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Friday 09.25.15

Avantika Bawa at White Box


Avantika Bawa exhibits a lot but her Aqua Mapping show at the White Box is perhaps the best realized of her shows on the North American continent. In it an inflatable buoy in India becomes a point on the map and a location as a rebus. Perfect for the smartphone tracking era...

Avantika Bawa | Aqua Mapping
Artist Talk: September 26, 2015 3:00 - 4:00PM
White Box
University of Oregon in Portland
24 NW First Avenue

Posted by Jeff Jahn on September 25, 2015 at 12:15 | Comments (0)


Monday 09.21.15

Monday Links

The Guardian reviews Ai Weiwei's first major retrospective in London and gets at the heart of the matter. True, so much of it is recycled pop art but it is his ability to effect and redirect history instead of a simply affect it in a quotidian way that separates him from so much art that has been littering the art world for decades and the Portland Art Museum just showed a major if relatively well behaved work of his. We interviewed Mr. Ai here and the question remains if his work will keep its potency with his newfound freedom?

Airborne art fence at the US/Mexico border.

The most toxic sites in America as art. (Portland has plenty of sites btw).

Posted by Jeff Jahn on September 21, 2015 at 8:33 | Comments (0)


Friday 09.18.15



Bay Area based Ernest collective has been in a residency at St. John's C3:initiative for some time now creating the Demos: Wapato Correctional Facility project and it is time to finally unveil it. It seems like all of the pressure on artist facilities closer to downtown should spawn more activity in St. Johns, which has a long history of alternative spaces and studios.

Demos: Wapato Correctional Facility | September 18 - November 22
Opening Reception: September 18 6:30 - 9:30PM
Wapato Roundtable: September 19 11AM - 1PM at St. Johns Community Center
7326 N. Chicago Ave (St. Johns)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on September 18, 2015 at 10:41 | Comments (0)


Saturday 09.12.15

Primer on Portland's newest bridge

Portland's newest bridge now open (photo Jeff Jahn)

Portland's newest bridge opens today (Trimet rides are fee) but I'm going to hold off on my full review until we've seen it used some. Frankly, it is because I need to see it in use once open to give an comprehensive assessment. We've critiqued the bridge process (3 different architects etc) in a little more detail than other media outlets but I think I'll just fold it into our big 2015 review because it really does say a lot about what Portland has accomplished and still faces in the future. Till then have a look back at the process:

own unofficial design submission contest to drum up more ideas. Some of our reader's ideas like the belvederes and light show are now featured in the final design. (A good idea is a good idea.)


Posted by Jeff Jahn on September 12, 2015 at 10:02 | Comments (0)


Saturday 09.05.15

Weekend links

Everybody must read this review of Hal Foster's latest book on the various cliches that a lot of art has become. Every decade or so the art world starts to purge prevailing strategies which have become a kind of pantomime of themselves... we are at one of those "correction" moments in art history.

This little bit of art writing is too generous for the overly precious, research based cliches it reviews but it is good that it points out the problem. Basically if you want to make cliched contemporary art simply do some research, then present in the center of a clean white room in a precious way. Let's look at the takeaway vocabulary as a synopsis: hermetic, intersubjective communication, suppressed. Hermetic an intersubjective communication cancel each other out, leaving suppression as aform of formal presentation the end result. It is basically the way this type of work is placed that is the primary information of the installation... it say I have institutional carte blanche to present this glittery contemporary art postcard in a blank room. It is festival art 101, contemporary art as souvenir. (Thanks to Matthew Collings who brought this to my attention)

Yes,looking at art makes you smarter... but I'm pretty sure that reading a lot of art writing handed out at the venues will challenge your tolerance for cliched thinking.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on September 05, 2015 at 11:10 | Comments (0)


Thursday 09.03.15

First Thursday Picks September 2015

This September is eclectic lady land for the Portland Art Scene:

Alien She is in depth and groundbreaking survey of the influence of Riot Grrrl on artists today and the culture at large. Extremely topical it is easily the one must see show this month, even if it is in 2 locations, both PNCA and the Museum of Contemporary Craft. Curated by Astria Suparak and Ceci Moss. According to the PR:

"Riot Grrrl formed in reaction to pervasive and violent sexism, racism and homophobia in the punk music scene and in the culture at large. Its participants adapted strategies from earlier queer and punk feminisms and '70s radical politics, while also popularizing discussions of identity politics occurring within academia, but in a language that spoke to a younger generation. This self-organized network made up of teenagers and twenty-somethings reached one another through various platforms, such as letters, zines, local meetings, regional conferences, homemade videos, and later, chat rooms, listservs and message boards. The movement eventually spread worldwide, with chapters opening in at least thirty-two states and twenty-six countries

Question is if this will have any effect on the sexist bias in the local art scene, one which still favors men (despite most of our curators and gallerists being women) and rewards women more for their "role" than the work? (I'll save that in depth discussion for later)

Alien She | September 3 2015 - January 9 2016
Opening: September 3 6:00-8:00PM

Museum of Contemporary Craft
724 NW Davis

PNCA (511 Gallery)
511 NW Broadway

... (more with Malia Jensen and Lauren Hartman)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on September 03, 2015 at 14:55 | Comments (0)

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