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Sunday 01.27.19

« Enrique Chagoya Interview | Main | The end of OCAC? »

End of January Links

The latest in the OCAC saga is that PSU has decided not to acquire the rival-ish school. As a public school this PSU idea was always a long shot for the private OCAC but not impossible (it takes a bold vision and Portland isnt known for bold institutional thinking). Still, the school needs to be saved, as OCAC is a crucial, even unique entity. The main issue I see is one of vision in the face of a higher education system that is broken, forcing schools to constantly grow enrollment if they dont have prodigious endowments. Vision comes from leaders and OCAC currently does not have a visionary leader... just an understandably spooked board and an interim president (faculty member thrust into this). Plenty of people want to see this school saved but perhaps the best answer is to bear down and draw a line in the sand with a direct campaign. This will take a vision statement and plan that people can rally around (not something that Portland boards ever do). The school itself is quite unique being craft centered and that needs to be highlighted as the asset it is. Let's remember PNCA was in a similar state before Tom Manley came in and helped that school realize some of the untapped momentum it was sitting on. In my mind OCAC needs to remain small and specialized to survive the current crisis in higher education but it also needs to pragmatically innovate. This is something that requires vision... I can see several ways to make the school an innovation leader so it can reposition itself and shore up its fundamentals. The enrollment itself has been stable... unlike Marylhurst University which closed last year. Hopefully the board recognizes they need more options and some innovative plans full of vision. Simply expecting another institution to take on that role isnt going to cut it. Im thinking about all the great craft based schools I've visited, especially Frank Lloyd Wright's Taliesin. That was a school with immense visionary leadership and though that much vision is not required it gives one some insight as to how the school could move forward. I believe looking at other innovative and small schools like Black Mountain and Taliesin can help point the way... not just a board mitigating debt and shifting responsibilities to save the school. Portland is very into saving this institution in a broken industry. Solution, dont follow the current models and strike out on a new vision that doubles down on the schools strengths and close knit campus. For those who see doom, think how special OCAC is compared to other more generic art and craft schools. It has a niche and its skills are in demand.

Contemporary female artists are obsessed with the grotesque... Louise Bourgeios, Eva Hesse and Maria Lassnig were just early pioneers that Marlene Dumas, Tracy Emin, Wangechi Mutu and Kara Walker (to name just a few) have built upon. It is a huge genre in the Northwest too and overdue for a regional survey.

Sarah Cain has a lot of good painting moves down in LA.

NPR has a great general story about how reaching out to others unlike you generates creative thinking. It is an important reminder.

Herzog and de Meuron has revealed their wooden/brutalist mashup design for Vancouver's new art gallery downtown. The use of wood is something PAM should take note of for their coming expansion.

Portland Architecture chats about Will Martin (designer for Pioneer Square) with a co-worker.

Jerry Saltz on Dana Schutz's latest paintings. I believe the Whitney curators screwed up by not giving the work the right kind of context but as our interview with Schutz shows, bodies are part and parcel of her ouvre. Just because she is white doesn't mean she cant touch that subject matter but it did require far more context in the exhibition.

There is a showdown brewing between W.A.G.E. and the Whitney Biennial and its based on the growing sense that artists are underwriting exhibitions by wealthy museums. It is wrong and artists should be compensated fairly for these shows... everyone else at the museums, including installers are paid, why not the artists?

Posted by Jeff Jahn on January 27, 2019 at 9:36 | Comments (0)


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