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Slow Fall To Earth
Friday Links: Great Artist Edition
Gamblin at Curiosity Club
Friday Links
Mary Henry at Jeffrey Thomas
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Chris Burden dead at 69
First Thursday Picks May 2015
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Sunday 05.31.15

Weekend links

Jerry Saltz reviews Jessica Jackson Hutchins latest. She is a Portlander. Interesting that he doesn't bring up Kienholz, which seems pretty obvious. She's different of course, there's a debt to Tracey Emin in there as well but nobody brings YBA's into the discussion around leading women in art today. They should.

Even Andreas Gursky has difficulties using trademarked super heroes.

PORT's own Tori Abernathy had a great deal of exposure this last week... nice to see the mainstream press catching onto the issue of the arts and "creatives" being pushed out by developmentof supporting alternative art spaces. Perhaps Portland could look at Vancouver BC's Community Amenity Contribution system to ensure the arts are not pushed out?

This was a fascinating read on conflicts of interests for reviewers at the New York Times. It is a must read for those who think they understand how criticism is supposed to work. Fact is, criticism and journalism are not the same thing and ultimately a true critic is a very different beast than a traditional journalist... (more)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 31, 2015 at 13:54 | Comments (1)


Wednesday 05.27.15

Richard Hunt & Lee Kelly at PNCA

My favorite Richard Hunt, Slabs of the Sunburnt West (1975) at University of Chicago

There is something about heavy existential metal and by that I mean sculpture sited in public spaces. Richard Hunt and Lee Kelly are both synonymous with heavy form art in their respective cities of Chicago and Portland so it should be interesting to hear them compare notes Thursday at PNCA. Both are lyrical but I liken Hunt to being more influenced by the Futurists like Boccioni and Kelly more to language, perhaps even the design of typefaces? Moderated by Pietro Belluschi's son Tony and his wife Marti since the two artists had interacted with the noted midcentury architect.

Artist conversation: May 28 6:30 - 8:30PM
511 NW Broadway

Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 27, 2015 at 18:23 | Comments (0)


Tuesday 05.26.15

Slow Fall To Earth


Shaking off the holiday, time to reengage? Today at HQHQ as a component of Central's symposium, Peripheral to What?, Amur Initiatives Media and Research presents an, "inquiry into the actuation of an airdrop."

Slow Fall to Earth | May 26 7:00PM
HQHQ Project Space
232 SE Oak St #108

Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 26, 2015 at 13:51 | Comments (0)


Friday 05.22.15

Friday Links: Great Artist Edition

We will have an essay and reviews for you soon but till then here are some exciting links about all time great artists. It isn't in vogue in academics but "Greatness" does exist (museums still hold the banner for this crucial idea) and these artists all are exemplars.

Judd_100_alu.jpgat Chinati (c) Judd Foundation. Licensed by VAGA, NYC (photo Jeff Jahn)

The long anticipated Judd Retrospective at MoMA has finally been announced for Fall 2017. Judd is a crucial figure, partly for how he changed the terms under which we experience art and define ideal circumstances. His influence is so wide that most artists after him have had to contend with his rigor, logic, methods and integrity. In 2010 I helped organize a conference and co-curated a very unique Judd exhibition that explored his radical application of delegated fabrication. That conference and exhibition in Portland began an important return to the core discussions around Judd's work, something which had been obscured partly by ubiquity and forces in the art market.

... (more Hesse & Heizer)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 22, 2015 at 11:38 | Comments (0)


Tuesday 05.19.15

Gamblin at Curiosity Club


Tonight Scott Gellatly of Gamblin Paints will give a presentation on Portland own premium oil paint manufacturer to Curiosity Club. Oil paint may seem old school to some but the proliferation of color in modern life is a relatively new thing. Before the impressionists paints had to be produced in individual artist studios, which by necessity resembled factories in their own right. Ive taken the factory tour several times and it is always fascinating, so do yourself a favor and check this out if you have any interest in painting or color itself.

Gamblin Lecture: May 19th, 6-7PM
Hand Eye Supply
427 NW Broadway

Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 19, 2015 at 10:00 | Comments (0)


Friday 05.15.15

Friday Links

Excellent review of Yoko Ono's solo show at MoMA in the NYT's.

The news of the week is that an entire MFA class at USC has dropped out in protest. That schools do this is nothing new, Mark Rothko even had something similar happen to himself and two other Jewish students from Portland at Yale. What is different is the sheer # of art students and the internet as a platform for sharing these protests. As the pact between higher education and students grows ever tenser with skyrocketing student debt we haven't heard the last of this.

The evolution of Van Evera Baily's midcentury modern homes on Portland Architecture.

