Wake Up Seattle?


Oh no, local critic Regina Hackett publishes an article in this morning’s Seattle P.I. announcing that Portland is gaining on Seattle’s art world. This feeds right into the mouth of Portland’s avid art scene supporters, most notably curator/writer/artist Jeff Jahn. Touting Portland as gaining on Seattle in the sense of the art scene of course is a not news and laughable to anyone down there. Unfortunately she is right on the money in what she is stating- yesPortland has a new museum, yes Seattle drags behind in garnering enthusiasm, and of course the worst offence- Seattle blew it in city development. I live and work by the U-District and find this paragraph completely true:

Portland has a nice street of small businesses and shops along Southeast Belmont, bustling without being San Francisco-style boutique. The University District or Capitol Hill each might have had a Belmont if Seattle encouraged innovative urban planning and enlightened landlords.
What do we have instead along the Ave and Broadway? Big chains and panhandlers.

After a line-by-line comparison of PAM (Portland Art Museum) vs SAM (Seattle Art Museum), Regina concludes Seattle should stop looking down on its neighbor and hook up and include Vancouver into the mix. Yet, again, and I will include myself here- instead of laundry lists of failures, I’d love to hear/find a solution to this problem. Indeed, well grounded coverage of the Pacific Northwest would be great- so who wants to pay for the gas money?

On a more is more note, tonight at 5:00pm (PST) on Eva Lake interview’s Jeff Jahn on her Artstar Radio show, broadcast and archived for your listening pleasure out here. Tune in and get an earful of what Jeff has to say about Portland and the art world in general. I’ve been following the machinations of Mr. Jahn for a year now and while of course I can’t concur with everything he says, I was pretty impressed by his recently curated Fresh Trouble show and endless enthusiasm for what is going on down there.

Here is Eva’s blurb on what you might here tonight:

I will have Jeff Jahn on the radio. While he just curated two shows in town (Fresh Trouble and Inertia at Gallery 500), I plan on focusing a bit (if he’ll let me!) on the big picture. I’d like to talk about how his whole scheme as a curator has changed and grown since he’s lived here, what evolutions he’s witnessed amongst the artists and the town in a general sense and where is it all going. Knowing Jeff, the ultimate optimist, it’s all going to some good, grand, overwhelmingly better-than-New York place.I can’t say I agree, thought God knows it’s not like Chelsea is some joy ride.

Tune in….or save it for Sh!tstorm next week.



What can I say, the Affair at the Jupiter was once again a blast. We got a nice 24 hour immersion of all things art including going to some of the galleries around Portland and especially viewing Jeff Jahn’sFresh Trouble, which if you are still in the vicinity, I would highly recommend (it’s up for another weekend).

The Affair this year attracted more gallery participation from outlying areas and I was especially surprised by the amount of galleries from San Francisco. Perhaps the best part of the whole event was not one specific gallery or artist but the fact that the event was being held in an old school hotel, meaning each gallery was given the challenge of showing work in a postage stamp size space. This meant lots and lots of small works, especially drawings, which was a real treat to see. My personal favorite design challenge was to see how people dealt with the bathroom. The savviest spaces utilized the commode to their advantage, some even mounting artwork on the mirror. The worst were those who probably had no idea what they were getting into and used the tiny ship size room as an afterthought or even worse- unorganized storage area! The artist preview on Friday night was a hilarious event that most of the galleries ended up closing down their spaces for fear of keg cups being lodged on art.

Before hitting the Jupiter on Friday night we took a taxi over to Fresh Trouble, a huge sprawling but well utilized warehouse show. Where the Jupiter worked best emphasizing work on a small scale, the advantage of Fresh Trouble is its hugeness of scale and ability to house work of jumbo proportions. Walking through the door you grab a map and then amble on – the entire project (including thoughts of who got to install it) was impressive.

Saturday after giving the Jupiter our undivided attention saw us hitting some of the gallery spaces downtown. We were lucky in locating new space Gallery Homeland by the waterfront (620 SE 3rd Ave) and speaking to Co Director Paul Middendorf. I forgot to ask Middendorf about looking at the flatfiles they have gathered; being a flatfile fan and wishing more spaces utilized such an item (again, favoring more small work). Keep your eye on Homeland, it sounds like they have lots of exciting ideas in store.

