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Diane Jacobs' Homage at Weiden + Kennedy
Painting Links
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Emily Nachison on Odilon Redon at PAM
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First Thursday Picks May 2016
Reed College Art Theft

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Friday 05.27.16

Diane Jacobs' Homage at Weiden + Kennedy

As a child I studied Greek culture intensely and always felt the Amazons were particularly interesting because it seemed like they challenged the Greek order, which most of Western Civilization is built upon. I suppose that being raised by predominantly by females (many of my relatives being quite tall) presented the idea that women were tough was always a given, rather than an eccentric notion. The world is catching up to this truth... s.l.o.w.l.y.


What little most people know of the legendary Amazon women has come to us from a short entry by Herodotus and other ancient Greeks. Because of this many probably assume that the Amazons were Greeks themselves (false, in fact they were a rival civilization), were a women-only society (false, in many tribes the women were simply equal in every way... including as warriors) and instead of one breast as reported by Herodotus they had two (in the bronze age one simply does not perform cosmetic mastectomies without antibiotics etc. and was propaganda for shock effect).... (more)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 27, 2016 at 12:13 | Comments (0)


Wednesday 05.25.16

Painting Links

Sure, I'm widely associated as one of the biggest advocates in new media art in the Pacific Northwest but I also love painting (I learned landscape paining in oils and watercolors at age 6 so its also my longest standing art love affair... other things like musical instruments, poetry, photography and installation art all came later). Here are some great painting links:

Jerry Saltz discusses the abstract work of Philip Guston and the sublime. The sublime doesn't get enough deep discussion in contemporary art lore at the moment but it is crucial... that feeling of sensitivity to vastness and the distinct sense of the indistinct as a form of threat and safe harbor experientially. Great minds tend to crave these experiences. Maybe that's what is wrong with the art world at the moment, not enough deep seekers?

Closer to home there is a very brief interview with Katherine Bradford who has a show at Adams and Ollman. At PORT we do very long interviews but we also don't grant them to very many local artists... partially because it is a blank check and an artist has to have long and varied enough career where yet another review doesn't really achieve anything. We have a lot of rules that we adhere to, but it also provides freedom because interviews mean something when they dig in.

Here is an interesting interview with John Currin from a while back.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 25, 2016 at 14:46 | Comments (0)


Saturday 05.21.16

Weekend Picks

Coastal Redwood, Ryan Neil (photo Chris Hornbecker)

Oregon based Ryan Neil takes the centuries old tradition of Bonsai and blending his own familiarity with Western North American flora. This is an excellent example of how the Portland Japanese Garden has become a world leading bridge and a new template for the living traditions of Japanese arts and culture into the present day.

American Bonsai, the unbridled art or Ryan Neil | May 21 - June 19
Portland Japanese Garden (outdoor courtyard)
611 SW Kingston Avenue


As part of PNCA's Collaborative Design MFA graduate exhibition I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest one element of this thesis exhibition called Street Food Sites in the Innovation Studio space in the 511 building. (yes I'll report back on the whole show in an update to this post) Street Food Sites chronicles a beloved hallmark of Portland's cultural makeup... its food cart culture and artists like canaries in the coal mine explore the challenges Portland's status as a hot city have presented to our vibrant cultural fabric. I'd like to note that other cities have faced this and survived, but only through progressive and proactive thinking and zoning.

PNCA Undergraduate and Graduate Thesis Exhibitions | May 22 - June 17
Reception: Sunday May 22, 2016 6-9PM
Pacific Northwest College of Art
511 NW Broadway (and 724 NW Davis)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 21, 2016 at 11:40 | Comments (0)


Friday 05.13.16

Weekend Picks

Most city's art scenes kinda die in the summer but Portland tends to ramp up, we do have great weather at this time of the year. Generally, May, June, August and September are almost always the best months and this May is no exception.


Traditional western notions of property, resources and the public good are under a lot of remediation lately so in keeping The Ross Island Residency, a renegade project initiated by Taryn Tomasello and curator Will Elder, spanning June 2015 - June, 2016, "at the site of a sand and gravel mine in the center of the island in the center of city looks interesting. This exhibition is the residue of symbolic gestures of replacement and a ritual-relational witness of trespass."

Trespass: Ross Island Residency | May 14 - June 26
Reception: Saturday, May 14, 12 - 6PM
Hours: Saturday & Sundays 12 - 6PM Publication Release: June 25, 5 - 7PM HQ objective
2235 W Burnside

OCAC 2016 BFA graduate exhibition
I've always enjoyed OCAC's BFA shows and Making in Evidence: featuring Oregon College of Art and Craft's BFA graduates of 2016 looks like another good one to hit. With seventeen students from diverse backgrounds and creative disciplines they will explore a wide range of concepts and media. OCAC's thesis exhibition comes as the culmination of an immersive mentor-based, craft-oriented and creative community a kind of proof in concept of OCAC's unique and varied curriculum.

