Sunday, November 23, 2008

November 24 Matthew Higgs at PSU

Portland seems to be having a run of talks by curators and this is one. Matthew Higgs was deeply immersed in the Young British Artist movement, and sometimes critical of its direction. Then he hopped the pond to immerse himself into the artist world of San Francisco. He is now curator at the White Columns which takes enough of an interest in Portland to have rented a room at the art Affair at the Jupiter Hotel. He has curated at the ICA in the UK and CCA on the West Coast. He is able to discover the most interesting vectors in the artist world in each location, in advance of sometimes the commercial art machine or independent of it. Let's hope he can advise the Museum on curator matches. Part of the most often excellent Portland Monday Night Lecture Series at PSU. Higgs spins disco on vinyl at 320 SE 3rd late, free. Talk in Shattuck Hall, Room 212, 1914 SW Park Avenue, at the corner of SW Broadway and Hall on the PSU campus. 7:30PM Free

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

November 20 Inner China

China. Over 2500 years of unbroken history and a quarter of the world population. A lot of MFA graduates yearly. I think it is an individual responsibility to try to understand China. Here is an opportunity. Woodrow Wilson Center Fellow William A. Callahan and Richard Kraus, Portland State University professor, speak: "Who is China?"

Chinese is peppered with idiomatic slogans. Education incorporates a study of classic literature far beyond the Western approach. These ideas are woven deeply into the culture along with a dose of Confucianism. The speakers explore Chinese culture filtered through leading public intellectuals known in the West such as philosopher Zhao Tingyang, writer Jiang Rong, film directors Zhang Yimou and Ang Lee, and artist Cai Guo-Qiang.

This talk is part of PNCA's engagement with China and is cosponsored by the International Studies Department at Portland State University, a strong recruiter of Chinese students to Portland.

At PNCA NW 13th and Johnson 12:30PM Free

November 20 LAIKA at Artspark

If you don't know what Artspark is, you should find out. It is a way for artists to organize as their own advocates disguised as a series of short talks and plenty of meeting other creative people. Each presenter has 6 minutes at 6PM to speak about their projects. With one presenter a month, the rest of the evening is unstructured person to person time. Tonight LAIKA gives a short update on their projects. At the Livingroom Theaters. 5PM-7 Free. RSVP at Artspark

Saturday, November 15, 2008

November 19 Designing Dreams, Engineering Desire

This topic is as vast as it is important. There has been a broad shift to human-centered design augmented by ethnographic practices to capture the functional and emotional needs and embeds of people who will actually use objects. Most believe the process heavily hinges upon the intuitive insights of creatives. I would add the brain chemistry response of similarity, novelty and sampling critical life stage associations. Beauty is good too.

A panel considers design and possibilities created by ever changing technology. What is our emotional relationship to objects? How do we imagine the future? Are we entering an era of significant green and sustainable design? What is the role of "open source" design, also known as open design?

Some who have considered these ideas include Marc Gobe on emotional branding, Kevin Roberts on emotion, branding and objects, Donald A. Norman on emotional industrial design, William McDonough and Michael Braungart on biomimetic design. Of course R. Buckminster Fuller who proposed meeting the needs of the world's population by doing more with less.

Panelists considering your questions:

Sohrab Vossoughi founder of ZIBA Design (, which has incorporated artists and sustainability into branding projects in addition to its well known industrial design of objects.

Portland architecture blogger, writer and filmmaker Brian Libby (

Musician, thinker and community outreach organizer for Portland Center Stage, Tim DuRoche.

Daniel H. Wilson, robotics engineer and author of Where’s My Jetpack? A Guide to the Amazing Science Fiction Future That Never Arrived.

This event is part of DWR's Designs on Portland series and presented in cooperation with:

R. Buckminster Fuller: The History (and Mystery) of the Universe at Portland Center Stage ( The Viridian design movement is an example of Fuller prinicples, I would declare it successful rather than kill it.

