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Monday 06.30.14

Monday outrage links

Ok it is Monday, time to get fired up over these stories (we have a ton of major articles coming your way very soon).

Hopi masks and other sacred objects were auctioned in France.

Tracey Emin did an astonishing thing with her My Bed, turning her messy personal life into a diarhetoric art that so many artists today owe a great deal to. It is being auctioned. I really don't want to like Emin's art but I always rather like it... still I feel My Bed's mildly scandalous status tends to overshadow how good an artist she really is.

Does the Mojave Desert need a swimming pool? Probably more than most places do... but it is still art looking a lot like redevelopment and encroachment.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 30, 2014 at 0:25 | Comments (0)


Friday 06.27.14

Friday Links

A study on the connections between art and food presentation, why is a Kandinsky knockoff salad tastier than something arranged with less thought put into it? My thoughts are is that it is about the visual exploration the sensing of subtle arrangements and shifts make us more observant in all of our sense when our visual ones are engaged. Of course food and art are a very big players in why Portland is Portland.

Activist museums... I think there is a place for this but it requires multifaceted viewpoints not simple propaganda.

Percent for art programs have been having a tough road lately, but in Portland they have been doing sometimes great things.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 27, 2014 at 16:24 | Comments (0)


Thursday 06.26.14

Peter Burr at FalseFront


Peter Burr's solo show of projection, sound, and lenticular prints at FalseFront titled "digging fills" should be an ideal kickoff for the summertime season of shows in Portland. What's more it is one of the projects funded by the Precipice Fund, designed to support these very crucial alternative space shows (which traditional granting orgs have had trouble getting behind).

digging fills | June 28 - July 13
Opening Reception: June 28 6 - 9PM
4518 NE 32 Avenue

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 26, 2014 at 11:44 | Comments (0)


Monday 06.23.14

Monday Links

Ai Weiwei on incarceration and his Alcatraz show.

The Guardian on why digital art matters. Any article that mentions the ENIAC in the first sentence gets my attention.

Art Basel... the one in Basel.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 23, 2014 at 9:16 | Comments (0)


Thursday 06.19.14

Distinguishing Wolves & Coyotes

Wolf, voor de natuur, Saxifraga - Jan Nijendijk.5097

Two must read writings this week by two different critics seem to be pointing in a similar direction, namely the one where critical thinking goes beyond simply creating "dialog" and takes a harder nosed approach. Jerry Saltz's exegesis on "Zombie Formalism" or "Crapstraction" levies full critical weight on the shruggy gesturing work we see everywhere from Portland to New York City. No scene is immune. Personally I'm proud to have pissed off plenty of dilettante tin-eyed zombie Greenbergs who want to believe that drop cloth or tarp paintings are anything but predictable rehashings of the late 60's and early 70's rendered with a very slight emo twinge of failure mongering and self pity. ... (more)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 19, 2014 at 16:31 | Comments (0)


Monday 06.16.14

Monday Links

Insanity in Miami as a board rejected director acts as director, mmmnokay...

When faking a Pollock, spelling still matters.

Sooo Mark Rothko's mid period watercolors are important for the technical qualities he took with him to the later works... of course that means his even earlier watercolors (many of Portland) have a similar importance (expect to see a show on this).

It may have a rather boring name but Portland's new bridge is turning out to be rather good. I like the Donald Macdonald designed bridge and I saw Rosales' earlier design as kind of a kiss up to the retro looking and somewhat conservative architectural tastes in Portland. I think this design better connects Mt Hood to the tree lined heights of the west hills by echoing their angularity. What can I say... I like edge and don't like it when architects pander to the conservative tastes of a city. Macdonald went the right way, you don't build a modern bridge to echo an antiquated design... you use the best technology of the present to create one that reflects the time it was created in.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 16, 2014 at 0:28 | Comments (0)


Friday 06.13.14

Gardening Weekend

Re-discovering Lacquer: 12 Artists Reinvent a Timeless Tradition, (FG) chopsticks by Gallery Shili (photo Jeff Jahn)

