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  • Permalink for 'Public art in Portland winning awards'

    Public art in Portland winning awards

    Posted: 23-July-2014, 6:45pm EDT by Jeff Jahn
    RACC just announced that two pieces, Jorge Pardo's Streetcar Stop for Portland and Inversion +/- by Lead Pencil Studio were cited as two of 37 outstanding public arts projects completed in the United States in 2013.

    Streetcar Stop for Portland (detail inside at night) photo Jeff Jahn

    Both projects certainly were site considered works that went far beyond last year's Nepenthes travesty, also commissioned by RACC for its, "Quirkyness." I've been writing about it for a L O N G time but quirky just isn't good enough in Portland anymore (yes you too Art Beat) and as PORT's interview with Pardo explored last year... doing something excellent and successful is never an accident. Pardo's project is the most successfully ambitious public art project in RACC's history.

    I'm more reserved about Inversion +/-. I feel like the ghost warehouse idea is a nice way to capture loss and renewal but the execution of 2 of the southernmost of the 3 sections feel clumsier than the final most northern one. The Northernmost element traces an outline rather than filling out a volume and it is far more elegant. Overall, the metal supports that hold these structures up simply come off as clumsy... making them difficult to distinguish from the rusting remnants of some signage scaffolding. LPS has done better work... particularly the ethereal sign project at the US Canada border. In public art OK can be seen as a noteworthy achievement.

    Overall, take a bow RACC... but don't let it go to your head... inconsistencies between projects, which vary as much in quality as Nepenthes and Streetcar Stop for Portland are endemic of room to improve. The great news is that they now have experience with strong international-standards worthy projects.
  • Permalink for 'Monday Links'

    Monday Links

    Posted: 21-July-2014, 1:43pm EDT by Jeff Jahn
    The top art story this weekend had to be the Mana Contemporary project in New Jersey. In many ways it isn't dissimilar from what the Portland Art Museum did with the Francis Bacons and other works... only this project is an ultra ambitious approach to redeveloping lower valued real estate. PAM is just being a museum (borrowing important works and presenting them), whereas Mana is providing a storage option and creating a museum... which will then bolster real estate. I'm very surprised nobody has seen the potential in Portland as Oregon does not have sales tax (like New Jersey).

    I'm not certain I buy this argument about Scotland remaining part of Great Britain as keeping it from being culturally cut off. But it is interesting that someone is forwarding the idea that nationalism = xenophobic regionalism. The Scots are a bright people with excellent arts... I cant see independence doing anything but make them try harder to assert themselves as presenter independent of England?

    US museums provide emergency support to curators in Syria in anticipation of a cultural cataclysm.
  • Permalink for 'Jordan Wayne Long at 12128 Boatspace'

    Jordan Wayne Long at 12128 Boatspace

    Posted: 18-July-2014, 9:00pm EDT by Jeff Jahn

    Often, performance comes off as self congratulatory attention mongering... BUT the fact that Jordan Wayne Long's "Impact Piece #1" comes with a warning against bringing any children is a good sign. Also, the fact that is is at 12128, everyone's favorite alt-space crab boat means that just the location alone is worth the trip. JWL's work comes from his his participation in 12128's micro residency program funded in part by the groundbreaking Precipice Fund. Show up and see if it is worthy enough to justify using the middle name professionally.

    Jordan Wayne Long | July 19 2014
    Reception : 6:00PM (performance at 7)
    1 2 1 2 8
    12900 NW Marina Way
    (be careful in Linnton's speed trap)
  • Permalink for 'Next Wave 2014: New Faces In The Portland Art Scene'

    Next Wave 2014: New Faces In The Portland Art Scene

    Posted: 16-July-2014, 7:11pm EDT by Jeff Jahn
    A healthy art scene identifies and welcomes new talent but we should also be keeping an eye out for new presenters, who often have the hardest job of all... that of not only opening new doors... but also keeping them open.

