Wednesday, May 27, 2009

May 31 Micki Skudlarczyk's Speaks on Viceral Art

Micki Skudlarczyk is a sculptor and ceramicist. Her work is not the type intended for dispassionate viewing from a distance. It resembles organs, something we all have; we visualize them schematically, from drawings, but really going inside is tough. It is the work of gross anatomy students, hunters, surgeons and butchers.

Some of her ceramic sculptures draw the viewer in with little cubbyholes just big enough for a hand, and with unexpected tactile experiences therein.

For this show she works large. Her room size sculpture is constructed of butchering waste, perhaps it is like being inside a whale. It is not alive, but we know by the unfamiliar but familiar smell and texture it is something like us inside.

For the show closing Skudlarczyk speaks. At 534 SE Oak, 1PM Free

Saturday, May 23, 2009

May 29 Approx L Closing Event

Approx L is a performance and an installation. We noted the performance at Gallery Homeland earlier. The installation at Worksound closes this Saturday. The project is a dense semiotic with a heavy word component as you may hear from the artist statement:

"The Land of L Exactitude ~ The Land of L Adaptations ~
L, Beside Itself (adrift, at sea)

APPROX L incorporates tactics of sculpture, curation, documentation, indexing, sound, video and performance into one tripartite installation work.

Drawing as its subject a name (Lindsay) that has been mired in multiplicity and obscurity since its first recorded attestation in 731 CE, APPROX asks its audience to dig deeper into its seemingly bottomless well of referentiality and tangentiality. At once playful and unsettling, the project mimics properties inherent to any proper name: that which its owner both possesses and is possessed by; specific enough to warrant a capital letter; pointed enough to startle a sleeping body; unruly enough to have to be spelled out; general enough to be repeated in several different places at any one time; intimate enough to enter; fickle enough to be forgotten; and yet final enough to persist long past our times."

More information at Installation at Worksound, closing event 820 SE Alder 7PM Free

May 29 PSU MFA Social Practice Shows

PSU's MFA program has a big social practice contingent and two of tonight's graduates demonstrate that. Katy Asher reprises M.O.S.T. a collaborative noted previously. They staged participatory interventions that were fun with a sometime absurd point of view. Katy shows M.O.S.T. Remastered, artifacts from past M.O.S.T. at Neuberger.

Sandy Sampson is a visual artist as well as a social practice artist who has mounted a large variety of social and community interactions. One project is Parallel-University. There is more at her websites - and Her work is at the MK Gallery in the art building.

See both!
Autzen Gallery, 2nd floor, Neuberger Hall, PSU Main Campus
MK Gallery, 2nd floor, PSU Art Building 2000 SW 5th x College
both 6PM-9 Free

May 29 Bike Pyle 2.0 Dedication

The Zoobombers are a unique anarchy united by their love of riding the MAX to the Zoo with bikes, then riding the bikes back as fast as possible, then repeating. You are a Zoobomber if you ride. There are no leaders.

The Zoobombers favor minibikes, the dollar thrift store kid bikes with wheels under 13 inches - they are easy to bring on the train and ridiculous to ride. You have seen them locked to a post across from Roccos.

The city commissioned artist Vanessa Renwick and Brian Borello to develop a public sculpture to store the bikes between Zoobombs. The artists worked with the Zoobombers to collaboratively design the sculpture. If you know Borello's public sculptures and Renwick's film projects you know why they are a perfect fit for collaboration. Tonight everybody's work and fun are unveiled!

The whole project is a beautiful improbable collaboration, what Portland likes.

Here is the rundown: Meet @ holy rack (Pyle 1.0, Roccos) 4:30PM, Parade to new pyle (SW 13th and Stark) 5, Dedication by Sam Adams 5:20PM, Singalong 6, Bike performances by the Sprockettes 6:20PM, Celebration at the Ace Cleaners, after. Animal costumes encouraged! Free

May 24-June 28 PNCA Thesis Show

PNCA, the Pacific Northwest College of Art, has been slowly transforming itself. After decades of a classic curriculum comprising only painting, printmaking, sculpture, graphic design/illustration, the school has added intermedia, accepted performance thesis', merged with a contemporary crafts program, added an MFA program and is now adding a broader 3d design program. Not every BFA program requires every student to spend a year focused in their individual studio, grappling with aesthetics, and preparing them for a lifetime of same, as does PNCA.

