Suyama Space

suyama space

I finally ventured upon the beautiful and elegantly restrained Suyama Space, which currently has an installation of Brian Murphy paintings up. Conveniently located next to everything else in Belltown. I’ll have to agree with the claim they have posted on their website, under curatorial information:

Extensive media coverage of programming has lauded Suyama Space as one of the Northwest pre-eminent contemporary art spaces.

suyama install



I saw a lot of art yesterday, but the show (mainly one person’s drawings) that just killed me, I happened upon them by sheer luck. On my way to finding Suyama Space in Belltown I passed by the James Crespinel Studio (no found website). I think they hold independently curated shows, thus the large span or art you can see on any given day.

It so happened I went through their doors in the last few hours of Lift, a show curated by Catherine Person. I fell immediately for a set of drawings by Teresa T. Schmidt, and just had to ask about them. As it turns out Schmidt heads up the drawing department at Kansas State University, and is a seasoned printmaker as well. With such beautiful integrity in her line work I wasn’t surprised by the Susan Rothenberg reference in her artist statement. I can’t help it I’m a die-hard lover of expression-isms.


Last chance for October shows

someone hanging out at Greg Kucera, possibly the gallery guy

Unbelievably I haven’t been around to the galleries this month, I say that mainly because there is some good stuff up at the moment. I am going to attempt to do some last minute gallery hopping today before I miss what I’ve read are decent shows (closing on Saturday). We’ll see how far I get but hoping to see Victoria Haven at Howard House, Brian Murphy who is at both Platform and Suyama Space, Darren Waterston at Greg Kucera and what ever else hits my path today.

Next week I am excited there are some good shows going up in turn. Of course Scott Mansfield at Gallery 110, but we also have Robert Yoder’s new show Reason opening the same night November 4th (First Thursday) at Howard House, Ed Musante at Francine Seders (opening November 7th), and open studios at the Canal Building Studios on Fremont’s First Friday. Additionally The Henry and Western Bridge are on consecutive evenings opening their WOW (Work of the Work) exhibits featuring contemporary artists
(Olafur Eliasson, Kimsooja, Catherine Yass, Anne Appleby, Gary Hill, and Steve McQueen which of course I just cribbed in its entirety from their site).

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Here is a weird story that was on the 10:00 evening news last night. MOHAI, our Museum of History and Industry became part of a weird car jacking plot yesterday and had to go into lock down mode. A little too much excitement probably for the museum staff.

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Matthew Kangas files a report on the not so Northwest Annual today, voicing his sentiments about only 7 Northwest artists being chosen for the show:

Although the survey is not without its merits, the shift represents a historic loss for local and regional artists of significant dimension. Now the Tacoma Art Museum biennial is the only important competitive show for local artists.

For statistics sake 8 artists in the show are from New York, which Kangas states are “no better or worse than the others”. I’ve been meaning to see the show for my own opinion, however with CoCA going international with their annual, maybe someone else in town should take over what, for better or worse has been has been a long running tradition.

P.S. Here is Eva’s site who tipped me off to the Haze situation. Her Portland gallery is closing too.



Some kind person, a couple of days ago left comments regarding the new and updated Haze Gallery website. Talk about full service site, I am disappointed I wasn’t able to catch the Chandra Bocci show.

My friend Scott last night asked me, “why so many trips to Portland- you’re moving there aren’t you”.

No, no, no, I love my lovely broken and battered Seattle too much. However, I am immensely enjoying having a crush on Portland at the moment. For about a months time when I was throwing the dart in the air of where to move to after New York, I was convinced Portland would be my new home even though I didn’t know a single soul there. However Seattle won out and I am glad to be back. I do have a lot more to say about Portland- at the moment figuring out what is going on down there is like a treasure hunt, lots of good stuff. For instance, on the Haze site look down a few entries and check out Bruck Conkle. And Bruce Conkle here. And please read this hilarious interview between Conkle and Portland’s own Jeff Jahn.

Speaking of my friend Scott, he is in the midst of pre-show chaos as the moment, getting ready for an exhibit at Gallery 110 next week, where he will display his lovely sculpture.

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May I direct your eyes to an exquisite update from Yvette today over at Kneetoe.

