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Ethan Rose + Parallel Studio as Houseguests
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PNCA's new President Don Tuski
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Saturday 07.30.16


Weekend Picks

Ralph Pugay's Chicken Pox Orgy

Ralph Pugay's work is a bit too edgy for some of Portland's more conservative establishments (Seattle gave him a Betty Bowen Award though) but this hilarious artist is probably the most Portland of painters and he's developing a national reputation. His latest will be on display for only 2 days at Worksound International who is kicking of their new partnership with Upswell (Portland's artists find a way to make this exciting scene happen)... be there.

Ralph Pugay | July 29 - 30th
Opening Reception:​ Friday, July 29 from 6-8PM
​107 SE Washington Street, Suite 238


As part of the Converge 45 series of events (a kind of guided tour for visitors to the somewhat difficult to access but super vibrant Portland art scene three curators will discuss the topic of creative Migrations at the Portland Art Museum. This is interesting because PAM hasn't done a particularly good job of tapping one of the most active art scene's in the country. The panelists; "Kristan Kennedy (Visual Art Program Director/ Chief Curator at PICA) in conversation with Converge 45 Artistic Director Kristy Edmunds, Irene Hoffman (Phillips Director and Chief Curator, SITE Santa Fe), and Wallace Whitney (artist, curator, and co-founder, CANADA, New York) to consider creative migration within the United States, and the impacts and potentials presented to the Pacific Northwest." Converge45 seems to be a branding of what regularly happens in Portland every month but this is a discussion that should occur more often.

The subject of artist enclaves is near and dear to my heart and have written/tracked the phenomenon of Portland as an enclave more than anyone... I'll be there.

Discussion: July 30th 10:30AM - Noon
Portland Art Museum (Whitsell Auditorium)
1219 Southwest Park Ave.

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Posted by Jeff Jahn on July 29, 2016 at 17:51 | Comments (0)

Weekend Art Occupation Picks

Karl Burkheimer at North View Gallery, PCC Sylvania

As an educator Karl Burkheimer is a Portland fixture but he has chops an artist and since I was one of the first to curate him into higher profile shows (VoLume back in 2008 at Worksound) I track his work closely. Myself and many others felt his work in the 2013 CNAA's was an 1980's throwback but lately he's been transitioning to more current work with a stronger built environment edge... one which channels the angst that rapid development is foisting upon Portland Neighborhoods. It is an important theme that isn't being explored curatorially in group shows in any sufficient way. Thus, it is great that North View's director Mark Smith has turned over this exemplary brutalist space to Burkheimer for such an extended time (His Erik Geschke exhibition last year also explored the theme). Stop in multiple times this summer to see how Burkheimer puts his skills to use in this evolving occupation.

Simulated Archetypes | July 16 - September 16
Opening Reception: July 16, 5 - 7PM
PCC Sylvania (North View Gallery)
12000 SW 49th


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on July 15, 2016 at 12:51 | Comments (0)

Tuesday Links

The grotestque that is the art of Trump's hair. Ugh, this political season is gonna be brutal on anyone sensitive to aesthetics and meaning

Getting blue and naked for Spencer Tunick is a thing. The generalist press does love nudity, though there is a serious history of blue nudes in the art of Picasso and Matisse. Also, I suppose the blue skinned Smurfs have lost their cultural profile enough to make this project serious enough to undertake.

What does and doesn't make for good museums, the Art Newspaper asks around. First of all, museums rarely take real risks and the main thing they do is transpose egalitarian ideals in the context of often expensive and otherwise elitist objects. Where they usually founder is by seeing themselves as too much repositories, which they aren't. In fact museum's are vehicles for experiences (history, context and intellectual juxtapositions) rather than mere estate sales for the rich. That said because institutions require patrons they often cater too much to the act of pursuing them, blunting their intellectual and social edge. This is because curators as a class have been losing their voices within major museums. In fact, having strong curators dedicated to specific fields that act as ombudsmen and aesthetic chefs for all classes is what makes a museum different than more entertainment driven venues or smaller university spaces where the curator is expected to do director duties as well. Ultimately the biggest mistake museums make is valuing the building over their curatorial staff. Very good staff can also inform the design process but typically only the best museums can afford inspiringly flexible curators and sensitive/perceptive architects who can accomplish that. Instead, most museums simply do what most other museums have done.

... (more, including Artnet's Portland2016 travelogue)

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Posted by Jeff Jahn on July 12, 2016 at 10:52 | Comments (0)

First Thursday Picks July 2016


Summertime often signals a glut of group shows in Portland, but one of the best traditions is Blackfish Gallery's 21st annual Recent Graduates exhibition. The artists are selected by the faculty from their respective programs and the result is always worth a tour.

Recent Graduates | July 5 - 30
First Thursday: July 7, 6 - 9PM
Blackfish Gallery
420 NE 9th.