The results are presented tonight. BFA students show their work in the studio space in which they have worked for a year, the Stevens Studio. MFA students present in the main building central space, Swigert Commons.

The large public reception will be June 4, First Thursday.

At PNCA Stephens Studio 1432 NW Johnson, Swigert Commons corner 13th and NW Johnson. School business hours. Free

Thursday, May 14, 2009

May 15 Learning from Art Students - OCAC

Oregon College of Arts and Crafts produces work sometimes on the art side of the crafts to art continuum. It is often interesting in the context of the three sided compass of art-design-craft. Last year, the thesis show for OCAC was at Worksound with a few pretty awesome idea-based works. Beautiful but heady. This year the OCAC thesis show is at Disjecta. A nice gettogether, with some open studios by artists that share the space. At Disjecta. 8371 N Interstate near Paul Bunyon. 6PM-9. Free

Thursday, May 07, 2009

May 7 Westside Art Openings

Ellen George makes small bright sculptures from polymer clay. Sometimes they connect into larger assemblages. Her work is delightfully minimal and oddly happy, maintaining a subtle lightness and maybe the idea that the shapes came from nature's stones and plantlife. At PDX Contemporary Gallery 925 NW Flanders

Dinh Q. Lê is one of Portland's most accomplished artists. He splits his time between Portland and native Vietnam. You may know earlier award-winning photographs, weaving two large scale prints of scenes from the Vietnam war taken from films. Lê lived there at the time but was sheltered in the countryside, so in a way his cinematic experience of the war was more real. He has continued progressive video and sculpture work combining personal references with larger ideas. At Elizabeth Leach 417 NW 9th

UNKL is a project by Derek Welch and Jason Bacon. UNKL are characters with a story. The characters are made in toy-like form and collected by Otaku and ordinary people. Sometimes they become animated characters too. The stories are the fascinating part, like SUG. "In 1955 SUG was born in a remote part of Iceland. He weighed in at 40lbs and was an astounding 43" long. Today, SUG is 7'7" and weighs 655lbs and continues to base his operations out of the remote moonlike landscape of northern Iceland.

As a self-proclaimed protector of humanity, SUG's mission is very simple: to assist people of the world who are in desperate need of help. He has no affiliation with any one government and is not concerned with the politics of his actions, but rather views his role in global, historical and human terms.

SUG’s abnormally small and featureless head is the result of prolonged exposure due to defects in early handmade versions of his now iconic protective suit. His atrophied right arm is a result of a small tear in the third generation suit caused by a stray bullet and lead to a brief exposure to highly toxic gases in a subterranean location in Oklahoma. The arm was reduced in size almost immediately and is, for the most part, unusable.

His bag contains four vials of undefined liquids. They were gathered from native medicine men, world-renowned scientists, Eastern medicine and Western doctors. These four liquids can be mixed together in various amounts and combined to formulate "silver bullet" serums to cure any ailment currently known to man.

SUG created UlliGUS not only for companionship, but also to assist him with tasks ranging from reconnaissance to tracking."

I'm all for more superheroes, needed now more than ever! At Compound Gallery 107 NW 5th

The creativity of artists is tragically underestimated. W+K thinks differently. The creative agency hires creatively and changes the world. W+K=Make is another way these artists are changing the world. Over one hundred of them from the Amsterdam, Delhi, London, New York, Portland Shanghai and Tokyo have made art. Each piece is a very reasonable price and the proceeds are dedicated entirely to the Room to Read project. You can see the work in person in Portland or even buy it online. Good work for a good thing. At the ad agency. 224 NW 13th 6PM-10 Free

Stumptown has illustration-style work by Mark Warren Jacques and Timothy Karpinski. This show has individual work and collaborations where one artist directed the other.
Mark Warren Jacques: “I have no idea what we are doing here, how we got here, or where we are all going later. At best I like to think I know where I am right now”
Timothy Karpinski: “From a young age I’ve always been making things. Building forts turned into building skate ramps, which led to building art installations.”
At Stumptown Coffee 128 SW 3rd