Tacoma art beat


The Tacoma Arts Commission is gearing up for what the city declares every November as ‘Tacoma Artists’ Month”; this will be their third year. No solid information yet, but I do remember from last year they had all kinds of events, open studios and special exhibits dedicated to promoting the arts in their town.

Currently Tacoma Contemporary (TACO) has an open call to artists interested in window installations.

Victoria Adams, a painter who shows in Seattle’s Winston Wachter gallery gets some coverage in the Tacoma News Tribune for her olfactory senses and apparent addiction to turpentine and linseed oil.

When Adams was young, a neighbor gave her his leftover paint-by-number pots, which she stored in a shoe box. She’d crack open the pots one by one, sniffing the exotic stuff.

Ventilation systems be damned!

(I always thought the smell of coffee and turpentine was far superior to Chanel #5 myself.)

Blog of a Tacoma poet who visits art museums.

Of course Tacoma Art Museum has The Hudson River School: Masterworks from the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art up right now as well.

Here is something to explore, Tacoma has a variety of art venues – yet I’m having a tough time finding websites for some of them though.

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Looks like Microsoft’s art curator Michael Klein is giving up his curatorial position and moving back East.

Here is a short profile from last spring calculating Klein’s influence on the corporate collection.

More PDX,


Motel Gallery in Portland has a new website- looks great and showcases their artists nicely.

I had a chance to see their gallery first hand this weekend, took another short run down to Portland. Motel is very smart, one room is a gallery, another is their retail section with objects made by a lot of the artist they show. Sweet items but not teeth rotting cute stuff, the show up right now is charming.

I also had a chance to poke my head into a few other galleries with out pushing my luck too much (I was traveling with a short-attention-span sidekick). The favorite visit of the day was to PDX, to see Marie Watt’s Blanket Stories. What you don’t see on the website are her bronze (I’m assuming) cast works, which are most impressive. She was in the gallery when we were there touching up the large one. I enjoyed the color work in her “drawings” as well.
Also stopped into Pulliam Deffenbaugh which had a watercolor show up and then drove out to Savage Art Resources to see their group show The Bambi Effect. They have a Carlee Fernandez piece in the show: (Rabbit With Tangerines). She was just exhibiting up in Seattle just last month, I laughed thinking she must have an animal piece in every port up and down the west coast. There were other nature themed pieces in the gallery as well, thus the theme.
Lastly we tried to locate the highly recommended Haze Gallery to no luck, my sense of direction and a poor map did not help. Their website is down as well, so I’ll just have to imagine we missed a good show.

So now I’ve made the rounds somewhat of Portland twice in one month, and haven’t been out in Seattle at all. Portland is fun to visit. There is definitely a vibe there, a mixture of thrift store culture and enthusiasm that used to exist in Seattle, which is now gone. People keep saying Portland is like Seattle was ten years ago. Not exactly true but I can see where the sentiment comes from. I find it more like a bizarre twin city that I never quite knew with similar qualities (similar weather!) that has grown into its own being.

Good food to be had there as well, and a nice scenic drive.



Congratulations to Artdish – Seattle’s only full and comprehensive site dedicated to the visual arts; they have been awarded a nod for being one of Puget Sounds most influential people (by Seattle Magazine).

Here is what it says:

For those who whine about the lack of arts coverage in the city, there’s Artdish. In fact, the Web mag recently ran a blog-stirring essay A Stranger No More: The Rise of Emily Hall and Decline of Seattle Weekly’s Arts Coverage on the very subject. Publisher, editor and all-hours writer Jim Demetre and Web developer Eric Gould took over the six-year-old site from founder Victoria Josslin this spring. They have plans to launch a print version one day but meanwhile have added a smart blog to the lineup of art news and essays.

It’s true, and I say this in a week when Seattle’s Visual arts coverage seems particularly lackluster, I am thankful for the continuation of Artdish’s presence, and a veritable history of what I missed in the previous 6 years of Seattle’s art world can be found in their archives.

The biggest hand clap for the visual arts went to Seattle art collectors Bill and Ruth True, who recently opened Western Bridge Gallery and I have already gone on and on about.

Actually, I give an inch about the lackluster comment, the Seattle Times has just filed a review of Brian Murphy, whose shows I’ve yet to visit. Still, it has been a slow news week.

