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Early June Links
Mother Shape at Indivisble
Carol Yarrow one of Portland's Best
Evolving thoughts on Marylhurst closure
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DACA Lounge at Archer Gallery
May Gallery Picks 2018
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JSMOA's Crimson Cube at WSU
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Thursday 06.14.18


Early June Links

Tablet has a very interesting article on cultural appropriation that everyone in creative fields can take something from. At a certain point culture cannot be a proprietary exercise... do I find the PSU Vikings mascot odd? Yes... but does everyone making pizza have to be Italian? It fails the logic test and the curiosity one. I've found that sharing culture (respectfully) actually promulgates understanding... and liberal elites who protest too much are undermining their arguments. There is a sensitive respectful way to share, lets not be so prophylactic but I think simply dry humping other cultures for design inspirations doesnt go far enough. Dig in, find out what makes a culture what it is. Consider Anthony Bourdain please... Perhaps this was all just a tribute to him?

Brad Cloepfil is finally getting a new ground up project in Portland. Is Portland's allergy to ambition and realizing it finally losing its grip???? Yes, but very slowly.

The LA Times did a longish article on Rick Bartow, who is much missed. Id love to see a major museum with the balls to do a show of art by veteran's... Think how great Rick Bartow, HC Westermann, Dan Flavin, Robert Rauschenberg and even Paul Klee could be? Sadly museums seem to have lost their mojo when it comes to being cultural lightning rods (showing what is expected instead of where the tension needs exploring), but by adding in different countries and time periods it could be great and thought provoking.

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Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 11, 2018 at 16:28 | Comments (3)

Mother Shape at Indivisble

As PORT readers already know Indivisible is one of the most interesting alternative spaces in Portland and this house/gallery continues its programming with Mother Shape by Amy Conway. To paraphrase, apparently the exhibition replicates, documents and transcribes the shape of motherhood in the artist's life as a reflective attempt to define the role in on her own terms. It's a heady topic that is very current... especially considering there is a very mom-oriented strain running through Portland's contemporary art scene (in most other places it is more of a liability). Is this the MOm Jeans of contemporary art? Let's see what Conway offers to the discussion?

Mother Shape | June 2-30
Reception: June 2, 6-9PM
2544 SE 26th

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Posted by Jeff Jahn on June 02, 2018 at 14:09 | Comments (0)

Carol Yarrow one of Portland's Best


It is with a heavy heart to report that Portland has lost one of its finest citizen's, Carol Yarrow. A prodigious and talented photographer who focused on the humanity of her subjects, she will be greatly missed. She was involved with Bluesky and she was the one person I always looked for there to talk to on First Thursday openings. On a very personal level I verify that she was one of the most compassionate and caring people in the Portland art scene. She excelled in the art of humanity while being concerned with the environment, civil rights and even the #metoo movement. As a photographer you can see it in her work. Just like that work she was going through something serious and decided to meet it on her own terms with grace.

Portland isnt what it is because of buildings or institutions... but for its people and Carol was simply one of our best. Talented, artistic, empathetic, curious and full of immense experiences from Japan to Guatemala to cowboys. I've always regretted not having time to review this show, now I do even moreso but Id like to lead the call for a retrospective. Sometimes my friends dont get the reviews they deserve and Carol was a true friend... and I'll always remember our drinks at LeHappy and her tales from the 60's and 70's.

This image of Carol's is one of her best and the one that reminds me the most of her delicate intensity and humanity.

I remember her comforting words for me over the last few years as others dear to me have died and now I wish I had more. She was just as beautiful, delicate and unflinching as her photographs and now that is all that remains. Memories too...

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Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 24, 2018 at 11:34 | Comments (0)

Evolving thoughts on Marylhurst closure


Shocking news today that Marylhurst University's board has voted to close the 125 year institution by the end of the year. I dont buy the Great Recession argument, Portland is awash in new developments and art enthusiasts. Still, it was obvious to those within the art community that something was amiss with the University. Some of the signs were the longtime art school staff departures and rapid turnover of the director of the Art Gym.