Manufactured at the Museum of Contemporary Craft (

Raymond Loewy: Designs for a Consumer Culture at Oregon Historical Society (

At DWR Portland Studio 1200 NW Everett. Doors 6:00PM, program 6:30 Free

Thursday, November 13, 2008

November 19 All Julie All the Time

PNCA faculty member and artist Julie Perini presents video and performance at PCC Cascade entitled All Julie All the Time. There is something about a sit down snack in the gallery too. I think at their core all artists are activists, some are just shy, but not Perini. She fuses this philosophy with thoughtful sampling, politics, documentation, social performance, teaching and organizing. Opening event PCC Cascade Gallery in Terrell Hall. 705 N. Killingsworth 4PM-7 Free (continues gallery hours to December 31)

November 18 Public Access Findings as Cinema

The Cinema Project usually presents artist and obscure films on film. Not always though. Tonight is is a compilation of public access television from Winnipeg, Canada. As cable companies use the public road right of way to string their cables, cities extract public studios and channels for anyone to make video and show it. We own the right of way and we get the access. (In Portland it is - free classes, free equipment, your own show free).

The greatest strength of open access is its greatest weakness too. This program addresses that by presenting a curated slice of tens of thousands of hours of cable access produced in Winnipeg Canada in the late 1970s through the 1980's.

More details at the Cinema Project website

At the new Cinema Project space 11 NW 13th Ave, top floor. Elevator access is provided, please come to the door to request. 7:30PM $6

November 18 Pecha Kucha 5

Pecha Kucha is an international series of short informal presentations focused on design and culture. Originated in Japan, it was an opportunity for designers to show work and influences as images without a language barrier. I believe the Portland series was inspired by Teruo Kurosaki. Each presenter has 20 slides to present for 20 seconds each - a total of 6 minutes and 40 seconds. Pecha Kucha draws an audience of designers and architects. The presentations have been engaging and thought provoking, such as a photo essay on abandoned high rise building shells in Bangkok repurposed into high rise gardens. The loose theme tonight is discretion. Tonights presenters are Heather Hanrahan and Rodger Bridges,; Kevin Cavenaugh,; Paige Saez,; Garrett Strickland; Larissa Hammond and Tigerlilly Holyoak,; Ron Blessinger ,; architect Aaron Whelton and writer Matthew Korfhage. Locally organized by architect-planners Cityscope. At the salad warehouse 939 SE Alder Doors 7:30PM, talks 8:20 (20:20!) Free (donations encouraged)

November 17 Diego Piñón and Stephanie Smith

Diego Piñón is a Mexican branch of the global family tree of butoh. Founded in Japan in 1959, it has been passed from teacher to student, from performing group to individual performer and from performer to audience. Along the way each individual has drawn from it, and contributed.

Drawn to dance and movement, Piñón studied many movement and theater systems, incorporating his own uniquely Mexican traditions. Along the way, he encountered butoh, performing with Byakko-Sha and Min Tanaka's Maijuku. (I would disagree with the article's statement that Tanaka is second only to Hijikata, that is absurd. Tanaka is a gifted primarily self taught mover.) My experience with Piñón is as a workshop teacher who uses psychodrama techniques derived from each individual's history to create unique and sometimes intense movement. Piñón speaks of his work in a talk sponsored by Portland butoh's Headwaters Studio and Portland State University's Department of Japanese Language, Dance and Theater. Piñón has been teaching a workshop the last few days, so his students may be able to relate their experiences.

At Smith Memorial Center, Room 328/9, 7PM Free

Meanwhile, at the always excellent PSU Art Department Monday Night Lecture Series, Stephanie Smith speaks. Sustainability is big in Portland now, but Smith has been exploring it as a theme in her curatorial activities for some time. Her interest in socially engaged public practice in art is a great complement to similarly themed work in the PSU art programs. It has moved to a new location this semester - Shattuck Hall, Room 212, 1914 SW Park Avenue, at the corner of SW Broadway and Hall on the PSU campus. 7:30PM Free

Past Monday night lectures can be viewed at PICA normal working hours. Free.

November 15 Iceland to Rocksbox

Rocksbox presents Asmundur Asmundsson, known for his wry and irreverent installations. This is perfect for Portland artist Patrick Rock, a good agitator in his own right, to bring to polite Portland. At Rocksbox Fine Art 6540 N Interstate Opening 7PM-11 See the website for continuing hours.

November 15-16 333 Studio Open House

This long operating artist space at 333 NE Hancock opens its studios this weekend. It has incubated many years of artists and continues to do so. There is a group show in the common spaces curated by Anna Fidler. The current list of artists may be found at their website Stop by Saturday 4PM - 10 (Performance at 9PM) Sunday 12Noon - 5.

