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Wednesday 10.22.14

 

Monday Links

Ok it is Bruce Guenther's last day at PAM and I'm finishing off my long piece on his career just as, "Elvis has left the building." It will be ready soon and its important to have it right because ity is very comprehensive and a good moment to think about where this leaves PAM both in terms of challenges and opportunities. Till then here are a few links:

Lots of stories on Jeff Koons including a documentary of a crucial career moment and vandalism. I truly doubt that he doesn't want people to see the film... just doesn't want to foreground it (silly press, Jeff Koons not want attention?).

Europe's first carpenters.

More art vandalism. It's never good for the specific installation but it does draw attention to the piece and artist... there's a fine line and should never be condoned, but stronger work survives and even gains more relevance through the indignity.


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on October 20, 2014 at 11:08 | Comments (0)


Weekend Wanderer

Yes, PORT will have my Bruce Guenther piece for you after the weekend (it is as complicated, personal and historically versed as its subject matter and I want to let it marinate a little more). Still, you should get out and see some art this weekend (shows that opened last weekend, Lumber Room and Abigail Newbold at PNCA are all still up) and these three new additions might just make your weekend.

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(L to R) Homage to Delacroix: Liberty Leading The People (1976) Robert Colescott, Trinitarian (2007) Mark di Suvero, Brazilian Screamer (1931) Morris Graves, By the River (1927) C.S. Price, Chu Culture deer funerary guardian (Late 5th early 4th Century BCE)

In Passionate Pursuit (The Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Collection and Legacy) is retiring Chief Curator Bruce Guenther's final exhibition at the Portland Art Museum and it is a massive undertaking where the subtext itself is the act of collecting as sustaining patronage. True collectors like Arlene and Harold Schnitzer share their lives with the objects they relentlessly acquire, creating an anthropological biography in a way that others can experience. Curatorially, sifting through the over 2000 objects in the collection in a cogent, focused and yet representative way to come full circle for the Schnitzers, PAM and Bruce all in one fell swoop. It is clearly very emotional for PAM's staff and the Schnitzers. Also, what I like about Bruce's approach to the show is he didn't group by genre or even chronology, instead it is a conversation of objects and truer to the way the collection has operated in Harold and Arlene Schnitzer's lives.

For example, my favorite corner features a socio-politically challenging Robert Colescott (image above) that has never been exhibited publicly ... (more)


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on October 17, 2014 at 15:12 | Comments (0)


Abigail Anne Newbold at PNCA's Feldman Gallery

Portland's art scene is having a very strong month this October (mostly in painting and photography... much of the installation has been undercooked), but of all the shows the one that I keep returning to is Abigail Anne Newbold's installation, Borderlander's Outfitter at PNCA's Feldman Gallery.

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Borderlander's Outfitter

The exhibition presents itself as a hipsterish quartermaster's gear dispensary or a tool library with an anthropological array of artifacts from a summer survival weekend in the project room. Everything is clothed in fairly recognizable purpose except that everything is a hair off. For example... (more)


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on October 16, 2014 at 15:18 | Comments (0)


Tuesday's complicated links

We will have a review for you shortly and my in depth piece on Bruce Guenther will post on Saturday (the 20th is his last day and many of the most crucial aspects have not been discussed). Till then here are some links:

The uncontested works (?) from the Gurlitt trove will go to the Bern Kunstmuseum. It is a fact, museums walk an incredibly fine line between ennobling culture and the messy way that sausage gets made but the Gurlitt acquisition is perhaps the most tainted situation to come to light in the 21st century to date. Yes, it looks like Bern is being very cautious, but still... this promises to take another 50-100 years to sort out.

Look, art fairs are not Ikea for millionaires. There are a lot of class warfare tinged sentiments out there at the moment but I think we need to separate the discussion of high priced masterworks from relatively unproven contemporary art and the living artists that create it. In general, many of the names you see bandied about right now wont be around in 5-10 years. That "other" work that already has been certified great is still great, despite the very impressive price tags. The worst case scenarios are when these great works leave the public view all together. They both have cultural value worth discussing beyond monetary value. That is what museums are for.

... (more)


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on October 14, 2014 at 14:29 | Comments (0)


Weekend Wanderer

It is one Very Busy weekend in Portland's art scene since Saturday is the last day for TBA visual art shows, Nationale has a new space and Surplus Space is doing a performance night. Here are my picks:

streamroomBW_falsefront_sm.jpg

Stream Room by Deep White Sound at FalseFront sounds a lot like attending numerous trance raves at the same time with its cacaphonous presentation of multiple sound art pieces at the same time. Everything is streamed to multiple handmade streaming devices. Curated and produced for deepwhitesound by DB Amorin with design and visuals by Dana Paresa + programming and consultation by Matt McVickar.

