive tendencies) but also because the work itself wasn't in the museum's collection. Today PAM officially announced that the 69 photographs would enter the collection. Bravo!

Oregon has a bad habit of not celebrating its greatest artists but one by one, starting with Mark Rothko then Carrie Mae Weems and Robert Adams it has sought to rectify this studiued "disinterest" and start keeping score with home grown products who matters internationally.

Besides, there is a sense of a humanist-activist-poet in Adams' work... even if they weren't photos of the Oregon Coast it would fit Portland's civic interests and ethos. Big props to collectors Bonnie Serkin and Will Emery, some anonymous donors and the Oregon Arts Commission who made this landmark acquisition happen. This is one for the ages and the cultural patrimony of every Oregonian from this point forward.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 27, 2014 at 18:01 | Comments (0)


Advising artists

This fascinating and important article details how artists (the lifeblood of the art world) are systematically not compensated. The net effect is that it requires artists to be wealthy before they become artists... this tends to dampen the ambition in the work (Not always but usually). The situation is even worse in the USA which has far less public funding.

Richard Speer discusses some of the taboo topics at art openings. Odds are this describes most artists reading it... but I've found that it is incredibly hard to generalize. Instead, I've found that there are many who pursue these taboos with impunity. Generally they are artists who thrive on true feedback rather than sycophantic enabling. They also tend to move farther in their careers and tend to crave true feedback. Best rule... "never assume" because in the majority, those in the art world tend to want to believe what is emotionally true at the moment. Whereas, those that can see beyond that emotional smokescreen achieve rigor and tend to rise above. Lessson, never try to explain another person's beliefs... simply make your own so pervasive that over time it becomes clear what your intent is.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 27, 2014 at 10:02 | Comments (0)


Friday 05.23.14

Interview with Dana Schutz and Ryan Johnson

Last November, I sat down with the Brooklyn based, internationally renowned, figurative painter Dana Schutz and mixed media sculptor Ryan Johnson before their joint lecture for the Oregon College of Art and Craft's Connection Lecture Series . We spent an hour talking about their visit to Portland, exploring what motivates each of their distinctive practices, as well as their mutual understanding as individual artists (married to each other) as well as the professional skills necessary to navigate a career as working artists.

Ryan Johnson and Dana Schutz (photo Victor Maldonado)

VM: Thank you Dana and Ryan for joining me today. I know you're both pretty tired having flown in from Berlin. When did you get into town?

DS: We got in yesterday evening.

VM: Wow, that's not much time to enjoy the friendly confines and the beautiful weather.

DS: It's so beautiful here. I'm struck by how it smells really fresh. We just went to the bookstore...

RJ: Powell's.

DS: Powell's bookstore, which is amazing. Insane!

VM: What rooms did you get to explore around Powell's?

DS: We went to the art section.

VM: The Pearl Room?

DS: Yeah.

RJ: Some good biographies.

DS: Yeah, Ryan got a lot of books.

RJ: We heard some interesting...

DS: Intercom...

RJ: Intercom action about a lost bandanna that was very Portlandia.

DS: I know, it made us so happy.


Posted by Victor Maldonado on May 23, 2014 at 18:51 | Comments (0)


Friday Links

PORT will have a fantastic and in depth interview with two major artists later today. To hold you over here are a few links:

Animated GIF's as a vibrant and ubiquitous art form.

Disjecta has a new curator in residence, Rachel Adams from Austin Texas. Not surprisingly, this marks yet another female curator (they have all been women and I'll leave it at that) but it is interesting that she is doing a show about structure and has an interest in architecture. Portland has a very strong and well developed peerage of artists that use design and the built environment as a major component of their work. So much so that simply doing a show involving superstructures will require the kind of rigor that we generally don't see in group shows at that venue (the space is difficult and the revolving curator door means that about the time they figure out what works they are onto a new face). Then there is the other issue where many of those artists have already shown there(ie how to do something relevant and fresh when most of those artists are already showing outside of Portland and or are concentrating on solo shows).