November 13-15 tEEth Performs

I have only had peripheral exposure to this experimental dance performance group. They present their performance Grub. More info at At IFCC. Performances 7PM and 9. $15

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

November 13 Ignite Selfless

I am interested in many things, but this blog hews to art - with a few excursions, including Ignite. Ignite is a cross between Toastmasters and speed dating for the software and web development creative community. Speed dating in the sense that short presentations equal shorts programs in film festivals. If you are bored, a change of scenery is only minutes away. Each presenter has 20 slides, 15 seconds each, 5 minutes total. Very ADD - in a good way. Portland presentations have been a mix of irreverent, how to and occasionally serious.

The existential hobble of Powerpoint acknowledged, these evenings tend to be fun events with smart people. Ignite Portland 4 is at the Bagdad Theater. There tends to be a long line occasioned by the required OLCC ID check for age 21 admittees only. Holders of the free sold out advance tickets at 5:30PM, the line at 6:15PM, Presentations 7PM-10 Free

Portland filmmakers span shorts to features. The nature of the art can be the transition between making small and making large. Longtime Portland artist-filmaker Jacob Pander has created his first large film Selfless with brother Arnold. Its timely Portland themes of architectural ego, green and identity theft play out in a feature length thriller; premiere here. Part of the NW Film and Video Festival. Portland Art Museum Whitsell Auditorium. Arrive Early. 7PM $7-8

Monday, November 10, 2008

November 12 CCA Curator on Curation

Jens Hoffman is the curator's curator with a strong background in London, arguably a more contemporary environment than New York. He speaks at PNCA NW 13th and Johnson 6:30PM Free

November 10 Southern Exposure Talk

Southern Exposure is a long running experimental art center in San Francisco. Hear Courtney Fink, director of 15 years, speak on sustainable art centering - Southern Exposure has been in operation for 34 years!

It is part of the PSU Monday Lecture Series. This series has been consistently engaging. It has moved to a new location - Shattuck Hall, Room 212, 1914 SW Park Avenue, at the corner of SW Broadway and Hall on the PSU campus. 7:30PM Free

Friday, November 07, 2008

November 8 Global Local Butoh(s)

Hard choice tonight.

Kyoto butoh artist Katsura Kan presents a performance with his students drawn from Portland butohists. Kan is one of the deep thinkers of butoh as noted earlier about his lecture. He is a Buddhist, informing his work and draws dancers and inspiration from across Asia, South America and Africa. He explores the regional differences in indigenous butoh. Our Portland butoh is different than, say the butoh of Thai shamans. We spent some time out at art openings discussing arts funding and art culture here and in Japan Thursday. He brings that same curiosity and brilliance to creating and exploring movement. This evening, Sheri Brown and Douglas Ridings from Seattle make a special appearance. Brown is known for evocative facial presence which almost disappears. Ridings incorporates South Indian dance into his butoh. The performance is in the Headwaters Studio at Disjecta. The space is intimate, holding about 20, make a reservation. Reservations email mizudesierto (AT) gmail (DOT) com 8PM $5-15

A different butoh are hip hop moves by b-boys and b-girls. Hip hop culture is life and we are living it. Part of it are beautifully unbelievable b-boy/b-girl moves. One of the most mad dope b-boy/b-girl events of the year is The Foundation. Eight years strong. On no publicity outside the community. 2 on 2 battles. DJ's Sugarman and Computer Fam of the Buttermilk Baby Makers. All proceeds benefit Ethos In the Reed Student Union doors 6:30PM, show 7. $7

November 7 Eastside Art Openings

The Eastside has serious galleries mixed with pure fun. For example Fourteen30 Contemporary presents NEW CONSTRUCTION by artists Nick van Woert and Nicholas Pittman. Sculptor van Woert, inspired by the Russian Conctructivists, used material high and low for formal sculptures. Manwhile Pittman creates bright abstract patterns which would be at home in the Ecstasy show of a few years back All this at Fourteen30, 1430 SE 3rd Avenue

Meanwhile over at Worksound is a meditation on Air Nouveau. Psu professor Horia Boboia shows work along with LA artists Andrea Fellers and Darcy Bartoletti. Rounding out the show are San Francisco artist Sophie De Lignerolles and continuing from last month Samantha Wall. At Worksound 820 SE Alder

Must Find Truth... I think we dis, but it is always a continuing endevour, including at Gallery Homeland. This is the name of a show of Roxanne Jackson of macabre beasts. At Gallery Homeland corner SE 11th and Division

There is more fun to be had including shows in the 811 Block at Redux and Grass Hut, Newspace Photography, Destroystore and I'm sure plenty more!

