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Rays of the Black Sun

Withering of Light Works in the Dark

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The Best and the Worst


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Here's Hyperallergic's Annual Roundup of the Most Powerless People in the Art World

Posted by Megan Burbank on Wed, Dec 24, 2014 at 12:14 PM

#ARTSELFIE game strong.
  • #ARTSELFIE game strong.

Every year, amid best-of-the-year and most-powerful lists, art blog Hyperallergic publishes my favorite art-nerd alternative: The 20 Most Powerless People in the Art World, an irreverent look at the unacknowledged cogs that make the world of art and art selling go 'round. Here are a few of the people the art world threw under the bus this year, leading, of course, with unpaid interns:

1 – Unpaid Interns: Yes, they’re still on this list, and they’ve even jumped 10 spots to take the lead. When respectable art publications, like the for-profit Artforum, have no problems blantantly advertising for unpaid internships, then we have a problem. Thankfully, the British Museum backtracked after it briefly advertised an unpaid position that sounded a lot like a real job. The awful stench of unpaid internships has contaminated every level of the art world, from for-profit galleries, art fairs, artist’s vanity projects, well-endowed nonprofit museums (like Crystal Bridges), and even nonprofit publications like Brooklyn Rail, which barely pays anyone, depending on an army of free talent. This has to stop.

7 — Artworks: This year, if people weren’t punching art, snapping fingers off ancient statues for selfies, breaking an Ai Weiwei vase, trying to upstage it (link NSFW), or ignoring the art while they use it as a prop (looking at you Beyoncé and Jay Z) then they were taking things called #artselfies.

12 – Vivian Maier: As people continue to fight over her legacy and the copyright of her artwork, it’s only natural that our thoughts turn to the artist herself: what did she want? Sadly, we’ll never know, but we can only hope that her legacy is safe.

20 – Female Artists: Did Art Basel Miami Beach depress the hell out of you because of the lack of art by women at the main fair? Yeah, us too.

Poor Vivian Maier! If Art Basel Miami Beach depressed the hell out of you too (solidarity!), you can read the whole thing here.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Today, in Art Mysteries: Who Put Up Those "Ca$h for Your Banksy" Signs?

Posted by Megan Burbank on Mon, Dec 22, 2014 at 1:14 PM

If you've taken the #14 bus over the past month, you may have seen this stencil:

  • Mad One

If you call the number, you'll be asked for your name, and directed to a Google Voice mailbox to leave a message. Who is behind this? The sign offers up no declaration of authorship. Could it be street artist/elusive personality Banksy him/herself? Another possible theory: The signs look a lot like the work of less elusive street artist Hargo (aka Geoff Hargadon), whose "Ca$h for Your Banksy" and "Ca$h for Your Warhol" signs play upon the recession standby "Ca$h for Your ________" while mocking the commercialization of art.

THE ORIGINAL: One of Geoff Hargadons signs.
  • Judith Charles Gallery
  • THE ORIGINAL: One of Geoff Hargadon's signs.

Hargo's worked with NYC's Judith Charles gallery, where one of his Banksy signs was spotted just last year. The signs around Portland are slightly different, and, notably, the phone number doesn't match. Hargo is based in Somerville, Massachusetts, and the area code for these new signs points to Los Angeles. It's also entirely possible we just have a Banksy and/or Hargo copy-cat in our midst.

Thanks to Blogtown tipper Mad One, who also took the above photo. More of his "Ca$h for Your Banksy" sightings after the jump.

Continue reading »

Friday, December 19, 2014

Comedy, Riot Grrrls, and Puppies: Here are the Projects Getting RACC Dollars for 2015

Posted by Megan Burbank on Fri, Dec 19, 2014 at 3:14 PM

RACCd: Allyson Mitchells work is featured in Alien She, coming to Portland in 2015!
  • Allyson Mitchell
  • RACC'd: Allyson Mitchell's work is featured in Alien She, coming to Portland in 2015!

It's arts grant season, which is like Christmas for people who make things, if you had to write out a very detailed plan of attack and list of necessary funding items in exchange for a present. Does that sound terrible? It is! Writing applications for grants is hard (and sometimes thankless) work, so it's always nice to see local artists and organizations doing good work get dollars to continue doing that work. Yesterday, the Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC) announced the recipients of a grand total of $693,959 in project funding. Here are some of the projects freshly funded by RACC that I'm most excited to see IRL in 2015:

Brenan Dwyer's Potty Talk Series 3: Potty Talk, Portland's premiere sketch comedy web series run by women, has made consistently hilarious shows over two seasons. For series three, Director/Creator Brenan Dwyer has some big plans for screening Potty Talk's sketches offline, including a public premiere at the Hollywood Theater.

Leni Zumas: Leni Zumas writes strange, beautiful, uncomfortably funny fiction, and I can't wait to read Red Clocks when she's done with it. Per her grant proposal description: "Red Clocks imagines an America where the Personhood Amendment has become federal law. Abortion is illegal and in‐ vitro fertilization treatment is so limited that most doctors refuse to perform it at all. A healer in rural Oregon is charged with the death of a woman who sought her help for infertility. She is accused not only of murder, but of witchcraft."