Keeping up with Vroom Journal too, our other faithful Seattle Visual Arts chronicler, files a report on the announcement of Artist Trust Fellowship Awards – and a review of the Spain show at Seattle Art Museum that almost makes me want to see it. I say that because their last idea of a blockbuster didn’t sit well with myself after paying $15.00 to be claustrophobic, but then again sad to say it isn’t often we have a Goya come to town.


mark dixon

I love Mark Dixon’s painting blog- to leave a mark.

It is similar to more of the intent I myself had for a blog when I started this.

I too this week have been thinking about what the discussion Rachel started on her site a week ago about artist blogs, why, who and what we put into them. I especially have been chewing on what Marja-Leena said:

Is blogging still such a new phenomenon for visual artists, and why? There are quite a few blogs about art shows and art criticism, and numerous literary blogs.

Coupled with this, I have been reading Anne Truitt’s Prospect this week on my lunch hour. This is like a blog in chapbook form, I have been really enjoying her wisdom (the book is written at the age of 70 and in hindsight of a retrospective). I have to think, not that many artists have published books about their lives either.

So I’m giving myself the Pepsi Painting Challenge by adding a sidecar to this site for work. It is true, writing about art (I think I’ve made this analogy before) is like laying your poker hand right out on the table. I’ll have to agree with Anna when she said:
I have a weird, irrational fear of losing the “juice” by talking about it too much before I’ve actually made significant progress on the project.

We’ll see where it takes me.

Ronald Ophuis

ronald ophuis

SudsandSoda (Hinke, artist based in Amsterdam) has some powerful installation shots up on her site of the paintings of Ronald Ophuis.
More as well from De Praktijk, where they are currently installed. I can only imagine these kinds of images carry more weight in Holland than they would in the United States; an evening of sitting in an Amsterdam pub and listening to a Dutch man go on and on about how their bicycles were stolen during the war quickly flashes into my mind.

More on Ronald Ophuis, including an article on his Five paintings About Violence. These figurative paintings are reminiscent of early works by Canadian painter Attila Richard Lukacs’ in both their manner and subject.

Stranger Genius Awards

Portland rates a photo spread of their recent Jupiter Hotel Art Fair….in artnet.

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In a generous effort to encourage the arts in Seattle, The Stranger (one of our newspaper weeklies) has decided to annually pick 5 winners from a cross section of categories (theater, visual arts, writing, filmaking and an arts organization) and award the lucky souls a cash award of no-strings attached $5000.

So for the second year in a row, The Stranger publishes its Genius Awards issue, featuring a profile on each of their five winners from 2004. This year’s Visual Arts winner, which I’ve already gabbed about, is Victoria Haven- you can find a nice profile on her here.

They also run a list of 3 to keep your eyes on in each category- this year’s V.A. picks are Tim RodaElizabeth Jameson (one of my favorites) and Brian Murphy who is kind of the man about town this week with two exhibits up.

Last year’s winner Visual Arts winner was Susan Robb, who the Stranger reports is preparing for an upcoming exhibit in 2005.

Miscellaneous Papers

Interesting article in the NYT today about a Rothko manuscript his son Christopher Rothko has been wrestling with:

“It was sloppily typed, with numerous hand-marked additions and deletions – and more numerous typos – and it betrayed no obvious order or narrative direction,” Christopher Rothko writes in the introduction. “If there was something of interest – and at first glance there really wasn’t – to make something of it truly would have been a nuisance.”

Out of the jumble though is the soon to be published though is the book The Artist’s Reality: Philosophies of Art, accordingly the only book Mark Rothko ever wrote, featuring his thoughts on an artists place in the world of art history.

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I have to mention, as a tie in, Rothko has been on my mind as well. I recently featured Rothko as a pun in a recent work, one from a new series of drawings recently completed.

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Rubbing my eyes and choking on my first sip of coffee this morning I realized visitors from NYFA making their way to to this website. Thanks indeed to a great article by Tyler on the subject of art weblogs, and honored to be noted in the piece.