OCMA, responsible for the recent California-Pacific Triennial that completely ignored Portland (it is kinda nice that someone is doing it) gets a new director.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 23, 2014 at 12:04 | Comments (0)


Tuesday 05.20.14

Bingaman-Burt at Clark College


Kate Bingaman-Burt's work is concerned with the consumerist impulse and accretion. An educator, illustrator, curator, author, speaker and workshop giver she is represented by Jen Bekman ballery in New York City. Her first book, Obsessive Consumption: What Did You Buy Today? was published by Princeton Architectural Press. Her design clients range from the New York Times, MoMa, the Gap, as well the Museum of Contemporary Craft in Portland. Catch her talk.

Kate Bingaman-Burt | May 21, 7:00PM
Clark Art Talks
Clark College | Penguin Union Building GHL 213
1933 Fort Vancouver Way, Vancouver Washington

Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 20, 2014 at 18:20 | Comments (0)


Monday 05.19.14

Monday Links

A fascinating New York Times article on the rehang of the Warhol Museum. True, no museum can hope to recreate the manic "scene days" of the factory or holding court at Studio 54 but it should deepen our understanding of a great artist in both his stronger and weaker moments.

The BBC is launching a three part series on Women in art, catch episode one here. Even in Portland men still seem to get a majority of the presentation/representation space and awards.

The Met could be getting a new modern art wing to replace the current and (ughhhh) carpeted ones. With MoMA lagging and the Whitney re-imagining itself (also a necessity) the Met might find itself making all the right moves if it takes this opportunity to not do what MoMA is doing.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 19, 2014 at 0:14 | Comments (0)


Friday 05.16.14

Jennifer Steinkamp: Critical Voices lecture at PAM

Jennifer Steinkamp, Madame Curie (2011)

Tomorrow, Jennifer Steinkamp will give the next Critical Voices lecture at the Portland Art Museum. Steinkamp is one of the world's premier video installation artists and has been a pioneer of digital animation in a real world setting, often with spatial and perceptual consequences. Typically a different sense of scale or time is also at work. Also, she often implicates human biographies in a vaster less human-scaled way, for example she has dedicated pieces to 0her former teacher Mike Kelley, Jimmy Carter and Madame Curie. Overall, it is great to see so much new media work being featured at the Portland Art Museum these days with Jesper Just as well.

Jennifer Steinkamp
Lecture: May 17th 2:00 PM
Portland Art Museum
1219 SW Park

Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 16, 2014 at 15:04 | Comments (0)


Wednesday 05.14.14

The fascination with finding

A very significant Lynda Benglis that has been hiding in a sewage treatment plant might see the light of day in public display again soon. The piece in question, The Wave (the wave of the world) was originally created for the 1984 world's fair.

We are still tracking the Crystal Bridges State of the Art project... here's a little info on how they found those 10,000 artists. They visited about 10 artists in Portland last summer. The research logistics of this kind of approach alone are daunting. Also, after the apparent punt that was this year's Whitney Biennial many are wondering if this will be yet another show that uses artists to create an intentionally indecipherable spectacle designed to serve the institution and not much else?... or a real digestion of what is going on in art in a way that isn't a rigged marketing exercise? What people hunger for is a show that has a kind of integrity to it, willing to both make mistakes and uncover things that truly rise above the fray and reveal our world in a way we hadn't taken fuller stock of. A show where the artist's work is allowed to clear its throat. It is very rare these days when it is often easier to just pack redundant ideas together so that everything is just a simple exercise in comparative degrees (edging out more idiomatic developments). I much prefer shows like the 2001 and 2004 Site Santa Fe biennials, which had strong clusters of work that posited very different ideas/work in stark relief around central themes. Fetishing genre over case by case content (or worse careerist connection mongering regardless of the critical issues of the day) is the death of a thousand small cuts that most group shows today suffer from these days. One thing is certain, a lot is at stake for this well endowed institution. The critical response to the show will define the museum's success as a national player... nice to see an institution risking this much.