We art critics are very protective of our voice and Christopher Knight is absolutely right to demand something different be done with his misattributed words. Museums simply have a responsibilty to the art and the history of discourse around it, especially if the critic in question has made a formal request that it be changed. It also reaffirms why long term staff critics are necessary... a revolving door of freelances doesn't have the same kind of backbone to stand up for their words.

A blighted urban street is in the running for the Turner Prize.

*Update: Images of painter's palettes through the ages.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 15, 2015 at 13:25 | Comments (0)


Wednesday 05.13.15

Mary Henry at Jeffrey Thomas

Mary Henry at her home

During the Twentieth Century the story of Modern Art was mostly one of men but in the past 20 years a more varigated and gender accurate history has been rediscovered major contributors like Sonia Delaunay, Gabreiel Munter and Lygia Clark. There is still a long way to go though and the fact that Helen Frankenthaler's work still sells for less than Morris Louis' is galling since she introduced the staining technique and was more than a little involved in the development of Greenberg's most important theories. We are just beginning a major revision.

Enter the late Mary Henry to that list and her estate's first exhibition with Jeffrey Thomas Fine Art titled Gardens of Delight. A student of Laslo Maholy-Nagy at the New Bauhaus in Chicago Henry distinguished herself by absorbing the Bauhaus teaching of forms conveying underlying spiritual information. Today we call it good design but back then it needed to have an more exotic terminology. Henry is an exceptional poet of forms as Arcy conveyed a while back here on PORT. So often female artists have to traffic in a sense of vulnerability with their private lives or nakedness being used. Henry, like Agnes Martin and Frankenthaler, she's just excellent and justifies how abstraction gets us back to basics by removing gender norms entirely from the work.

Garden of Delight | May 13 - July 11
Opening Reception: May 13 6-8PM
Jeffrey Thomas Fine Art
2219 NW Raleigh

Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 13, 2015 at 12:16 | Comments (1)


Tuesday 05.12.15

Julia Oldham at Portland Pataphysical Society

Still from Laika's Lullaby

Julia Oldham's Farewell Brave Voyager at the Portland Pataphysical Society may be the most emotionally demanding exhibition one will see in Portland all year. It is easily the strongest solo show on view at the moment, presenting a tale of science, sacrifice and a compelling combination of whimsy laced with a lethal dose of tragedy. Those are all hings that have always accompanied scifi thrillers like Gravity, Alien and 2001: A Space Odyssey. Where this video art exhibition differs is it plays more upon rawer empathy than a filmmakers emotional buy-in and adrenaline management. Because it deals in a more unconditional empathy most sensitive Portlanders will have some trouble with this exhibition, which follows the fates of two dogs and a robot in space. Still, it is really worth a visit if you love explorers and or animals as it fleshes out the most existential of moments, that impending final one. Be prepared, on opening night there were several visitors weeping openly.

One of the dogs depicted, Laika, is historical... being first sentient Earthling to explore space aboard the Sputnik 2 spacecraft in 1957. According to conflicted accounts she died 4 hours into the flight after completing as many orbits, while the stress and high temperatures sealed her fate. These are dry facts but Oldham handles the historical account with respectful graphic design and production quality worthy of such sacrifice.

Still from Laika's Lullaby

The largest video Laika's Lullaby, depicts her compelling situation as Sputnik 2 leaves the planet with its payload. The hopeful opening sequences do not foreshadow the death sentence committed in the name of human curiosity. Instead, the cartoon imagery evokes the kind of intrepid curiosity that Star Trek and other dramas have made into the hallmark of space exploration. The eager hopefulness that most dogs posses is perfectly conveyed here and by all accounts Laika was chosen for the mission because of her calm demeanor. As time passes though... (more)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 12, 2015 at 9:46 | Comments (0)


Sunday 05.10.15

Chris Burden dead at 69

Shoot, Chris Burden's most famous performance piece

Sad news today, Chris Burden a landmark performance artist who became one of the more interesting sculptors of the late 20th and 21st century has died of Melanoma at 69. PORT interviewed Burden here and I fondly remember his pilotless ghost ships at PAM a few years ago as they seemed to capture the zeitgeist in that holds still in the USA today. Burden was one of the relatively unknown artists that came through Portland's groundbreaking PCVA program, later achieving legendary status. For me, what always resonated about Burden was the work never seemed self centered, even when he was being shot for his work. He made art a kind of martyrdom or at least a symbol of humanity's reliance on self sacrifice (as a kind of structural necessity for culture... bridges etc.) and as such his example will live on.

Christopher Knight's obituary in the LA Times hits all the right notes.

The Art Newspaper's obituary also touched on the importance of the later work as well.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 10, 2015 at 11:30 | Comments (0)


Thursday 05.07.15

First Thursday Picks May 2015

With the very early Spring it seems like the Summer season of group shows is out in full force already. Yet it is still Spring and this is what is in bloom:


Midori Hirose is one of those artists that the Portland art scene loves critically (we were the first to review her when she was relatively unknown and again and yet again). I has been a while since we have seen her go all out so this exhibition at PSU's often excellent Littman Gallery is quite welcome. We shall see what this humorous alchemist is up to this time?