Stream Room | October 11 - November 2
Opening Reception: October 11 6-9PM
FalseFront
4518 NE 32nd Avenue



... (more)


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on October 10, 2014 at 11:16 | Comments (0)


Polly Apfelbaum & Tony Feher at Lumber Room

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(teaser image)Apfelbaum (bg) All the Colors Under the Sun, Feher (fg)

Portland can be a difficult town for outsiders and this goes doubly true for traveling artists and curators who use their credentials like a calling card. Basically, Portlanders are very accepting but they don't accept received wisdom like other places do (it really does take 5+ years to build up your reputation here). Culturally this fact can make the city seem a tad like some lost island (full of dinosaurs or misfit toys, take your pick) but it also means it is a protective enclave for experimentation. That is what Lumber Room's mission has been... a kind of low pressure guesthouse for art and two recent shows by Tony Feher and Polly Apfelbaum allowed each to pursue their own brand of post-minimal/neo-formal exploration in separate shows. Both shows, by virtue of being "explorations" weren't their most memorable efforts but they were an unfolding of the creative process that would be put under a microscope more in New York or London. That is freedom... and important when developing new work. *Update, this tag team show is more successful than the individual solo exhibitions.... (more)


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on October 07, 2014 at 13:24 | Comments (0)


David Byrne gives up, sorta

Today David Byrne published an essay on why he doesn't care about contemporary art anymore. Some may ask, David who? That is a good question but pretty much anyone age 30-60 knows he was once the bellwether of postmodern artyness and yes he made some music too.

I'm not going to comment so much on the content of the art he has lost interest in but to me it seems like it is a very community based critique (and anti-marketplace) of how much Art has lost its awkward struggle... (more)


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on October 07, 2014 at 11:05 | Comments (0)


Bluesky Birthday

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Carol Yarrow's Boy with bird, currently on display at Bluesky

Today, Bluesky Galllery (AKA the Oregon Center For The Photographic Arts) turns 39 and will be celebrating with a 40 year show at the Portland Art museum later this month. Congratulations and let's look back at a few of the shows we have reviewed covered:

F & D Carter's Wait and See this past Spring was an exciting tour de force of experimentation.

Richard Barnes' Animal Logic showed photography's ability to crystallize concentrated contemplation.

Torben Escerod's meditations on death and photography as a relic.

Amy Stein's juxtaposition of animals in a developed American landscape.

Robert Rauschenberg's final body of work debuted in their then newish home.


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on October 05, 2014 at 13:03 | Comments (0)


Friday Links

Christopher Knight isn't convinced that Warhol's Shadows on display at MOCA are a top tier work, which is hardly a radical art historical position to take as Warhols late work is often derided. Then MOCA's Director Philippe Vergne took the controversial step of responding to the criticism. I tend to disagree with Knight on the importance of this particular work as it is a somewhat elemental late work that adds a new dimension to one's understanding of Warhol (maybe not top tier but provocatively near it). As for the Vergne responding to criticism publicly... those who are more old fashioned might not like it but we live in an era of fluid debate and response and Knight can certainly take it (that separates him from mere internet trolls). It is healthy and Knight's reputation is hardly at risk... a weak critic needs some protection, great ones survive, even grow ever stronger from having some pushback like this. Lastly, Vergne is European, they simply have a stronger tradition of pointed critique and I think it is an important step for the West Coast to publicly step out of the very passive aggressive cycle in discourse that we have been known for. Admittedly, I have a dog in this hunt. I cut my teeth with British art publications and that tone does threaten some other west coasters in the visual art scene. What it does do is cuts through all these false politeness that doesn't serve the work or ideas in question. Overall, I think the Warhol will fare just fine as will Knight and MOCA... So is the opiece in question a masterpiece or the birth of the zombie formalism that Jerry Saltz and others including myself have been railing against? The jury is out.

Indeed, all of these are deficient designs in Portland.

Jerry Saltz on Robert Gober.


Checkout this fascinating video on the conservation of Matisse's Swimming pool. I think it is right to treat the burlap as a support to be swapped out and not as a relic. Going back to the studio version is also provocative though a thornier issue. Do we present paintings the way they were stored in the studio? It is an interesting pickle.


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on October 03, 2014 at 11:19 | Comments (0)


First Thursday Picks October 2014

October is one of the power months in the Portland art scene... and we know it better than anyone else. Here are my picks


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Habit Forming

When Storm Tharp broke out in 2007, he established himself as one of the premier contemporary portraitists in the country but since then has been adding facets and layers to that reputation. For his latest show Tiger he doubles down on influences like David Hockney, Fairfield Porter's paintings, Donald Judd and numerous literary figures.

Tiger | September 30 - November 1
PDX Contemporary
925 NW Flanders



... (more, Pugay and Unbecoming)


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on October 02, 2014 at 14:47 | Comments (0)


Dana Lynn Louis Talk

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Dana Lynn Louis' Clearing

People are rightly talking about Dana Lynn Louis' show Clearing at Lewis and Clark's excellent Hoffman Gallery. Tomorrow at 6:30PM she will be discussing the work... which to my eyes has elements of Judy Pfaff and some roots in Eva Hesse.

Clearing
Artist Talk: September 30 6:30PM | Miller 105
Lewis and Clark College


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on September 29, 2014 at 16:51 | Comments (0)


Free day at PAM

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Erich Heckel (German, 1883-1970), Zwei Verwundete (Two Wounded Men), 1915, woodcut on wove paper from This is War! at PAM

There are a lot of interesting openings in Portland tonight at Wierd Shift and Surplus Space to name two but sometimes it's good to revisit the Portland Art Museum for something more historically meaty... and since it is participating in the Smithsonian's National Museum Day program it will be free today. Besides the collection, there will be a new Chris Antemann show beginning and I found the This Is War! exhibition very rewarding (a lot of my graduate degree work related to these artists). That makes sense since one of the museum's greatest strengths is its collection of German Expressionist woodcuts (thanks to Gordon Gilkey).


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on September 27, 2014 at 10:42 | Comments (0)


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