First of all, shops in Portland that are also a gallery is nothing new in Portland
. Nationale and others have been doing it for years and Motel (run by PORT Co-Founder Jennifer Armbrust) broke a lot of new ground. With rents rising and online being ever more important to retail and fine art brick and mortar seems to need the flux that 2 genres can offer. Thing is it always seems to benefit the merchandise more than the fine art. I'd like to see some one make it a win win on both sides. That said I am all for more of these hybrid spaces.
It is no secret that artists dont make that much money but this study digs deeper and Portland clocks in as the second highest concentration of artists in the country with 500 per million
, far above the next closest (Denver at 250) and second only to Miami's 581. Question is what is city hall doing to encourage this entrepreneurial edge? We want to maintain this.
Dan Cameron is curating a Midwest Biennial in Kansas City
. As a former midwesterner myself Im all for this... the whole perception of flyover states and arts being concentrated on the coasts is corrosive to what makes the USA great.
Ok, many have cabin fever with the family and or loved ones and have already had their fill of holiday shopping (I detest it). The clear antidotes are some art exhibitions that allow one to stroll and contemplate while getting far awy from the house or stores. Here are my picks:
Andrew Wyeth, On The Edge (2001)
The Wyeths: Three Generations at the Portland Art Museum
feels more like a family gathering than a museum survey of the Wyeths... because that is exactly what it is. It is a good thing. Whether you love Andrew Wyeth's bone ghostly landscapes or his masterful wisps of existential hair in hardscrabble Americana or not this exhibition extols a waspy New England generational presence, like a Thanksgiving Day rendezvous with all the familial dramas, humor and warmth simmering underneath. That said, I am an unrepentant Andrew Wyeth fan despite the work never really being couth in Greenbergian... then Artforum circles (a sign he was on to something) and I also grew up appreciating N.C Wyeth's illustrations. All of which contributed to a more fluid appreciation of visual culture that doesnt put artificial barriers up between graphic art and Art. As a family, the Wyeths cover the whole spectrum... but Andrew Wyeth is the great one and the reason there is a traveling exhibition of his family's work. There's a vitality in this filial arrangement. Patriarch N.C. Wyeth has a fantastical bent, Andrew's world is haunted and Jamie brings humor and nature's animus. True, this a lot of waspishness here in a time when all white male Newenglanders are reviled as a kind of LLBean clad Brahman class in the US socio-political landscape but I am a firm believer that no one be they Mexican, Jew, Irish, Italian, Nordic or Hmong should have to apologize for what they are and what their culture brings to the table. There are some truly marvelous works, especially the large Andrew Wyeths that are not behind glass, several N.C. Wyeth oil paintings that became book illustrations and a witty conclusion with Jamie Wyeth, whose painting of empty adirondak chairs sums it all up.
The Wyeths: Three Generations
| October 7 - January 28, 2018
Portland Art Museum
1219 SW Park Ave
Bill Will, House of Mirrors
It is a great time to reflect on the state of the USA at the moment. To that end perhaps no Portland artist illustrates the risks that have always been present than Bill Will. Will is one of Portland's biggest trickster satirist installation artists and in times like these what could be more appropriate than a lil art sideeye? Funhouse at the Hoffman Gallery is just what we need, a reminder of just how wrong we have always been as a nation. The entire menagerie of installations themselves form a funhouse with a specific route of whirling twirling theatricality that the viewer completes as a participant... predictably ending in a gift shop.
Funhouse | September 10 - December 10
Ronna and Eric Hoffman Gallery of Contemporary Art
Lewis & Clark College
0615 S.W. Palatine Hill Road
photo: Yamazaki Kenji
What could be a better antidote to holiday shopping and being cooped up with relatives for days? ... a quick trip to Japan, sure. Well, the Portland Japanese Garden is one of our premier cultural gems and the latest exhibition Mirrors of the Mind: The Noh Masks of Ohtsuki Kokun
is perhaps the ultimate exploration of sophisticated mask creation. Noh masks are incredibly subtle as they are meant to be animated by the slightest turn
transforming mild into sly and the demonic into loyal or honorable in the hands of a capable actor. This gives Noh masks an otherworldly aspect that draws viewers into a kind of phantasmagorical understanding/experience of why and how faces convey complex meaning through manipulation of light and posture. Master mask maker Ohtsuki Kokun elevates what in the USA has been thought of as merely an entertaining past time into something more sublime and hard to pin down. Certainly these mask reflects on a place of shadow where humanity dwells and communicates... masks can reveal the ghost in the machine. On top of that the Garden in Fall is simply outstanding.
