I've known Mickalene Thomas for a long time and interviewed the one-time Portlander years ago
just as she was conquering New York. With all that has happened in Portland recently I think her free talk at the Portland art Museum Tomorrow will be a breath of fresh air.
June 1, 6-7PM (free)
1219 SW Park
Suddenly the never ending soggy February has ended and Portland is awash in summer-like sunshine. Time to emerge from the caves to feel the heat at these cool shows:
P.I.M.G.'s Liminal Passage, this weekend at Pioneer Square
One of the best things to happen to the "under rent pressure" Portland art scene is the Housguest series of well-funded exhibitions in Pioneer Square. The latest comes from the Portland Immersive Media Group who specialize in Virtual Reality and otherwise altered reality situations. Titled You Are Here there is a full weekend long program starting this afternoon. It is all free and open to the public, with viewing accessibility Friday 6-10PM, Saturday 11AM-10PM, and Sunday 11AM-6PM at Pioneer Courthouse Square. Full details of program can be found here
"During the weekend, visitors to Pioneer Courthouse Square will be able to interact with Virtual Reality (VR) through multiple experiences. Audiences will be able to traverse the physical and digital world through "Liminal Passage," experience an idealized digital version of Pioneer Courthouse Square in VR, escape to anywhere in the world through Google Earth VR, and be transported by several experimental performances throughout the weekend. Join in throughout the weekend to hear from VR experts Kent Bye and Amber Case, and attend performances by Golden Retriever."
You Are Here | May 26 - 28
Houseguest @ Pioneer Courthouse Square
701 SW 6th
Rainen Knecht at Never Not Here | PPROT-SE
With new spaces like Grapefruit Juice
and already established house spaces like Indivisble
, Portland's alt-space scene is really the crown jewel of of an active art ecosystem. Time to check out OV Project space this weekend for Never Not Here | PPROT-SE
Curated by Midori Hirose, Never Not Here | PPROT-SE looks like another anthroplogical art encampment within a house. There will be new works by Natalie Anne Howard, Shawn Creeden, Rainen Knecht and Dino Matt. There will also be performance with Mia Ferm and visiting artist Michael Reinsch as well as The Tenses.
The statement is proustian, "Some of us live within the daily rituals of waking to an alarm, walking the dog, running late in traffic to the office, catching glimpses of celebrity gossip and cooking magazines at the grocery checkout counter or sitting on a park bench reading political twitter feeds on the phone. Switch off this light. What if these daily happenings were swept away? Stripping away day to day enjoyment or woes, Never Not Here | PPROT-SE are collected expressions of what could resonate. An analysis of the parameters we set for ourselves from a cataclysmic perspective."
Never Not Here | PPROT-SE
When: Saturday, May 27, 6-9PM
OV Project Space
7604 SE Washington
Well, Ive been enjoying running around to so many thesis group shows (I prefer no to see the solos because Im more interested in the work they make after art school). Though expectedly a bit wobbly on their new legs its nice to see some real resolve and sometimes outright anger in the work this year. The times demand it. Ive got some review and some other longer form content coming but till then here are some interesting stories.
Agnes Gund is the gold standard when it comes to patronage in this country and this interview by artnet partially explains why
. What is important is her focus on follow-through not simply funding vanity art space projects that just advertise her activities. I wonder about most younger collectors... they seem far more fickle. They start spaces or exhibition programs, then they let them go fallow. In a city like Portland where things are rapidly becoming more complicated for artists (studio and living space) as well as rent pressure on experimental spaces that foster careers and create a ladder to build a career/life upon.
Art F City did a nice job of taking down the Venice Biennale
this year. The entire art world isnt completely out of touch (Mark Bradford at least made an effort to stay in touch
... his paintings are good but his sculpture and installation isn't really his strength) but it is important to point out art that is too far up its own "artist statement".... AFC did that.
Whether you like her work or not this piece on Phyllida Barlow in the Telegraph is a moving look into one artist's journey to the Venice Biennale
Clifford Still, PH-405 (1967), private collection @ Portland Art Museum
My first pick is easy, the Portland Art Museum is participating in the National Museum Day today so it is free. There's lots of good stuff like the John Yeon show
and Sam Hamilton in the Apex Series
but its some of the special guests that are soo absolutely worth a visit. In particular this absolutely fantastic Clifford Still PH-405 from 1967 is an absolute stunner. The painting envelops the viewer like walking into a furnace and the heartwood of a tree at the same time. The surface also has the delicacy of scales on a butterfly's wings. It is sublime and since you have to go through that much dreaded tunnel to get to it the crowds likely wont follow you... The museum really does need to fix that floorplan problem with the Rothko pavilion (City Council members get it together, the Rothkos alone will be the crown jewel of Portland's cultural offerings
so it needs to happen somehow).
Portland Art Museum
Museum Day (free): May 20
1219 SW Park
Another easy pair of picks are the annual PNCA MFA and BFA shows. It has been a crazy year and its always interesting to see how graduates contend. TBH, last year there was a lot of hyper-attenuated neoliberal drivel (some good stuff too)... but I bet this year's graduates will have more of an edge. At least I hope so because we need more radical thinking in this world. Frankly, the status quo for perhaps the last 17+ years has not been working and art should challenge the status quo, especially the art world's status quo (please no more grotty pottery on raw plywood plinths and emptied trashcan contents in piles that are glued together, it is done
PNCA MFA & BFA thesis shows | May 21 - June 16
Opening receptions: May 21, 6-9PM
MFA @ Falcon Building
321 NW Glisan St, 6th floor
BFA @ PNCA
511 NW Broadway
OCAC's 2017 BFA show
It is that time again, new graduates have their thesis shows and there are often group show aggregations of various school's programs. My consistent favorite of these always seems to be OCAC's BFA graduating class show. I am not sure why this is but every year the BFA grads from Oregon College of Art and Craft just seem to be consistently both more probingly self-aware and actualized than other schools. That said you never want to peak at your thesis show. Perhaps it is because OCAC BFA students are not afraid to show their best (because there is always more when you have technique) or they simply have great teachers. Either way it shows, check it out. I certainly will. *Update: Highlights include Emile Kelly, Paul Cooley, Katrina Kauffman and Williejane Dent.
Fulcrum | May 12-21
Opening Reception: May 12 5-9PM
321 NE Davis
My other pick is another consistent performer, the joint PNCA+OCAC Applied Craft and Design MFA program. This year, brilliantly titled, "Otherwise Chaos," it seems apt. *Update, there were standouts from: Marisa Garcia,
Aaron De Lanty and Diane de Ribaupierre.
Otherwise Chaos | May 12-26
Opening Reception: May 12, 6-9PM
421 NE 10th