Philip Cooper is a Portland filmmaker, musician and installation artist. He has a show this month at Valentines with music opening night by DJ Backyard Roy and DJ Electric Castle. At Valentines 232 SW Ankeny Art 6PM, party 9:30 Free

Fontanelle shows Shawn William Creedon: If I Weren't Here, They Would Be, foiling the Zen koan about the tree falling in the woods. In this case the they are native birds of the Northwest which Creedon has illustrated, some with embroidery. At the Fontanelle Gallery 205 SW Pine

Light boxes can be magic; they are explored too rarely as art. But Meagan Greer does so tonight in a show Lights On at Night. A two way mirror allows them to function as a mirror or alternately a light box when illuminated from within. At Relish Design 1715 NW Lovejoy St

Disappearing is a book, an art show and performances; it is a meditation on things disappearing from the world. It includes contributions by some pretty amazing artists, writers and musicians: Aaron Henry, Alexandra Lakin, Carson Ellis, Cynthia Lahti, Cynthia Star, Donald Morgan, Jack Dingo Ryan, Julianna Bright, Jessyca Burke, Kristan Kennedy, Montana Maurice, Philip Cooper, Rudy Speerschneider, Vanessa Renwick, Zak Margolis, Camela Raymond, Kevin Sampsell, Ty Connor, Ty Connor, Dustin Lanker and The Golden Bears At Reading Frenzy 921 SW Oak

Mark Woolley has his closing show featuring many of the gallery hit artists. At Mark Woolley Gallery 817 SW 2nd

Anna Siems uses wax medium to make finely textured images, often on reclaimed paper. Her subject matter, figures, plants and dresses. Sometimes she scratches words into the wax in made up languages. At Laura Russo 805 NW 21

Always recommended for your exploratory pleasure are the Everett Station Lofts, NW Broadway and Everett, and the DeSoto building NW Park and Davis which includes the Museum of Contemporary Craft and the Nines Gallery inside Blue Sky.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

May 6-10 PDX Film Fest 8

If you make films, where do you show them? If you are a filmmaker where do you exchange inspiration? If you are a viewer, where do you go for a challenge? Growing out of Peripheral Produce shows, the film festival is known for quiet films which don't necessarily conform to Hollywood's narrative norms. Highlights include video installations at Gallery Homeland, karaoke to experimental film at Holocene, the World Championship of Experimental Cinema, a competition judged by you, the audience. There are programs of shorts, features, retrospectives and new work. You can see the schedule for details. At the Clinton Street Theater and other locations. $40 festival pass, $7 individual events

Monday, May 04, 2009

May 5 What is the Smart Grid?

We have a great electrical grid in the US but it needs to be better. It is divided into pieces which make electricity sharing difficult from East to West, or to Texas, which is separate. It is demand-based: power plants are synchronized and turned up or down to meet the peak momentary demand. It is fragile, mysterious cascading faults sometimes occur, causing regional blackouts.

It matters to us because we have large sources of hydro power in our region, including the Grand Coulee dam, the 5th largest in the world. We are adding wind, and soon, geothermal.

It will be asked to do more. It needs to be more efficient, including high voltage, long distance DC lines. It needs to manage solar and wind sources, some small, which vary in time. It will feed plug-in hybrid vehicles, which in turn, could contribute back to the grid. It needs to provide detailed information to everyday power users to allow them to make decisions. Finally it will actively manage your appliances, turning them on and off based on supply and more complex billing formulas.

The demand for smart grid technology will be worldwide. That is why inventors are looking at the opportunities. That is tonight's focus.

The Clean Energy Special Interest Group presents An Introduction to the Smart Grid Market.

Panelists include Roger Hicks from Veris on the smart grid and opportunities; John Thornton from Porteon Electric Vehicles on the convergence of vehicles, buildings and electric utilities; and Bill Sproull, from ClearEdge Power on combined fuel cell, heating and cooling systems integrated with the grid. (Note that BPL Global operates in the smart grid software space and has Portland connections. Another resource is Jeff Hammarlund at PSU)

Sponsored by the TiE Oregon Clean Energy SIG Details at the event website.