Tavern Books: They're getting funding for the Wrolstad Contemporary Poetry series, a new series to promote work by young women poets.

Nicole J. Georges: Nicole Georges' new book Fetch: How a Bad Dog Brought Me Home sounds great. Shockingly, it's about her dog: "She was never a good dog, but she was always the best dog... I rescued her from a Kansas pound when I was just 16 years old and described her to friends as the baby I would’ve otherwise had in high school. We raised each other. I became responsible, protecting and caring for an animal unfriendly to strangers and afraid of the world."

Justin Hocking: The Graywolf Press-published writer/former director of the Independent Publishing Resource Center has a new short-story collection coming out, The Book of Wisdom and Other Stories, "[exploring] the resonance between personal, interior crises and larger environmental crises."

Pacific Northwest College of Art's "Alien She," an exhibition of Riot Grrrl-related ephemera: The riotgrrrl show we've all been waiting for, "Alien She" will examine the history of Riot Grrrl in the Pacific Northwest—its ideology and its art—and will include work from Miranda July, Faythe Levine, Allyson Mitchell, and Stephanie Syjuco.

Grants also went to Ecotrust, Siren Nation, Kaj-anne Pepper, Coho Productions, Disability Art and Culture Project, Late Night Action with Alex Falcone, Hand2Mouth Theatre, Portland Experimental Theatre Ensemble, Portland Playhouse, and many more worthy community and individual arts projects. You can see the full list, plus project descriptions, here.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Lookbook Looky-Loo

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Thu, Dec 18, 2014 at 11:59 AM

Usually I only draw attention to lookbook showcasing the local talents of apparel or accessories designers, photographers, models, and stylists—and I'm about to do that behind the cut. But first, I have to show you this:

  • West End Select Shop

What are we looking at here? Well:

Loveleather, from New York, is a brand that has gained lots of momentum recently thanks to fans like Rihanna and Beyonce, for their unique take on leather clothing. Each piece is 100% lamb leather and [is] laser-cut to create a movable and soft "mesh" fabrication out of the leather. Recently the brand required the license to make authentic NBA apparel, thus the PORTLAND TRAIL BLAZERS Leather Tank was born!

It's now available at West End Select Shop, and why no it is not cheap. It's $525, which either sounds reasonable or absurd depending on where you shop, but not cheap. For some people, however, this is sort of necessary. If you are, or are in close relationship proximity to one of these individuals, I apologize in advance to your financial planner.

Click ahead for the locally designed...

Continue reading »


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Here Are Your 2014 PICA Precipice Fund Grant-Winning Artists

Posted by Megan Burbank on Tue, Dec 16, 2014 at 11:14 AM

Presentation for One Flaming Arrow, co-curated by Demian Diné Yazhi’, Kaila Farrell-Smith, Carlee Smith, Thomas GreyEyes, R.I.S.E (Radical Indigenous Survivance & Empowerment).
  • MB
  • Presentation for "One Flaming Arrow," co-curated by Demian Diné Yazhi’, Kaila Farrell-Smith, Carlee Smith, Thomas GreyEyes, R.I.S.E (Radical Indigenous Survivance & Empowerment).

Last week, PICA announced the winners of their 2014 Precipice Fund grants, and they're a varied, innovative group, with projects that run the gamut from alternative arts spaces to a free comics-heavy magazine to an anti-capitalist reading and discussion group. At last Thursday's reception and unveiling of grant recipients, each artist or group of artists briefly explained their projects following Artistic Director Angela Mattox's welcome.

One the most promising-looking projects on the list is One Flaming Arrow, "an Intertribal music, art, and film festival" co-curated by Demian Diné Yazhi’, Kaila Farrell-Smith, Carlee Smith, Thomas GreyEyes, R.I.S.E (Radical Indigenous Survivance & Empowerment). For a sense of what the festival might entail, check out "BURY MY ART AT WOUNDED KNEE: Blood & Guts in the Art School Industrial Complex," a show curated at PNCA last year by R.I.S.E. founder Diné Yazhi’ over at the R.I.S.E. Facebook page.

Meanwhile, Allie Hankins, who received a grant along with collaborators keyon gaskin, Taka Yamamoto, and Lucy Lee Yim for their latest project, Physical Education, is profiled in this week's Mercury. She talked to Suzette Smith about performance-induced injuries, Nijinsky, and wrestling 80 pounds of fabric.

I'm also excited to see what happens in TakerLab, a project from Liam Drain, Beth Wooten, Brian Mumford, Jeff Clenaghen, Zareen Price, Sara Daegling consisting of public workshops, performances, and site-specific conversations about critical texts. This is the aforementioned anti-capitalist reading group. Its organizers were also quick to point out that TakerLab's activities will be free, "unlike, say, grad school."