I'm very excited about what may be the best craft/design exhibition Portland has seen in decades titled, Re-discovering Lacquer: 12 Artists Reinvent a Timeless Tradition at the Portland Japanese Garden. Not only does it seamlessly explore some of the newest and most radical uses of lacquer today through its 12 artists and designers... it also features a stunningly simple and elegant exhibition design that highlights the work. This attention to presentation addresses a problem most craft shows in Portland have been undercut by lately. If you love design and craft this is THE show and exquisite work deserves the same level of presentation. I've seen it and this won't disappoint, all while hinting at the coming garden expansion by architect Kengo Kuma (interviewed last year) who also has work in the show. The exhibition premiered last year in Tokyo and is specificly configured for the Portland space, along with a few different pieces.

According to the PR: "A wide variety of pieces are included—from exquisitely and inlaid lacquered boxes by Yamamura Shinya, whose work was recently featured in a major exhibition in New York, to lacquered acrylic rings by Masako Ban, and gilded lacquer sake cups by Koichiro Kimura. This stunning installation was designed by Javier Villar Ruiz, originally from Barcelona, Spain, who is a partner at Kengo Kuma Associates, and the exhibition includes a tiered lacquer shelf by the renowned architect Kengo Kuma himself."

Guest curated by Duneghan Park it features work by: Masako Ban,Yukio Hashimoto, Naomi Kamata, Koichiro Kimura, Kengo Kuma, Gang Yong Park, Heigo Sato, Hirotatsu Saito, Gallery Shili Tokyo, Kosho Tsuboi, Satoshi Umeno, Amano Shikki, Shinya Yamamura

Re-discovering Lacquer | June 14 - July 6
Portland Japanese Garden
611 SW Kingston Ave

Pissaro, Place du Carrousel

What could be more Portland than an exhibition on a park? The Tuilleries in Paris to be precise, featuring sculpture, models, photography, paintings and even video exploring the civics of that famous park. Similarly, Portland is a city of parks and gardens and has long had an odd little-discussed affinity for French things (we do like food, wine and liberty-egality-fraternity does describe Portlanders). But the roots of our francophilia goes way back to early settlements like Champoeg and later in the early 20th century many of Portland's top cultural patrons spent a great deal of time in Paris collecting works by Monet, Brancusi and Picasso, which are still on display in the collection today.

That bit of history aside, the Portland Art Museum lives on the South Park Blocks a grand boulevard with some of its roots in the civic design for The Tuileries/Champs-Elysees in Paris. Yet, unlike the Louvre/Tuilerties PAM hasn't really fully engaged the civic leverage inherent to the Park Blocks (which PNCA is beginning to).

To that PAM is staging The Art of The Louvre's Tuileries Garden, with the not so subtle implication that it is actively looking at its own place on one of Portland's most famous parks. Featuring works by, Pissarro, Manet, Cartier-Bresson, Coysevox, Bosio, Atget and Kokoshka the exhibition is a wide ranging and multifaceted look at the way a public space is used by and inspires visitors. This inherently civic approach filled with photography and more than a few colossal sculptures (some with bullet holes) tells a story that the museum is wisely leveraging to explore Portland's own stunning park system. Thus, instead of a vault... PAM has turned into an interpretive civic mirror for Portland to look upon its own parks with via Capture #Parklandia.

The Art of The Louvre's Tuilleries Garden | June 14 - September 21
Portland Art Museum
1219 SW Park

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 13, 2014 at 13:51 | Comments (0)


Wednesday 06.11.14


Former EssEff-er Modou Dieng suggests that all artists leave San Francisco and move to Portland. I also suggest a few patrons move as well. We do have many new patrons but they definitely lag far behind the # and level of artists working here.

What is keeping all the rats off of Kara Walker's sugar sculpture?

Matt McCormick puts the Great Northwest online.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 11, 2014 at 11:22 | Comments (0)


Monday 06.09.14

SuttonBeresCuller Talk

SuttonBeresCuller, Ring of Fire (2014)

Seattle based SuttonBeresCuller are perhaps one of the most ambitious art producers in that city and they will be speaking in Vancouver Washinton on Tuesday for the latest Clark art talk. Their work often creates a surreal sense of displacement through the use of mundane and often large scale objects... kinda like Duchampian ideas on steroids, frequently with a performance element.

