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Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education reemerges
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Saturday 06.17.17

North Coast Seed Building Open House

NCSB.jpg

The North Coast Seed Building is one of Portland's great artist work spaces (many have disappeared or have been threatened). Today it hosts its annual open house. The building is made up of three separate warehouses constructed over thirty years, beginning in 1911. Originally zoned only for industrial use, artists working in the space in the early 1990s were nearly evicted by the fire marshal. Years ago, due to the intervention of a sympathetic member of the City of Portland's Bureau of Buildings, an artist's work was reinterpreted as a manufacturing process, and the North Coast Seed Building became an officially sanctioned artist space. This is one of the best annual events in Portland and we need more of these spaces since several have been redeveloped, robbing the city of its important artist workspaces and overall ethos. Many top Portland artists have studios here.

Open House | 2-10PM | June 17
North Coast Seed Building

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 17, 2017 at 12:27 | Comments (0)

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Sunday 06.11.17

Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education reemerges

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Grisha Bruskin's Alefbet

I cannot think of a better time for Oregon's Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education to reemerge on Portland's Park Blocks. Beset with hate crimes its astounding how humans seem to repeat their mistakes and the greatly expanded museum's exhibition of intolerance by all is just what we need to see right now (and always. International art star Grisha Bruskin's Alefbet (the Alphabet of Memory) comes to us from Russia and is a stunning and mysterious tapestry that everyone should see. The revamped museum is free and open to the public today.
Grand Opening: June 11, 12-4PM (free)
Alefbet | June 11- October 1, 2017
Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education
724 NW Park

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 11, 2017 at 9:04 | Comments (0)

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Friday 06.09.17

PSU's new Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art bucks sad campus trend

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rendering of the new Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at PSU

At a time when nearly every college gallery or museum seems to be under pressure the exciting news this week is that Jordan Schnitzer has given Portland State University 5M for a 7500 square foot, 2 level museum within the renovated Neuberger Hall. It reminds me a lot of two respected University programs that taught me a great deal decades ago, the Illinois State University Galleries and the INOVA program at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, both of which do museum caliber shows and similarly have a discreet director position that makes the space more than just an extension of the existing faculty and their prerogatives. Instead, those spaces expanded the cultural climate of the campus (INOVA in the early days was extremely daring, later they moved off the central campus and became less cutting edge but still good). What is great about PSU's new museum is how visible this will be on the campus quad, inviting students to just stroll in.

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New rendering (top) and current Neuberger Hall (below)

Situated right on the Park Blocks the JSMA should add civic vibrancy to what is now just a mid-century curtain wall. I've long felt that university galleries expose students to art at a crucial time when they are building their intellectual apparatus. I experienced this first hand. Simply wandering into an exhibition on campus introduces an opportunity for curiosity and unlike most tests and quizzes there is no right answer and a museum scale setting gives it more weight. Overall, "Art" inherently encourages tolerance and flexibility... something our world certainly could use more of and possibly lost sight of until recently. The gift also makes PSU a much bigger cultural player and it was mentioned at the press conference how they could coordinate related exhibitions with the other museums and schools on the Park Blocks. It enhances the South Park Blocks "Museum District" count and considering Portland as a hot tourist destination it simply strengthens our civic cultural portfolio. PSU is still in the process of sorting out details like whether the Museum will have a collection or not but regardless the museum will have access to the Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation's vast lending library of art.

That is the easy part of this story, but it really requires more context in a time where University budgets and brass haven't seen the value of even internationally important spaces like groundbreaking Rice Gallery in Houston, which sadly closed just last month. Spaces just do not fit narrowly proscribed "core" mission statements. Yet, they are important for that very reason, breaking up the cognitive biases we all develop. For a local example, June is the last month for the White Box space at the University of Oregon's Portland Campus. Let's not mince words, closing the White Box for simple storage space is a horrible philistine waste considering its excellence and 7 year history.... (more)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 09, 2017 at 17:12 | Comments (0)

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Wednesday 06.07.17

Women To The Front

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Keep Me Safe, Tracey Emin

What I like about collectors putting on their own shows is not every one of their open house efforts is worth recommending but Women to the Front at Lumber Room fits the bill. First of all as a single collector show of female artists it refreshingly isnt trying to be comprehensive history making exercise since important artists like Lee Bontecou, Agnes Martin, Anne Truitt, Eva Hesse and Helen Frankenthaler and are not present though crucial artists like Lynda Benglis, Kiki Smith and Tracey Emin (some would debate her being crucial but they forget she is the King of confessional art, male or female). Instead, knowns like Ana Sew Hoy and Eve Fowler (who is unveiling a site specific work) are rounded out with other Artists who happen to be women. This is Part II of an exhibition where some of the artists are moved or subbed in. In the past I was not impressed with the space's previous all ladies attempt Interior Margins, whose language and curatorial assumptions seemed to make a lot of younger female artists bristle (a schism that played a part in the last presidential primaries for Democrats) but I think these shows play a part of developing new language and contexts and checking out this less formal arrangement is interesting because it keeps the exhibition itself a kind of experimental gathering.

Women To The Front
Opening Reception: June 8 5-7PM
Regular Hours: Fridays 12-5PM
Lumber Room
419 NW 9th

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 07, 2017 at 12:00 | Comments (0)

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Saturday 06.03.17

Weekend Picks: In House Edition

With Portland's intense real estate market perhaps the last refuges for Portland's vital alt-space scene are its excellent in-house galleries which turn residencies into art spaces. Does RACC support them enough? Emphatically, NO... but we should be valuing and supporting them. Here are two to check out this weekend. These are the sorts of places emerging art stars launch build national and international art careers... less so our University and commercial galleries, which often catch on to things late... way after an artist builds a career outside Portland. There is a disconnect between the dynamic experimental scene and institutions.

Interchange.jpg
Indivisible continues to do interesting things with the home as gallery concept so their latest "Interchange: is of interest. Featuring Sharyll Burroughs, Jaleesa M Johnston, Mary Edwards, and Ju-Pong Lin it is a multimedia installations & performance group show.

Interchange | June 4-24
Opening reception: June 3, 6-9PM
Additional viewing June 10, 17, and 24th, noon to 5PM
Indivisible
2544 SE 26th



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Clay Mahn

Another great house gallery is Falsefront, which presents an intriguing show by Clay Mahn called Bad Habits. Though the press release gives no information except an obstruse poem (a bad habit?) I'll go by the Chicago based artist's previous work and still recommend it.

Clay Mahn | June 4 - July 2
Opening Reception: June 4 12-5PM
Falsefront
4518 NE 32nd Ave

Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 03, 2017 at 12:00 | Comments (0)

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