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Kate Simmons at Alexander Gallery
Understanding the Sublime, Free day at PAM
Art & Ecology at Indivisble
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Tuesday 08.22.17

Kate Simmons at Alexander Gallery

Kate Simmons' Slow Cooked at Alexander Gallery

First off, the Alexander Gallery in Oregon City is an under appreciated and under exposed gem in the region with its high ceilings and overall nice layout. If you want to do a large scale work it is one of the best spaces in the State of Oregon. Making use of those features, Kate Simmons' exhibition Slow Cooked: An Interior Monologue, explores "the cyclical nature of domestic tasks and are infused with a healthy dose of self-talk. In this work the artist explores and juxtaposes ideas of balance inspired by being a career oriented female and homemaker. This exhibition spans a three year period of making and features works of many media including, large scale photographic installation, bronze and mixed media sculpture." My own Mother was once a Home Ec teacher so I have a personal interest in this subject. On the world stage there has been a great deal of refocusing on female artists but I've found the talking points surrounding Art are still dominated by the very 19th century male-centric value structures and axioms. I think we simply need to apply a different set of values/virtues to apply to all artwork rather than modes that have existed since before the beginning of the industrial revolution (a discussion of space alone would be refreshing rather than objects as investments). Simmons is doing her part and you can hear her KBOO interview here and she's speaking tomorrow at 1:00.

Slow Cooked: An Interior Monologue | August 7 - September 1
Artist Talk: August 23rd, 1PM rm N140 (Niemeyer Center)
Alexander Gallery
Clackamas Community College
19600 Molalla Ave. Oregon City

Posted by Jeff Jahn on August 22, 2017 at 10:11 | Comments (0)


Saturday 08.19.17

Understanding the Sublime, Free day at PAM

Jennifer Steinkamp's Orbit at PAM (photo Jeff Jahn)

One day before the total eclipse the Portland Art Museum is having one of their essential Miller Free Days. Since PAM is the biggest repository on the study of the sublime in Oregon and an eclipse is the epitome of the sublime by Burke's influential definition something fraught but ultimately not dangerous if viewed in a safe way) looking at art will enrich the eclipse experience and vice versa. A great deal of art works with the sublime, from Picasso's Guernica to Damien Hirst's sharks or even Anish Kapoor's bean. The sublime can be political, abstract... even photographic. To that end there are several worthy examples on display at PAM. For example, Jennifer Steinkamp's Orbit is an immersive mandelbrot net of both natural seeming imagery conveyed through patently unnatural means, making it fraught with definitions. There's also an tasty little Clifford Gleeson painting show on the 3rd floor of the Northwest wing and Several works in Sam Hamilton's Standard Candles, particularly one video installation where the artist walls upon books into the landscape. Last but not least is the Greenberg collection itself... most of which traffics in the sublime and is extremely relevant (museums often neglect their strengths, its one of their main paradoxes).

Of course, it is unfortunate there isnt a major Rothko on display as his work is some of the most sublime in history... we are all hoping that PAM gets the Rothko Pavilion idea sorted out so the can connect those dots better. Great Rothkos rival solar eclipses.

Miller Free Day
August 20, 2017 | 10AM - 5PM
Portland Art Museum
1219 SW Park Ave

Posted by Jeff Jahn on August 19, 2017 at 16:42 | Comments (0)


Thursday 08.10.17

Art & Ecology at Indivisble

Detail from Buster Simpson's "Captiva Raft Revisited 2017" from Rising Water Confab, a collaborative residency at the Robert Rauschenberg studio on Captiva Island, Fl.

Portland isnt that strong in its formal institutions but as was pointed out by Peter Plagens years ago its alternative space is very interesting... perhaps that is why Converge 45 feels like it doesn't quite present Portland's A game. Perhaps the most interesting alternative space in Portland is Indivisible (in a residential house deep in Portlands Southeast neighborgoods) so it is great that they are having a special open house this evening (Thursday, August 10th, 6-9 pm) for the Art & Ecology show. Curated by Linda Wysong it features works by Peg Butler, Bruce Conkle, Egg Dahl, Ardis DeFreece, Adam Kuby, Vanessa Renwick, Buster Simpson, Linda Wysong.

