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Wednesday 01.25.17

Dead tree media & dead horse flogging news

Old fashioned dead tree media art coverage worth reading: Oregonian, NYT's, a Judd telegraph and GQ? really?

It has been a very long time since the Oregonian has done something worth reading, but their piece on the new NW Curator Grace Kook-Anderson is a welcome bit. It hints a bit at things we discussed when she was first announced, like an inherent conservatism of form that has done little to jostle Northwest stereotypes. Among the cognoscenti we call it "chasing the train" with ideas like craft and diversity being more cautious, familiar forms than challenging provocations... (more)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on January 25, 2017 at 14:16 | Comments (0)


Saturday 01.21.17

Post Snowpocalypse Weekend Picks

Mother with Julia Oldham and Roxanne Jackson

What could be better the day after the Women's March on Washington DC (and round the country) than a show titled, Mother at the Art Gym? Hopefully nothing. Since Blake Shell has taken over the Art Gym its shows really havn't had the same frission and edge that she previously brought to the Archer Gallery but this show's inspired pairing of Julia Oldham and Roxanne Jackson... two artists who always bring the macabre/mythical phantasmagoria and physical encounters with their work threaten to bring things back into form. Besides you can also catch the Tad Savinar exhibition a few miles away (you know you want a little roadtrip out of Portland after these storms).

Mother | January 17 -March 18
Reception: January 22 4-6PM
Art Gym (Marylhurst University)
17600 Pacific Highway (Hwy. 43)

Tad Savinar, 2064: England's Master Architect Presents, to the House of Commons, the Plan to Add Minarets to Buckingham Palace (2014)

Tad Savinar is a Portland fixture as an author, conceptual artist and intellectual so this overview collection of work youniverse-past, present, future might be just what the doctor ordered after a brutal election season and winter storms. What Ive always appreciated in Savinar's work is the way they work as set pieces for the sort of ridiculous human dramas that always seem to occupy civics. Perhaps he is Portland's Aristophanes?

youniverse—past, present, future | January 17 - March 5
Reception: January 22, 3-5PM Lecture: February 26, 3PM, Miller 105 Ronna and Eric Hoffman Gallery of Contemporary Art
Lewis & Clark College
0615 S.W. Palatine Hill Road

...(more Rodin at PAM)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on January 21, 2017 at 9:15 | Comments (0)


Thursday 01.19.17

More Disjecta'd

Well, the more you know about Disjecta and its founder (two different entities btw) the less surprised one is that things had to go this way.

Long ago PORT published this article... in many ways its founder never changed and was ousted as we reported here and here. Then yesterday he went on another of his infamous email campaigns prompting the board to respond by revealing his self-serving actions and retaliations (read below). There is a pattern here and many have put a lot of effort into apologizing for his tactics over the years. For example, you can see perhaps his staunchest supporter Meagan Atiyah in the comments of this PORT post. Their close coordination has always made me uncomfortable... when she left the board of directors a few years ago his support started to erode. There is simply a difference between being colorful and difficult... and someone who can't operate by taking the high road. It was a very Trump-ish move to build a wall (read the board letter below).

It is true some artists still stand by him (many do not, especially after the disastrous biennial) but he relied on cultivating those kind of buddy buddy relationships. Going for drinks, hanging out in a Blazer game skybox, being one of the guys etc. but there is a pattern there and it really doesnt serve an organization which takes up a lot of nonprofit art ecosystem resources. A non profit director has to walk a line as a steward. In Disjecta's founders case that line was clearly drawn around himself and I support the board's decision. A board isnt there just to rubber stamp the director's agendas. Like many in the art scene here, I could say more but am trying to be charitable.

Here is Disjecta's Board of Directors response... I hope Portland can learn from this:

"Statement to Disjecta's Friends and Supporters,

The most successful arts organizations encourage dialogue and community. To those of you that reached out to the board in response to an email from disjecta@comcast.net (not the organization's server), thank you for your messages and for your belief in Disjecta. We hope you continue to participate in Disjecta's future.

Initially, the Disjecta Board of Directors felt it would be neither appropriate nor respectful to Bryan Suereth to go into detail about the inner workings of our decision-making, but in the spirit of accuracy and balance, we offer the following:

Beginning in late 2015, and following an extensive evaluation process involving 100% of the board, external stakeholders, advisors, and... (more)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on January 19, 2017 at 15:08 | Comments (0)


Thursday 01.12.17

New Year opportunities

It is a new year and that means new artist opportunities... besides with Portland's current 13.5 inches of snow you gotta be getting a bit fidgity in the cabin. Start your planning, here are some good opportunities.