“Listening to Clement Greenberg—for a while”

The Seattle Weekly runs a profile in this week’s edition on the Wright Collection, Seattle’s most influential collectors of art. The current exhibit up at their public Wright Exhibition Space is titled: “Color Field and Related Abstractions”, featuring many of their Greenbergian influenced pieces. Virginia Wright states they stopped taking Clement Greenberg’s advice though when he failed to embrace the likes of Pop art. She is also realistic on her collections place in time:

Virginia Wright readily acknowledges that they aren’t on the cutting edge anymore. They’ve never been particularly interested in conceptual or video art, for instance. “I think it’s partly generational,” she said. “People tend to be engaged in the art and culture of their own generation.” Wright indicated that she and her husband (who are now in their 70s and 80s, respectively) will continue to slow the pace of their acquisitions and enjoy what they have. “Besides,” she said, “I’m running out of space.”

One small piece of misinformation in the article, unless they rolled back their hours, they are open on Thursday AND Friday afternoons. I’ll have to find out about that.

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For aspiring Art Collectors in training, Microsoft is holding an upcoming panel discussion on that topic. Strangely, they never update their not-so-great-in-the-first-place website dedicated to their art collection, but here is the distribution list information:

This program is FREE; No registration required for members of the community.

Collecting Ceramics Today

Please join us for an exclusive opportunity to hear a panel of notable and distinguished visual artists discussing collecting, selling, making, and buying contemporary ceramics today. A reception will take place before and after the program.

Laura Matzer, Art Program Education and Outreach Manager, Microsoft Art Collection

Gene Brandzel, Collector, Seattle, WA
Frank Lloyd, Director and Owner, Frank Lloyd Gallery, Santa Monica, CA
Annabeth Rosen, Artist and Robert Arneson Endowed Chair, UC Davis, Davis, CA
Katherine Watkins, Vice President, Decorative Arts, Sotheby’s Beverly Hills, CA
Akio Takamori, Ceramic Artist and Professor, School of Art, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

This program is FREE to Microsoft employees, their guests, and the general public. (editorial note, exactly what does that mean?) Seating is first come, first served.

(PS No, I don’t work for Microsoft!)

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Footnote– oddly, the Pacific Northwest has become a depository for Greenberg Collections, Portland also boasts a large holding.

Heavy D

Goodbye to Derrida. It was thanks to Vroom Journal’s entry on the death of Jacques Derrida that informed me that the French deconstructionist had passed away this weekend. Years ago, a painting professor I took courses with had glommed onto the Deconstruction theories so hard, I have forever since footnoted it in my mind as “the D word”. These ideas about painting and “D” eventually saw there way into print– in books such as Changing Images of Pictorial Space: A History of Spatial Illusion in Painting. I was never a big proponent of Deconstruction, but the paintings I am working on right now are related to this said professor, so it has been strangely on my mind lately.

Be sure to give a moment to the new Artdish article on Elizabeth Brown’s curation of the new show opening in November at the Henry Art Gallery.

How about that. ..

Enjoying deeply In Search of the Miraculous’ thoughts on the uber-productive over extended art world. Perhaps what is really in order though, a behind the scenes expose on the studio assistant. I am not sure how realistic it is to expect these folks to be really stretching, preening, pulling and gathering large bushels of work with out the help of those poorly paid and the really over extended studio assistants. Although it appears some folks don’t seem to have it so bad.

I bring this up because as I was reading my newly delivered W magazine this weekend (the one I have previously bitched about ungraciously only to find my poor sister had gone to the trouble…) albeit the thoroughly heinous but strangely compelling October issue of W magazine, which we find is dedicated to ART (their words, not mine) . Our first article we come across is a beefy full pager on the well established, albeit 25 year old Max Eisenstein. Max is packing up his studio in Soho as he has his first show in Los Angeles this month at Kantor Gallery in L.A.

a little ditty about chuck and diane

His main gripe after a two-year stint as both Chuck Close and Cecily Brown’s studio assist is he has to leave town to claim his own identity:

He is moving to Los Angeles just in time for his solo debut. The logic behind his unconventional westward migration: ” A lot of people in New York know me through Chuck or Cecily, so I have to do all I can to not ride that into a career,” he says. Nobody from New York goes to L.A. to paint, so I figure I’ll go there and get famous. – page 92.