At 1120 NW Couch Street, Tenth Floor. 6PM-8 $25 advance, $30 door, general. Check the website to become a member.

May 5 Early Film Sampler and Remixer Bruce Connor

The Cinema Project brings cinema on film to Portland, as it was intended to be seen. In many cases, the work of experimental film artists has been too obscure to be transferred to video where it has been preserved. An example is artist and filmmaker Bruce Connor. Connor made painting, assemblage and installation works, but tonight's focus are his films. In 1958, Connor made A MOVIE, a 12 minute short edited together from other films and news with an unrelated soundtrack of Respighi's The Pines of Rome. It would be the early forerunner of films by Godfrey Reggio, such as Koyanaskatsi. The moving image remix culture has spread with legal sources, such as, readily available ripping software, video remix software used by VJ's and remixing within social communities, even on mobile devices. Tonight is part 1 of 2 programs. Part 2 is included in the PDX Experimental Film Festival, Wednesday 7:30 at the Clinton Street Theater.

Part 1 is in the Art Museum's Whitsell Auditorium and includes:

Cosmic Ray [1961, 16mm, b&w/so, 4min.]
A Movie [1958, 16mm, b&w/so, 12min.]
Breakaway [1966, 16mm, b&w/so, 5min.]
Marilyn Times Five [1968-1973, 16mm, b&w/so, 13.5min.]
Report [1963-1967, 16mm, b&w/so, 13min.]
The White Rose [19667,16mm, b&w/so, 7min.]
His Eye Is On The Sparrow [2006, DVD, b&w and color/so. 4min.]

At the Art Museum Whitsell Auditorium 1219 SW Park 7PM $8

May 4 The Collecting Impulse as Art

Mark Dion makes installations of cabinets of collections. A forerunner of museums were collections made by world travelers and explorers of the leisure class in England. They sponsored archeaology digs; collections of flora, fauna, rocks and minerals; artifacts of all kinds. The collection of antiquities, justified on the basis of preservation, eventually lead to covenants prohibiting their export from the country of origin under the 1970 UNESCO "Convention on the Means of Prohibiting the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property". Very unusual museums, such as the Museum of Jurassic Technology, have drawn MacArthur grants. The very utility of museums is open to question by very life and death practical museums such as the museums of land mines in Kabul and Siem Riep.

Mark Dion taps into our curiosity and popular notions of collecting as art and attempts to question the role of scientific classification of collections. The talks about it at the PSU Monday Night Lecture Series. Look for the sandwich board sign to find the room. Talk in Shattuck Hall, Room 212 or the Annex out front, 1914 SW Park Avenue, at the corner of SW Broadway and Hall on the PSU campus. 7:30PM Free

Saturday, May 02, 2009

May 1-3 New York Beat Downtown 81

New York Beat was shot downtown in the City and released in 2001 as Downtown 81. It wanders the streets and scene of New York with then 19 year old graffiti artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. It is a fascinating home movie in its realism, with a fictional plot and some fantastic characters, such as musician Debbie Harry as the fairy godmother. It's great picture of life in the time, maybe magnified only slightly. Basquiat was to pass of a drug overdose mixing heroin and cocaine only 7 years later. The film languished for 20 years until 2001 when the lost dialog was dubed and the film released. The film meditates on the freedom of the art subculture of that time and place, naively standing at the door of the Reagan-era Wall Street and art boom which would drive Basquiat's work into museums and prices into millions for paintings. Film at PSU's 5th Avenue Cinema 510 SW Hall Street
7:00PM, 9:30 Friday and Saturday 3PM Sunday Free PSU students, $2 for other students/seniors, $3 general and free popcorn

Friday, May 01, 2009

May 1-2 Portland Architecture and Modernism vs Postmodernism

A minor interest of mine is architecture and industrial design. One of the most known mid-century Portland architects is Peitro Bellushi. Beginning in the 1920's he designed sublime residences, the Art Museum, and the still up to date 1948 Equitable Building at 421 SW 6th.

The Equitable was the first with windows framed in aluminum, the first with double-glazed glass, the first to be completely sealed and is designated as a Mechanical Engineering Landmark for its pioneering use of heat pumps for heating and cooling.

In 1950 Bellushi became dean of architecture and planning at MIT.