When I moved here in 1999, The Art Gym was the highest profile contemporary art space in the Portland Metro Area... and only later did other institutions and University galleries arise. Perhaps it stopped being "the place" as the scene expanded and Portland artists became more adventurous than any religiously affiliated institution could hope to show but it has always been an important venue that gave large scale solo shows and retrospectives to local artists (many with national reach). Still, I'll miss it and here are a few reviews we've published over the years:

Paula Rebsom's installation on the lovely campus grounds

Joe Macca's solo 2 artist show at the Art Gym

Mike Rathbun at the Art Gym


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 17, 2018 at 17:04 | Comments (0)

Mid May Links

The new chief curator for The Henry Gallery is Shamim M. Momin of LAND and before that co curator of the 2004 and 2008 Whitney Biennials. A great hire since the Henry hasnt been the same since the Elizabeth Brown days. Momin brings a present and pervasive intellect to what she does, and isnt one of those curators that tries to out vague her audience and subcontract out all the programming (which sadly is par for the course these days). She's a legit intellectual, which is what I expect from art institutions and rarely find these days. Congrats, Seattle will have her for perhaps 5 years but it will be good for contemporary art in the Pacific Northwest since I consider the Henry to be the top Contemporary Art institution in the region. Too often curators here program what they "should be" curating rather than discovering what they could be curating.

Contemporary art takes on the ease of getting guns in Chicago.

One of the world's top architects collaborates with Norway's troublemaker artist for a project to die for.

Too many artists today are doing tarp art, as if the wear and tear + stains of life are enough to make their art appealing to liberal elites who are out of touch with whats really going on. That and the artists of the 1970's like Christopher Hill simply did it better. Add him to the list with Sam Gilliam and Helen Frankenthaler who consistently did far more with tarps sopping up the studio. Now Im not against tarps (Love unstretched Frankenthalers and Gilliam) I just wish today's tarpists werent ingratiation attempts in a supplicant's pose to an art market primed to accept art that fetishes its "nothing specialness." Its a mode, weak era tarp art begone.

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Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 15, 2018 at 11:37 | Comments (0)

Weekend Picks

The weather is finally fantastic and there are a lot of thesis shows from new grads. Here are some adventures to have:


Every year my favorite thesis show seems to be the OCAC BFA offering. This year they are calling it Coalesce and the MFA students are also showing in the same building but for some reason the BFA student offer more gems and better ideas even if sometimes less practiced in presentation. Some of the standouts this year were the woven tapestries of Luciano V. Abbarno, Cathie Carroll's multimedia paintings and Michaela Coffield's installation of child-like wonder. Many others showed a lot of promise but those three are ready to show.

Coalesce | May 11 - 25
Opening Reception: May 11, 5 - 9PM
Gallery hours of 11AM - 5PM daily
120 SE Clay St.


Thirdspace is one of the most interesting alternative spaces in a scene that has seen a lot of pressure on such places. Their latest show is called [Home] and is photography based around the theme. I suspect the lack of details is an attempt to keep gentrifying developers from turning their space into a spa or luxury tanning facility.

[Home] | May 11 - 13
Opening Night: May 11th 6:30 - 9:30PM
Hours: Saturday, May 12th @ 6:30 - 9PM
Sunday, May 13th @ 5:30 - 7:30PM
707 NE Broadway St Suite 205

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Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 11, 2018 at 13:34 | Comments (0)

DACA Lounge at Archer Gallery

DACA Lounge: A Dream Sanctuary at Archer Gallery

Immigration policies for the United States of America have always been an impromptu patchwork of reactionary policies that put a quick bandage on whatever current situation prompted that action. During President Obama's 8 years DACA or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals was put in place as a stop-gap when Congress did not ratify the Dream Act into law to address the plight of children of illegal immigrants who have known no other existence besides being in The United States of America. It was a moment when the USA started to talk about things it generally left unsaid and nearly 800,0000 kids have applied for the program. In the current, rather reactionary political climate the fate of the DACA program is held hostage as a political pawn, creating an uncertain, extremely stressful situation for these kids.

To this enter Horatio Hung-Yan Law's latest art exhibition DACA Lounge: A Dream Sanctuary. It is one of the most poignant and timely exhibitions the area has ever hosted. Interesting but not surprising that art is being a better host than a country. Law even


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 05, 2018 at 9:00 | Comments (0)

May Gallery Picks 2018

Spring is in full effect and the weather is sublime, time to emerge from your homes and catch important shows to ponder. Dont miss them.

Bespoke Bodies at PNCA ends soon

I'd argue that art is an appendage and so is design. All of which should remind us that the Bespoke Bodies: The Design and Craft of Prosthetics show at PNCA is entering its last week and if you have not seen it, you must. A wide ranging show that goes from physical artificial limbs to more digital enhancements this show covers a huge amount of ground, from simple replacement and mimesis of typical human limbs to to enhancements undreamed of in science fiction this is an important exhibition for anyone curious about humanity, where it has been and where it is going.