Yet still I don’t quite know what to make of this rag. If you emptied it out of all the Armani and Guess ads (parked next to the Marc Jacobs ads starring John Currin’s wife, utterly a coincidence I am sure) you would have this weird mix of trust fund kids going shopping coupled with this stuff that almost but not quite could make it into one of the art mags. Maybe a little too gossipy and weird to be seen in a mainstream art magazine- for instance Virgil Marti’s ad campaign for Ellen Tracy (sorry I couldn’t find a link for that).

Also in this issue:

Inteview with gallerist Shaun Caley Regen of L.A.’s Regan Projects. (one for L.A.!) Pg. 244.

Profile of Greek art collector (he’s Greek, not the art) Dakis Joannou, with his Koons, Cady Nolans, Matthew Barneys and more Koons. Pg. 364.

Portfolio of 10 portraits, commissioned by W magazine by Alex Katz. Includes a timely Cup Cake free Martha Stewart portrait.Read about it here in Pg.332.

“The Life of Riley: Curator, architect and arbiter of taste, Terence Riley of MoMA’s man on the move”. Pg. 234. God, this is better than In Touch magazine!

And last but not least, profile of Rosita Marlborough – who is an Artist First- Dutchess Second (pg. 274) .

Well, that’s enough to fill a day with important information.

Anyway, back to those studio assistants. If anyone has any compelling evidence to spill on the life of the lowly studio assist- we’re all ears.

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A big special thanks to Todd Gibson for telling us all about the results of his survey, and extra, extra big thanks to everyone who took the time to take it.

Friday blip

Artnet led off yesterday with a hat tip to the Beautiful Losers show which comes down soon in San Francisco. I finally looked at the catalogue for this show yesterday in a bookstore as YBCA didn’t have them out when I was visiting. If it wasn’t such a chunk of change I would want one for myself. It does a good job of capturing a nice fragment of what the show is all about. I was thinking, if I saw this show ten years ago, I would have gone ape-ship and thought this was it, but the good news is there was still enough meaty stuff in it to really sink your teeth into, even if you are getting jaded and kind of sick of youth culture.

Anyway, circling around California I notice the mysterious Fools Foundation has finally mounted a show. I ‘ll have to find out what that is about. I have no idea why I have become obsessed with finding what this place is all about.

One last tidbit about Northern California- as airport art seems to be getting noted this week, Sacramento International Airport put more than $1.4 million in public art into their new terminal. There is one piece I particularly liked by Brian Goggin, called Samson– a construction of over 700 pieces of lost luggage. This might be old news- the installation went up in 1999, but I had never seen it before. There are more sculptural projects to be seen at his website.

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Meanwhile, back at the ranch here, I forgot it was First Thursday last night. I am not sure what that means much any more though as a lot of galleries are running openings now independently of the night. I haven’t been to the galleries for a bit.

Interesting aside, now that Mount St. Helen’s is making a ruckus again, we seem to have a sudden recognition of Mountain shows around town.
Also, you have one more week to catch the Possessed show at Western Bridge and then they are shutting down for about a month before opening up again for a show in conjunction with the Henry Gallery called WOW (The Work of the Work).

Malia Jensen

I have had thoughts and images drift in and out of my consciousness this week from my recent trip south. One artist I keep thinking about, her work really struck a note with me, is sculptor Malia Jensen. I saw her speak at the panel discussion Having Words Saturday evening. Actually, I am very interested in seeing everyone’s work that was on the panel, a curious backwards way to get to know an artist work: hear about it and then try to track it down.
Jenson is a narrative sculptor who uses animal imagery to convey topics of dignity, fragility, and human grace—and most importantly a sense of humor. I gather she started out as a painter but now works in casting and constructing her imagery. I hope I get a chance to see her work in the upcoming future.

More links about her work:

At Fort Barry Project Space.

review of her N ot there show at PDX gallery in Portland.

slips (public work)

slippery (scroll down)

Report from Portland

I went down to Portland this weekend to check out their first annual art fair: Affair and to see what goes on in a city who is claiming a robust art scene.

Affair was held in the old but newly converted Jupiter Hotel, one of those 1960’s groovy numbers that seemed appropriate for such an event. Each gallery or project represented received their own hotel room to do with whatever they wanted; most represented a collection of their inventory salon style, spread amongst the small room and bathroom. Each room looked out into the courtyard where would be patrons and visitors lounged.

