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Monday 11.02.15

« Final Rites at Surplus Space | Main | Upgrade Culture at PNCA »

Monday stories

Well there is a lot of talk about Frank Stella. Yes he is influential, yes he is an unlikely instagram star and yes it is ok to hate the late work but as Jerry Saltz says it will tell you something about yourself. My take, Of course I prefer the black paintings but I love to tolerate everything he's done that is at least painted. The naked unpainted metal stuff... well I see why he went there (he had gone everywhere else) but it feels like mall art. Maybe he isn't going out on a high point but it is further evidence that the so called "minimalist" artists had nothing to do with sober geometry as an aesthetic. Judd and Serra ate his lunch as a sculptor but all this attention reminds us how this guy IS a painter.

Speaking of painters Squeak Carnwath's "guilt free" work does make its case. There is a pluralism that we have to applaud... because anything that breeds and encourages freedom (I know that sounds sappy but it isn't) has immense value today. Painting can be the voice of adolescence in a good way and anyone named Squeak basically has to own that fate.

Check out Paige Powell's photography show at PAM in the old grey lady (show opens Wednesday night at the Portland Art Museum). With this, the Kenny Scharf show and a William Jamison exhibition in a week Portland is going 1980's to the max this Fall.

Here is some very exciting news, the Oregon College of Art and Craft has received a grant from the Murdock Charitable trust to, "enhance the educational and studio resources of OCAC through the acquisition of specialized digital machines that will dramatically expand the college's tools of craft. This technology will open new possibilities for students and faculty in creating their own art, and it will prepare students for careers in advanced making and manufacture." Translated, that mean digitally driven machines (3d printers etc.) that evolve the ever expanding tools that we use to craft our world. This is important as so many have framed the craft fetish of the Northwest as some purely handmade and tradition. It is false notion and even computer coders are a kind of craftsperson. What's more, Portland, Seattle and Vancouver BC (and many other smaller Northwest cities) are players in the digital forest and it is great to see the premier craft-oriented school in the region making this leap. Other institutions need to follow into a more expansively cogent discussion of craft in the Northwest. We live in a world where DNA and even sub atomic particles are being manipulated. Science and technology are part of craft.

Last but not least, 15 years ago Phong Bui started the Brooklyn Rail and they parallel what we do here at PORT (Ive even championed some of their writers in national grant panels). I like that Brooklyn Rail aims not for the most readers (200k a month is great though, PORT has 150K) but instead focus on having a cogent and critical voice that coalesces into a kind of authority. "Likes" are fine but culture ultimately isn't a popularity contest and a like isn't LOVE. Culture is much more important than being accepted on trivial terms. I'd argue that "Culture" helps us identify and perhaps understand the tensions and joys of the age. At a certain point that requires a critical voice that goes beyond saying this artist is the favorite of this gallery and this collector. At a certain point you have to ask why? ...and to what ends? Congrats to Phong Bui and the Brooklyn Rail.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on November 02, 2015 at 12:00 | Comments (0)


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