    At PORT, we take seriously the role of identifying new talent early on... not simply jumping on a bandwagon after new artists and spaces are established (but I also want to see if there is staying power). Thus, it is time for another installment of our New Faces series, focusing on new leaders to the art scene because it is precisely these early beginnings where being a talent scout can do some good.

    Every few years we seem to have a sea change where some familiar spaces shut down (in the last few years it was Worksound, Place and Appendix) and it leaves holes which some enterprising new faces seek to fill (Place was forced to transition to Surplus Space and both Adams and Ollman and Upfor Contemporary have added to the gallery scene but what gets me up in the morning are discovering what those "wildcard", unproven new personalities might accomplish). Although nobody is doing anything the size (ie a large industrial space) and the consistently international scope of Worksound it looks like there is definitely a new crop in the works.

    HQ Objective is (L to R) Johnny Ray Alt and Andre C Filipek

    In April 2014 Andre C Filipek and Johnny Ray Alt inaugurated the HQ Objective's project space, titled HQHQ (think HQ squared) in the depths of the venerable Oak Street Building in the heart of Portland's Central Eastside Industrial District. It is an industrial neighborhood where so many alternative spaces and warehouse shows have taken place but HQHQ with its faux wood floors make it feels far more more polished than previous efforts. Filipek and Alt are both recent PNCA grads with an aesthetic reminiscent of the now shuttered Appendix Project Space. What's different is a somewhat more design-y and an early international outlook they have taken, including an artist from the UK in their May show. Definitely a space to keep one's eyes on.

    232 SE Oak St. #108

    Lindsay Jordan Kretchun and Jessica Breedlove Latham at Duplex Collective

    Duplex is another art and design minded alternative space headed by the whipsmart duo of Lindsay Jordan Kretchun and Jessica Breedlove Latham. Located in Oldtown Chinatown (an area that seems ripe for new galleries) they blend their experience (Jessica has a museum studies background) with an openness for new submissions from artists. They have been around for a little while but it often take a bit to get a sense of where to take programming. It's this ability to jump in and find your way that makes Portland appealing for new spaces... in bigger cities you are judged the moment you open your doors (Even Stieglitz and Kahnweiler took a bit of time to figure out what they were going to be about. The brains and drive behind it make this space worth watching.

    Duplex Collective
    219 NW Couch St

    Shir Ly Grisanti at C3: initiative

    C3: initiative seeks to take the alt space initiative in St. Johns. Back in 2003-2004 St. Johns was a busy hive of alternative space activity with innumerable shows at Cathedral Park Place (and the much missed Haze Gallery. Also, with rents rising everywhere in the city St Johns is getting more attractive again. Now the C3: Initiative is jumping into the fray. It's a very flexible space that could accommodate multimedia shows and the backyard is perfect for outdoor screenings (they have already had a Sochi event with Pussy Riot). They also have a residency and a studio incubator program. Most importantly, they are open to working with guest curators so hit them up.

    C3: Initiative
    7326 N. Chicago Avenue

    Judy Jacobson of Hap

    One of the most difficult job descriptions I can think of is that of gallerist. Last November Judy Jacobson threw her hat in the ring by opening Hap gallery in the Pearl District. She also owns the space, which literally takes the place of the old Chambers Gallery which was such a good advocate for the kind of new media art that a lot of the other commercial galleries in Portland avoided. My sense is that she is taking a measured approach, getting her feet wet and learning what can be done by pushing the envelope. The fact that she is in it for the long haul and seems to relish the discovery/adventure seems to be borne out by the conceptual and constructivist shows she has already programmed. Though the last few shows have been constructed relational aesthetics shows she promises to throw some curve balls into the mix soon.

    916 NW Flanders

    Tony Chrenka

    Tony Chrenka is one half of the duo that is Muscle Beach, a collaborative nomadic curatorial project. A recent Lewis and Clark College grad, Chrenka also has a strong sense of design, which influences his curatorial projects. Muscle Beach doesn't have a permanent home yet but has already curated several shows including an installation where Chrenka moved into a new apartment. This August Muscle Beach will be curating a show at PSU's Littman Gallery... 2013's gallery of the year. Now that they have a few projects under their belts it will interesting to see what happens.

