Wednesday, June 25, 2008

June 27-29 Information Studio

Portland is a center for the participatory art movement notably with Harrell Fletcher leading the Social Practices program at PSU. This is a dance version. Portland mover choreographer Tahni Holt has organized Information Studio.

"There are four of you. There are four of you with head-sets on in a small room in Smith Hall at PSU. You are listening to Directions given over the headphones and you are doing them to the best of your ability. You are the audience. You are the performer. No one is watching except you and the other three people who are sharing this session with you. You are being videoed so that you can visualize your experience. This video is on a secret website that only you have access to. You are in control over who sees this document.

Expect secret notes and 168 walking steps and the sound the wind makes when moving through the trees from the third floor balcony off the ballroom. Expect and experience unlike any you've had before, but do not expect it to be difficult. Demand an experience unlike any you've ever had before"

Created by Tahni Holt, with musician Thomas Thorson, lighting designer Jess Bollaert and videographer Dicky Dahl. Room M114 Smith Hall.

Reservations required for 1-4 people in half hour cycles 3PM-7:30 Friday; 5PM-9:30 Saturday and Sunday. Make them at hello or 503-708-5801 Free

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

June 28 Alberta Madness and Film Sanity Fun

Tonight marks the last Thursday art walk and gawk on Alberta Street. It isn't the same without the clown house though. One of the few places that show contemporary material is Office. Tonight they have prints from Crack Press=Pete McCracken. McCracken is the go-to guy for unusual silk screen and letter press projects. That makes sense as the tree state is distilled into the paper town (thanks Gordon Gilkey, RIP), and paper is purposed to art by McCracken and about 10,000 Portland artists. At OfficePDX 2204 NE Alberta

Umbrella, umbrella, umbrella - another highly local adaption adopted. It is also the title of a short film by Portland-Brooklyn filmmaker-poet Cat Tyc. From what I have heard the film focuses on a woman in the hours before her visit to the clinic to end a pregnancy. It happens. Luckily legal and safe. For some reason she is being followed by a man in a grey suit who is hitting her over the head with an umbrella as this all unfolds. I'm sure you can get more details from Cat.

Films are expensive, they are the time labor of many many people stored in frames per second. So Tyc is holding a fundraiser performance raffle party with a few friends. Like Sad Horse, Sarah Winchester, Sarah Dougher, Janet Pants, Tara Jane O'Neil, Mattress, Rush-n-Disco and DJ Mike McGonigal. Magic decoder ring wow! There is also a raffle for some super useful things, like from McTarnahan's beer, Plexifilm, La Mignoette, Half and Half, the Journal of Short Film, PLAZM magazine & the Portland Trailblazers.

At Holocene, corner Morrison and SE 10th. 9PM on $5-10 with $2 going to Planned Parenthood and the Rock and Roll Camp for Girls.

Friday, June 20, 2008

June 20 Fernald Homecoming at Homeland

PNCA graduate Eliza Fernand produced several shows of sculptural multiples including at Rake and for the Scratching the Surface show by the Willamette where her work was swept up by an over zealous maintenance person but recovered before being sent to the landfill. It is good work, but the maintenance man was the wrong audience. She has moved to Brooklyn and is keeping up a busy schedule of shows and performances. Tonight she returns for interactive installations and a musical performance at Gallery Homeland. Fernand's installations at Homeland include Connect, felty doorways as bridges for gestural interactions between the participants; Floating Tube Clouds dispensing snacks; and a costumed performance with Molly Enright as the Voluptuary Pair. After she performs with her band Dang Moma.

It has been over a month since we have awarded our copywriting award, so: "The performance art of Eliza Fernand combines the reality of our time and place with an abstract and fluctuating surreality. With her costumes, performance objects, and her body, she transforms familiar materials and reference points, leaving the audience with an array of sensations to cling to".

