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Monday 01.26.15


Monday Links

The effort to find a good home for the Lovejoy Columns continues. We've covered this before and it is important to preserve these famous artworks that art part of the Pearl District's once quite gritty past. We can build new things but the grit also gives us a sense of how time has passed and we cant simply just manufacture such history. It is also important as it shows how the Pearl district started out as a an artist's stomping grounds.

Portlandia takes on "shock art"... yes it really has come to that point and hopefully we can avoid more doll part art.

Cornelia Parker is one of my favorite contemporary artists and this article on her process is definitely worth reading. What I like about her is the way her brand of inquisitive causality parallels scientific inquiry, without aping it.

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Posted by Jeff Jahn on January 26, 2015 at 10:19 | Comments (0)

Weekend Picks

Jordan Schnitzer speaking to 5th Graders for Under Pressure (photo Jeff Jahn)

Under Pressure, making its stop in Eugene, is the most encyclopedic of the exhibitions collector Jordan Schnitzer has touring the country but it is the way the educational program around it presents a pantheon of worldviews and strategies that is so valuable. The list of artists tells the rest of the tale: Radcliffe Bailey, John Baldessari, Jennifer Bartlett, Robert Bechtle, Mark Bennett, Vija Celmins, Enrique Chagoya, Chuck Close, Richard Diebenkorn, Richard Estes, Joe Feddersen, Eric Fischl, Helen Frankenthaler, Ellen Gallagher, Red Grooms, Damien Hirst, Robert Indiana, Jasper Johns, Donald Judd, Alex Katz, Barbara Kruger, Sol LeWitt, Roy Lichtenstein, Hung Liu, Brice Marden, Kerry James Marshall, Sarah Morris, Judy Pfaff, Martin Puryear, Robert Rauschenberg, Edward Ruscha, Richard Serra, Roger Shimomura, Lorna Simpson, Kiki Smith, Donald Sultan, Fred Tomaselli, Kara Walker, Andy Warhol and Terry Winters.

The variety of approaches in the media of printmaking gives a multifaceted opportunity to do exercise one's muscles for comparative aesthetics.

Under Pressure | January 24 - March 29
Collector's talk andtour: January 24th 11:00AM
Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art | University of Oregon Campus
1430 Johnson Lane, Eugene


White Noise2 looks like the art part that kick off the Portland art scene's 2015. A while ago Worksound introduced the idea of a Contemprary Triennial and this fundraiser/info event should give everyone more to chew on. Installations by: Corey Smith, Judith Sturdevant, Mack McFarland and Cintamani. Video by: Ajna Lichau, Eileen Isagon Skyers, Paul Clay and Santi Chandravongsri.

White Noise 2 | $10 or $15 for 1+1
January 24 8PM - Midnight
916 NW Hoyt


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on January 23, 2015 at 12:44 | Comments (0)

Friday Links

Brian Libby takes a look at the still not fully complete Schnitzer Center for Arty and Design, PNCA's new base of operations. The opening is just a couple of weeks away.

The Prada Foundations new exhibition spaces, designed by Rem Koolhaas will display contemporary art and antiquities together. Not a new idea but considering that Prada is a tastemaker it is the details that will be worth paying attention to.

Glass is the art world's "buzziest new matereial?" Yes since like 2008! Or 1908? Though I think this exhibition hit the nail on the head better, it was about glass and glass-like materials... not simply glass.

The Guardian asks if art can still shock? As a Baudelairean advocate... yes of course it can. The difference is the way we process and discuss "shock" now. Look at Amy's Review of The Enclave or this interesting show full of decapitations. The problem isn't the art... its viewers who cant distinguish between empathy and sympathy which this essay discusses. Empathy involves understanding, sympathy is cheaper and more knee jerk. Sympathy doesn't last, empathy changes you and THAT is where lasting shock/changes comes from. Shock comes from understanding things from a viewpoint that you haven't considered... it is very possible but in a world that where the feedback loop caters to your already identified interests it is harder to achieve. It is why Great Art is important. It places different and inexhaustible demands upon your comprehension.

