Wednesday, May 06, 2015

May 6 Direct Route By Past

Once upon a time, the Portland Art Museum awoke from a traditionalist art and meandering regionalism dream and created a contemporary art program. After a few successful years of the program, the Museum hired a new director who focused on impressionism, blockbuster pop shows and alienating progressive board members. So the contemporary art staff quit, going to SFMOMA and starting PICA.

PICA took a radical approach for the time, not taking government money. It was an insight, as the culture wars by conservative politicians soon dismantled peer-reviewed curation of adventurous contemporary art at the National Endowment of the Arts. In a common tactic, funding was reduced and shifted to block grants to the states.

PICA was supported by creative technologists, creative agencies and creative individuals. It was a gathering place. Unfortunatley it is not today what it was. But they do throw a good party later in the month.

Tonight the original founder of PICA, Christy Edmunds, now performance curator at UCLA speaks. She is joined by some early PICA players, Kristan Kennedy and Topher Sinkinson. Kennedy is PICA's current visual arts curator.

The event accompanies a show at the gallery by artists PICA showed in the day.

At Elizabeth Leach Gallery 417 NW 9th Map 5PM Free

Pam Minty speaks about her video work Direct Route tonight. Minty is known for her landscape documentary about the little-populated lower right hand quarter of Oregon. With Direct Route, she adds more characters and narrative: "Direct Route observes a blind woman navigating her domestic surroundings, alongside landscapes and recollections prior to losing her vision. Through conversations and word puzzles with her daughter, a story emerges about the relationship between memory, sense of direction, and the texture of experience".

The 45 minute work runs in the AB Lobby Gallery for the next 2 weeks. There will be a reception for the work there, Thursday from 4PM-7

Talk in the Shattuck Hall Annex, 1914 SW Park Avenue, at the corner of SW Broadway and Hall on the PSU campus. 7PM Free