Outside of Homeland, hitting the downtown galleries was anti-climatic after all the compressed energy of what was happing over at theJupiter. It was nice to see the large new immense space of PDX but I think most of the spaces put their effort elsewhere for the weekend.

Another exception though, as a bonus, we stopped by Froelick Gallery to see Robert Yoder’s new show which looks great. Also in the same area on Friday afternoon, after getting into town and being completely soaked in a rain storm we stopped by to say hi to Eva Lakeat Chambers Gallery. This was a beauty of a show with a rarity for the weekend- two painters. Always good to chat with Eva and it was wonderful to see the new space.

We started and ended our journey at Veganopolis. Good food, but better art at V-Gun gallery with the Bruce Conkle/Marne Lucascurated Trippin’ Balls: A Mycological Exploration with all its mushroomy goodness in full bloom.

After sitting out an insane hail storm and noting how schizophrenic the weather had been the entire visit, we hit the road again.

It appears there is no shortage of coverage of the Jupiter this year! That’s a good thing as after my own camera for documentation purposes pooped out (Yvette and I realized it was time to go home when both our camera batteries had bit it).

From what I hear, most art fairs don’t bring to mind a completely great time. I think other art fair organizers should look to the intimate scale and unpretentiousness that the Affair offers and take a note or two.

Check out more Jupiter:

 non-stop coverage, especially Isaac Peterson’s Affair Photoblog.
Eva documented some of the gallerists.
Portland Mercury’s preview.
Portland Tribune.

The Oregonian covers Fresh Trouble.

Trippin’ Balls : A Mycological Exploration

Tonight, I’m proud to be part of a new show at the outstanding gallery space in Portland known as V-Gun. The exhibit called Trippin’ Balls : A Mycological Exploration was curated by the illustrious Bruce Conkle and Marne Lucas. Just in time for the fall mushroom hunting season.

The reception is from 5-7pm.


I’m looking forward to seeing the show when I come down later this month.

D . C . @ S . P

D . C . @ S . P


— notebook @ 7:04 ammaking bacon

Jennifer McMackon, who runs the lovely and thought provoking simpleposie site has been generous enough to let me put in a special guest appearance today by means of a Pop Quiz for Painters. Thank you Jennifer!

And I’m hitting the road today, venturing south to witness Portland’s First Thursday gallery crawl with my own eyes and to attend the opening of Chroma at Gallery 500. The show, being put on by Telegraph Arts includes a showcase of 6 simultaneous film, live dance, and live music performances. There is also a visual art component including artists: Michael Knutson, Jacqueline Ehlis (whose work I have been dying to see for a long time), Albi Spring, Tom Cramer, Tara Jane O’Neil, Molly Vidor, Tarina Westlund, Gretchen Gamble, Christine Morlock Vogt, Julie Clainos and I am thrilled to tell you I have a piece included too.

More importantly I will be finally meeting some of the fine Portland folks like Eva Lake who has been sending up an nice long olive branch from PDX, as well as organizer and man about townJeff Jahn.

To prep myself I am catching up with the latest issues of PAN and Critical i . More about my thermos of coffee and $1.99 road trip soon.

Roger Feldman at Suyama Space

At the end of the month, Suyama Space, the beautiful exhibition space in Belltown will present a new installation by local artist Roger Feldman. The title of the exhibit is ROCK, here is their mini blurb:

The contemporary alternative gallery of Suyama Space, located at 2324 2nd Avenue in Seattle presents sculptor Roger Feldman in a site-specific installation entitled ROCK. The exhibition is open to the public January 31 – April 22, 2005. The Seattle artist will present an installation lecture at the gallery on Saturday, January 29 at 12 noon. Gallery hours are Monday – Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and admission is free to the public.

Feldman is described as being an architectural- constructivist sculptor, and with the creation of three separate structures going into Suyama, should be an interesting use of their cavernous exhibition room.

More on Feldman’s sculptures here.


