Portland art blog + news + exhibition reviews + galleries + contemporary northwest art

recent entries

End of October links
All Hallows Picks
Mid October links and news
Weekend Picks: domestic edition
First Thursday October 2017 Picks
Weekend Picks
Vancouver Arts Summit Video
Artist Opportunities
September quandries
Interview with Jennifer Steinkamp
Bill Will at Lewis and Clark College
First Thursday Picks September 2017

recent comments

categories

 

Book Review
Calls for Artists
Design Review
Essays
Interviews
News
Openings & Events
Photoblogs
Reviews
Video
Links
About PORT

regular contributors

 

Tori Abernathy
Amy Bernstein
Katherine Bovee
Emily Cappa
Patrick Collier
Arcy Douglass
Megan Driscoll
Jesse Hayward
Sarah Henderson
Jeff Jahn
Kelly Kutchko
Drew Lenihan
Victor Maldonado
Christopher Moon
Jascha Owens
Alex Rauch
Gary Wiseman

archives

 

Guest Contributors
Past Contributors
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
March 2006
February 2006
January 2006
December 2005
November 2005
October 2005
September 2005
August 2005
July 2005
June 2005

contact us

 

Contact us

search

 


syndicate

 

Atom
RSS

powered by

 

Movable Type 3.16

This site is licensed under a

 

Creative Commons License

Thursday 09.22.16

« September Swing Picks | Main | Open This End Panel Discussion and Reception »

First links of Fall 2016

Well the long expected correction of zombie abstractionist artists has begun (other young artists with absurdly high prices too). Dont get me wrong, there's nothing absurd about a young artist making 25-65k on a painting after only a few shows but it should be rare and by 2014 many zonie abstractionist works were going for 500k+. Only a carefully orchestrated economy produces that effect. I can see 1-3 very special even "exceptional" artists being "worth it", sure that's fine but a hoard of artists pulling down over 100k per painting after only a few shows and a short career... that smells funny. Also, artists who stack some junk on top of other junk with some pastel colors + foam or lumpy clay pots are not any better and art schools are pumping them out in droves (I call it hoarder art and Robert Rauschenberg pioneered The Combine before most of these artists were born). A few months ago this story on the Lisa Cooley Gallery seemed to say it all. Now I'm not applauding any closures or corrections... the Art Life is difficult, even for people whose lives are comparatively easy but when art is treated like an asset class it skews what is created and why. It seems the world has lot of very complicated problems and opportunities to tackle... so we shouldn't be awash in uncomplicated art that is easy on the culture that creates it, but we are. Does that invalidate abstraction? ...of course not (the most simple paintings can complicate any viewer's understanding but why buy some kid out of art school when you can buy a dozen very good Mary Henry works for half as much? The issue is one of scale and depth of understanding and it takes that to have mid level galleries that sell art between $2000-$25000. Most of the greatest works of art were bought in that range initially. Hopefully a return to some connoisseurship will result from this contraction. Of course, the most important, already historically "vetted" art wont be affected by this, which should make the best Gen-X and Millennial artists ask more difficult questions of the art world. I hoping the most sought after art becomes more like wild caught salmon rather than the farmed stuff I've noticed a lot of lately.

On a related note Jim Behrle thinks the art world is trolling you with art that isnt as radical as it presents itself to be. Well, sorta... institutionally things have gotten very tame in the past 15-20 years with curatorial power being ceded to the director's chair. Directors answer to the #'s ultimately (someone has to, and it is important)... so the art at institutions often chases its audience and its why Gen X and Millennials are less interested in museums than the baby boomers (who themselves were less involved than their parents). The short term solution of course is to take on an educational role but that can become a slippy slope without the integrity of connoisseurship, a practice which polices things against becoming too easy and predictable and creates better patrons. Curators used to be intellectual interlocutors somewhere between artists and the directors/patrons but its being lost. For example, Great curators like Robert Storr and Paul Schimmel have been pushed away from museums. Some directors do have curatorial chops but it is also telling how many college galleries are now run by "directors" rather than "curators" now. I'll revisit this topic in a longer piece soon.

Jerry Saltz is right about art history, it has a problem of adumbration but you still have a few days to catch "The Keeper" at the New Museum. Generally their shows are a bit light on content (see post above) but I applaud the curatorial choices here... they took risks rather than chase audiences. Maybe its because Im a capital "H" Historian and we tend to see art history in institutions as a sanitized and adumbrated.

More locally, the creepy and somewhat bad Vera Katz sculpture was vandalized with a swastika. Not surprising with the presidential election kicking up a lot of hate. Perhaps people will start taking the roots of this sort of behavior more seriously again? Time and again human history has ebbed between terrible events and eras of peace only to forget what had happened. Sadly, reminders only work when heeded.

Despite our massive housing shortage and homeless innundation Portland makes Metropolis' top 10 cities to live in list and we are the only US city. The thing is Portland is pressuring the artists and eccentrics that give it its character. It is a moral test of the city's character... instead of taking the arts for granted we need to build artist pockets into new development. Once again, instead of just any art doing the job we need to start rewarding art for the caliber and challenge their presence gives the city on a civic level. Our awards... rather than celebrate well worn stereotypes (intellectual fallacies like craft = only handmade or celebrating soft or non-threating artists that don't rock the boat) should reward the artists that make difficult work (often times doing well outside of Portland but too edgy for our institutions. I'll have more on our institutional organs needing to find the edge I see in Portland studios and on display in other more challenging institutions outside of Oregon.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on September 22, 2016 at 16:15 | Comments (0)


Comments

Post a comment

Thanks for signing in, . Now you can comment. (sign out)

(If you haven't left a comment here before, you may need to be approved by the site owner before your comment will appear. Until then, it won't appear on the entry. Thanks for waiting.)


Remember me?


s p o n s o r s
Site Design: Jennifer Armbrust   •   Site Development: Philippe Blanc & Katherine Bovee