    Flynn Casey

    The other half of muscle Beach is Flynn Casey, who is also a new Lewis and Clark grad. It seems like Lewis and Clark has an enviable track record of training leaders who aren't simply artists. [Short history lesson: Haze Gallery, Gallery 500, 12128 and now Muscle Beach all came from L&C] Casey shares a similar design aesthetic as his cohort but his wry sense of humor deploying surveillance and corporate style achievement awards caught my attention as well.

    There is no telling how well these newbies will do but check out our first two New Faces articles in the series: 1 & 2. How will version 3.0 do?
  • Permalink for 'Around the web'

    Around the web

    Posted: 16-July-2014, 3:23pm EDT by Jeff Jahn
    James Lavadour will be in the upcoming State Of The Art survey, congrats... a great painter.

    Don't be so shelf-ish? Haim Steinbach's takeover of the Menil looks like it is worth braving Summer in Houston. With so many artists making use of shelves and 1980's design for their work today it makes perfect sense to pay more attention to the 80's shelfmeister.

    Millennium Park is 10 years old now and what was once seen as wasteful has proven itself. I discussed it a bit with civic/landscape/art historian Mark Treib last year. It is very related to Portland of course ,which is a city of parks... but we haven't had the same grand intentions... which PAM's current Tuileries Garden show seems to be prompting a discussion of. It leaves us to ponder what would a showcase park devoted to great civics look like in Portland?
  • Permalink for 'Thursday news'

    Thursday news

    Posted: 10-July-2014, 11:03pm EDT by Jeff Jahn
    Sad news On Kawara has died. It's the rigorous humor of his extremely dry work that set it apart but the addition of oxygen in his installations fascinated me the most... as a way to subtly influence the viewers conscious state.

    LACMA is definitely throwing down a gauntlet for MoMA, which just doesn't seem to have its hierarchy of goals in the right order by comparison. How LA is it to have a museum that one window shops by driving by? They are also planning a similar residential tower.

    Portland Architecture looks at the pressures that threaten classic residential homes here.
  • Permalink for 'Monday Links'

    Monday Links

    Posted: 7-July-2014, 2:49pm EDT by Jeff Jahn
    Painting is hard but Amy Sillman makes the challenges her subject matter. There is something about making an art historical standoff your own that points towards success in painting.

    The perils of showing the photos that Garry Winogrand took but never selected. In his case since he wasn't a complete control freak I think this is ok, gone are the days when artists were expected to have no changes in their late career.

    All the shiny Jeff Koons reviews distilled into a poem... yes he's good and I like the work, but has he peaked during his own lifetime?
    And this:
  • Permalink for 'First Thursday July 2014 Picks'

    First Thursday July 2014 Picks

    Posted: 3-July-2014, 5:24pm EDT by Jeff Jahn
    First Thursdays in July are often my favorites. Partially because the openings are so low key and the hometown vibe with all the group shows and recent graduates makes for many unexpected surprises. This year July looks like it has some serious cultural firepower... it used to be mostly a month for group shows consisting of second and third stringers.

    Quantum_shirley.jpgShirley Tse at PNCA

    My top pick has to be Quantum Shirley at PNCA's Feldman Gallery. Quantum Shirley is Shirley Tse's attempt to partially rebrand relational aesthetics with the relativism of physics as her jam but one can't blame her for trying. It promises to be the mixed media, genre bending melange that Tse originally became famous for before it was the art world's default mode of art production 5 years ago or so. For that alone it is worth checking out as artists are always trying to create implausible realities where their rules somehow gain traction.