The truly great Richard Tuttle on exploring life in art.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 14, 2014 at 10:50 | Comments (0)


Monday 05.12.14

Tony Feher Lecture

Part of the Tony Feher Retrospective at the Des Moines Art Center (2012)

Artist Tony Feher is a poet of mundane often quite domestic objects and you can catch him Wednesday at PSU. He's one of the very best and most influential of the relational aesthetics practitioners out there and it is partially because his touch is so incredibly deft. I caught his excellent retrospective at the Des Moines Art Center a few years ago and seeing his work you might think, OK Ive seen hundreds to thousands of other artists use plastic bottles, pennies etc... but his is different. Perhaps it is because of the addition of a deeper personal narrative that informs the work or perhaps it is simply his rigor. Thus, collectively his work stands out as he isn't simply being a witty constructionist, he's illustrating the personal understanding of events in his life through the palimpsest of the everyday. Also, he's been at it longer than most RA practitioners and I consider him the true heir of Richard Tuttle. You should see his talk at PSU (he's also currently doing a residency in Portland at the Lumber Room, show opens on the 18th) and I'd consider it mandatory for any current art student in Portland or recent grads who arrange objects to attend.

Tony Feher | PSU MFA in Studio Practice Lecture Series
Artist Talk: Wednesday, May 14 7:00PM
Portland State University | Shattuck Hall Annex
1914 SW Park Ave

Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 12, 2014 at 14:30 | Comments (0)


Friday 05.09.14

Friday Links

I really like this anti-object bench project, which is designed to nullify any creative uses other than being a bench. I liken it to a prophylactic design ethos that takes all the fun and accretive uses out of an object? No wonder it looks sooo uninviting! It might have interesting applications in art. Sometimes NO is the most creative move a designer or artist can play.

Frieze's New York Art fair as seen through the Guardian and the New York Times.

Phase three of Pacific Standard Time will focus on Latino contributions.

The Whitney Biennial through the artist's eyes... though curator Stuart Comer's, "non-hierarchical multiplicity," comes off more as utopian wishful thinking and curator speak than anything observed in reality.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 09, 2014 at 13:52 | Comments (0)


Wednesday 05.07.14

Last exhibition at current Recess HQ

Heidi Nagtegaal

Recess will host its last opening in the Oregon Brass Works building this Saturday with a solo exhibition by Coast Salish People artist Heidi Nagtegaal. Titled, Paying off My Student Loans it is supposed to be an optimistic enterprise, selling 1000 shirts for $20 a piece but it also indirectly underscores the way artists are keeping spaces like Recess open on their own dime with very little support. Recess has moved before but one senses the popularity of Portland and its red hot real estate market are definitely putting the squeeze on artists here (there is a fundraiser planned for May 27th at Holocene). Recess isn't just a presentation space, it is also a warren of artist studios and uprooting this community does signal a danger to Portland's arts ecosystem... one whose strongest contributions typically come from these artist run spaces.

There will also be by a talk on by Anna Gray and Ryan Wilson Paulsen titled The Ghost of vanished Ideals, exploring the oppression of debt upon the poor and frequently incarcerated. Lastly, a short musical set by Brian Mumford of Dragging an Ox Through Water and Jackie-O Motherfucker should make this the must see art event this coming weekend. If you haven't been to Reccess yet (institutional curators many of you fit that that description) now is the time.

Paying Off My Student Loans May 10-27, 2014
Opening Reception: May 10th, 2014 6-10PM
Anna Gray & Ryan Wilson Paulsen talk: May 10th, 7-7:45PM
Mumford Performance: May 10th, 8PM
RECESS Headquarters
1127 SE 10th Ave.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 07, 2014 at 14:33 | Comments (0)


Monday 05.05.14

Monday Links

Last weekend tour of art in Berlin... post sexy?

