A healthy art scene identifies and welcomes new talent but we should also be keeping an eye out for new presenters, who often have the hardest job of all... that of not only opening new doors... but also keeping them open.
At PORT, we take seriously the role of identifying new talent early on... not simply jumping on a bandwagon after new artists and spaces are established (but I also want to see if there is staying power). Thus, it is time for another installment of our New Faces series
, focusing on new leaders to the art scene because it is precisely these early beginnings where being a talent scout can do some good.
Every few years we seem to have a sea change where some familiar spaces shut down (in the last few years it was Worksound, Place and Appendix) and it leaves holes which some enterprising new faces seek to fill (Place was forced to transition to Surplus Space and both Adams and Ollman and Upfor Contemporary have added to the gallery scene but what gets me up in the morning are discovering what those "wildcard", unproven new personalities might accomplish). Although nobody is doing anything the size (ie a large industrial space) and the consistently international scope of Worksound it looks like there is definitely a new crop in the works.
HQ Objective is (L to R) Johnny Ray Alt and Andre C Filipek
In April 2014 Andre C Filipek and Johnny Ray Alt inaugurated the HQ Objective's project space
, titled HQHQ (think HQ squared) in the depths of the venerable Oak Street Building in the heart of Portland's Central Eastside Industrial District. It is an industrial neighborhood where so many alternative spaces and warehouse shows have taken place but HQHQ with its faux wood floors make it feels far more more polished than previous efforts. Filipek and Alt are both recent PNCA grads with an aesthetic reminiscent of the now shuttered Appendix Project Space. What's different is a somewhat more design-y and an early international outlook they have taken, including an artist from the UK in their May show. Definitely a space to keep one's eyes on.
232 SE Oak St. #108
Lindsay Jordan Kretchun and Jessica Breedlove Latham at Duplex Collective
Duplex is another art and design minded alternative space headed by the whipsmart duo of Lindsay Jordan Kretchun and Jessica Breedlove Latham. Located in Oldtown Chinatown (an area that seems ripe for new galleries) they blend their experience (Jessica has a museum studies background) with an openness for new submissions from artists. They have been around for a little while but it often take a bit to get a sense of where to take programming. It's this ability to jump in and find your way that makes Portland appealing for new spaces... in bigger cities you are judged the moment you open your doors (Even Stieglitz and Kahnweiler took a bit of time to figure out what they were going to be about. The brains and drive behind it make this space worth watching.
219 NW Couch St
Shir Ly Grisanti at C3: initiative
seeks to take the alt space initiative in St. Johns. Back in 2003-2004 St. Johns was a busy hive of alternative space activity with innumerable shows at Cathedral Park Place (and the much missed Haze Gallery. Also, with rents rising everywhere in the city St Johns is getting more attractive again. Now the C3: Initiative is jumping into the fray. It's a very flexible space that could accommodate multimedia shows and the backyard is perfect for outdoor screenings (they have already had a Sochi event with Pussy Riot). They also have a residency and a studio incubator program. Most importantly, they are open to working with guest curators so hit them up
7326 N. Chicago Avenue
Judy Jacobson of Hap
One of the most difficult job descriptions I can think of is that of gallerist. Last November Judy Jacobson threw her hat in the ring by opening Hap gallery in the Pearl District. She also owns the space, which literally takes the place of the old Chambers Gallery which was such a good advocate for the kind of new media art that a lot of the other commercial galleries in Portland avoided. My sense is that she is taking a measured approach, getting her feet wet and learning what can be done by pushing the envelope. The fact that she is in it for the long haul and seems to relish the discovery/adventure seems to be borne out by the conceptual and constructivist shows she has already programmed. Though the last few shows have been constructed relational aesthetics shows she promises to throw some curve balls into the mix soon.
916 NW Flanders
Tony Chrenka is one half of the duo that is Muscle Beach
, a collaborative nomadic curatorial project. A recent Lewis and Clark College grad, Chrenka also has a strong sense of design, which influences his curatorial projects. Muscle Beach doesn't have a permanent home yet but has already curated several shows including an installation where Chrenka moved into a new apartment. This August Muscle Beach will be curating a show at PSU's Littman Gallery... 2013's gallery of the year. Now that they have a few projects under their belts it will interesting to see what happens.
The other half of muscle Beach is Flynn Casey, who is also a new Lewis and Clark grad. It seems like Lewis and Clark has an enviable track record of training leaders who aren't simply artists. [Short history lesson: Haze Gallery, Gallery 500, 12128 and now Muscle Beach all came from L&C] Casey shares a similar design aesthetic as his cohort but his wry sense of humor deploying surveillance and corporate style achievement awards caught my attention as well.
There is no telling how well these newbies will do but check out our first two New Faces articles in the series: 1
. How will version 3.0 do?