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Saturday 05.28.16

 

Diane Jacobs' Homage at Weiden + Kennedy

As a child I studied Greek culture intensely and always felt the Amazons were particularly interesting because it seemed like they challenged the Greek order, which most of Western Civilization is built upon. I suppose that being raised by predominantly by females (many of my relatives being quite tall) presented the idea that women were tough was always a given, rather than an eccentric notion. The world is catching up to this truth... s.l.o.w.l.y.

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What little most people know of the legendary Amazon women has come to us from a short entry by Herodotus and other ancient Greeks. Because of this many probably assume that the Amazons were Greeks themselves (false, in fact they were a rival civilization), were a women-only society (false, in many tribes the women were simply equal in every way... including as warriors) and instead of one breast as reported by Herodotus they had two (in the bronze age one simply does not perform cosmetic mastectomies without antibiotics etc. and was propaganda for shock effect).... (more)


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 27, 2016 at 12:13 | Comments (0)


Painting Links

Sure, I'm widely associated as one of the biggest advocates in new media art in the Pacific Northwest but I also love painting (I learned landscape paining in oils and watercolors at age 6 so its also my longest standing art love affair... other things like musical instruments, poetry, photography and installation art all came later). Here are some great painting links:

Jerry Saltz discusses the abstract work of Philip Guston and the sublime. The sublime doesn't get enough deep discussion in contemporary art lore at the moment but it is crucial... that feeling of sensitivity to vastness and the distinct sense of the indistinct as a form of threat and safe harbor experientially. Great minds tend to crave these experiences. Maybe that's what is wrong with the art world at the moment, not enough deep seekers?

Closer to home there is a very brief interview with Katherine Bradford who has a show at Adams and Ollman. At PORT we do very long interviews but we also don't grant them to very many local artists... partially because it is a blank check and an artist has to have long and varied enough career where yet another review doesn't really achieve anything. We have a lot of rules that we adhere to, but it also provides freedom because interviews mean something when they dig in.

Here is an interesting interview with John Currin from a while back.


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 25, 2016 at 14:46 | Comments (0)


Weekend Picks

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Coastal Redwood, Ryan Neil (photo Chris Hornbecker)

Oregon based Ryan Neil takes the centuries old tradition of Bonsai and blending his own familiarity with Western North American flora. This is an excellent example of how the Portland Japanese Garden has become a world leading bridge and a new template for the living traditions of Japanese arts and culture into the present day.

American Bonsai, the unbridled art or Ryan Neil | May 21 - June 19
Portland Japanese Garden (outdoor courtyard)
611 SW Kingston Avenue



Food_carts_Portland.jpg

As part of PNCA's Collaborative Design MFA graduate exhibition I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest one element of this thesis exhibition called Street Food Sites in the Innovation Studio space in the 511 building. (yes I'll report back on the whole show in an update to this post) Street Food Sites chronicles a beloved hallmark of Portland's cultural makeup... its food cart culture and artists like canaries in the coal mine explore the challenges Portland's status as a hot city have presented to our vibrant cultural fabric. I'd like to note that other cities have faced this and survived, but only through progressive and proactive thinking and zoning.

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 May 21, 2016 at 11:40 | Comments (0)


Weekend Picks

Most city's art scenes kinda die in the summer but Portland tends to ramp up, we do have great weather at this time of the year. Generally, May, June, August and September are almost always the best months and this May is no exception.

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Traditional western notions of property, resources and the public good are under a lot of remediation lately so in keeping The Ross Island Residency, a renegade project initiated by Taryn Tomasello and curator Will Elder, spanning June 2015 - June, 2016, "at the site of a sand and gravel mine in the center of the island in the center of city looks interesting. This exhibition is the residue of symbolic gestures of replacement and a ritual-relational witness of trespass."

Trespass: Ross Island Residency | May 14 - June 26
Reception: Saturday, May 14, 12 - 6PM
Hours: Saturday & Sundays 12 - 6PM Publication Release: June 25, 5 - 7PM HQ objective
2235 W Burnside



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OCAC 2016 BFA graduate exhibition
I've always enjoyed OCAC's BFA shows and Making in Evidence: featuring Oregon College of Art and Craft's BFA graduates of 2016 looks like another good one to hit. With seventeen students from diverse backgrounds and creative disciplines they will explore a wide range of concepts and media. OCAC's thesis exhibition comes as the culmination of an immersive mentor-based, craft-oriented and creative community a kind of proof in concept of OCAC's unique and varied curriculum.