When I got there Saturday afternoon, the place was packed and buzzing. It was another one of those strangely hot days for October and people were enjoying the sun, music was piped into the courtyard, giving a festive edge to the day. The true downside unfortunately to an event like this is it can be really hard see any art (small and packed spaces), but in reality that is not the main point, I think people were excited more about the exchange of information and that such a large turn out had occurred. There was a nice mix of galleries from all over- New York, Austin, Chicago, Los Angeles and regional.
Seattle had two galleries represented, James Harris- who had Keith Tilford’s drawings covering the walls and looked strangely better in the small space than when they were shown in their gallery. Platform Gallery was also there. They had the first space designated after the admission booth, which created such a mob scene I could barely look in. I couldn’t get into the Indie Press room either which was housing the likes of Bomb and Clear Cut Press.

As far as Portland galleries go, I am going to have to return and visit their actual spaces to get a better idea of what they show. Motel gallery definitely wins my vote for cutest room; they offer a lot of kitschy objects d’art. I actually scoped out their space after leaving the fair, but they had closed of course because of the fair. The other Portland spaces that perked my interest were SavagePDX and Pulliam Deffenbaugh.

Here is an interview from the Portland Mercury with the organizer of the event.

“The world may not need another art fair,” he says with a wry smile, “but Portland does. That’s what this is all about.”

I capped the day off by attending the artist panel discussion Having Words. This was an interesting and much more telling event as far as gauging the local scene. Six very articulate artists from Portland participated in an exchange amongst themselves about their work. As they spoke, images of their art were projected behind them. I have to give them credit; I find verbally speaking about my work one of the hardest things to do. A large number of people, I would estimate probably fellow artists came as the support audience. There definitely is a sense of enthusiasm being generated amongst these folks and I definitely was impressed by the quality of work, with a good cross representation of painting, sculpting, video etc shown. In hindsight I wished I had learned more about the climate of actually working in Portland, and I was curious about the coming or going of at least two of the artists to Brooklyn.

Anyway, that was my impulse trip. One omission, I hadn’t been to Portland for almost 14 years (my last visit was to see Sonic Youth and Nirvana play at some club called the Satyricon, and I don’t think that really counts), so I truly was visiting with no preconceived expectations. So after visiting San Francisco a few weeks ago and now Portland, I am traveled out. Pretty much all I want to do now is hole up in the studio for the next three months.

(however more photos and embellishments tomorrow)

Seattle Artists and one for MAN

Undoubtedly Seattle artist Victoria Haven is having a good week. As mentioned previously, she just won Seattle’s Betty Bowen award, the Stranger’s Genius Award and now has a solo show currently running at Howard House. PI critic Regina Hacket gives an overview today of how a few years ago Haven decided to leave Seattle, attend school in London at Goldsmiths College and basically change her life. Now she is back in Seattle and by all accounts doing okay.


Painter Jaq Chartier who shows with local gallery Platform is reviewed on artnet this week (See Stephen Maine’s Dateline Brooklyn). Chartier currently has a solo show up in New York at Schroeder Romero gallery in Williamsburg.

“The artist, a paint tester for Golden Artist Colors, fruitfully brings her day job home with her. Hazy circles of saturated hues, arranged in loose grids or in roughly parallel streaks across fields of milky white, look at first like sparse abstractions by some kind of Arte Povera-influenced Zen master, but as the show’s title suggests, an empirical method is in full effect.”

Her color experiments are reminiscent of Polly Apfelbaum’s velvet dyes. Chartier had one of the few paintings that caught my eye recently at a Tacoma Art Museum’s group exhibit.


From the art-blog-world: From the Floor’s Todd Gibson has been kicking up a lot of great words on his blog lately and I am late in reporting he crafted a survey for all us folks out there who read art blogs. Undoubtedly if you are here you have already heard about it, but if not, give it a whirl here. It is truly painless.

Todd also spilled the beans about Tyler Green over at MAN being humble in his lack of mention about being new art critic for Bloomberg News, undoubtedly more to come on that order. Anyway, Tyler undoubtedly is one of the most dedicated folks out there at the keyboard and deserves a hearty round of applause.


I have to slip in one last plug for Portland’s Having Words symposium and subsequent art fair: AFFAIR. Got it.