Art and Ecology | August 6-26
Special reception: August 10, 6-9PM
Additional viewing Saturdays, August 12th, 19th, and 26th noon to 5PM
2544 SE 26th

Posted by Jeff Jahn on August 10, 2017 at 12:42 | Comments (0)


Wednesday 08.09.17

Early August News

We are still working on no less than 3 major articles, till then here are some things to chew on:

This interview with Philippe de Montebello is fascinating regarding the future of the Met. In many ways mission creep has pushed museums beyond their core competency. Is the Met really in trouble? uh no. Is there a crisis? All institutions need crisis to remain relevant and the question with the Met is interesting. My thought is the Met needs to do contemporary art at the same level it does any other kind of Art. Can it do that? The core competency for any museum is to play to their strengths by testing that strength. A digital initiative sounds great but if it isnt as enlightened as their Egyptian program it becomes a distraction. Once again mission creep can diffuse crisis in core competencies but that can undermine that core. New programs work better to bring a crisi of understanding to the museum's collection and programs. Today museums seem to have lost their way, always chasing the parade. No, play like the house... because the museum is the house. An intellectually rather than fashionably engaged crisis is all that is needed. Sadly, the contemporary art world isnt producing curators like that... or they arent ending up at museums anymore. Great curators like Robert Storr and Paul Schimmel are no longer at museums... that's a bad kind of crisis. (yes I like to point out that the Greek word Krisis is the root of the word criticism. For those who like to say there is a "crisis in criticism"... you are being intellectually redundant. Crisis and Criticism have the same linguistic origin. In conclusion, all great curatorial programs and museums use crisis of understanding to spur critical thinking about what they present. Simply having a program that chases its trending demographics will fail to capture them. For example Gen X and Milennials are disengaging from museums, partially because museums are acting as if they are too big to fail. The museums are failing to understand their own crisis. *Hint, great curators who bring the tensions of the present to what is presented are great communicators... they dont do what most contemporary art curators are doing now, which is extremely defensive. So many are failing and not in a good way.

While on the subject of crisis in contemporary art, here is a fascinating article where the strongest work tends to misread its predecessors to create room for itself. A strategy called "Misprision" where mere imitation is just a form of "cultural suicide" or at least death by thousand cuts from hedging... i.e. hiding in the cultural hedges. Simply doing research and evoking history and its forms isn't quite enough.... (more)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on August 09, 2017 at 14:15 | Comments (0)


Wednesday 08.02.17

Cooler Through Art

Portland is hotter than a furnace (ok technically not) but still in a city where air conditioning can be rare in even finer homes heat challenges Portlanders. Frankly we arent used to being cooped up and with the unusually wintery Winter we had Portlanders are starting to feel like tatertots that have gone from the freezer to the frying pan. Here are three solid bets to feed you eyes and mind.

Jennifer Steinkamp's Orbit at PAM (photo Jeff Jahn)

The top of most peoples list should be the Portland Art Museum and their current Jennifer Steinkamp exhibition is a long overdue look at a pioneer of computer generated art. She's a favorite of mine melding computer generated graphics and architectural recolonization as art. We saw her Jimmy Carter piece last year (her most important work) and though the selection of pieces here are'nt as cutting as her political or disease related works (who can tell the difference these days), being more non still lives and some related to teachers it constitutes a major multi-media show at PAM. A step in the right direction. True, having at least one work projected in non gallery spaces would have been even smarter but perhaps there is room for that once PAM sorts out its Rothko Pavilion expansion in the future? What's more, this Steinkamp show guarantees that this year's Converge 45 at least has one worthwhile anchor exhibition (last year was a planning phase, becoming more like a contemporary art version of a talk radio show... all of which sounded very dated after the last election). All that said Steinkamp does some pretty timeless stuff for being involved in new media and one piece Judy Crook is a poetic homage to a beloved color theory teacher. Art isn't all glitz and opaque curatorial hedging, the best of it is profoundly related to growing through life and as an artist who has rehabilitated the still life through new media Steinkamp is a must see. Yes, an interview is on the way. .

Jennifer Steinkamp
July 8 - September 17
Portland Art Museum
1219 SW Park Ave

Kabuki: A Revolution in Color and Design at Portland Japanese Garden (Photo Tyler Quinn)

Another great choice for beating the heat is the recently renovated Japanese Garden, everyone should see the new Cultural Village expansion by Kengo Kuma. Its always a bit cooler up there and the garden has always put on the best craft oriented exhibitions in Portland like the current Kabuki: A Revolution in Color and Design carries on the tradition. It is a good time to see the exhibition, new architecture and the garden. itself. Honestly, for Portlanders there is nothing cooler than visiting Japan for a quick day trip without leaving the city.

Kabuki: A Revolution in Color and Design | July 29 - September 3
Portland Japanese Garden
611 SW Kingston Ave

... (more)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on August 02, 2017 at 9:34 | Comments (0)

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