Another infamous landmark in Portland is the Portland Building designed by architect and industrial designer Michael Graves, then a young professor at Princeton. The building is the result of a design competition which Graves won, twice. Widely lauded as an icon in postmodernist design, Graves tapped into a design and architecture movement in the 1960-70's breaking away from modernism and minimalism by sampling design elements across periods and mashing them up in often colorful ways. In addition to Graves, Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown and several architects well known today, such as Peter Eisenman, Gehry, Pelli, Koolhaas, Calatrava and Foster had postmodernist phases. Industrial designers influenced by the postmodernism include Ettore Sotsass and the Memphis movement. Some designers incorporated ideas from philosophy, including architect and academic Eisenman, who proposed "weak design", sampling obscure references widely in a way similar to the films of David Lynch.

In the case of the Portland Building, Graves design was widely criticized by fellow architects. I heard at the national architects conference at the time, many sported buttons stating "I don't dig Graves". The design competition was reopened, and Graves won again. His ornament disguises the squat proportions of the building and the small windows, allowing Graves to stay within budget, which the other designs could not. It's easy to see this if you take a look at the building in person. In an ironic twist of fate, Bellushi's design for the competition was not selected. Postmodernism triumphed over modernism. It lays the ground for today's evolved modernism which, in turn is evolving into interactive building, sheathed with LED and future technology screens.

Friday there is a talk by Dr Meredith Clausen from the University of Washington titled "Bellushi vs. Graves and the Postmodernist Breakthrough"

Then Saturday, all day, there is seminar - contact the museum for details.

Whitsell Auditorium, Portland Art Museum, 1219 SW Park 7PM-8 Friday

Free for Museum members or with Museum admission. Students and faculty of PSU, Lewis and Clark College, and Reed College free with ID. Tickets are available on a first-come, first-served basis at the Museum Box Office on the day of the lecture.

May 1 Eastside Art Openings

NAAU continues its Coture series with work by Stephen Slappe. For Shelter in Place, he has created a fictional narrative of cultural history from 1980's archives of the state of West Virginia. His teenage characters in a three channel video entwine personal fears with mediasphere plays on fears developed to boost ratings. Slappe has a history of sampling and repurposing, this show should be fascinating. At New American Art Union 922 SE Ankeny

Grier Edmundson shows paintings "Tomprrow You Will Not Recognize Us". Edmundson samples recent history drawing meaning into the current time period. At Fourteen30 Gallery 1430 SE 3rd 6PM-9 Free

Life+Limb shows illustrations by prolific artist, designer and multicrafter Jill Bliss. It's a perfect warming element to the Life+Limb clean designs and beautifully stark succulent plants. 1716 E. Burnside

William Haswell shows Pine Grove Days and is winner of the copywriting award for the month: "William Haswell paints and draws landscapes, occasional map likenesses, and architectural fantasies. Simple draughtsman's lines on paper grow into perspectival studies of hulking masses. Set in wintry mountains, space, and future cities, the work invokes a cold and harsh inter-dimensional narrative where seen and unseen forces are at play resonating out of large looming things, in the quiet solitude of the mountains where nobody sees." The work itself is brush and ink landscape, a sublime meditation on our Northwest. Opening music by Mike Elias and friends. Opening at NATIONALE 2730 E Burnside 6PM-9 Free

Beneath the Surface: Flora, Fantasy and Fable in Surface Design is an international show by artists curated by Pattern People who put artist patterns on things. It gets artist ideas out into the world of fabric, wallpaper and objects. At Nemo Design 1875 SE Belmont

Pushdot Studio has Ten Feet Tall, a group show by UofO BFA students Daniel Strong, Travis Bachmeier, Lindsay AuCoin, Mackenzie Schubert and Sarah Moore. At Pushdot Studio 1021 SE Caruthers

Newspace presents Portland artist Rosemary Hammer and Vancouver, B.C. artist Jeff Downer. Both specialize in urban and suburban landscapes. 1632 SE 10th

In the 811 E Burnside Block

J Otto Seibold is a neon colorist. He has some very cheerful pieces this month at the Grass Hut. Books too. At Grass Hut

Redux has illustrations by Adrienne Vita At Redux