My old stomping grounds, the excellent Milwaukee Art Museum is proposing a modest addition but The Journal has a convoluted response itself to the proposal. The museum on Lake Michigan is a wonderful site and suggesting that change is backwards thinking. Also, the museum isn't that convoluted and I'd describe it as variety. The Calatrava wing is an obvious entrance and re-establishing the lake entrance to the very good for art viewing Kahler wing is a great, understated idea that consolidates the experience. The Saarinen and Calatrava constitute a variety of achitecture that shakes up the midwestern lakefront in a way that is enviable (even Chicago lacks this). BTW, most major Museums are undertaking expansions as a generation of key philanthropists are looking for legacy projects... it keeps the wealth in the community rather than Federal estate taxes. All of which isn't a good enough reason to move the museum off an already ideal site.

The Guardian Q & A with Marc Quinn.

Yau on Schnabel. He is pretty much the patron saint of derivative painting, which isn't necessarily a slight but says a lot about his MFA puppy mill clones. I think of Schnabel as an American response to Sigmar Polke, replacing Polke's supple inquiry with Schnabel's ambition. Once again that isn't necessarily a bad thing, just something that limits Schnabel's place in the grand scheme of art, an interesting cautionary tale for those who would be great and a road map for those who want to be great at being OK.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 05, 2014 at 10:37 | Comments (0)


Friday 05.02.14

Friday Links

A secret Whistler portrait revealed.

Artforum's take on the Whitney Bi is rather fatalistic but it underscores what I noted a few months ago, that this show was a feint passed off to outside curators. I think everyone is ready for something that is more than an exposure op but a true context builder and challenger. In short the stakes have been too low and too diffuse.

Ongoing labor abuse in the middle east's museum building boom.

One of my favorite people in Portland a little profile on Glenda Goldwater.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 02, 2014 at 13:17 | Comments (0)


Thursday 05.01.14

First Thursday May 2014 Picks

Portland has a lot of very good shows up right now including Luc Tuymans at PNCA but we at PORT are really picky and these are your very best bets for something new,exciting and interesting in Portland's art scene tonight:

Three Chants Modern at PICA

We just reviewed PICA's Andrea Guyer show Three Chants Modern, which opened recently. It is an internationally important exhibition delving into the way we value the contributions of women in the visual arts. It is a must see and PICA (which normally doesn't have 1st Thursday hours will be open from 6-8 tonight. It's the best show PICA has done since 2003 and the US premier of a crucial work.

Andrea Geyer: Three Chants Modern | April 19 - June 21, 2014
First Thursday Hours: May 1, 6:00 - 8:00PM
415 SW 10th Ave, Suite 300
Gallery Hours: Tuesday - Friday 11:00 - 6:00PM | Saturday 11:00 - 4:00PM

Wesley Peterson at PSU's Autzen Gallery

Also in the Southwest are several PSU MFA openings. There are generally some of the better thesis shows in the city and checking them out puts you way ahead on what is really going on in Contemporary art in Portland.

Opening Receptions for all 3 (in respective galleries): May 1, 4-6PM
Exhibitions: April 28 - May 9, 2014
Wesley Petersen - TOIL - Autzen Gallery
Kathryn Yancey – Like One Each Another - AB Lobby Gallery
Kaila Farrell-Smith - S? aa Mak’s - MK Gallery
PSU MFA Graduate Project Shows

April Brimer

May also happens to be Portland Fashion Month and Christine Taylor has culled together an exciting group of Portland photographers for Notions of Beauty: NW Fashion Photography Now. Featuring a pretty comprehensive sample of fashion photogs: Holly Andres, Megumi Shauna Arai, Rafael Astorga, Lindsey Avenetti, Julia Barbee, Willyum Beck, April Brimer, Hannah Piper Burns, Theresa Crim, Brendan Coughlin, Carmen Daneshmandi, Ashley Helvey, Dane Kyckelhahn, Bryan Kyckelhahn, Evie McShane, Sara Moskovitz, Jason Parker, JD White, Elizabeth Rudge, Charlie Schuck, Strath Shepard, Emily Smith, Robin Stein, Cara Swift, Christine Taylor, BriAnne Wills, Hana Ryan Wilson.

Notions of Beauty: NW Fashion Photography Now | May 1 - June 1
Opening Reception: May 1, 6-8PM
Steven Goldman Gallery, Art institute of Portland
1122 NW Davis

Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 01, 2014 at 13:06 | Comments (0)

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