Monday, December 28, 2009

Brian Lindstrom on KBOO

Tomorrow my guest on Art Focus is filmmaker Brian Lindstrom, who made Finding Normal (and is still working on Alien Boy). We'll discuss his two most recent films: a documentary that follows Write Around Portland participants, and a narrative short starring Art Alexakis he made with folks with a dual diagnosis of mental illness & addiction. Both films are screening at PDX's Cinema 21 on Sun, Feb. 28th, 6pm

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Tim DuRoche and Judith Margles on KBOO

My guest on Art Focus this week is Tim DuRoche, who curated at the new Oregon Jewish Museum The Shape of Time: Accumulations of Place and Memory. This exhibition of photography works around Jewish history in Oregon via specific location and public memory. The photographers include Sika Stanton, Dr. Stu Levy, Bobby Abrahamson, Jeff Amram, Dr. William Galen, Carol Isaac and David Latham Reamer.

The new museum just opened and this show is a part of a big program of events and exhibitions. The museum includes a research library and beautiful screening room. The director Judith Margles will also be my guest.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

thrift town

Jessica Jackson Hutchins

There can be no coincidence that the Thrift Shop Biennial, as it is called By Charlie Finch, includes 2 Portlanders. Portland, above all, has been the Thrift – well, some call it Vintage – destination for decades.

I lived here in the 70s, when thrift stores lined NW 23rd. It’s where I bought my Rudi Gernreich dress for 2 bucks, my Mod white leather jackets and a ton of frilly blouses to bring in the New Romanticism of the 80s. While living in other cities, I continued to visit Portland, bringing empty suitcases which left barely able to close. And what did I get here? Portland had what San Francisco and New York City could not match.

Not just clothes, but also glorious paper in the form of Fortune from the 40s, Flair from the 50s and Avant Garde from the 60s. I’ve collaged all over the world but it’s amazing how much of the source came out of Portland.

As the years went by in NYC and I worked more in fashion, I wore vintage less. Of course that all changed when I moved back and I have acquired a small collection of simple black dresses, all circa 1960 (and way before this Madmen Craze which I am definitely a part of ). Even the infamous Jeffrey Kyle, who started Magpie and Glamour Gallery and then moved to New York to be a super successful makeup artist, can’t wait to get back here and into the bins.

How this local culture of thrift crosses into contemporary art would be an interesting investigation. Several artists come to my mind immediately and they’re not the ones in this biennial, though of course I am extremely glad to see them there.

Monday, December 14, 2009

action art from Rocksbox on KBOO

Rocksbox is presenting Action Art this month. You can catch these artists in performance: Mathew Green, Michael Reinsch, Sarah Johnson, Alicia Love McDaid and Sean Patrick Carney. It was Patrick Rock, director of Rocksbox, who suggested I host a panel of them all on KBOO as opposed to just interviewing one artist and I liked the idea. Friend and Senior Art Critic for Artnet Charlie Finch gave the show a further spin by suggesting I ask each artist to give a bit of performance on air. They could even riff on each other. This would probably be more fun for the audience than the usual questionnaire and I am looking forward to Art Focus tomorrow. But if you do have a question for the artists, leave it here.

Listen to the interview here.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Stephen O'Donnell on KBOO

This coming Tuesday (December 8th) Stephen O'Donnell will be my guest on Art Focus. His show at Froelick is called Dix Huit. Stephen (sometimes) riffs on gender bending via the historical portrait.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Brad Rogers on KBOO

Brad Rogers is an artist who has a gallery on NE Broadway called BRogers/Plan B. I think the "Plan B" part comes from changing part of it into more of a shop and less of an exhibition space, but we'll find out for sure tomorrow when I have him on Art Focus at KBOO. Right now he has a terrific show of Daguerreotypes, co-curated by Jennifer Stoots.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Fontanelle's Queer Gaze on KBOO

Fontanelle is now presenting a photography show called Queer Gaze. I loved every image and am looking forward to having Fontanelle Gallery co-curator Leslie Miller on KBOO's Art Focus tomorrow.

Monday, November 9, 2009


Charlie Finch visited Cutters at Cinders Gallery and wrote this wonderful piece about the work in the show as well as its subject matter, Dimaggio. It’s a thrill to be on Artnet.

Speaking of which, Walter Robinson is showing right now with Richard Hell (!!!) and Brigitte Engler at Bowman/Bloom Gallery. The show is called Nincompatibles. Below is a studio view of Robinson’s recent paintings. I would love to see this show.

Modou Dieng on KBOO

Listen to the interview here.