Here's the full list of grant recipients, after the jump:

Continue reading »

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Minty Fresh: CAConrad's Stardust, Sodomy, and Jokes About Ayn Rand

Posted by Megan Burbank on Wed, Dec 10, 2014 at 10:29 AM


"ayn rand doesn't / really annoy me / because she's dead / it's her fans who irritate me / a little like jesus," writes CAConrad in his new chapbook, WRITING IN ALL CAPS IS THE BREATH MINT OF THE SOUL, out now from Portland's own Bone Tax Press. I started Conrad's book with trepidation, because some of his writing is the high-concept kind that often makes for interesting scholarship, but not great reading. This turned out to be moot, because—SORRY, AYN RAND FANS!—WRITING IN ALL CAPS IS THE BREATH MINT OF THE SOUL is just as delightful as its shoutycaps title would seem to suggest.

For one thing, Conrad makes fun of EVERYONE in WIACITBMOTS: Jackson Pollock (Conrad prefers the paintings of Pollock's wife, Lee Krasner, and so do I, HIGH FIVE, CACONRAD!), whoever runs Arthur Rimbaud's page on Twitter ("i want him to be MORE Rimbaud on the Twitter / where's the stardust and sodomy / WE NEED MORE STARDUST AND SODOMY PLEASE"), poets who say they aren't really poets ("next time... I'm going to say 'WELL I GUESS YOU WOULD KNOW'"), monotheism ("my answer after being asked / to blame something"), and that refuses-to-die debate over whether or not poetry is dead ("let's start putting all this angry fucking energy into / ending war and poverty").

Also covered: adopting gender-neutral names, the politics of being a man who wears nail polish, the politics of Christina Aguilera's voice being used as a literal instrument of torture, and the unique kindness of people who grew up in cults.

In case it's not abundantly clear, WIACITBMOTS is fun to read, just right for a longish bus ride or lunch hour. It's poetry, but there's nothing frustratingly opaque about it, and its humor and unflowery language make it accessible and unfiltered, like a late-night, drunken conversation with your weirdest, most brilliant friend. Its exultant tone is effervescent and catching, and Conrad's charging self-celebration is way more Walt Whitman exuberance than boring solipsism. And I'm not just being fawning, because if Walt Whitman were alive today, he, of all people, would definitely be WRITING IN ALL CAPS.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Full Moon Gathering

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Mon, Dec 8, 2014 at 3:29 PM

This month's holidays are fun and bloating and all, but my favorite holiday is New Year's Day. It's all to do with the state of mind I prefer: The feeling of a fresh start, with the intention of self-improvement. Atelier Cornelia's Caroline Marie Griffin is capturing that feeling with a Full Moon Gathering scheduled for Jan 3-5 at the Sou'Wester in Seaview WA. (If you haven't been, you've probably at least heard of this lodge, which has a fleet of vintage mobile homes as rooming options, hosts a ton of Portland musicians for its weekend shows, and boasts a small, darling shop that also features handcrafted items by familiar names—it's like Portland's small-town coastal home away from home, a feeling further bolstered by its proximity to Astoria. And now they have a sauna!)

Aimed specifically at women, the Full Moon Gathering features small group activities and lectures in such areas as, "mediation, yoga, arts & culture, astrological guidance, holistic health, self expression, sex and business expansion." Meals are included, and there will be a night of music with Lindsie Feathers, cocktail hours, and a pop-up shop. And of course the wintry seashore, which is arguably even more beguiling than in the summertime. If you can get down with a bit of woo, and the idea of surrounding yourself with creative and wellness-oriented women sounds like a healthy, appealing way to begin the new year, tickets are $140, which would be a pretty great deal for two nights of lodging and meals, not even counting the enrichment/entertainment. A bit more behind the grander concept:

When the moon is full or brand-spankin' new it is an especially good time to renew ourselves. The moon's energy is ideal for setting new intentions. Intentions (for beginnings + endings) set powerfully and positively propel you forward in the best direction. What no longer serves you is swept away with the tide. This ritual sets a rhythm for your creative practice.

"This Full Moon is a good time to determine just what you value and want to stand for, create in your life and carry forth into the next cycle of your evolution."

Step right up, ladies of the evolution.

  • Atelier Cornelia via Pinterest

Friday, December 5, 2014

Are You a Film Nerd? Go See Hiroshima Mon Amour Right Now!

Posted by Megan Burbank on Fri, Dec 5, 2014 at 1:14 PM

Last week, I panned Jean-Luc Godard's latest film, Goodbye to Language, because while I'm generally willing to watch plotless French films, this one was just a mess—in 3D! And a mess that, thanks to Godard's fame, will invariably be read as artful. (When I read the glowing reviews of Godard's latest, I'll just imagine they're being written about his earlier works, because, in a sense, they are.) I find movies like Goodbye to Language deeply irritating, because they turn people off of avant-leaning films more generally, including the good ones. And that's too bad. Because there are so many glorious, plotless French movies out there if you're open to that sort of thing (including some of Godard's own earlier films).

Alain Resnais' Hiroshima Mon Amour is one of these movies. It's a legit classic, and I got to see it last week for this week's episode of Film Shorts, and though it can be hard to watch at times, it's endlessly creative and complex and just the right thing to see after Godard's shambling mess, like a soothing cup of OH YES I DO REALLY LIKE NONLINEAR FILMS THAT ARE CHALLENGING, THAT'S VERY TRUE. Here's what I wrote about it:

Alain Resnais' Hiroshima Mon Amour is widely credited with catapulting the French New Wave into existence, and for good reason: Resnais used a screenplay by experimental novelist Marguerite Duras, crews in France and Japan, and quick cuts mirroring memory (revolutionary for the time) to make a movie that isn't so much about the bombing of Hiroshima, but about the impossibility of describing the horrors of World War II on screen. Resnais' leads, Eiji Okada and Emmanuelle Rivas, are perfectly cast as a Japanese architect and a French actress who discuss violence and forgetting before never seeing each other again.