At Gallery Homeland 2505 SE 11th (corner of Division) 8PM

Sunday, June 15, 2008

June 16 Japan Inspired

Butoh was born in Japan in 1959. Tatsumi Hijikata distilled his rebellion against traditional Japanese theater-dance, the influx of ballet from Europe and Japan as America's post war ward into movement. In a time of violent political protests, street theater and artists' ferment, Hijikata created the first butoh performance, Forbidden Colors. Collaborating in 1961 with Kazuo Ohno, the two established the dual branches of butoh: dark and light. Initially Hijikata's branch represented dark forces, spectacular staging, political themes, sometimes tapping the grotesque. Ohno's branch represented love, lightness and the universal themes across cultures of birth, the life cycle of the flower, one's mother, and death.

Butoh is propagated one person to another. Those original branches have divided many times since, but the lineage of a performer is sometimes a clue.

Tonight is a rare opportunity to see butoh in Portland. Vanessa Skantze from Seattle regroups her New Orleans ensemble Death Posture. Mizu Desierto, based in Portland performs.

Skantze studied with Atsushi Takenouchi. Takenouchi's Jinen butoh taps the oneness of the universe, people, the things they created as inspiration for improvised movement. Takenouchi, in turn, studied and performed with Bishop Yamada's Hoppo-Butoh-ha, based in Hokaido. In Hokaido, Yamada sought to recover the wild energy of nature and the spirit of the land, embodied by Shinto. Vanessa Skantze's solos remind me of a solo performance I have seen by Bishop Yamada. Yamada was one of the first members of Dairakudakan, founded by Akaji Maro. Dairakudakan creates spectacular performances resembling epic myth. Maro was an early collaborator with founder Hijikata.

Hijikata changed directions later, incorporating women performers for the first time, starting with painter Yoko Ashikawa, who had no previous movement training. Hijikata set on Ashikawa a sublime movement vocabulary which has had a major impact on butoh. Ashikawa and her group Hakutobo has been a large influence in Seattle.

Mizu Desertio has roots in Arizona. She incorporates the spirit of the high Southwest desert with the mysterious gestalt of the snake and the mischievous spirit of the monkey. She creates beautiful ritual performances with dramatic costumes. Mizu has studied extensively with Diego Pinon, Kazuo Ohno and the Tomano's in Berkeley. Largely self-taught in butoh, Pinon taps into Mexican shamanism and psychodrama as an inspiration for movement. Ohno, actively performing to age 92 and making his most recent appearance on the stage at age 99, contributes a lightness and compassion to Mizu's work. Koichi Tamano was an early collaborator with Hijikata. He and his partner Haruko teach and perform as Harupin-ha. Harupin-ha's performances also have a mythical flavor. Often the performances incorporate a clear plastic sphere of about 8 feet with a performer moving and walking within it. Tamano is one of the remaining early Hijikata collaborators active today and the only one in the US.

Mizu is the creator of the Water in the Desert Festival and performances on the Willamette River beneath the St John's Bridge.

This evening Death Posture performs with its original cohort. Mizu Desierto performs with musicians Power Circus. Local noise meisters also perform.

At the Fez Ballroom 316 SW 11th. 8PM $7

Interested in more? There is a revived San Francisco butoh festival June 21-29 and one in New York City in the Fall.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

June 14 Films Under Stars

The Cinema Project has shown films outdoors on film each summer. Tonight they show dreamy summer films outdoors. Rudy Burckhardt filmed kids swimming in the East River under the Brooklyn Bridge. Helen Levitt filmed kids playing in the street on the Upper East Side. Portland filmmaker, anthropologist, linguist, painter has made hand drawn animation. John Smith has made a film about a haunted London man. The jewel is a Brakhage film.

There is the full rundown:
Under The Brooklyn Bridge by Rudy Burckhardt [1953, 16mm, b&w, 15 min]
In the Street by Helen Levitt [1952, 16mm, b&w, sound, 16 min]
Mirror Animation by Harry E. Smith [1979, 16mm, color, sound, 11 min]
The Riddle of Lumen by Stan Brakhage [1972, 16mm, color, silent, 17 min]
The Black Tower by John Smith [1987, 16mm, color, sound, 24 min]

Bring blankets or chairs. At 3125 E Burnside, 8:30PM Live music.