Mirrors of the Mind: The Noh Masks of Ohtsuki Kokun | October 14 - December 3rd
Portland Japanese Garden
611 SW Kingston Ave
I have been traveling a great deal but PORT has a lot of reviews and other content heading your way. Till then here are some links to mull over.
Jerry Saltz doubts the recently "found" Da Vinci painting... it is up for auction with a starting bid at $100M tonight
. Overall, I find the painting to be just too convenient and yes pre-renaissance stylistically to be a Da Vinci without major question marks. The thing is auctions at this and of the market have very little to do with the art and a lot to do with turning cash (legal and dubious) into an asset that can be used as collateral for other things. This isnt about building a collection or appreciating art and most of the major collectors I know have a certain distaste for auctions. Interesting that Jerry's segment for NBC news got cut after it was taped. hmmm...
Here is a fascinating article about whether art can effect science
... answer is yes. Science like most professions has certain preoccupations driven by what people believe and one great thing about art is it can present different epistemologies.... ones that can be tested scientifically. Sometimes, one has to see something to believe it is worth testing. I've always loved the odd hems and seams (seems?) that are woven into to the art/science dialectic. That also means that art is not some isolated cul-de-sac of civilization. It can express idiomatic world views rather than just illustrating them. The work which seems like a strange outlier is actually quite important... it can be a different understanding knocking on the accepted ideas. Something that has been increasingly rarer to find in art and politics... both of which have been losing their more supple approach to connecting with people. Sometimes you have to challenge something to keep it valid and capable of fixing themselves. Freedom and liberty are two of those things. Science and Art are both crucial, it was making both science and art available to the public that lead to greater liberties. The second those things stop being free range and directed by ideologues things get worse for all but a few.
Which is a great segue... No, artspeak generally is not used to disseminate actual research as art
. It is a special kind of careerist sublimation of how and why certain art operates. True some research works (notice how Andrea Geyer's dialog around this show
was pretty direct... and arguably the last "Great" visart thing I've seen PICA do) but more often it is just code for, "dont challenge my all important CV." In fact, anything is fair game and in a time where institutional rigging and tampering effected a major political election I'd say that no amount of research actually justifies work. Instead, its the way art reveals the mortar that holds various bricks of civilization together... or even how those walls fail that makes art and critical assessment (which requires comprehension of goals and intentions) important.
It is a long established fact that developers usually come into places that artists revitalize 10-15 years after the artists move in. This has happened in Portland. The difference in this latest situation in LA with Laura Owens is a very successful artist
(many of whose collectors are wealthy developers)is seen as being too quick a catalyst. It is a cautionary tale and I'd like to see development in Portland that creates new... (more)
Adam Sorensen's Places at PDX Contemporary
I've followed, championed and worked with Adam Sorensen .. going way back and Places is easily his strongest exhibition to date. I think it is the sublime aspect that isnt just filled with wonder but a certain terror of impossible discovery and landscape that lets us locate our own fantastical expections for nature that works here. It is also his most zen-like un-fussy but precise paint handling that works here. In these somewhat terrible times Sorensen shows us a fantasy that is at once both appealing and synthetically off. It provides a fantastical recalibration and spa-like perceptual respite at the same time.
Places | November 1 - December 2
First Thursday Reception: November 2, 6-8PM
925 NW Flanders
Rockstar Wayne Coyne is also a visual artist and his immersive multimedia installation King's Mouth is making a stop at PNCA's 511 Gallery. Is psychedlia enough? Probably... since the spectacular happenings at The Flaming Lips shows are in many ways their signature it would be interesting to explore the aesthetic in a gallery.
King's Mouth | November 2 - January 6, 2018
First Thursday: November 2, 6:00-8:00PM
511 NW Broadway