Modou Dieng has a show at the Marylhurst Art Gym called Black Star - mixed media with records and record sleeves. He also curates Work/Sound. He'll be my guest tomorrow on Art Focus on KBOO.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

art auction at Disjecta

Tonight is Disjecta's annual rather raucous art auction and this year I get to emcee along with the extraordinary AC Dickson! Expect good music, food and alcohol plus art by the likes of Bean Gilsdorf, Jeffry Mitchell, Anna Fidler, Horia Boboia, James Lavadour and many others.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

trashed @ 35

Willamette Week is celebrating 35 years in business, presenting a Trashed @ 35 party at Backspace. Basically the magazine (via Klutch and Richard Speer) asked a group of artists to take old WW covers and re-spin them. I took this as an opportunity to use a bigger NRA target for a self-portrait, also using a cover from Art Forum (with Wonder Woman) and Art in America. The opening is tonight, First Thursday.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Mary Josephson on KBOO

Mary Josephson makes folk art-like portraits in paint, mosaic and thread. She has a show opening this week at the Laura Russo Gallery. She will be my guest on Art Focus tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

the new communicators

The New Communicators is a series of events intented to inspire and educate on ways of communicating. Tonight is Show and Tell PDX: What Are You Doing to Change the World? and I'm a part of it.

The topic of the evening intrigued me - I remember coming across it about ten years ago when someone said it was impossible to do it, especially just one person. But I already knew that it wasn't true. Not that I was on top of any game ten years ago, but I knew that what happened in the punk era had a ripple no one could have ever predicted and that the little things, they all matter.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Maria T.D. Inocencio on KBOO

Maria T.D. Inocencio makes art around community. I've followed her from "the Tree," where she cut down the tree in her yard and shared it in an art show (through photos, collage, seedlings, stumps) at PSU to her present project, which is a mural for Innovative Housing. Inocencio also works with her partner Mark R. ; I documented their project on the South Waterfront here. She's my guest on Art Focus this week.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Cutters opening

The opening for Cutters at Cinders in Brooklyn was last Friday and of course I couldn't make it. Luckily ex-Portlander and fabulous photog Mark Rabiner was on the spot and took some pics for us. Looks like it was quite a crowd. You can see my pieces on the wall below. Arrested Motion also picked my work out; a big thanks! I should also mention here that Mark has been shooting some of Auto Ego for the New York Times, plus he documented a lot of us in the late 70s and early 80s here in Portland.

Ryan Pierce on KBOO

Tomorrow my guest on Art Focus will be Ryan Pierce, who has a show up at Elizabeth Leach. The exhibition is called Written from Exile and presents acrylic paintings which explore a post-industrial world.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Cutters, an International Collage Show

A few years ago I showed at Guestroom, a Portland gallery, with James Gallagher of New York. It was a group show called Paperchase, curated by Jenny Strayer. I’m now thrilled to announce that I get to show with Gallagher again and this time he’s curating the show. Cutters, an international collage show, opening this Friday at Cinders Gallery in Brooklyn, comprises the work of over 30 artists from all over the world. The opening is Friday, the 16th. I can't go, so if anyone out there can make it, I'd love to hear a report.

The works range from Hort and Elroy, both based in Berlin, to Maxomatic in Barcelona, Valero Doval in London, Julien Pacaud of Le Mans, Andreas Banderas of Oslo, Ophelia Chong of Los Angeles and Kareem Rizk of Melbourne. There are artists from San Francisco, plenty from New York of course – I am the only one from the Pacific Northwest.

I decided to send two new pieces. Lately I’ve been working on a small series within the Targets on Jean Shrimpton (above; click on title to see larger image), who was my fashion idol when I was a kid. She was one of the first models to enter my consciousness and she was the face of Mod London. Her photos with David Bailey are fairly famous and for years – maybe decades – I’ve carried around the Harper’s Bazaar which held the big spread of her in all those formidable YSL landmarks, including the Mondrian dress.

I’ve also been slowly mining this one sad feature on MM which came out right after she died. It’s from a salacious movie magazine, the kind which relentlessly rode her hard while she was alive and but turned the page in sorrow upon her death. The above piece reminds me of a record cover, with the vinyl a part of the image. The sacrificial lamb with the man who loved her best.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

the Oregon Biennial + A Day of Culture

The Oregon Cultural Trust has given a grant to Disjecta to produce the (now rather homeless) Oregon Biennial. I will have Cynthia Kirk from the Trust, Bryan Suereth from Disjecta and Cris Moss the curator as my guests on Art Focus at KBOO. Kirk will also talk about "A Day of Culture" coming up on the 8th.