That's right! If you've ever tried to impress someone by talking about your love for the French New Wave*, you owe it to Resnais to go see his movie! What's especially interesting about Hiroshima Mon Amour is that Resnais enlisted Marguerite Duras to write his screenplay. Her script enlists repetition in a way that gives it a beautiful, looping structure, and her unnamed characters, while they remain mysterious, never seem like cold archetypes. With the exception of purple-haired, wondrous avowed feminist Agnes Varda, many of the directors of the French New Wave often didn't do a great job of characterizing women (a good case in point is our pal Godard, whose Patricia in Breathless is pretty much a cipher, #sorrynotsorry), so it's refreshing to see that the film that started it all actually contained a fully-realized, complicated, slightly unhinged but very real female character. This is to say nothing of the film's meditation on memory and the collective unconscious, its beautifully framed shots, and its moments that dip into the surreal. Go! Now! Thank me later!

*I've NEVER done this.

New In: The Day's News in Local Fashion, Retail, and Design

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Fri, Dec 5, 2014 at 12:44 PM

• There's yet another fashion show to add to the city's increasingly populous mix this winter: Fashion Meets Film is scheduled for January 24 at OMSI, and will feature Seth Aaron Henderson, Michelle Lesniak, Wendy Olendorf of Boulevard de Magenta, Stephanie Dong of Stephanie D Couture, Dubard, and Under U4Men. What does it have to do with film? Each collection will be accompanied by a filmed interview with the designer talking about their inspo and process. Also the FB page for the event notes that they are "committed to elevating the level of integrity & professionalism for Portland's creative talent," so comport yourselves accordingly, guttersnipes.

Additionally, if you are tall and thin and into this sort of thing, Fashion Meets Film is having an open call for models on December 22. Again, interested parties are urged to "please dress appropriate for a runway casting." (Note: none of this is to be confused with Fashion in Film, where dressing appropriately might entail a yin yang tee-shirt and bad tattoos.)

• If you are planning to hit the shops this weekend, please note our running list of sales and other events at the finest independent establishments. Looking ahead, you may want to reserve space in your pop-up schedule for the The Makery's Winter Market (Dec 13) and Yule and Gruel at Dig A Pony (Dec 20, and more tasteful than it sounds).

• Bridal designer Stephanie Dong of Stephanie D Couture is launching the Stephanie D Studio, offering another option for fashion instruction specifically for kids and teens. Classes begin in January.

• The modern, elegant jewelry designs of Autoctona, which you may have encountered at better shops like Stand Up Comedy and Una, never go on sale. Except for when they do. To celebrate the launch of a new online store, take 25% off with the code: AUTOCTONA STORE till Dec 23.

• Another Feather jewelry designer Hannah Ferrara recently moved to Portland, and she hooked up with Bridge + Burn to style their latest lookbook, "inspired by classic Japanese house-wear and west coast comfort." (Another Feather also has a trunk show scheduled at the Steven Alan store tomorrow from 2-5 pm).

Hit the jump to see more from the shoot.

Continue reading »


Thursday, December 4, 2014

This is Your Last Chance to See the (Maybe) Weirdest Art Show Around!

Posted by Megan Burbank on Thu, Dec 4, 2014 at 12:14 PM

A DOG ON A STICK W.P.P. by Patrick Rock
  • A DOG ON A STICK W.P.P. by Patrick Rock

All too often, perfectly good art is ruined by taking itself too seriously—well, okay, maybe not ruined, that's a strong word, but still. Just as some people suffer from incurable allergies to poetry, I am allergic to pretentious artist statements*, artist bios longer than the works they accompany, and anything that declares itself "important" (DON'T YOU TELL ME HOW TO FEEL).

If you feel the same way, read on, for Jenna Lechner has found the antidote to our plight, in the form of one particular show that's made a point of not being too serious, Paraprosdokians and Rubber Chickens at the Art Gym at Marylhurst University. Here's her report:

This is the first thing you see when you enter the show Paraprosdokians and Rubber Chickens at Marylhurst University's Art Gym: A goofy oversized lawn ornament—a dog on a stick, taking a shit. It's a piece by Patrick Rock, and I'm pretty sure seeing it marked the first time I entered an art show by laughing. That is to say: it’s the last week to catch this goofy but engaging show at the Art Gym, at Marylhurst University, which runs through December 5.

It’s really refreshing when an art show doesn’t take itself too seriously, and this show has a lot of fun, while also being engaged in the art world, with its pulse on contemporary queries.

Marylhurst University recently received a massive grant for The Art Gym. Some of the artists (which are a mix of local artists and non-locals) in the exhibit have also received major accolades as of late, namely Ralph Pugay, who received the coveted Betty Bowen Award this year and recently showed a delightfully wonky suite of paintings at Upfor Gallery.