SuttonBeresCuller | June 10, 7:00PM
Clark Art Talks
Clark College | Penguin Union Building GHL 213
1933 Fort Vancouver Way, Vancouver Washington

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 09, 2014 at 16:20 | Comments (0)


Friday 06.06.14

Friday Links

The troubled Oregon Arts Commission has named Brian Rogers of Philadelphia as its new Director. On numerous occasions it has been mentioned that the OAC has transparency problems and to date they still have not explained why the previous director was asked to leave. I'm certain many journalists are going to be clamoring for an interview with him but frankly I am more curious as to whom he sits down with to get his bearings when he gets here. Overall, Oregon is shifting its expectations from that of numerous insular communities to that of a world wide player on the cultural front. This shift has made the Director position a lightning rod for everything that is both good and bad in the state. Frankly, we should expect innovative solutions, while honoring our history and be focused on merit (not cronyism) as Oregon exists in a competitive international marketplace for talent. We can improve and welcome to Oregon!

Hyperallergic on Richard Serra in Qatar.

Restoration of a beach scene reveals... a whale.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 06, 2014 at 12:11 | Comments (0)


Thursday 06.05.14

First Thursday June 2014 Picks

True, June is a month where most everyone already has one foot in summer and it is filled with group and thesis shows. Still I'm gonna go old-school and pick three classic looking solo shows for you to check out.

Mandy Stigant

At Blackfish Gallery Mandy Stigant presents Basketcase, exploring the ancient art that is making a vessel out of clay. It feels like a back to basics show for June and there is something really compelling about her ceramics. The classics are classics for a reason.

Basketcase | June 3 - February 28, 2014
First Thursday Reception: June 5, 6 - 9PM
Blackfish Gallery | 420 NW 9th


Andre C. Filipek has a poetic and very precise aesthetic (tuned to design and class) that could turn into something interesting. Check out his latest, ELYTES, at Valentines tonight.

ELYTES: New Work by Andre C. Filipek | June 5 8:00 PM - Midnight
242 SW Ankeny

... (more, including Sean Healy)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 05, 2014 at 16:32 | Comments (0)


Nine Years of PORT


This June marks PORT's ninth anniversary and fittingly this is our 3,000th post as Portland's most critically attuned and comprehensively in depth delving visual art website. It has always been a group effort as this early interview in the Mercury from 2005 can attest. I'm planning a site revamp and a retrospective publication for our tenth (next) year. We have practiced the way we preach about how persistence and follow through matter.

Overall, critical writing about visual art is incredibly hard and I've always likened PORT as a confederacy rather than the old news room model, which makes sense since criticism and journalism have never been a natural fit. Instead, we have always placed a premium on critical thinking rather than simple reportage (or community mongering)... mostly because PORT is a trade journal devoted to hard core visual art and design geeks. I've always seen it as a first draft of history as it happens and the internet allows us the speed and ability to edit the inevitable grammar gaffs that working without an formal editor creates (we do edit the interviews). As a rule it's easy to separate the bad from the good... it takes something more to give those unsatisfied with the merely good enough feedback to reach a bit higher. It also makes our reviews matter.

Not all blogs are the same (PORT bears very little comparison with most) but I feel it is our dogged focus on just a few things like critical in depth thinking on visual art and design (usually with a civic icon-like status) that has kept us...


Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 05, 2014 at 14:19 | Comments (0)


Monday 06.02.14

Let Them Look: An Interview with Luc Tuymans

Luc Tuymans, PNCA's Feldman Gallery, 2014 (photo Amy Bernstein)

Luc Tuymans' paintings are renowned throughout the art world for their chilling diagnosis of humanity. Tuymans' oeuvre is haunting, often combining the sacred with the mundane in order to instill a desired paranoia. Tuymans' work is attributed to the revival of the death of painting and has been exhibited around the world. . . .(more)

Posted by Amy Bernstein on June 02, 2014 at 10:18 | Comments (0)

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