One of the solo exhibitions that has my attention is by a recentish graduate, Colin Kippen. His latest effort, Indices, at Duplex should be the latest chapter in his exploration of the way the optical and material properties can render an object somewhat out of phase with daily encounters of similar but less artfully combined media. I've been following his work since his graduation exhibition and a lot of other people are too. There's a bit of the Dave Hickey school meets Rachel Harrison going on but his work feels a bit grittier and more intimate and it will be interesting to see how this work develops with its penchant for out of phase optical texture.

Indices | July 7 -28
First Thursday: July 7 6- 9PM
Duplex Gallery
219 NW Couch Street, Portland Oregon

... (more)

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Posted by Jeff Jahn on July 07, 2016 at 13:18 | Comments (0)

Jane Schiffhauer at Rainmaker Gallery


An Alleged Truth Acting as a Distortion is the apt title for this already quite nasty political season so artist Jane Schiffhauer is definitely on point while pivoting towards something more universal.

Consisting of abstract 2d and 3d work regarding the body perhaps Schiffhauer's reappraisal of humanity is what we need during this season of spin? Schiffhauer is one of the brightest up and coming artists in Portland and should be on the short list of anyone taking stock of what is truly going on in Portland.

An Alleged Truth Acting As a Distortion | July 6-30 Opening Reception: July 6, 6-9PM
Rainmaker Gallery
2337 NW York St.

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Posted by Jeff Jahn on July 05, 2016 at 18:09 | Comments (0)

Brexit thoughts


The Brexit vote sent shockwaves everywhere last week, how will it effect the art world? Better question which art world? There isnt just one.

In the short term it puts Great Britain in question as the cultural center of Europe for sure... will Scotland leave? Will there be another vote? More likely will there be a chance for a counter offer from the EU to trigger another vote? Certainly the world uncertainty has a clearer face after the vote.

Here is what Artnet had to say about the Brexit. Many artists like Damien Hirst, Anish Kapoor and Wolfgang Tillmans campaigned for the IN vote. The arts always suffer from reactionary sentiments. I suspect Great Britain will renegotiate but till then expect young contemporary art to be seen as riskier than it was and older history book art will become even more of a hedge against uncertainty. Short term, it certainly isn't good for living artists and such things tend to embolden reactionaries... not a good thing for anyone who isn't interested in consolidating power. In the USA everyone is anxious about what might come next.

Look for more artwork that explores uncertainty and those that try to explore the roots of reactionary impulses.

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Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 27, 2016 at 16:07 | Comments (0)

Ethan Rose + Parallel Studio as Houseguests


The Houseguest public art series for Pioneer Courthouse Square, aka "Portland's Livingroom", is showing great promise with their latest project by sound artist Ethan Rose and Parallel Studio titled, Exchange. Described as, "a contemporary, interactive sound and light experience.... 'Exchange' invites passersby to create their own sonic performance through movement.... The work draws from a new technological future that is shaping the city, while recounting Portland's history of intimate scale and small city connectedness."

I love the idea of an interactive outdoor sculpture space (at night) and it will only exist for 3 days. Also, with a serious budget of 25k per project it also gives artists the respect and resources they require rather than trying to fund as many artists as possible with a meager amount.

Exchange | June 24-26, 2016 (free)
Friday 6PM-12AM, Saturday 9PM-12AM, and Sun

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Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 23, 2016 at 15:49 | Comments (0)

Construction update: Portland Japanese Garden

The Portland Japanese Garden's Kengo Kuma designed cultural village expansion is easily the most ambitious cultural building project the city of Portland has seen since Pietro Belluschi designed the Portland Art Museum in 1932. You can also read our extensive interview with Kuma-san here.

The buildings wont be complete until 2017 but here is a view of the Portland Japanese Garden's exciting new cultural village expansion. By expanding the grounds, the garden area itself wont be forced to absorb all of the 300,000+ annual visitors like a tsunami... instead allowing capacity staging in the village all while experiencing; a new tea house, class rooms, galleries for the permanent collection, a library and several new types of gardens all of which expand the garden into a center for Japanese culture.


... (more)

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Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 18, 2016 at 12:21 | Comments (0)

PNCA's new President Don Tuski

Don Tuski PNCA's new President (Photo Mike Weymouth) this is an image Portlanders will like...

PNCA has a new president, Don Tuski, from the Maine College of Art. Tuski's record at MeCA indicates a deepening commitment to documentary studies and the largest gift he brought in was 3 million dollars, the largest in that school's history (though not huge esp. by East Coast standards). He seems eager to embrace PNCA's fluid culture of design and art without a lot of barbed wire, that is a good thing as Portland's greatest asset is its opportunities for change married to being a leader in 21st century ethics.

His predecessor Tom Manley was a friend and we had some long brainstorming sessions on growth strategies for the school but Tuski has inherited some challenges. By absorbing the Museum of Contemporary Craft and recently dissolving it serious blowback has occurred. Also, the education industry wide problem of relying heavily on underpaid and under appreciated adjuncts has also caused strife but where PNCA and Portland are different is the school is expected to find a solution for this gargantuan problem (answer = endowments for teaching positions, also very rare today).