Go read her whole review here. Then go see the show! You have until the end of the day tomorrow, when it closes, taking the rubber chickens and poorly-mannered dogs with it.

*and don't tell me that's all artist statements, ya cynic!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Art Jokes: Paraprosdokians and Rubber Chickens at the Art Gym

Posted by Jenna Lechner on Mon, Dec 1, 2014 at 2:30 PM

This is the first thing you see when you enter the show Paraprosdokians and Rubber Chickens at Marylhurst University's Art Gym:

W.P.P. by Patrick Rock
  • Evan LaLonde
  • W.P.P. by Patrick Rock

A goofy oversized lawn ornament—a dog on a stick, taking a shit. It's a piece by Patrick Rock, and I'm pretty sure seeing it marked the first time I entered an art show by laughing. That is to say: it’s the last week to catch this goofy but engaging show at the Art Gym, at Marylhurst University, which runs through December 5.

It’s really refreshing when an art show doesn’t take itself too seriously, and this show has a lot of fun, while also being engaged in the art world, with its pulse on contemporary queries.

Marylhurst University recently received a massive grant for The Art Gym. Some of the artists (which are a mix of local artists and non-locals) in the exhibit have also received major accolades as of late, namely Ralph Pugay, who received the coveted Betty Bowen Award this year and recently showed a delightfully wonky suite of paintings at Upfor Gallery.

Continue reading »

Win Tickets to Late Night Action at the Portland Art Museum

Posted by Alex Falcone on Mon, Dec 1, 2014 at 11:30 AM

This week we have a very special episode of Late Night Action w/ Alex Falcone at the Portland Art Museum. Yes, for some strange reason the esteemed institution that is the Portland Art Museum made a huge mistake and allowed our comedy miscreants to run amok in their nice museum THIS THURSDAY at 8pm at Whitsell Auditorium. We'll have artistic shenanigans plus these amazing guests:

- Crow Indian Artist/Archivist Wendy Red Star (Now currently featured in the APEX Gallery in the Portland Art Museum!)
- Photographer Holly Andres (featured in The New York Times Magazine, Time, Art in America and more)
- Essayist and head writer of Live Wire! Radio Courtenay Hameister
- Seattle comedian Scott Losse (2013 NW Comedy Competition Winner, Bridgetown Comedy Festival, Bumbershoot)
- and music from Portland rock pianist Bryan Free, who is "recommended by four out of five doctors."

Tickets are just $10 in advance ($15 day of). BUT as a loyal Mercury reader you can also win tickets right here! Just use the win-tickets-widget-thing below (tweet or Facebook it for extra entries) and you could get all this great stuff for free! And we'll throw in an undercoating. Deadline for entries is noon tomorrow!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

PJ Harvey Wrote a Book of Poems You Can't Read Until Next October

Posted by Megan Burbank on Mon, Dec 1, 2014 at 11:14 AM

Polly Jean, you are so full of surprises—and not just music videos heavily featuring creepy Punch and Judy puppets! PJ Harvey has just announced that she's written a book of poetry, The Hollow of the Hand, in collaboration with photographer/filmmaker Seamus Murphy. Pitchfork has the "scoop":

PJ Harvey has announced her first book: a 224-page collection of images and poetry created in collaboration with... Seamus Murphy, titled The Hollow of the Hand. According to Amazon, the new text arrives October 20, 2015 in the United States (October 8 in the United Kingdom) via Bloomsbury Circus, and was crafted in the wake of her last album, 2011's Let England Shake. The Hollow of the Hand chronicles the authors' travels around the world between 2011 and 2014, to locations such as Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Washington, D.C.

I'm often skeptical when celebrities write books of poetry seemingly out of nowhere—obviously, James Franco is the worst-case scenario here, but I've even struggled to get through some of Patti Smith's poetry, which, while I'm aware is blasphemy, is also the truth—but PJ Harvey is an amazing songwriter, and I support her in all of her creative explorations, and I will probably read this book and enjoy it even if it's terrible. Will you?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Lookbook of the Day: Kat Seale's "Assorted Shapes"

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Wed, Nov 26, 2014 at 1:44 PM

Jewelry can be challenging to photograph effectively on a model, especially while sidestepping the pitfalls of repetition and clutter. I'm digging Mikola Accuardi's take on Kat Seale's "Assorted Shapes," which pairs the strong metal shapes of the pieces with nothing more than model Taylor Stillwell's own hair and bare torso. See more of it over on MOD.


Ending Soon: Monochrome Works from Nikki McClure and Arielle Adkin

Posted by Megan Burbank on Wed, Nov 26, 2014 at 11:59 AM

Nikki McClure.

If you live in Portland, you know what Nikki McClure's papercuts look like: the heavy outlines, the limited color palette, the content that reads like propaganda for communal living, slow food, and the back-to-the-land movement (I mean this in a good way). So what might I be able to say to entice you to shuffle on over to Land Gallery to see her work up close?