Bespoke Bodies | February 15 - May 9th, 2018
First Thursday: May 3, 5:00-9:00PM
511 NW Broadway

Horatio Hung-Yan Law's DACA Lounge A Dream Sanctuary at Archer Gallery

The current plight to DACA "Dreamers" in today's political climate is a very real destablization of the lives of those who know nothing but their lives in the United States of America and DACA Lounge a Dream Sanctuary by Horatio Hung-Yan Law is a multimedia exhibition in collaboration with students and dreamers about their lives. The exhibition has been up for a while but was just completed today as part of Law's residency in collaboration with dreamers in the community. See it, it is one of the best multimedia exhibitions the area has seen recently.

DACA Lounge A Dream Sanctuary | April 10- May 5th
Archer Gallery
Clark College
1933 Fort Vancouver Way
Vancouver Washington

Prosoography (2018) Matthew Dennison

Ive been keeping on Matthew Dennison for years but lately his odd figurative works of oblivious humans and wise animals have taken on a new poignancy and I am excited to see his latest show, Democracy. It is an ambitious title, fraught with all the hopes and fears of the moment... I suspect it may live up to the billing as each painting is a reaction to the day's news.

Democracy | May 1 - June 2
Froelick Gallery
714 NW Davis


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 03, 2018 at 12:20 | Comments (0)

End of April links

The Turner Prize list is out and one of the artists doesnt even consider themselves an artist. The age of the un-artist begins.

The Yard is perhaps the most discussed and oft hated new building in Portland but Brian Libby looks past the recent folklore around the building for Metropolis. What needs to be added to these new developments is space for cultural amenities

Barry Blinderman's program at ISU is what sparked my interest in contemporary Art. Up to that point I was mostly interested in art history and not living artists. Yes there was an Alex Grey show (probably my first art opening) but really it was the fact that there was a space that I could return to over and over and there was something different every time I walked across town when I was an undergrad. Congrats Barry!

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Posted by Jeff Jahn on April 26, 2018 at 17:39 | Comments (0)

JSMOA's Crimson Cube at WSU

the new "Crimson Cube" at WSU (photo Bob Hubner)

A little over a week ago I was fortunate to catch the opening of the new Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at Washington State University in Pullman. Nicknamed the "Crimson Cube" for the structure's exterior it gives students and other visitors a landmark to navigate by. It is a nice touch since so many other University art spaces are hard to find and seem tied only to art departments, which often have little pull on campus politically and makes the susceptible to cuts. No problem with that here because the cube is intentionally at the heart of things at WSU. 20 years ago this sort of reflective glass structure would have read as corporate but the cantilever that is subtly off other building's grid axis and the red color are distinctly more curious than an office tower's comportment. The overall effect is, "what is that?" and the JSMOA's comparative minimalism recalls David Chipperfield's excellent library in Des Moines. That curiosity prompt is a good place to start for any art museum and has its roots in Robert Smithson's mirrored displacement works without the specificity that Art has. That is left for inside.

The skies over the JSMOA influence how extroverted the building behaves and its branding is low key, prompting questions...

Press briefing in the Person(a) exhibition in the Harmon/Wright Gallery


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on April 18, 2018 at 9:00 | Comments (0)

Art People Links

Art people make the art world turn. Here are some to consider:

The new Director of the Met is Max Hollein. This isnt a surprise and it is a rare thing to not promote from within but it really had to happen. Can the museum regain its composure as a seat of expertise... a place where knowledge and experience is rewarded? Can the museum update itself without undermining its greatest strengths and integrity? It doesnt need to reinvent itself so much as reassert itself with tech. Most 1st tier museums really dont understand these things and dont have to but Hollein's predecessor opened pandora's box already. (*hint) All museums should be free of charge, especially with income inequality the way it is.

Richard Speer writes a touching memorial for author and Portland art collector Sandra Stone. She showed up at so many openings and was always engaged and involved. I'll miss her.

Meet Mitchell Algus, art dealer... trailblazer. Individuals who stick their necks out to create a climate of exceptional activity are rarely rewarded but they are crucial.

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Posted by Jeff Jahn on April 10, 2018 at 16:09 | Comments (0)

Early April Links

Amid complexities of gentrification LA's 356 Mission will leave its space. This is no surprise but it shows how the art and real estate market can undermine contemporary art's moral position. There are ways to do this in a way that enhances the community rather than be seen as some colonizing situation. Considering the political climate in the USA we need to not pit these natural allies of artists and POC against each other.

Tyler Green does a podcast on the Fazal Sheikh survey currently at the Portland Art Museum. A Macarthur Fellow, Ive yet to catch this exhibition but it is on my must see list.

Italy's far right party wants to fascist party's old HQ into a museum? Museums in the USA are themselves at the heart of the class war debate but it looks like Italy is upping the stakes... The world is not a safe place, act accordingly.

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Posted by Jeff Jahn on April 03, 2018 at 9:00 | Comments (0)

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