The Trust funds and promotes many essential things. When I first heard about the "Day of Culture," I was amused - my crowd gave a lifetime, not a day. Then I heard about the grant for the Biennial and got really interested. That exhibition and process started a big conversation every two years and it is missed. I'd like to put Cris Moss just a bit in the hot seat and find out just what he sees for this show.

Postscript: the show is called Portland 2010.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Tom Cramer on KBOO

Tom Cramer has a new show opening at Laura Russo this week. He will be my guest tomorrow on Art Focus. His exhibitions keep pushing forward into new territory and this one in particular has a big variety of approaches. Some seems Byzantine; his silver and gold is better than ever. One work is like an oil slick, reminiscent of Arts and Crafts and Tiffany. There are loads of Art Nouveauish sexy loops and plantlike shapes. He's doing this all-over wood burning thing too which is subtle from afar and intense close up. There are a few pieces which are really 60s - in that optimistic, almost fabric/fashion Marimekko way. I love it all. It seems to me that wood is his arena, he really owns it and finds new ways to work with it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Dave Hickey/James Kalm

More than once I have written about James Kalm here. I am a big fan and he’s definitely the inspiration behind my own artist-interview Youtube project. So when I head that he was making a video of at least part of Dave Hickey’s lecture at SVA, I was excited. Before I even saw it, the controversy started. Various powers that be told him to take it down. Kalm has a blog which details the course of events. I don't have a set opinion on whether this is censorship or not. I understand freedom of the press, but I am also one to ask permission. That of course doesn't always produce interesting results!.... I hope these videos stay up.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Mark Menjivar on KBOO

This coming Tuesday (September 22nd) my guest on Art Focus will be Mark Menjivar who has a show opening on the 23rd at Ampersand Vintage. The show is called You are What You Eat. These photographs examine the interiors of refrigerators of homes across the country.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Pat Boas on KBOO

Pat Boas opens a show at the Maryhurst Art Gym this week. The artist makes work that explores and examines language in context—letter by letter, word by word, image by image. Record Record includes four series that comment on the text and images in The New York Times - and a new series of digital works What Our Homes Can Tell Us that captures language found in the artist’s home and places of importance to her extended family. She will be my guest on Art Focus this Tuesday.

Friday, September 4, 2009

the Lonely Metropolitan

In my path was a box of diaries, the first 67 notebooks. Being allowed almost nothing but idleness in the extraordinary heat of late July/early August, I picked up a book at random and started reading: it was 1990 (the cover is above). That’s a year I could never read before. I was trying to be hopeful in a bad situation around a negative person. The diary gave me an interesting perspective on today.

An artist was all I wanted to be; it was the obsession. A Working Woman in New York City, I instead maintained a wannabe status, if only in my mind. Help and time was the ultimate Nirvana. My boyfriend told me that any help came with strings attached and the whole thing was impossible anyway. He said he had given up the game and didn’t even want to go to openings, which was sort of odd because that was where we met. My response at the time was that my job at Bergdorf Goodman had all kinds of strings attached anyway - I can dream, can’t I?

In this blog I don’t say half of what my life is like but let’s just say that I am a part of the global economic freefall. But to read of the impossibility of an art career, in light of the present - despite the freefall - gave me great hope and a strange satisfaction. I beat the odds.

By the time I got out of that stupid relationship, I did not even dream of being an artist. I got very sick along the way and that dream was a luxury I could not afford. The dream was so much kicked out of me that when Katherine Dunn brought it up upon my return to Portland, I burst into tears.

- So it blew my mind to read how “impossible” a real art career was and that all these years later, I had it. There isn't even room for anger at the ex-lover because the reality of a life in art – my own and others - is so strong, I was almost shocked and surprised when I read it. I am not in touch with him at all.

When in San Francisco last year, I actually ran into the woman who introduced us and encouraged the match. “Hi, remember me? Remember him?” As if I could ever forget. I was speechless and cold as ice unfortunately.

The same year – 1990 – I made a series of photomontages called The Lonely Metropolitans (subtitled We Dream of Leaving the Ghetto). The title is of course borrowed from the famous photomontage by Herbert Bayer.

By then I had lived in NYC for 4 years. I was well into my 30s but still slept on the floor to make room for work. During this year I also had surgery and the recovery gave me time to think – about art, love and compromise, work, money. The collages are the direct result of the introspection. Many unsaid things floated on an elevated circuit in my inner life. Just which ghetto did I want to leave? The bed on the floor? The ditch in these works was almost where I ended up. By 1991 I was so sick I thought I was dying. In some ways the collages articulate the letting go of the art dream. Mission Impossible as it turns out.