Well, if you're used to seeing McClure's papercuts in smooth reproductions, the originals are something different. They're marked by McClure's process—cutting paper and gluing it down—and there's something weirdly satisfying about seeing the infinitesimal shadow between cut paper against whole. These images—of fireside knitting projects; McClure's bedtime story illustrations for May the Stars Drip Down; a solitary, flannel-clad rower on gray water; and majestic herons—have a tactile quality that McClure's calendars, however beautiful they may be, cannot recreate.

Meanwhile, across town, Arielle Adkin's Blue Print series of drawings and paintings could single-handedly disprove the popular theory that we shouldn't look for great art in coffee shops. They're up now at Stumptown at Third and Pine. I stumbled across her paintings while getting coffee, and I'm glad I did. If blue is your favorite color, you will love them instantly:

From Arielle Adkins Blue Print series.

What's especially striking about Adkin's paintings is how strongly they recall a different medium altogether: the cyanotype. For those of you who AREN'T secretly 75 years old and obsessed with analog technology*, cyanotypes are an especially low-tech approach to photography, in which a blue-shaded image is produced by coating paper with photosensitive chemicals, then exposing it to ultraviolet light. Adkin's website identifies a damask print as the inspiration for her work, but you and I know the truth: they're secret cyanotypes! Now if you'll excuse me, I have to get back to Instagramming I mean, building this pinhole camera out of an old oatmeal box.

Arielle Adkin's The Blue Print Series and Nikki McClure's Love: 15,000 Years Later are both up through Dec. 2. You should go see them.

*I mean, good for you!

Friday, November 21, 2014

This Week in Art: Showgirls & Commercial Fishermen

Posted by Megan Burbank on Fri, Nov 21, 2014 at 3:14 PM

NOMI MALONE Live! In person!
  • A Touch Too Much
  • NOMI MALONE Live! In person!

This week, while I was busy complaining loudly and often about book awards and whether or not they actually mean anything, Courtney Ferguson previewed Showgirls the Musical—it's tomorrow! one night only! the Hollywood! see you there! maybe we can come up with a drinking game!*—and it sounds amazing, not that that should be surprising to anyone, giving its can't-be-unseen source material:

Out of a black-box theater and onto the Hollywood's stage, the strippers of the Cheetah and the showgirls of Goddess will be able to really kick up their heels. Along with casting locals like Kristin Barrett (as Nomi), the production's stocked the prop closet with bags of chips, brought in burlesque dancers to "pump up the sexy," and created projections for the theater's large screen. Plus, "the dancing is a lot bigger this time," with choreography by Jamie Langton, who also stars as Cristal Connors. "I was really adamant about using music people know, so it's a jukebox musical. We do a lot of different eras, but we land pretty heavily in the '80s," Griggs says.

Corey Arnold: Nature photography at its least soothing.
  • Corey Arnold
  • Corey Arnold: Nature photography at its least soothing.

Elsewhere, Jenna Lechner took a look at Corey Arnold's photos, up now at Charles A. Hartman Fine Art. Arnold spends part of the year in Alaska working as a commercial fisherman (even among the crews that you can see on Deadliest Catch!), so you know his wildlife photos aren't going to be generically pretty—instead, they're full of animals who'd like to attack him:

The photos, most shot this year and last year, stand alone in craft as masterful studies in color and light. The photograph "Adak Foam" has the drama, depth, and glow of a Venetian oil painting. The images are large: about four by three feet. They're classic documentary photographs—Arnold's done editorial assignments for the likes of Sunset and National Geographic—but with humor and an edge. In most of them, Arnold's focus is at dead center, which has an unnerving and confrontational effect.

Arnold's photos are only up through the 29th, so hurry up and see 'em! Bald eagles never looked so menacing.

*FALSE. The only snack appropriate to Showgirls viewing is chips, obviously.

Lookbook of the Day: Church + State x Frances May

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Fri, Nov 21, 2014 at 12:29 PM

I first saw the new designs from Church + State—an exclusive collab with Frances May—at the boutique's grand re-opening last week. My favorite pieces read as workwear-inspired (the Carhartt-esque pants, the roomy-pocketed overshirts) and are in nubby winter-weight fabrics. See 'em all over on MOD, as photographed by Caesy Oney.

  • Caesy Oney

Win Tickets to Hear Tales of Sex, Lies, & Social Media at Back Fence PDX!

Posted by Megan Burbank on Fri, Nov 21, 2014 at 10:44 AM

  • Back Fence PDX

Are your weekend plans still super tentative? Do you wish you had something bookish to do tonight? Well, you're in luck, because we're giving away a pair of tickets to Back Fence PDX, for tonight or tomorrow. The lineup this weekend is hard to beat: You get to hear stories about sex, lies, and social media from the likes of Jessica Lee Williamson, Kristine Levine (who tells very funny jokes), Portlandia production designer Tyler Robinson, Bunk Bar co-proprietor Matt Brown, and maker of poems 'n' comics Robyn Bateman. Doesn't that sound great? Quick, enter our contest!

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Lookbook of the Day: Hand Eye Supply's "From the Desk of..."

