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Double Difference at Indivisible
Bending Nature, Bamboo at the Portland Japanese Garden
Precipice Fund Round 4
First Thursday August 2016 Picks
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First Thursday Picks July 2016
Jane Schiffhauer at Rainmaker Gallery
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Ethan Rose + Parallel Studio as Houseguests
Construction update: Portland Japanese Garden

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Saturday 08.27.16


Double Difference at Indivisible

Linda Wysong, Hidden Topographies (2016)

Linda Wysong and Linda K. Johnson have been been collaborating and executing co-orbital projects regarding the shifting and layered landscape of Portland for over 25 years. They find gravity in concrete, gravel and paved streetscapes and its roots are indebted to Robert Smithson and Co.'s fascination with the industrial ruins of Passaic New Jersey. Yet unlike their forbear prophets they continually focused on Portland. The result is a bit like running into an old miner who remembers the multiple gold rush times who can regale you with tales of claim jumpers, visionaries and hornswagglers. Except they are not swaggeling any horns. Wysong is a mapmaker at heart, dealing in topographies both mental and physical, Johnson is more of a documentary observer...

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Posted by Jeff Jahn on August 27, 2016 at 11:00 | Comments (0)

Bending Nature, Bamboo at the Portland Japanese Garden


Portland is in the middle of a heatwave and though its hardly anything that would phase Midwesterners or those from Houston (we don't have much humidity) it is still hard for many as air conditioning can be rare. Thus, it is a great time to climb up the West Hills, where it is cooler and check out the latest at the Portland Japanese Garden for Bending Nature. It features, "traditionally trained bamboo artist and craftsman Jiro Yonezawa and Shigeo Kawashima, well known for his community engagement-based art-making" who "will team with Portland artists Charissa Brock and Anne Crumpacker to create work on site. The exhibition is a rare opportunity for visitors to see art situated in three outdoor locations within the iconic Japanese garden. Each of these artists attempts to 'bend nature' in new directions, challenging conventional bamboo craft techniques and forms to reflect the close relationship between nature and ourselves."

Bending Nature | August 20 - October 16
Portland Japanese Garden
611 SW Kingston Avenue

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Posted by Jeff Jahn on August 19, 2016 at 14:14 | Comments (0)

Precipice Fund Round 4


The Portland art scene is under pressure from its own success, which played a crucial role in making the city interesting and attractive (to developers as well as artists). Oddly, most of the visual art presenting institutions have done diddly and or squat to help the plight of artists but one, PICA, saw what was happening and pressed the Andy Warhol Foundation to help. As PORT was hopping up and down PICA was developing the Precipice Fund as a regranting initiative for hard to fund projects and spaces (the very thing that makes Portland an interesting art city... our mid level institutions themselves aren't exactly cutting edge but the alternative spaces often are). Precipice Fund cant do everything but it should be on every artist's radar. The scene will survive but all of Portland's granting and presenting organizations need to look at what they fund/present and why?

The final workshop for developing your proposal is Saturday August 13, 2:30 - 3:00PM at APANO's JAMS (8114 SE Division St, Portland) and 2016's Precipice Fund application process opens on Monday August 15th.

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Posted by Jeff Jahn on August 12, 2016 at 13:28 | Comments (0)

First Thursday August 2016 Picks

Wendy Red Star

Wendy Red Star's Tokens, Gold, & Glory is one of those very rare installation are exhibitions that HAP gallery seems to be doing quite often, this gets my attention. Red Star draws on; "ephemera, real or imagined narratives, and her traditional Crow background. Her multifaceted Deer Decoys entice the viewer with shiny, golden surfaces, not unlike the natural-looking decoys used to lure other deer."

Tokens, Gold, & Glory | July 19 - August 6 2016
First Thursday Opening: August 4 6-8PM
Hap Gallery
916 NE Flanders

... (more)

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Posted by Jeff Jahn on August 04, 2016 at 13:49 | Comments (0)

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)

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