*Update: highlights include Una Rose, Lillian Reed, William Whitehead, Oliver Wilson and Jessica Oakes with a sense of polish that puts most MFA programs to shame.

Making in Evidence | May 13 - May 22, 2016
OCAC's BFA 2016 graduate exhibition (free)
Opening Reception: May 13 5 - 9PM
Food, drinks and music
Regular hours: 11am - 5PM
525 NW 10th


...(more)


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 13, 2016 at 12:57 | Comments (0)


Emily Nachison on Odilon Redon at PAM

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Odilon Redon (French, 1840-1916), Oannes et le Sphinx, 1910, oil on wood, Gift of Dr. and Mrs. Edwin Binney

The next artist talk at the Portland Art Museum will feature Emily Nachison this Thursday May 12 from 6-7PM.

I'm a particularly big fan of PAM's artist talks on works from their collection and not just because I've done one of them. There is something important about creating living relationships with art of the past so I'm especially happy that Nachison has chosen Odilon Redon's Oannes et le Sphinx. It is a lovely little gem in the collection that matches up well with Peter Doig, Katharina Fritsch, Anselm Kiefer and Chris Ofili's contemporary penchant for mysticism. In fact, Portland's art scene is full of all sorts of allusions to sorcery (there is a reason Grimm is shot here too, another obvious curatorial theme that never gets discussed) so I'm curious what she teases out.


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 10, 2016 at 20:11 | Comments (0)


Weekend Links

The Harlem Art Fair does something a little different with a series of public works? Frankly, this has been done before but not as ambitiously... treating the fair like an international biennial. It creates a zone of exploration not just an isolated enclave. This promotes repeated visits.

Jonathan Jones can be clueless (but at least an interesting one) but taking a non romantic view of Dada is refreshing.

Randy Higgins is one of my favorite people to talk to in Portland. We always have these intense philosophical and spatial discussions and Portland Architectures piece hits the spot.

AFC does the Frieze Art Fair goings about...


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 07, 2016 at 13:59 | Comments (0)


First Thursday Picks May 2016

For the past year or so I've noticed that First Thursdays have been waning as other parts of Portland have frankly been more ambitious and noticeably fresher than our main gallery enclave in Northwest Portland's Pearl and Old Town districts. This is partially due to the fact that smaller galleries everywhere have had it tougher as mega galleries have ruled the universe. Obviously, Portland has no mega-galleries and that is part of our charm.

Well, this May's First Thursday looks like it is back with a vengeance serving up perhaps the freshest and most ambitious collection of exhibition receptions in perhaps a decade (anchors like PNCA and the U of O are in full effect after lots of changes but there is depth everywhere). What's more, not a single traditional media exhibition makes the cut. Nothing against them (obviously) but no oil paintings or cast metal sculpture are to be found on this list... we did that last month with 2 out of the 3 I picked. Another trend in may is women who are not academics or graduates of local art schools also making themselves felt. (Both new media and non academically affiliated females as groups are routinely and embarrassingly ignored in regional art awards... if you want an award over 5K prize one typically has to be a man, do traditional media work and or have some tie to a larger local art school as an alum or faculty). This is simply wrong as many of the ignored artists have national/international careers and frequently education from more elite schools. It makes us look clubby and closed minded, when in fact Portland has a very international, otherwise supportive and porous scene with excellent variety of traditional and cutting edge media.

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Ellen George, Untitled (Elemental 14) at PDX Contemporary

It has been a while since we have experienced a solo show from Ellen George... one of the most interesting and lyrical artists on the West Coast. Her latest titled May looks like another tour de force. Specializing in something akin to manageable installation art, few artists can claim to be as consistently excellent and poetically graceful as Ellen George.