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Mon, Nov 17, 2014 at 12:44 PM

Hand Eye Supply went the extra mile to showcase some of their desk-ier products in front of the gift-buying season, and I for one appreciate it. In a feature titled "From the desk of..." they profiled 21 creative types in Portland, asking them about their methods and tools (and yeah, inserting some of their handy products into the mix). The photos and Q&A look at people like Field Notes' Aaron Draplin, Imaginary Authors' Ashod Simonian, Pensole Footwear Design Academy's D'wayne Edwards... and even Mercury Art Director Justin Morrison, who shares his work in pursuit of "outdooring, nudity and storytelling." You can also see what we see during meetings: Justin drawing dicks in his notes. The whole thing's pretty cute, and quick read. Check it!

Always with the dicks and butts!


Friday, November 14, 2014

This Week in Art: Bizarro Fiction, Science for Women, & the Allure of Mid-Brow Entertainment

Posted by Megan Burbank on Fri, Nov 14, 2014 at 1:29 PM

In which we talk about art that stands out.

The arts section was jam-packed this week, as we continued our weeks-long stretch of covering vaguely creepy things that live in the great, generative space between high and low culture (previously: David Cronenberg's cannabilism-meets-philosophy debut novel, Consumed; William Gibson's latest; and severed heads at First Thursday). This week, Robert Ham interviewed John Skipp, who filled us in on the origins and identifying characteristics of the literary subgenre known as bizarro fiction. The titles listed here, alone, are, I think, breathing new life into arts journalism as we speak:

Bizarro fiction, the Gonzo literary movement which has thrived on the small press and e-book markets, aims to scratch as many genre itches as possible at once: the emerging subgenre is a fucked-up and funny amalgam of horror, sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, romance, and erotica. And their titles read like delicious clickbait: Trashland a Go-Go, Ass Goblins of Auschwitz, and Rampaging Fuckers of Everything on the Crazy Shitting Planet of the Vomit Atmosphere.

Meanwhile, Suzette Smith talked to smooshed-face Internet hero and Parks and Rec writer Megan Amram about her latest foray into what her mom calls "this weird, sexual, anti-comedy comedy that's 'in' right now," Science... For Her! My favorite question Suzette asked is this one, about the infamous astronaut Lisa Nowak, here affectionately referred to as "Diaper Lady":

As I was reading Science... for Her! I wondered if it was written from the perspective of Diaper Lady. [Editor's note: Lisa Nowak is the former NASA astronaut who became famous in 2007 after allegedly stalking her ex-boyfriend's new partner while wearing adult diapers.]

We're all thinking about Diaper Lady.

We're all thinking about Diaper Lady. Maybe we should just stop there. But there's more! Elsewhere, I reviewed Portland's latest iteration of True West at Profile Theatre, and though I worried it would be the dude play to end all dude plays (and thus that I would probably fall asleep, if what happens every time I try to watch The Wire is any indication), I was pleasantly surprised by director Adriana Baer's focus on identity more than anything else.

And A.L. Adams confirmed that there are, in fact, ways to stand out from the crowd at First Thursday, especially if you can "make everyone wonder if you're kidding."

Are you still thinking about Diaper Lady? My work here is done.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

If Dollhouses Were Honest: Tiny Domestic Spaces at Open Gallery

Posted by Megan Burbank on Wed, Nov 12, 2014 at 4:22 PM

Malcolm Kentners 31 Spofford

Open Gallery, at 323 NW 6th, is a small exhibition space that fronts studios. From the outside, you might not even know it's a gallery. But once inside its sticky door, you'll see evidence of the contrary. The artists who work in the gallery space take turns curating, and the current show, "In Rooms" is well placed in the smallish space—it's a collection of paintings and mixed media that focuses on the domestic. Malcolm Kentner's "31 Spofford" is a tiny replica of an urban apartment building, complete with a fire hydrant, mismatched curtains, and a gridded-over door. It's what dollhouses would look like if they were honest.

Meanwhile, Nick Makana's "Helena Markos" and "Helena Markos" (get it?) are what look like identical paintings of a red-patterned, geometric interior reminiscent of the Overlook Hotel in Kubrick's Shining. Compositions aside, though, the paintings are not identical, but identifying the differences between them is like a spot-the-differences exercise in the back of a magazine for children, if those had visible brushstrokes lending warmth and depth to stretched canvas.

The show is rounded out by Daniel Long's bright, contained paintings of domestic spaces, Brandon Chuesy's naked women reclining in their homes like a cartoonish, purple-tinged nod to Edward Hopper, and more abstract offerings from Paul Wackers and Grant Hottle.

"In Rooms" is an impressive offering from a small collective. It offers a dollhouse-sized punch of voyeurism, in a charming, well-curated lineup. It's up through November 30, and well worth seeing if you like your art on a tiny, focused scale.

The Art of Food Photography

Posted by MJ Skegg on Wed, Nov 12, 2014 at 9:59 AM

It’s International Food Photography Day on Thursday. (No idea who gets to decide these things but it is associated with the Food Photographer of the Year, which is itself sponsored by an apple.) There’s an opportunity to win a nifty Fujifilm X-E2 camera kit but otherwise it seems like an opportunity to share pictures with the world’s food photo community. The theme is ‘Snap the Rainbow!’, which translates as capturing the colors of food. So far the Facebook page has an assortment of pictures, some that seem good enough to grace the pages of Food and Wine magazine, though my favorite is of an egg yolk that fell out of a slaughtered hen resting in the grass. To enter, pictures have to be posted by November 14, noon GMT (4 am here).