June 14 Open Boxlift Studios

The infamous 333 Handcock artist studios, with its sometime Russian disco afterhours speakeasy downstairs neighbor, is now Boxlift Studios, with a new generation of artists. They are hosting an open studio to show their work. 5PM-10 Free

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

June 14 Museum's Contemporary NW Art Awards

The Portland Art Museum is criticized for a lack of connection with Portland's contemporary artists but the opposite is true. While the previous director hyped blockbuster shows and old Europe's art (and raised more money than anyone thought possible for art in Portland), the Museum maintained a steady acquisition program for art by local artists. Sometimes it knew how to reach out to the local art community, for instance with the free grand opening parties for the Oregon Biennial shows. The Museum also funded experienced contemporary art curators who have crafted a steady stream of local and international shows. Interestingly, the chief curator is also personally focused on contemporary art.

The Museum is deepening its contemporary art program, but also broadening it geographically, by replacing the Oregon Biennial with the Northwest Art awards, accepting artists from Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.

The Oregon Biennial received as many as 800 entries per cycle, each set of images was reviewed by multiple jurors, resulting in about fifteen to forty artists exhibited. The Contemporary Art Council then voted to purchase one work, though all the included artists found themselves on Museum, collector and gallery radar screens as a result.

The new Contemporary Northwest Art Awards process produced a varied list of 28 semifinalists, all but one from Oregon or Washington. Five, Daniel Attoe, Cat Clifford, Jeffry Mithell, Whiting Tennis and Marie Watt are finalists. One will be selected for a $10,000 prize.

The Museum opens the show tonight and announces the grand prize winner with a formal party. Free! Call the Museum for details. The show will be up until September 14.

The curator will moderate a discussion among the five finalists Sunday June 15, in Whitsell Auditorium, 2PM-3:30. Requires Museum admission.

June 12-28 Pedalpaloosa Bicycle Madness

Pedalpaloosa is Portland's beautiful celebration of everything bike! All the details on the crowdsourced calendar at Most things free!!

June 12 Take Me to Tuva

Tuva is part of the Russian Federation, a high elevation steppe basin, in parts habited by snow leopards. It's North of Mongolia, very isolated. It was the subject of a book, Tuva or Bust, about the ten year quest, ultimately futile, by noted Nobel-winning theoretical physicist Richard Feynman to travel there as a challenge to his high school geography teacher. Blocked by the Soviet bureaucracy, Feynman died of cancer before the visas finally issued.

Tuva is also known for its beautiful and strange throat singing. Extremely difficult to master, throat singing requires singing the fundamental note while simultaneously manipulating harmonic notes established by resonances in the lungs, throat and nasal passages. Portland musician and cultural force Enrique Ugalde, performing as Soriah, has studied throat singing in Tuva. He has recontextualized the ancient technique into contemporary performance as a soloist and generous collaborator.

He is traveling there this summer to deepen his studies. To travel to the ends of the earth requires funds, so Enrique is throwing his own "Tuva or Bust" fundraising performance. He will perform along with In Gowan Ring, Ocelli, and Jen Folker. 1936 North Alberta 8PM

June 12 PSU Art Auction Party

It is no secret that tax support for Oregon Universities is anemic and it's even hungrier for arts. So the PSU Art Department is holding a yummy bakesale of art, with music, food, and wine. It is all being organized by the MFA students themselves. All very social practice!

The auction is a little complicated, so for details check the online auction website: There is a pretty interesting mix of contemporary art, you can browse images with the artist bios on the website. It's a great collection, ranging national figures, including artists who have spoken at the Monday night lecture series; PSU art grads; and established artists with Portland connections.

The auction is online, it won't happen tonight, it will be some future date.

The launch event is at the PSU Art Building 2000 SW 5th. Leave extra time for construction in the area, or it's a short walk from the streetcar. 5PM-8

Friday, June 06, 2008

June 6 Eastside Art Openings

Unless you have been hiding under a rock, you probably know about Portland's pretty damn grand Rock and Roll Camp for Girls. Hope is a Muscle is a photo show about the camp. To make the show real, Camp grad band Blubird play about 7. Thanks Camp super supporter Shayla for the tip. At Nemo Design 1875 SE Belmont 6PM-10 Free

Sportin Wood is a show by Andrius Brantzi, Kelly Brantzi, Juan Angel Chavez, Klutch, Shayla Hason and Kevin Taylor. At the new Low Lofe Salon 4912 SE Division 6PM-10

