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Thursday 05.30.19

City survey left out the Arts, add them back!


So the beleaguered Mayor of Portland, Ted Wheeler's city survey completely leaves out all mention of the arts as a form of civic participation. That's a tone deaf oversight (sorry Ted I believe you are a talented admin but do you know what makes Portland Portland?... clue its the permissive cultural climate, which is spearheaded by the arts). Keeping Portland's character means supporting the arts ecosystem, which is challenged like never before. That requires more than a namecheck on any document about this place. Yet it doesnt even get a mention.

So let's fix this as the survey has numerous places to chose "other" and write in responses. Do it, the squeaky wheel gets the oil so speak! How about access to and support of the arts (visual being my favorite but the varied ecosystem is crucial and I do have a deep background in other areas). For those who feel there are other more pressing matters, well that's a false dichotomy as what we need to support is depth of forms in the arts ecosystem as well as address the homeless and parks. The city doesnt do just one thing and we need all of its organs including the Arts which are kind of like the nerves and glands of the city. Losing great things like several entire colleges and studio buildings is tantamount to losing a coral reef or a rain forest. Get with it Ted, and yeah RRACC... get a clue too. For example, artists cannot get project grants if their work is presented at institutions that get operating funds from RACC... that's essentially a back door tax on the artists that are the lifeblood of the ecosystem. There are other complaints none of which have been addressed by RACC since being called out on them late last year (Since then they've drastically slashed support for many institutions... wrong direction Ted). The art scene does not accept RACC's silence on this and I'm merely one of the few with license to bring it up.

The link is here, have at it culturati. Deadline extended through May 31.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 30, 2019 at 15:39 | Comments (0)


Saturday 05.25.19

Late May Institutional Links

It's safe to say we are in a time of institutional upending, where things are being simultaneously being reconfigured, hollowed out or outright destroyed. Most of it seems knee jerk, follow the parade, performing public wokeness, a war on expertise and overall lacks strategic planning or vision (that's bad as institutions require it). After say 50 year of expansion, the art world for living artists seems to be contracting (except for blue chip commodity art and there dead = bread). Here are some links:

She's 98 and getting her first solo museum exhibition. Good news but why does this take so long? Oh yeah, she's a woman... and her concerns are less easy to commodify. Still its nice to have some good news and a sense of oversights being righted.

Looks like Josephine Zarcovich isnt planning on coming back as Linfield's curator. This is part of the overall war on expertise that all elements of the economy have been facing... from taxi drivers to tenured professors and yes institutional curators. It is coming from both the right and the left and a president with no interest in the standards of public service is the top example. Couple things though... I dont think Linfield ever technically had a full time professional curator like Linda Tesner. When I first started going there professors like Liz Obert programmed it, Cris Moss put the place on the map and he did teach as well. Hopefully Linfield can survive the current collapse of higher education and keep up a program worth tracking... the Linfield Gallery under Moss was THE reason to trek out to wine country and they can still do that... even if it is part time if they play their cards right. Another thing The Ford Foundation isnt always helping as much of their support prioritizes academic connections + traditional art forms (painting/sculpture) not the hybridized new mediums involving... (more)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 25, 2019 at 13:03 | Comments (0)


Friday 05.17.19


AmazonComPandaTreeLoraZombieFineArt by Jeannette Mill

Portland's art scene has taken some hits lately but it also has new venues and a continuing tradition as an incubator of new talent. So instead of celebrating failures head out to see this new venue called 1122. This promising group exhibition called Time>Space>Place features some of my favorite new talents like Tabitha Nikolai and Wiley so I suspect the company they keep will be worth checking out. Artists are; Shannon Anderson, Ralph Barton, Ricky Bearghost,Tess Bidelspach,Jackie Boden, Aaron Cunningham, Job Erickson, EM Fuller, Sam Hancock, David Hunt, Jeannette Mill, Tabitha Nikolai, P.A.L.S. Video Collective, Brianna Rosen, Ivan Soliton, Gena Sophia, Mathew Spencer, Jason Triefenbach and Wiley. TIME > SPACE > PLACE promises to be , "the first manifestation of Standard Practice Co:Creative, a soon- to- be-incorporated community arts nonprofit dedicated to catalyzing creative potentials through engaged discourse and collaborative action." Seems like an opportunity to grow from and that's what artists need.

Time>Space>Place | May 17 - June 15
Opening: May 17 6-10PM
1122 Gallery
1122 SE 88th

Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 17, 2019 at 16:26 | Comments (0)


Monday 05.06.19

Early May links

I've been making the rounds to a lot of galleries and polishing up several think pieces. Till those are ready (soon) here are some links:

The Venice Biennale is a kind of barometer for the art world but to my eyes it still seems to be stuck in the past with a lot of the disaster porn art we've been accustomed to... so much some are calling it the we_are_all_gonna_die-ennial though its aim was for ambiguity (I believe uncertainty is a better subject, splitting hairs but it is important). This Rugoff curated affair has the same kind of failure fetish we have grown accustomed to for a decade+ (it is kind of Rugoff's thing). At least it is more timely than a glitz-ennial, which would be wrong as would a woke-ennial. Still the choice of raw plywood (a favorite with every MFA class) is tired as can be (The MoMA Judd retrospective will expose all pretenders). Here are some more tours of Venice but what I see is a certain stagnant malaise with a longing to escape it. Perhaps that's my curse... I always insist on finding something with a fresh edge rather than some convenient failure to fetish. It is out there, but one has to be looking to see it. What's the U2 lyric, "some places have to be believed to be seen." Right now there is a kind of fetish of fatalism (often accompanied with some quote or footnote by Joan Retallack) that's always playing the victim in a coded and lame way. It has the sound of settling about it and its too easy a look to achieve.

All that said, the odd things they approve of, this Breugel book and exhibition seems like a good rejoinder for those who aren't dead inside or still have a healthy habit of intellectual curiosity.

Why did this pioneering trustee leave LACMA? See comments about lame anti-intellectual mode mastering trends in the art world. The man had an edge and an understanding.

The excellent painter and favorite among those in the know Thomas Nozkowski has died. Here is a wonderful video of what it was like to go hiking with him.

Hiking with Thomas Nozkowski from Casimir Nozkowski on Vimeo.

Last but not least, Oregon's arts funding for the Oregon Arts Commission is still under threat... take action. Considering the immense amount of economic activity in Oregon it seems unconscionable that arts funding is facing cuts.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 06, 2019 at 15:49 | Comments (0)

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