    Quantum Shirley | June 19 - August 10
    Opening Reception: July 3, 6:30 - 7:15PM
    PNCA | Feldman Gallery
    1241 NW Johnson

    Jesse Hayward at PNCA

    Speaking of making and changing the rules, Portland's most experimental painter Jesse Hayward's Rough Patch attempts to fill PNCA's immense commons space with his relativistic brand of rule making and breaking... involving everything from traditional to audience a-compositional crowdsourced curating. PNCA is the place to hit tonight.

    Rough Patch | June 20 - July 20
    Opening Reception: July 3
    PNCA | Commons
    1241 NW Johnson

    Kiana Isaelle Diaz Figueroa, Precious Things, Broken Things, 2014

    One my favorite group shows each year is Blackfish's annual recent graduates exhibitions, culled from 15 of Oregon's art schools. This year includes 30 artists based on recommendations from their professors: Marco Ayala ? Western Oregon University, Andrew Baer & Christian Reed ? George Fox University, Jonathan Bagby ? University of Oregon, Natalie Blaustone-Dye ? Southern Oregon University , Miranda DeVore ? George Fox University, Riley Etheridge ? Pacific University, Kaila Rose Farrell-Smith ? Portland State University, Kiana Isabelle Diaz Figueroa ? Willamette University, Dallas Griffin Frederick ? Willamette University, Lauren George ? Oregon College of Art and Craft, Hannah Halpern ? Pacific University, Solita Harder-Montoya ? Pacific Northwest College of Art, Bethany McCamish ? Marylhurst University, Joshua McDonald ? Eastern Oregon University, Maria Maita-Keppeler ? Reed College, Alice Marshall ? Oregon State University, Addie O'Neal ? Eastern Oregon University, Thomas Putman ? Portland State University, Amy Rizo ? Western Oregon University, Gillian Spencer ? Reed College, Katherine Takaoka ? Linfield College, Jeffrey Tapfer ? Southern Oregon University , Holly Vader ? Linfield College, Micah Weber ? Pacific Northwest College of Art, Jordan Weintraub ? Oregon College of Art and Craft, Kelsey Westergard ? Lewis & Clark College, John Whitten ? University of Oregon, Rachel Wolfson ? Lewis & Clark College

    19th Annual Recent Graduates Exhibition | July 1? August 2
    Opening: July 3, 6 - 9PM
    Blackfish Gallery
    420 NW 9th Ave.
  • Permalink for 'Guggenheim heirs rebuffed'

    Guggenheim heirs rebuffed

    Posted: 2-July-2014, 9:02pm EDT by Jeff Jahn
    Guggenheim Palazzo in Venice

    The NYT's reports that the suit to have Peggy Guggenheim's Palazzo in Venice displays returned to a configuration she had them in during her lifetime has been rejected by a French court. This is interesting because the heirs do have a point, but it is all how the gift of the Palazzo to the Guggenheim Foundation was set up. Would Peggy want it to be a mausoleum to her collection and nothing else? ...I find that doubtful but the heirs have a point in that other patronage pandering seems to be seeping into the displays. The question is one of degrees of exclusivity and serves as a cautionary tale for those giving whole collections (and a building) to one institution. I believe the family's outrage comes from the intensive sometimes ham-fisted placement of other "living" patrons works but the foundation has a point... they are not required to keep it as a shrine. Hopefully a middle ground can be found, one where new works are rotated in on the merit of the conversation with Guggenheim's collection that their presence prompts.
  • Permalink for 'Monday outrage links'

    Monday outrage links

    Posted: 30-June-2014, 4:25am EDT by Jeff Jahn
    Ok it is Monday, time to get fired up over these stories (we have a ton of major articles coming your way very soon).

    Hopi masks and other sacred objects were auctioned in France.

    Tracey Emin did an astonishing thing with her My Bed, turning her messy personal life into a diarhetoric art that so many artists today owe a great deal to. It is being auctioned. I really don't want to like Emin's art but I always rather like it... still I feel My Bed's mildly scandalous status tends to overshadow how good an artist she really is.

    Does the Mojave Desert need a swimming pool? Probably more than most places do... but it is still art looking a lot like redevelopment and encroachment.
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