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Thursday 09.29.16

Organic Encounters

Organic_encounters.jpg

Artists who deal with organic or biological forms and concerns are a major theme in Portland's art scene as it acts as an interlocuter between humanity and everything else... a kind of macrocosm in miniature.

Thus, the Organic Encounters residencies at C3:Initiative from 2015–2016 are exciting and will culminate in an eponymous exhibition. A collaboration between c3:initiative and Pulp & Deckle Papermaking the residency artists Ellen George, Laura Foster, Tyler Peterson, and Ryan Woodring utilized handmade paper as a medium to create new works that will be on display.

Organic Encounters | September 30 - November 13
Opening Reception: September 30 6-9PM
C3:initiative
7326 N. Chicago Ave (St. Johns)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on September 29, 2016 at 12:18 | Comments (0)

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Saturday 09.24.16

Open This End Panel Discussion and Reception

McCarthy_Ruscha_Byrne_sm.jpg
Paul McCarthy and Ed Ruscha in Open This End

A few weeks ago Open This End became one of the most exciting group shows we have had in Portland in months. Partly, this is because it comes from one excellent collector, Blake Byrne, and the work maintains a sharp edge about it. Lately, most group shows of multiple artists in Portland have been pretty bland so everyone should take note. What's more, we can see how collecting art that takes risks rather than fill out some comfortable/worn idea (ex. craft = handmade is an intellectual bunt)serves humanity better. Instead, by collecting something that carries an implicit challenge takes on the responsibilities of what Art with an "edge" demands and therefore occupies a special place between civics and taste. Not all patrons fully participate beyond writing checks... but what a serious and very curious collector like Blake Byrne presents here is something more Portlander's should consider. Yes PADA has been doing collector events for the past year but this one outclasses them all with a panel discussion and reception for an exemplary exhibition with a broad based panel with some serious and very articulate collectors providing additional context.

The panel topic will be: Art Collecting, Philanthrophy, and Ethics with Bob Rennie (principal of the Vancouver BC based Rennie Collection), Jordan Schnitzer (founder, Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation), Barbara Schwan (executive director, The Skylark Foundation), Jane Beebe (PDX Contemporary)

Panel Discussion: "Art Collecting, Philanthrophy, and Ethics" | September 25 4:00PM (reception following panel in Alumni Circle)
Location: Miller Hall 105
Open This End | September 8 - December 11
Ronna and Eric Hoffman Gallery of Contemporary Art
Lewis & Clark College
0615 S.W. Palatine Hill Road

Posted by Jeff Jahn on September 24, 2016 at 10:07 | Comments (0)

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Thursday 09.22.16

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 15-20 years with curatorial power being ceded to the director's chair. Directors answer to the #'s ultimately ... (more)

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

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Thursday 09.08.16

September Swing Picks

Lately, Portland's art world has been suffering most of the same "look at this estate sale" art the rest of the world has been subjected to but no more... September gets exciting this week:

Steinkamp_JimmyCarter.jpg
Jennifer Steinkamp's Jimmy Carter

There hasn't been much talk about it since somewhat underwhelming festival style glut-art seems to saturate the generalist press... but Open This End is a heavyweight at the Hoffman Galler at Lewis & Clark College and should not be missed. A traveling selection from Blake Byrne's excellent collection, the exhibition isn't just a scattered trophy room of; Warhol, Paul McCarthy, Mike Kelley, Gerhard Richter and Bruce Nauman. It follows several threads of intertwined societal and personal narratives. I think the installation of Jimmy Carter by Jennifer Steinkamp alone should be compelling because it isn't just the same old political art, it is subtle in a way politics usually are not. What's more, Steve McQueen's groundbreaking multi-channel Drumroll video is on display at PAM as part of Open This End as well. There isn't an opening but on September 25th there will be a panel about serious collecting (with serious collectors like Byrne), a practice Portland could have more of.

Open This End| September 8 - December 11
Collector's Panel with Blake Byrne: September 25, 4PM
Ronna and Eric Hoffman Gallery of Contemporary Art
Lewis & Clark College

0615 S.W. Palatine Hill Road


... (more including TBA)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on September 08, 2016 at 8:36 | Comments (0)

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Thursday 09.01.16

First Thursday Picks September 2016

Though Portland's art scene is one of the few that remains active during the Summer, this year it was mostly a cascade of group shows and frankly almost all of those group shows have been weak on execution for the past 12 months (it takes a lot of care to pull them off and most Portland institutions think more is more and spread themselves amateurishly too thin). So it is exciting that the rains have returned as have the serious solo and duo efforts have as well in September. Here are my picks:

benson-regalia.jpg
Carol Benson's Regalia at Blackfish

There is an intriguing duo show at Blackfish with Carol Benson's Sewn Constructions and Michael Knutson's Recent Paintings and Monotypes. Both explore some timeworn aspects of abstract wall based work but both seem like they are at the top of their game for more than just one or two works each. The energy these two bring to bear reminds us that Clement Greenberg's personal collection lives at the Portland Art Museum (I think institutionally they may have forgotten... a pity because the local + international scene shows how he does still have legs). In particular, Benson's "physical" recycling of other painters work is intriguing, while Knutson has consistently been one of the West Coast's best abstract painters for decades now.

Carol Benson & Michael Knutson | August 30 - October 1
Opening Reception: September 1 | 6 - 9PM
Gallery Talk: September 10, 1PM
Blackfish Gallery
420 NW 9th


... (more)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on September 01, 2016 at 16:57 | Comments (0)

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