In many ways PNCA has moved very far and very quickly...... (more)

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Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 09, 2016 at 10:00 | Comments (0)

Monday links and news

Bullseye Glass and the State of Oregon have reached an agreement. This is good as Bullseye is a part of the arts economy, while at the same time the kinds of materials that were being vented into the air were simply unacceptable. The problem was relaxed regulation of most industries and there are plenty of other industrial air quality polluters in the city that have also been exploiting the same loopholes (hopefully this gets addressed and soon). For example, Overlook neighborhood residents hope that enforcement is uniform.

At age 70, Mary Heilmann's career is red hot, but why does it take so long for many females? Retrospectives for women are rarer and prevailing wisdom in museums always tends to follow patronage money rather than taste and importance... not having many critics to assess that makes it twice as hard.

Do art spaces = gentrification?... often yes but that's like shooting the messenger. It can also work in reverse, like PICA's new home. The question in Portland is creating funding sources that support formal arts entities when informal ones are out-priced. Formalizing affordability for artists is the key but that takes serious know how as the people who did Milepost 5 (they kinda stumbled through it and it takes a bit more cultural seeding).

The best editor I ever had was Karen Wright (back in Modern Painter's excellent London days) and she thinks the Turner Prize needs to be more substantial and less a series of affected ploys. I agree with her, though Portland has the opposite problem... much of our discourse is mired in hobbled and antiquated discussions of craft that dont acknowledge the skills in computers, other tech and design or that somewhat irritating aspect of art that drives people crazy... some call it "edge". Besides skill alone doesn't truly make art powerful, it takes a sense of an "edge of understanding"... rather than the ploy of being edgy. Having a true edge seems to embody and encapulate the flux between the known and unknown. In Portland our talking points often scratch at craft, the environment and often a very token discussion of diversity, whereas challenging male Mexican artists or anyone with and incisive edge are far too threatening to show with the group or be given awards (Hallie Ford Fellowships and CNAA's to name names). Portland and London could and should have more exchanges as both places have excellent international art scenes.... Portland is full of weird woodshedders and London is full of people who are unapologetic about being unapologetic (aka the antidote to the humble brag).

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Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 06, 2016 at 15:24 | Comments (0)

Hot Picks June 2016

Portland has record breaking heat this weekend, here are the coolest things to check out:

Installation view of a Clyfford Still painting and models of the Still Museum at PAM

Brad Cloepfil and his firm Allied Works Architecture are the most notable building design firm from Portland Oregon... leading Portlands transformative path from architectural underachievers to an emerging design capital. It is great that the Portland Art Museum is presenting this exhibition chronicling past and current projects. Unlike most architecture model exhibition it isnt merely models but a kind of catalog of material/spatial test cases that the firm uses to understand and design structures developed with an inherent and essential understanding that arose from playing with these materials and spaces. What's more the models have mostly been displayed in wunderkammern display cabinets... making the viewer's experience more intimate and playful as one discovers the architect's own discovery process.

PORT has covered Brad's career extensively... perhaps more so than any other publication has, here are some of the major pieces: Interview's part 1 and 2 reviews of the PNCA's 511 part 1 and 2, Sokol Blosser winery and an early exhibition at PDX Contemporary, whose galleries they designed.

There will also be a talk on Sunday June 5th and we are curious how this exhibition might influence any expansion plans the museum might have in the near future... currently the museum does not make good relationship to the South Park Blocks.

Case Work | June 4 - September 5th 2016
Opening Talk: June 5th 2 - 3PM
Portland Art Museum
1219 SW Park


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 04, 2016 at 11:35 | Comments (0)

First Thursday June 2016 Picks

Last month's shows were so good that June feels like going back to school, literally.

I may be Portland's toughest critic but there is no beating what the King School is up to today... the kids just upstaged the Pearl District's art offerings. Today, the King School Museum of Contemporary Art presents That's Old School, "a guided tour and exhibit based on interviews with Steve Willis, the head of school maintenance and an alumni of King School."

I love this... these will be guided "museum tours" where visitors will experience the King school through the eyes of the maintenance staff, and learn evolution from past into present. King students will conduct the tours during the opening reception on June 2. Leave it to kids to make social practice MFA's seem tired. They also just ate the lunch of museums around the world who keep trying to open their experiences to be more porous.

That's Old School | June 2nd
Opening reception 4-6PM
KSMOCA-King School Museum of Contemporary Art
4906 NE 6th Ave

Caitlin Rooney, Do You Like Music

In case you missed the openings a little while ago PNCA's thesis exhibitions at the 511 NW Broadway headquarters and the former MoCC building are still going on. Standouts include Caitlin Rooney's skewering of "art school" fetish of hypocrisy, Anastasia Greer and Brianna Rosen at the 724 NW Davis space and Margaret Parsons, Alexandra Husey, Kanani Miyamoto, Colin Cheong and many others at the 511 building.

PNCA Undergraduate and Graduate Thesis Exhibitions | May 22 - June 17
Reception: Sunday May 22, 2016 6-9PM
Pacific Northwest College of Art
511 NW Broadway (and 724 NW Davis)


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 02, 2016 at 12:45 | Comments (0)

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