The Grass is Always Greener syndrome:

I am very appreciative to be noted in Portland Art News latest installment, however I must note I am on the other side of the fence and currently feel it is Portland who has superior art offerings, or at least superior art enthusiam being generated from the local bunch. Just this morning in my inbox an email from Red76 Arts Group down in Portland regarding a Laundry Lecture they are holding tomorrow evening:

Laundry Lectures w/N.I.N.E
@ F & I U Wash
Wednesday, January19 6pm
28th st. (btw. E. Burnside and S.E. Ankeny)

Here is their back ground:

In the Fall of 2003 Sam and Laura were sitting in the Polish Laundromat (Laundry/Prania) around the corner from the then Red76 headquarters in Chicago, IL. They got to thinking about places you wait in. Places wherein their function is mainly sitting around for something to happen. From this the Laundry Lecture Series was initiated.

Why not set up a series of talks in your local Laundromat? Why even ask the owners? We didn’t. As long as you are a paying customer what’s to stop you from gathering you and your friends to talk about whatever you’d like, as the socks get lost, and your favorite pink t-shirt gets frayed one more time in the dryer? Nothing, we say. Go ahead, get your friends together, feel free to be open and honest wherever you are. Speak your mind. Share your thoughts: in Laundromats, on checkout lines, and so many other wonderful shared-use venues all over the world.

Please bring your laundry along to wash at all lectures in this series. Not only will you leave with a fresh perspective on the world, but a fresh perspective on your wardrobe as well.

at any rate, interesting stuff is definitely going on in both back yards. Please note the mention of the lovely Eva Lake on PAN’s list and rounded out by Jeff Jahn. I personally think the mere existence of PAN presents a strong case for its self as superior, by the fact alone there is enough material down in Portland’s art world to find satire in.

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.

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.

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.

“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.

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)

Having Words in Portland


Jeff Jahn– referee

Having Words. In conjuction with the Portland art fair (Affair) that is occuring this weekend six artists go to bat for the discussion of art.

And more words…tune in tonight-

Aaron Brown is Going West this week, that means he’s in Portland tonight. Silly me didn’t know he was broadcasting from Seattle last night.

Will he or will he not report on the Portland Art Scene this evening? At this point, it is looking good.

Stay Tuned.

[and indeed PDX galleries got their spotlight. News at 11]

The beauty of slides and Magdalena Abakanowicz

more slides

More on the slide vs. digital debate from this mornings PI pickup from the NYT (link deceased):

As anyone who has taken art history knows, slides are central to the instruction. But assembling 50 or 100 slides for a single class can take hours. What’s more, slides are a waning technology. For example, the Eastman Kodak Co. stopped making slide projectors in June. And while other companies still make projectors, many colleges have begun inching toward digitization.

[Run to your local Salvation Army now to save those archaic objects of days gone by- slide projectors.]

The feature goes on to entail how ARTstor has stepped up to the plate (or digital projector) by creating an online library of digital art. Still lacking in its collection are modern art due to negotiations with folks representing contemporary artists.

This fact though I could not confirm myself. When I went to search their archives a message was fed back to me stating,”Your IP address indicates that you are not coming from an authorized institution that has a subscription arrangement with ARTstor. ” True, I don’t even consider myself an unauthorized institution, so I will have to take their word on it. A world with out upside down slide presentation glitches will be a strange world indeed.

This topic reminds me of one of my most formative art school memories. During my first year as an art student I had the opportunity to travel with a bunch of my fellow students to the Portland Art Museum, to see a Magdalena Abakanowicz retrospective. The exhibit its self was stunning and it’s importance has remained imprinted on my memory.

That day as well, Magdalena was a the museum to lecture about her work. She commanded a strong dignified presence at the front of the room, wearing all black and speaking seriously of her work and her life. This was the first time I had seen a “real” artist and I was awestruck.

Clicking through slide by slide, she recounted her days in Poland and the progression of her work from her large fiber Abakans to the burlap cast installations such as Backs which we had all just seen looming throughout the exhibit.

Suddenly half way through the lecture the entire screen in front of our eyes turned blue and black, the image of melted film being projected in front of us. “What is going on here!??” she yelled out horrified, realizing her slides were suddenly turning to blobs of plastic as they burned in the projector. This moment is frozen in my memory of as hanging there for hours until somebody took command of the situation, as we all sat there dumbfounded. Of course the situation was rectified and the lecture continued, with no further drama. However this slide projector snafu has remained large in my mind, as has the image of her standing at the podium that day watching with alarm as her projected body of work disintegrated before our eyes.