Ashley Montague, Portland artist mixing graf style with illustration style has a show at Destroy Store 1712 E Burnside 7PM-10

The Grass Hut is fully at one with its new larger space and you and the art benefit. Yosemite Studiomates is a show by LA artists Seonna Hong, Marth Rich, Souther Salazar, and Ester Pearl Watson. North South cross pollenation is good! At Grass Hut 811 E Burnside

Gallery Homeland is homing in on a regular first Friday show schedule. Represent East side! This show, Figure 3, comprises figurative paintings by Nicole Amore, Catherine Brooks and Amy Lincoln. It's at Gallery Homeland 2505 SE 11th x Division 6PM-9

Worksound Gallery is a classic art space in a falling down building. Let's enjoy it now, no mourning later. Tonight's show is PNCA+MFA+1 students. Included will be a recording release performance by Elie Charpentier for My Accurate Imagination, 8ish. At WorksoundPDX 820 SE Alder

Other Possibilites include Antonina Clarke at Capsule Studio and Gallery 3542 SE Division; Nicky Kriara at Albina Press 5012 SE Hawthorne; Rozzell Medina at the Powells Fresh Pot 3729 SE Hawthorne; Kate Durkin at Redux 811 E Burnside, a group show at the Pancake Clubhouse 906A NE 24th; Panopoly, a group show at 2000 SE 7th; Surreal photos and some book arts at 23 Sandy, 623 NE 23rd; and some photos at Newspace 1632 SE 10th. Support your art friends.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

June 5 Westside Art Openings

Portland is somewhat a glass art center owing to its proximity to Pilchuck, in the woods near Seattle, and Bullseye Glass right here in Portland. This month the Glass Art Society meets here. So many galleries have mounted glass-related shows. Personally, I believe glass, as a medium, is too seductively beautiful for contemporary art. The material overwhelms the other elements of the piece. So perhaps contemporary art made in glass just needs to operate within its own aesthetic and be valued by its own collector base, which is, in fact, the case. It is awesomely archival. Explore for yourself as you like.

Portland photographer Holly Andres is well known for Crewdson-esque domestic scenes which hark to the great films of Douglas Sirk. Sirk's style and art of noted cinematographer Russell Metty was reprised perfectly by Portland director Todd Haynes in Far From Heaven. Andres focus is enigma of the family life of children. She taps the nostalgia for an assumed perfect past which has been critically examined by Evergreen College professor Stephanie Coontz in her book The Way We Never Were. Does Andres' work tap your memories of growing up?

See it at Quality Pictures, 916 NW Hoyt

PDX Shows very quiet paintings on glass by Megan Murphy. Murphy's almost monochromatc, abstract, almost landscapes are gateways to other worlds as surely as our Western wilds. Spokane artist Murphy is also the founder of Artocracy, winner of a 2008 Webby award. Artocracy allows artists to directly connect to collectors worldwide. At PDX 925 NW Flanders

So tonight your best art entertainment value for the dollar is probably the DeSoto Building Galleries (NW Broadway and Davis), the Everett Lofts (NW Broadway and Everett) and the PNCA graduating BFA thesis show, taking up the atrium at the main building NW 13th and Johnson and the Stephens Building across from REI on NW Johnson midblock at 14th.

Monday, June 02, 2008

June 4 The Dragon-built Environment of China

The economic boom in China (over 10% annual increase in GNP for about 15 years) is producing a building boom. The Beijing Olympics, Shanghai, as a world city (again), and booming Guangdong, adjacent to Hong Kong, have been building, often hiring Western architects and planners. The growth spans the country, even the far East Xinjiang. China has ten times the number of cities over one million in population than the US has. In 30 years, the countrywide number of cities has gone from 200 to over 700.

Dr. Thomas Campanella, author of The Concrete Dragon: China's Urban Revolution and What It Means for the World, speaks. Campanella is professor of City and Regional Planning at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and visiting professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Campanella is co-editor of The Resilient City: How Modern Cities Recover from Disaster (2005).

Cosponsored by the Northwest China Council, hear Campanella speak at Powells Books, W. Burnside 7:30PM Free