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Posted by Jeff Jahn on January 23, 2015 at 10:46 | Comments (0)

Richard Mosse's "The Enclave" at PAM

Installation view of Richard Mosse's "The Enclave", at the Portland Art Museum

In the end, all you have is what is in front of you: where an image begins and ends, where a photographer is telling you to look, what to pay attention to. You have the body of the thing, the form. You have color and time. You have the way in which this is all done and what these choices mean. These are the ways in which you begin to decipher a visual language. . . (more)

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Posted by Amy Bernstein on January 21, 2015 at 14:35 | Comments (0)

Allan Sekula at Lewis & Clark College

Still from Sekula and Burch's The Forgotten Space (2010)

When the world lost photographer, critic and theorist Allan Sekula a few years ago it was a huge loss. Still, his legacy of interrogating the long and isolating arms of global commerce lives on and now Portlanders finally have a chance to take in an extensive survey of his work Reinventing Documentary: The Art of Allan Sekula at the excellent Hoffman Gallery. Sekula's career spanned everything from a Guggenheim fellowship to participating in Documenta XII and was one of the cornerstone professors in Los Angeles' art scene. His presence alone at openings gave things weight, and for a flavor of what he brought to the table check out this interview in Bomb. His wife Sally Stein will make some remarks at the opening.

Reinventing Documentary: The Art of Allan Sekula |Januray 22 - March 15
Opening Reception: January 22 5-7PM, Remarks by Sally Stein at 5:30PM
Lecture: Blake Stimson: "Allan Sekula and Paul Strand", February 24 | Miller 105, 6:30PM
Ronna and Eric Hoffman Gallery of Contemporary Art
Lewis & Clark College
0615 SW Palatine Hill Road

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Posted by Jeff Jahn on January 20, 2015 at 9:24 | Comments (0)

Takahashi | Kennedy Conversation

Mami Takahashi

C3: Initiative presents a screening and conversation with multidisciplinary Portland-based artist Mami Takahashi and curator Kristan Kennedy. On Wednesday January 21st Takahashi will present and discuss recent video and performance work, which uses the body to explore, "cultural identities, inbetweenness, and legibility." The conversation with Kennedy will follow.

Screening + Conversation
Wednesday, January 21st, 2015 | 6PM
c3:initiative (in St. Johns)
7326 N. Chicago Ave

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Posted by Jeff Jahn on January 19, 2015 at 15:39 | Comments (0)

Weekend Reads

Artists may soon have their use of drones regulated.

There is a lot of talk about Portland's soon to be replaced airport carpet, here is a refresher course on the history behind airport carpets and their aesthetic crimes.


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on January 17, 2015 at 12:46 | Comments (0)

Exploring Images of Africans at the Archer

Mohau Modisakeng, Untitled (Frame Xii), 2012

Seattle gallerist James Harris has curated an exhibition of African photographers who explore self portraiture, culture and identity titled, Am I Not a Man and a Brother? Am I not a Woman and a Sister?

It features: Hasan and Husain Essop, Nomusa Makhubu Mohau Modisakeng, Abraham Oghobase and Adeola Olagunju with additional works by; Jodi Bieber, Kudzanai Chiurai, Frank Marshall, Ebony Patterson, Lindeka Gloria Qampi, Nontsikelelo "Lolo" Veleko, Saya Woolfaulk.

Am I Not a Man and a Brother? Am I not a Woman and a Sister? | January 6 - February 7, 2015
Reception: January 13, 4-6PM
Archer Gallery
1943 Fort Vancouver Way, Penguin Union Building
Vancouver Washington
Gallery Hours: Tues.-Thurs. 10AM - 7PM, Fri. and Sat. 12-5PM
Phone: 360 992 2246

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Posted by Jeff Jahn on January 12, 2015 at 12:41 | Comments (0)

Weekend Required Reading

Here are two articles that seem to be calling for a greater degree of critical thinking and more nuanced language in society at large. I don't think the current lack of critical thought in the art world is some outlier... it is an endemic issue for a globalized world that needs to learn how appreciate the inevitable disagreements that competing value systems inevitably create. New or at least completely recalibrated models seem inevitable. Perhaps something more supple and open to nonconformity?