The Joker Is Wild | May 6 - May 27, 2015
Reception: May 7, 2013, 7 - 8PM
Artist's talk: Artist talk and performance: Thurs, May 14, 7-8PM TJIW w/ special guest Rattledick (music for the high strung) Littman Gallery, Smith Hall, Room 250
Portland State University, 1825 SW Broadway


Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 07, 2015 at 14:52 | Comments (0)


Tuesday 05.05.15

Opportunities knocking

The Left Coast a survey of artists from California Oregon and Washington looks like a great way for some of Portland's strong art scene to introduce itself to the Bay Area. At the Marin Society of Artists it is juried by Lauren O'Connell of the Berkley Art Museum. Unfortunately there is a fee $35-55. Deadline 8/1/2015

Three years ago PORT was the first to tell you about the innovative Precipice Fund and its mission to support alternative types of art projects in Oregon. Recently we reviewed one Precipice Funded project, Make Yourself At Home, which explored rent and debt... things that don't "score well" on grant panels but are very important. Well it is already time for round 3 of the Precipice Fund. Deadline 8/17/2015 but there are several workshops starting in May to help you make a stronger proposal.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 05, 2015 at 10:49 | Comments (0)


Friday 05.01.15

Weekend Picks

It is you final weekend to catch Italian Style at PAM, Hakkodo at the Japanese Garden as well as Italian Style at PAM, Hakkodo at the Japanese Garden as well as Julie Alpert at the Archer Gallery. These are my picks for this weekend art wise:

Megan_W_Feminist_Bookstore.jpgMegan Whitmash at Reading Frenzy

Sunday afternoon Jennifer Armbrust (PORT co-founder) and her co-curator Michelle Blade present Feminist Bookstore at Reading Frenzy. Artists; Lisa Anne Auerbach, Michelle Blade, Alika Cooper, Edie Fake, Sara Greenberger Rafferty, Whitney Hubbs, Jessica Hutchins, Jessie Rose Vala and Megan Whitmarsh have re-imagined covers of feminist classics. On Sunday 1-3PM you are encouraged to bring in your own feminist classics and create your own custom dust cover with supplies on hand. All covers created during the event will be scanned and posted on feministlibrary.org

According to the press release, "Drawing attention to the role of feminist thinking in artistic practice, Feminist Bookstore celebrates the contribution of writers, theorists and intellectuals. Each artist created a custom dust jacket for a book that has shaped their life, work, or way of being. These jackets will be displayed on the original books, inviting viewer to engage not just with the art, but with the texts themselves."

Feminist Library | May 1-31
Dust Jacket Event: Sunday May 3, 1 - 4PM
Reading Frenzy
3628 N. Mississippi Ave

Acanthus, lacquered bowl by Naoko Goto

Dont miss the last weekend to catch 4 generations of the Goto family's lacquer work in Hakkodo, The Artisans of Kamakura. It is also a reunion of sorts since Unkyu Goto won the Gold Medal for outstanding Craftsmanship in Portland's 1905 World's Fair. There is a reason the Japanese Garden has put on the strongest craft shows in the city for several years now and this is no exception.

In a rare move a woman, Keiko Goto is now head of the family's workshop while her younger sister Naoko has opened a more moder solo practice. Definitely check it out, besides the Japanese Garden itself is sublime and a top shelf experience. The sheer scope of the exhibition with its exquisite craft presents a living continuity that a lot of artisanal crafts have trouble with (trendy retro might seem "authentic" but the genuine is the real thing that "authentic" makes pretenses of being but is not). This doesn't feel antiquarian so much as an exquisite family reunion. I'll have more on this but since it is such a lovely weekend go to the garden.

Hakkodo, The Artisans of Kamakura | April 10 - May 3
Portland Japanese Garden
611 SW Kingston Avenue

Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 01, 2015 at 12:02 | Comments (0)


Friday discussion

PORT will have the latest version of The Score series of reviews for you shortly. It will focus on curatorial decisions and you can read #2 from 2011 to revisit the single worst curatorial mistake in Portland history... never put Carl Andre sculpture in a display case.

Guggenheim occupied. Museums are on the front lines of the widening income disparities.

On the other side of thefence the WSJ chronicles the making of the Frieze art brand.

Christopher Knight rightly calls out the Whitney for misrepresenting his words.

Roberta Smith discusses the uneveness of the Morgan Library's Embracing Modernism exhibition and it is a healthy to keep an eye on such connoisseurship if NYC is to keep its position... (more)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 01, 2015 at 10:00 | Comments (0)

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