Sneak peek of No Boundaries at PICA (photo Jeff Jahn)
Aboriginal art (like all great things) is controversial, facing relentless questions of authenticity and exploitation... yet the strength of the best work stands and you will be able to see some of it in PICA's latest show, No Boundaries
. It also foregrounds a strong discussion around collecting art (all coming from the Scholl's world renowned collection)... an example Portland's young patronage system needs more of. Great Art transcends, while embodying all orbital questions and tensions and this exhibition does occasionally deliver those moments where all the minuses become plusses.
True, No Boundaries is new territory for PICA in many understandably head scratching ways. For example, many of the contemporary aboriginal artists presented are no longer living yet PICA typically works directly with living artists. Also, this the only West Coast leg of a national museum tour, yet PICA is definitely not a museum. Still, I understood why PICA curator Kristan Kennedy wanted to do this (PICA is the least linear thinking of all of Portland's art institutions). So why? First, the Scholl's collection represents some of the most vital abstract work of the past 50 years, the kind no serious painter can ignore. Contemporary aboriginal art came of age in the 90's and caught on in Britain before other places... they are filled with contraditions. For example, some of the works on display are legitimate masterpieces, though the Scholls don't baby them with museum requisites like climate control. Lastly, No Boundaries is heart stoppingly good in addition to being a turbid collision of worlds... some of the greatest aboriginal artists on view like Paddy Bedford and Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri exemplify the joy and heartache of this collision and thereby form a commentary on both a now vanished world outside of the art market, tragic race relations and true contemporary influence. It is incredibly current and nobody, especially painters should miss this traveling gem of an exhibition organized by my friend Bill Fox at the Nevada Art Museum. Where? The venue is in Chinatown kitty corner from the old PCVA and across from the old Portland Art Center's spaces.
Artists: Warlimpirrnga Tjapaltjarri (1958-), Paddy Bedford (1922-2007), Jananggoo Butcher Cherel (1918-2009), Tommy Mitchell (1943-2013), Ngarra (1920-2008), Prince of Wales (Midpul) (1938-2002), Billy Joongoora Thomas (1920-2012), Boxer Milner Tjampitjin (1935-2009), and Tjumpo Tjapanangka (1929–2007)
No Boundaries | June 20 - August 16, 2015
Opening Reception: June 20 7:00PM
Historian's talk with Henry Skarit | June 22 6:30PM (free)
PICA (main exhibition at Mason Ehrman building annex, with a few leftover works at PICA HQ)
467 NW Davis, Portland Oregon
Hours: Th-Fri, 12:00-6:30PM Sat-Sun, 12:00-4:00PM
Last Fall, globetrotter & local art scene stalwart Liz Obert's latest work Dualities went viral with some nice media attention from Slate
and today you can catch the work in Portland. Dualities explores the complexities and bifurcations present in those who live with mental illness. Obert's approach is diaristic, slightly reminiscent of Sophie Calle
and I'm fascinated by the subject matter... myself and those nearest me are mostly very fortunate to not have to experience these issues but still I think all of us would be surprised how common, manageable yet untreated mental illness is.
Liz Obert Dualities | June 15 - August 15
Opening Reception June 19 5-7PM
The Olympic Mills Commerce Center
107 SE Washington St
Another tradition amongst Portland's various tribes of artists is the North Coast Seed Building's annual open house
, featuring over 50 artists and artisans (some are among the city's best and most lauded). With a a great progressively minded landlord in Ken Unkeles, Portland's arts ecosystem might be under threat from Portland's popularity and real estate pressures but it is places like this that make Portland "Portland."
North Coast Seed Building Open House
Saturday, June 20 4 - 10PM
2127 N Albina