*Update: highlights include Una Rose, Lillian Reed, William Whitehead, Oliver Wilson and Jessica Oakes with a sense of polish that puts most MFA programs to shame.

Making in Evidence | May 13 - May 22, 2016
OCAC's BFA 2016 graduate exhibition (free)
Opening Reception: May 13 5 - 9PM
Food, drinks and music
Regular hours: 11am - 5PM
525 NW 10th


Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 13, 2016 at 12:57 | Comments (0)


Tuesday 05.10.16

Emily Nachison on Odilon Redon at PAM

Odilon Redon (French, 1840-1916), Oannes et le Sphinx, 1910, oil on wood, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Edwin Binney

The next artist talk at the Portland Art Museum will feature Emily Nachison this Thursday May 12 from 6-7PM.

I'm a particularly big fan of PAM's artist talks on works from their collection and not just because I've done one of them. There is something important about creating living relationships with art of the past so I'm especially happy that Nachison has chosen Odilon Redon's Oannes et le Sphinx. It is a lovely little gem in the collection that matches up well with Peter Doig, Katharina Fritsch, Anselm Kiefer and Chris Ofili's contemporary penchant for mysticism. In fact, Portland's art scene is full of all sorts of allusions to sorcery (there is a reason Grimm is shot here too, another obvious curatorial theme that never gets discussed) so I'm curious what she teases out.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 10, 2016 at 20:11 | Comments (0)


Saturday 05.07.16

Weekend Links

The Harlem Art Fair does something a little different with a series of public works? Frankly, this has been done before but not as ambitiously... treating the fair like an international biennial. It creates a zone of exploration not just an isolated enclave. This promotes repeated visits.

Jonathan Jones can be clueless (but at least an interesting one) but taking a non romantic view of Dada is refreshing.

Randy Higgins is one of my favorite people to talk to in Portland. We always have these intense philosophical and spatial discussions and Portland Architectures piece hits the spot.

AFC does the Frieze Art Fair goings about...

Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 07, 2016 at 13:59 | Comments (0)


Wednesday 05.04.16

First Thursday Picks May 2016

For the past year or so I've noticed that First Thursdays have been waning as other parts of Portland have frankly been more ambitious and noticeably fresher than our main gallery enclave in Northwest Portland's Pearl and Old Town districts. This is partially due to the fact that smaller galleries everywhere have had it tougher as mega galleries have ruled the universe. Obviously, Portland has no mega-galleries and that is part of our charm.

Well, this May's First Thursday looks like it is back with a vengeance serving up perhaps the freshest and most ambitious collection of exhibition receptions in perhaps a decade (anchors like PNCA and the U of O are in full effect after lots of changes but there is depth everywhere). What's more, not a single traditional media exhibition makes the cut. Nothing against them (obviously) but no oil paintings or cast metal sculpture are to be found on this list... we did that last month with 2 out of the 3 I picked. Another trend in may is women who are not academics or graduates of local art schools also making themselves felt. (Both new media and non academically affiliated females as groups are routinely and embarrassingly ignored in regional art awards... if you want an award over 5K prize one typically has to be a man, do traditional media work and or have some tie to a larger local art school as an alum or faculty). This is simply wrong as many of the ignored artists have national/international careers and frequently education from more elite schools. It makes us look clubby and closed minded, when in fact Portland has a very international, otherwise supportive and porous scene with excellent variety of traditional and cutting edge media.

Ellen George, Untitled (Elemental 14) at PDX Contemporary

It has been a while since we have experienced a solo show from Ellen George... one of the most interesting and lyrical artists on the West Coast. Her latest titled May looks like another tour de force. Specializing in something akin to manageable installation art, few artists can claim to be as consistently excellent and poetically graceful as Ellen George.

May | May 3 - 28
PDX Contemporary
925 NW Flanders

Memory Theater at Upfor

Installation art at PADA galleries is understandably rare but Upfor has taken on new media work like few west coast galleries. Their latest is Srijon Chowdhury's Memory Theater. According to the PR... (more)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 04, 2016 at 18:31 | Comments (0)


Tuesday 05.03.16

Reed College Art Theft

The generalist media loves these sorts of stories about art thefts but stealing one half of a carved diptych by Leroy Setziol from Reed College is pretty sad. Yes it is worth something (quoted insurance values are accurate but in terms of easy resale, no) but as only half a piece it is essentially damaged goods. Anyone with information is asked to contact Reed's Community Safety's non-emergency line at 503-517-5355

Leroy Setziol exhibition currently on view at PAM

To put a positive spin on this the Portland Art Museum currently has an exhibition of the artist's work on display and he's been a bit of a secret favorite of mine for years. My sense is someone decided this would be an escapade of opportunity... a professional would have stolen both parts or much more valuable pieces on display at Reed. Let's hope it comes back in the next 72 hours. You can find Setziol's work all over Portland and it always adds an air of grandly lyrical civilized activity... let's hope the spirit of the work convinces the perpetrator(s) to bring it back.

*Update: Good news, the panel has been returned though with some damage.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 03, 2016 at 22:00 | Comments (0)

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