First is Jerry Saltz on the power of images to in incite a disproportionate response from terrorists. Jerry looks into belief systems as are espoused by religions but I think the discussion can go deeper. In a world where everyone is so connected we can devolve into cliques of group-think more easily. We can instantly find those who agree with our views and this can fester in isolation cells, which create disproportionate or non-scalar and circuitous thinking. Maybe its my Viking heritage or love of Greek and Jewish debate traditions but when someone disagrees with you publicly it is a gift. If it has some strength behind it and you are suddenly seeing red it means you've just encountered "another way" that should be considered. It takes a kind of cosmopolitan approach, which is tolerant of diverse thinking. In that way Art is an important cultural exercise or a way to agree to disagree. Often this comes in an environment of respect (gallery) and maybe even an understanding can come of it. In general, respect comes from acts of critical thinking. Dogmatists who have those knee jerk, "you insulted what I worship & there will be reprisals"... can be found everywhere, even in art scenes but criticism is a way to be tested and grow. In the past few years I've seen a call for the rare kind "supple" avenues of respect that more criticism creates. It isn't taught very much in schools anymore and most curatorial initiatives have devolved into evasive curatorial speak and practices. Those programs that risk misunderstandings in a thoughtful way are all the more important for this.

The second is this article on important female artists who are discovered late in their careers. I agree that there needs to be a different historical/critical discussion. Many excellent artists who... (more)

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Posted by Jeff Jahn on January 10, 2015 at 12:27 | Comments (0)

First Thursday January 2015 Picks

January's First Thursday kicks everything for the year off a week late for 2015. Here are my picks:

Eva and Franco Mattes, last days of the Feldman Gallery

I know I picked this a while back but this time it is your last chance to say goodbye to the Feldman Gallery for good with Eva and Franco Mattes' exhibition Breaking Banality: The Dysfunction of Remediation at PNCA. The school's new 511 building should be an improvement though. The exhibition's title was created by an online random exhibition title generator and will restage, "ten reiterations of one performance from their series 'BEFNOED - By Everyone, For No One, Every Day,' for which they commission anonymous workers to realize webcam performances." Related to Fluxus events and the general way in which instructions manage computers of all sorts it should spark further discussion of the quirk-core performances that are popular on youtube and amongst recent art school grads these days.

Breaking Banality: The Dysfunction of Remediation | November 6 2014 - January 10 2015
Feldman Gallery
1241 NW Johnson

Victoria Haven

Award winning Victoria Haven's latest exhibition, Subtitles, at PDX Contemporary is comprised of a massive array of 100 wood block prints. It should be cinematic... just without the movie and there is something about the gallery's architecture that should really work well with this refreshingly dry way to kick off the year in the Pacific Northwest.

Subtitles | January 6-31
Opening Reception: January 8, 6-8PM
PDX Contemporary
925 NW Flanders

... (more)

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Posted by Jeff Jahn on January 08, 2015 at 14:05 | Comments (0)

Cris Moss to White Box


Today it was announced that longtime Linfield curator Cris Moss will be moving to downtown Portland, programming the White Box exhibition space for the University of Oregon. Cris has consistently made Linfield perhaps the most challenging univerity art space over the past decade. Shows like Suzanne Opton, Peter Campus and Wafaa Bilal certainly set the curve and were always well executed. Likewise the U of O has always been in need of a coherent exhibition program, Cris (a friend) will achieve that aim I'm sure. He wouldn't have moved unless it were an opportunity where he was set to kick things up a notch. The move also signals how institutionally the Portland area is formalizing its commitment to contemporary art. Congrats, the young curators who revolutionized Portland's art scene in group warehouse shows 15 years ago are driving things these days.

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Posted by Jeff Jahn on January 08, 2015 at 13:15 | Comments (0)

Best and Worst of 2014

2014 was an odd, placeholder kind of year. Few exhibitions blew people away (especially the reheated attempts at mostly regional survey shows) and many artists saved their best efforts for shows outside of town. This continues to prove my thesis that Portland is used more as a base for developing international activity than as a place where you can see what is really going on... at least institutionally. That needs to change and it is a corner that must be turned for the city's cultural health. For example, if an artist is doing work that is on fire, then the community should single out and support that excellence in a serious way. That said everyone seems to be waiting for 2015. In 2015 there will be a new Maya Lin, a new bridge and we wil finally see PNCA's new 511 building become the cultural anchor of NW Portland? No institution has caught the new Portland wave of energy as well as PNCA has but that has come at a cost, rapid change and the ill fitting clothes that kind of change creates. Some call the style “Portland eclectic.” Portland will say goodby to PNCA's Goodman Building in early 2015 and in many ways it herald's thew way Portland is beginning to present itself differently. That said I will focus a lot on curatorial presentation in this list.

Goodbye to PNCA's Goodman Building

Best and Worst 2014:

Best question of 2014: Will Bruce Guenther's curatorial replacement continue to give the Portland Art Museum an...

(much more)

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Posted by Jeff Jahn on December 31, 2014 at 16:02 | Comments (0)

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