May | May 3 - 28
PDX Contemporary
925 NW Flanders



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Memory Theater at Upfor

Installation art at PADA galleries is understandably rare but Upfor has taken on new media work like few west coast galleries. Their latest is Srijon Chowdhury's Memory Theater. According to the PR... (more)


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 04, 2016 at 18:31 | Comments (0)


Reed College Art Theft

The generalist media loves these sorts of stories about art thefts but stealing one half of a carved diptych by Leroy Setziol from Reed College is pretty sad. Yes it is worth something (quoted insurance values are accurate but in terms of easy resale, no) but as only half a piece it is essentially damaged goods. Anyone with information is asked to contact Reed's Community Safety's non-emergency line at 503-517-5355

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Leroy Setziol exhibition currently on view at PAM

To put a positive spin on this the Portland Art Museum currently has an exhibition of the artist's work on display and he's been a bit of a secret favorite of mine for years. My sense is someone decided this would be an escapade of opportunity... a professional would have stolen both parts or much more valuable pieces on display at Reed. Let's hope it comes back in the next 72 hours. You can find Setziol's work all over Portland and it always adds an air of grandly lyrical civilized activity... let's hope the spirit of the work convinces the perpetrator(s) to bring it back.

*Update: Good news, the panel has been returned though with some damage.


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 03, 2016 at 22:00 | Comments (0)


Bonnie Bronson and Mary Henry

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Mary Henry, The Fabric of Space at Jeffrey Thomas Fine Art (all photos Jeff Jahn)

For the past decade or so female artists have been a subject to a refocusing of scrutiny in the art world. My critic colleague Jerry Saltz has railed against institutions and a market, which still dont seem to value the the contributions of women. Still, artists like; Helen Frankenthaler, Hilma af Klint, Ruth Asawa, Judy Chicago, Anne Truitt, Kara Walker, Julie Mehretu, Dana Shutz, Wengechi Mutu and Mickalene Thomas have all seen their stars rising and there have been numerous exhibitions not the least of which was the opening exhibition of Hauser Wirth & Schimmel which presented many crucial artists (who happen to be women) both historical and contemporary in one exhibition. Clearly this is a moment... (more)


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on April 30, 2016 at 12:01 | Comments (0)


Artist Opportunities

It is a busy time of year so it is the perfect time to capitalize on some of those opportunities:

Houseguest is an exciting new initiative for bringing art interventions into Portland's Pioneer Courthouse Square (aka Portland's living room). It comes with a $20,000 stipend. Nice to see some considered site specificity being addressed for a change in our public art... rather quirk without context. Deadline: May 1st 2016

Is your work concerned with silence, awareness or existence? Then check out this themed residency in Finland. Deadline: April 29, 2016

The City of Seattle has put out a call for portable works. Deadline: June 7

The 12th annual Art in Odd places festival in New York City this year has a theme of race. Deadline: May 8th


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on April 27, 2016 at 14:40 | Comments (0)


Monday Links

An artist in London sends the gallery staff on vacation.

Though the installations for Megacities Asia are LARGE I'm not that convinced by most of them. Still it is good that they are utilizing the museum in nonstandard ways... most museums could be better about thinking of themselves as habitats for art rather than formal galleries.

San Francisco's art scene evolves at the top end with the new SFMOMA... while still out of the affordability range of most artists. That is a problem and though Portland is feeling pressure compared to other major West Coast cities we are still more affordable. Some interesting things could be done and I'm working on a think piece about this... to me a healthy arts ecosystem has room at all levels. San Fran is a place millionaires feel squeezed and many are decamping to Portland. Interesting how this will play out but one wonders if San Fran is just becoming a collection of itself? Seattle has struggled with to a much lesser degree and is still a city full of serious artists and among artists there is an international exchange zone between Vancouver BC going to to Seattle, Portland and then San Francisco.... sometimes LA. I'd like to see more West Coast co-curiosity?

The Met has been stumbling in its expansion but MoMA has Geffen's 100M gift... not certain if either will improve the institutions but they will "grow". Is growth ultimately the true measure of success? Seems like the Met could win simply by being a better/smarter patron to artists rather than simply building spaces with little intention? Growth for growth's sake just creates new problems.


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on April 25, 2016 at 12:46 | Comments (0)


PICA has new 16,000ft home

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PICA's 16,000 sq ft new HQ at 15 NE Hancock

Exciting news, PICA has a new 16,000 sq ft permanent home at 15 NE Hancock thanks to help from the Calligram Foundation. The architect will be Holst. Location wise it is just a few blocks from both the Rose Quarter and the main portion of N. Williams Avenue's district around Cook street. This will certainly be Northeast Portland's cultural anchor.

...(more including multiple interior images)


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Posted by Jeff Jahn on April 21, 2016 at 10:45 | Comments (0)


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