A recent-ish Wired article looked at the food photography craze and reported that now everyone was doing it “true artists” were breaking “stifling” conventions, which seemed to amount to people creating a narrative out of a number of pictures, pulling dishes apart to photograph elements and channeling Cézanne for Instagram posts. Apparently some (unnamed) chefs like to see how their food has been shot as it stretches “their thinking about what constitutes a successful dish”—though you would hope that how the thing tastes might be as important.

In terms of shear spectacle nothing beats Nathan Myhrvold’s food photography for his ground-breaking, six-volume Modernist Cuisine (the pictures alone are repackaged in the slightly more affordable The Photography of Modernist Cuisine). Myhrvold and his team use close ups and special techniques that show pans sliced in half and vegetables in mid flip to create some amazing images. But he’s also like the rest of us and uses a phone camera when out and about—his top tip when photographing food is to sit where there is good light, or failing that, have a supplementary light source (he carries a flash light); in a pinch, the back of a menu can be drafted to act as a reflector to add light to a scene.

Images from Modernist Cuisine
  • Images from Modernist Cuisine

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Remembering Cookie Mueller, and Her Friendship with Nan Goldin

Posted by Megan Burbank on Tue, Nov 11, 2014 at 1:44 PM

  • Nan Goldin

Yesterday was the 25th anniversary of Cookie Mueller's death. Even if you don't know anything about her, you've probably seen her severe, winged-out eyeliner or watched her in a John Waters movie—she was in four of them, including Pink Flamingos. She was also a writer (for Details, the East Village Eye, and BOMB) and a good friend of the photographer Nan Goldin. Goldin documented Mueller's life and death (Mueller died from complications related to AIDS in 1989) not with the distance of a photographer choosing a "person living with AIDS" as a tragic subject, but as an artist whose subjects happened to be her closest friends. You can go see one of Goldin's portraits of Mueller at the Portland Art Museum as part of Blue Sky: The Oregon Center for the Photographic Arts at 40, which I wrote about last week.

The portrait of Cookie Mueller on view now is part of a large body of work Goldin called "the Cookie portfolio" and describes here:

It was only in ’89, after Cookie died and I put together the Cookie portfolio—15 pictures taken over 13 years, with a text about our relationship—that I realized photographing couldn’t keep people alive. Even though I never consciously set out to create pictures that would help humanize AIDS, I realized they could affect others.

You should go see it.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Lookbook of the Day: Hand-Eye x L.C. King

Posted by Marjorie Skinner on Thu, Nov 6, 2014 at 12:29 PM

Hand-Eye Supply doesn't always market themselves as a destination for men's fashion per se—workwear, yes. But if you're into the nice lines and sturdy, quality materials that go into shirts, jackets, and pants by brands like Edgevale and Pointer, you oughta add them to your regular route of gentlemanly acquisition.

Now, they've taken it a step further, partnering with L.C. King (home of Pointer Brand) on a HES-branded pair of jeans all their own. Read more about the US-made dungarees and see more photos from the shoot by Christine Taylor, over on MOD.

Friday, October 31, 2014

Help Right a (Cinematic) Wrong: Go See Je t'aime je t'aime Tonight!

Posted by Megan Burbank on Fri, Oct 31, 2014 at 10:29 AM

I (voluntarily) watched a truly odd movie this week (THE THINGS WE DO FOR FILM SHORTS), but before I say anything else about it, you should probably just watch this trailer for it:

Here's what I ended up writing about it:

A recent study published in the journal Science found that many adult humans prefer a painful electric shock to being alone with their thoughts. Alain Resnais’ 1968 film Je t’aime je t’aime plays upon this discomfort to nightmarish effect, as a suicidal man is forced to cycle through his past in a time-fracturing scientific experiment. Resnais’ claustrophobic focus and nonlinear structure have been copied endlessly in films like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, but the cancelation of Je t’aime’s 1968 Cannes premiere meant the film never gained much exposure stateside. The NW Film Center’s new 35mm print should help fill that gap.

That's right—a crazy historical twist kept this incredibly strange and groundbreaking movie from making it onto US radars, WHILE informing the structures of many contemporary films that fuck with chronology. Take away Resnais' late-sixties thought experiment, and I'm not sure we hold onto Mulholland Drive, or Memento, or really any of those trying-real-hard-to-be-edgy movies made in, like, 1998. But there's definitely no Eternal Sunshine, which basically takes Je t'aime's plot and turns it happy, which, weird.

Fair warning: Je t'aime je t'aime is hard to watch. The title makes it sound like a winsome romantic comedy, but it's really a rather bleak two hours of a single character grappling with his experiences and his own thoughts. But if you can sit quietly for a while, you will be richly rewarded by Resnais' weird, time-splintered echo chamber, and you should go see it. The NW Film Center's run starts tonight, with a brand-new (!) 35mm print. It's two hours of your life you'll never get back, but it least it's honest about it.

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