November 7-9 Flocks and Tumbles

Portland has many interesting creative concentrations. One is a small concentration of composers and experimantal soundscape creators inspired by and coinspiring the NW Electroacoustic Music Organization. Multi artist Seth Nehil presents Flock & Tumble based on these ideas. "Flock & Tumble is a concert for 6 audio speakers, 4 video projections, and a 12-person choir. Shouts, voices and songs articulate a “creatureality”, evoking the patterns which emerge among frog calls, fish schools and insect swarms. While performers navigate the space around and among the audience, glimpses of dance by Linda Austin and "Woolly Mammoth Comes to Dinner" flash across screens, percussive bursts scatter and melodies cluster. Each performance will be different, guided by a rhythmical/musical choreography that determines rules of interaction. Bold sound and intentional play merge wildness and precision in a multimedia celebration of 'becoming-animal'”. All this takes place November 7, 8, 9, at AudioCinema, 226 SE Madison, doors 7:30PM show 8:00 $10

Thursday, November 06, 2008

November 6 Westside Art Openings

City hall shows art themed on Portland's music world, a very successful creative community in Portland. Artists include Laura Domela, Norm Eder, Mike King, Anthony Pidgeon, Diane Russell, Gary Houston, Alica J. Rose, Alexander Rokoff, Guy Burwell, Jason Quigley, Ben Wilson, Casey Burns, Josh Elliott, Josh Elliott, Sarah White, Michelle Motta, Nicolle Farup & Autumn de Wilde. At City Hall 1221 SW 4th 5PM-7 Free

At Stumptown Coffee, White Rainbow performs. 128 SW 3rd. 7-8ish

Backspace shows Ladies of the Rib: paintings by 5 women artists: Anna Todaro, Alisha Wessler, Chowchessna, Taryn Tomasello & Nicole Linde. Their work is inspired by the Sumerian civilization of 4000 BC near the conflience of the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers - that would be in present day Iraq. Lady of the Rib is a reference to a Sumer myth which may have inspired the Eve from Adam's rib myth. At Backspace 115 NW 5th Ave

Painter Laura Ross-Paul is known for her rich use of color in impressionistic portraits. This work captures the light of summer modulated by our gentle leafy canopy. At Froelick 714 NW Davis

I love cast glass, but it is a material that sometimes overwealms the work. However this month Silvia Levenson shows "It's not Living Alone", a crituque of our love-hate relationship with mood-stabilizing pharms. She comments that her work is inspired by Chuck Palahniuk. At Bullseye 300 NW 13th

PNCA continues it's global engagement with work by Iranian Shiva Ahmadi and Chinese artist Baochi Zhang In the Feldman Gallery Corner NW Johnson and 13th

The Woolley gallery has a group show of small works by Michael T. Hensley, Bernard O. Gross, Alison O'Donoghue, Julia Stoops, Jennifer Mercede, Jenny Rideout, Carol Yarrow, Brigitte Dortmund & Angelina Woolley. Mark Woolley Gallery 817 SW 2nd Ave

Video art is too little seen in Portland. A great example is the 4 screen installation at The Urban Farmer by Matt McCormick. I have not seen the group show at Quality Pictures curated by artist Jacob Dyrenforth and Eva Respini, Assistant Curator of Photography at New York's Museum of Modern Art, but if you are interested consider Videos and Vodka: Selections from Video Salon. Artists include Guy Ben-Ner, Ian Cooper, Tanyth Berkeley, Duke and Battersby, Christopher Miner, Ohad Meromi, Lisa Oppenheim, John Pilson, Lisi Raskin, Robin Rhode, Laura Riboli and Halsey Rodman. At Quality Pictures 916 NW Hoyt