Well, it is that time of the year again and instead of yet another arbitrary and abbreviated list we at PORT like to start off with sheer unadulterated mathematics. True, though the final #'s aren't in yet 2015 marked our biggest year traffic wise (last year it was just over 1.5 million unique readers) and PORT continues to be the top search ranked criticism site for "Portland" and "Art." I attribute this to our dedication to always taking a critical position that gives scope and scale to whatever we assess or direct our (and our reader's) attention too. Ultimately, we are more concerned with a meaty critical discussion that finds its influence through what it reveals rather than by generating a consensus of likes or a never ending stream of click bait. Most of what passes for art writing today tends to be promotional in the guise of news. We prefer independent critical vetting in the guise of history as it is made.
Without further ado here is list of our top posts of the year in terms of the eyeballs they have attracted. It is a top 10 for 2015 in no particular order (many are very close to one another) and there are year end surges between now and New Years's eve. (I'll post our full year end survey around January 1 and before that an aggregate review of things we wanted to cover but couldn't fit in).
PNCA's massive new skylight and helix-like cable system (photo Jeff Jahn)
The Pacific Northwest College of Art's move to a new headquarters at 511 NW Broadway was the biggest cultural story of the year in Portland
and we covered it in two parts
. It was rewarding for me personally as PORT was the first media outlet to see the potential for the 511 building and how it could transform the school and city's character
. It was heartening to see it all come together and sure there were growing pains, revealing some gaps but overall if you didn't cover this you weren't covering culture in Portland, period. I'll have much more on PNCA and its future in my year end review around January 1st.
Amy Bernstein's review of No Boundaries was a great read
, a painter talking capital "P" Painting by other painters. That's one of the things I love about PORT is the way our writers are all insiders and serious geeks about that which they cover... the old days of disinterested journalism or purely academic screed often lose the best part. The human intellectual drive and physical experience all bound up in conversation.
Tori Abernathy's Make Yourself at home at HQ projects
This review of two shows by Howard Finster and Tori Abernathy
got at the heart of what's going on in Portland and the rest of the country... life pressures. Tori's work as a rent activist in 2015 alone was an epic journey. Frankly, I'll miss her being in Portland... she's a bright talent as her work as a PORT writer can attest to as well
Still from Laika's Lullaby by Julia Oldham
My review of Julia Oldham's show at the Portland Pataphysical Society
put me in the one position that makes me feel very awkward... tons of praise. Which just allows me to redirect to the fact that one of the videos on display was really great. That's what the strongest art criticism almost always does... get into the work, take it personally and share the faceted response. It takes strong work to make that response possible. Thank you Julia, this show came along when a lot of drivel was being exhibited and and it cut to the bone.
Kengo Kuma's designs for upper part of Vollum Library in the Japanese Garden expansion project
Kengo Kuma's designs for the Portland Japanese Garden's expansion
are extremely exciting and refined. This project looks like it sets the architectural bar for Portland as a 21st Century leader... cementing our ethos as something more than quirk hype.
detail of Pierre-Jacques Volaire's depiction of Vesuvius erupting (1770) from Seeing Nature at PAM
The essay regarding the current Seeing Nature exhibition at PAM
is extremely popular, due in part to all of the detail images. Once again, nature, history and painting geek covers painting, history and nature.
Bravo, The Portland building will be saved/fixed
... no easy task. More on this in the Year End piece.
In a Rhythmic Fashion was easily one of the best shows of 2015
and would hold up anywhere. It was incredibly Popular with readers.
My interview with Richard Moss
was incredibly popular as well and Amy's review of his show at PAM
explores just how powerful it was.
Erik Geschke's Arena, 2015 (detail)
Last but not least, Erik Geschke's Amalgam show has gone viral
... partly because it is that time of year when disembodied Muppet eyeballs are irresistible. It closes Saturday with a reception from 5-8PM so you can still see it.