The annual Hallie Ford Foundation Artist Fellowships are here. They wont be taking applications till next week beginning January 19th, 2017 but you should prepare. Over the years I've criticized the 25k fellowships for their somewhat fusty adherence to genres that give artists who make things that are traditional sculpture or wall based work an edge (in general overtly handmade + wall and plinth based work). New media like video and installation art (two of the scene's strongest areas have been neglected). True some recipients do these things but its generally not their primary focus... and rarely if ever site specific work (a few like Bruce Conkle have). Instead, like most Oregon art awards they go to people who are very community active and or teach rather than those who do video and installation work nationally and internationally. Rarely are the selected artists considered to be doing their best work either (ties to schools or other institutions rather than ambition and execution get you awards here). That's why this partially underlined blurb got my attention this year in the press release, "Each year, The Ford Family Foundation reconstitutes the selection panel with both in-state and out-of-state arts professionals. Therefore, the types of artists or disciplines selected as finalists may well differ from year to year. Please encourage members of your community who are practicing artists who may have applied in earlier years, but have not been selected, to reapply." What does that mean? Maybe they stopped selecting conservative panelists that have sat on every other award panel around here? Perhaps application #'s are dropping because they feel that their work an installation artist, video or photographer is just a wasted effort? Also, will they start awarding more of the crucial Gen X artists who lead and recently rebuilt the scene giving it international relevance? ...perhaps by adding installation and video and other new genre work to the mix? Gen X really blazed the tail here for new media. Applications open January 19th, 2017, Deadline: March 1, 2017

As a newish breath of fresh air, the Houseguest residencies at Pioneer Square are very liberal in their acceptance of different media and disciplines for their 20k residencies. Deadline: February 1, 2017

The very new and now Precipice Fund-ed Una Gallery is taking submissions for their upcoming Art As Resistance show for the Trump inauguration. It was wonderful to sit on the panel that gave them the award because in this environment their specific mission will draw the attention of Trump bullies. Stand strong! Una Gallery Deadline: January 15, 2017

Posted by Jeff Jahn on January 12, 2017 at 13:32 | Comments (0)


Monday 01.09.17

Monday Integrity Links

Jerry Saltz discusses what the Art World needs to do in 2017. Right now art has become a bit too pleased with itself and isnt challenging itself or its audiences enough. As Robert Hughes once wrote art had become too much of "a vocation" rather than "an avocation." Curators and artists need to find the edge rather than the safe middle ground for their careers. It will take some visionary collectors to support it rather than just rely on advisors and "best practices" that perpetually turn art's wild intellectual and physical brambles into well manicured golf courses that make art the Pet of the rich. It takes integrity. I'm working on a big piece for PORT on this to kick 2017 in the arse.

Why are so many Universities putting so much energy into their art museums? The two in Portland that could are Reed and Lewis and Clark. Something tells me L&CC is the more likely bet. I like it better than a lot of private museums and that wealth has to go somewhere... better to make it public. That said a private space with some realy integrity, insight and edge can make a huge difference. For example this project in LA has promise but I can think of a hundred solid ways to spend less and do more, especially in Portland.

... (more)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on January 09, 2017 at 13:42 | Comments (0)


Thursday 01.05.17

First Thursday Picks January 2017

January is always an odd month in the Portland art scene, usually a lot of group shows and holdovers with one or two big shows by top shelf artists that everyone follows. Well we have the group shows and holdovers. Here are my picks:

Christine Nguyen

Here is an interesting first, I have never seen a curator from the Portland Art Museum at the Everett Station Lofts... and I actually brought the museum's Contemporary Art Council down there when I was VP. Hopefully today that ends because Grace Kook-Anderson, the new Curator of Northwest Art is the guest curator for the Portland Pataphiysical Society's Christine Nguyen exhibition titled Constellations. A LA based artist it should be interesting though the lofts have showcased an enormous # of significant artists over the years. True the lofts ebb and flow but seem to be on an upswing with Una and Pataphyscal Society as rents rise out of control in the city.... the lofts can hopefully remain an essential incubator? Will the new curator finally break PAM's earned reputation of being nearly completely isolated from what is really going on in the Portland art scene? (a scene that is very active nationally and internationally)

Christine Nguyen | January 5 - February 18 2017
Opening Reception: January 5, 6-8PM
Portland Pataphysical Society
625 NW Everett St, # 104


More sad news Duplex gallery will be closing after a good run, but at least it is concluding with Emily Wobb. Her exhibition, titled Bad Dreams... seems appropriate and her work has always had an unsettled quality.

Emily Wobb | January 5 - 31, 2017
Opening Reception: January 5, 6-9PM
219 NW Couch St

... (more)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on January 05, 2017 at 13:41 | Comments (0)


Wednesday 01.04.17

Jason Berlin + Alanna Risse at Rainmaker

Alanna Risse

Overall, Portland's best cultural cards are generally not its major institutions but rather its alternative spaces and artist enclaves... the very things that are threatened by rapid real estate development. One of the brightest lights is the Rainmaker Artist Residency program, which gives recent art school graduates a stepping stone once out in the real world. I liken it to an estuary for young fish. Therefore tonight's opening is the first "truly Portland" opening of 2017. Featuring current resident artist Jason Berlin's solo exhibition upstairs in the gallery and Alanna Risse's by invite installation, "A Bigger Boat," it should be a proper start to things in Portland's NW Industrial District.

Jason Berlin and Alanna Risse | January 4 - 27, 2017
Opening Reception: January 4, 6-9PM
Rainmaker Artist Residency
2337 NW York St

Posted by Jeff Jahn on January 04, 2017 at 12:34 | Comments (0)

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