I never really commented on that work at that time. It wasn’t discussed with anyone and they were not shown. These days I tend to think that “art is a conversation” - if that’s the case, then this work did not exist! The years passed, the relationship and situation came to a close and I never really looked back at that work. I think that’s because the images – like the Targets of today – were so “obvious” to me. The personal and private holocaust just seemed like something you did not have to explain. But of course that’s not really true.

All of this was on my mind when I received out of the blue an email from Robert Tomlinson, a curator who was putting together a group show at the Jupiter Art Center in Centralia, Washington. It just seems completely remarkable to me - and maybe it’s not - but which pieces did he want to show? The Lonely Metropolitans. If he had asked me just two days before, it would have been like an archaeological project. But there I was, sorting through the diaries which held their naissance almost 20 years ago.

The show is called Portland Photography, which I love because I am not really a photographer. I am in good company including Sika Stanton, Grace Weston, Heidi Kirkpatrick and Loren Nelson. The Lonely Metropolitans are there, perhaps possessing the oldest bits of paper to grace the room: every single one has pieces from 1933 issues of Die Woche, a German magazine reeking of Nazism without ever displaying one swastika. It oozes sepia in every ditch, bootstrap and hungry child.

Woolly Mammoth Comes to Dinner + Oregon Painting Society on KBOO

In last week's episode of Art Focus about TBA, not everyone who was planned to appear got covered. So next week (on September 8th) I will have Woolly Mammoth Comes to Dinner and the Oregon Painting Society on. Guests include: Woolly Mammoth--Rikki Rothenberg and Kathleen Keogh and Oregon Painting Society--Matt Carlson, Jason Traeger and Liam Drain.

Monday, August 31, 2009


Sean Ongley, fellow volunteer at KBOO, asked me if he could produce a small segment on the upcoming PICA/TBA festival. I said take the whole ball and run with it. So Sean will host Art Focus tomorrow, talking with Kristan Kennedy, Erin Boberg, Cathy Edwards and Mike Daisey - plus a special interview piece on the Works featuring Fawn Krieger and Jesse Hayward, to be capped off with an interview with the Oregon Painting Society. Whew! Looking forward to tomorrow.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Gavin Shettler on KBOO

Pictured above is a fresh-faced Gavin Shettler, a few years before the Portland Art Center and his current gig at Milepost Five. He’s now a wiser, maybe more pragmatic director of dreams. When I saw him at the Manor of Art, he said: “I don’t really care what the critics say. I’m here to facilitate what artists want to do.” We’ll talk about that and a whole lot more this coming Tuesday when he is my guest on Art Focus.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

the Manor of Art

The initial wander down the hallways of The Manor of Art, filled with stains and cracks and lurid reminders, took me straight away to an exhibition I experienced years ago – seen is not quite the right word – of Ed and Nancy Kienholz. These artists used an entire hallway and its rooms for an installation: one was never really sure what came readymade and what was built in. But it all sprung from the same dank and maybe morbid ghost.

In the case of the Manor of Art at Milepost Five, a sprawling group show in which artists took over an old nursing home, perhaps the best work and form followed institutional green function. Hands down my favorite room belonged to Troy Briggs (see above), who turned a cloistered sorrow upside down.

Just a couple of weeks ago I had Lisa Radon on the air and we talked about her future role as an art writer – to serve the community, yes, but maybe also to be a critic. They are parallel universes but not necessarily the same thing. When she edged out there far enough to say I don’t like all of it, someone gets upset. A big group show means different things to different people and where we are on the personal expectation of art.

Calvin Ross Carl felt the stage (the presentation) had its limits, but when it was handled right (as witnessed in Briggs and Brennan Conoway and a few others), the context was absolutely right. In fact I wouldn’t have minded getting a bit more scared. Nick Reibel said that once art was in an institution, it was dead – but I’d say that the undeniable factor throughout this exhibition was that you could not shake off the institution no matter how “punk rock” (a term I’m having some problems with!) the participants are. That term works for Klutch though – who handled the room and the toilet (below) with his typical, well known vigor.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Michelle Ramin and Jason Doizé on KBOO

This week on Art Focus my guest will be Michelle Ramin, who has a show up at Falsefront called Need it/Got it - along with the director of Falsefront, Jason DoizĂ©. Falsefront is a curious space – in a neighborhood full of homes, it looks like it must have been a storefront at one time. Inside it looks like a regular gallery (which I confess to liking). The exhibition has a closing party this week.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Lisa Radon on KBOO

This week on Art Focus my guest is Lisa Radon. Lisa is the mastermind behind Ultrapdx, an online magazine which started with a focus on design and style but eventually moved more firmly into art. She recently launched a new art blog at Portland Monthly, Culturephile. Radon is also known for her sound art, poetics and performances; she performs occasionally with Tim DuRoche, who is pictured with her above.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Paul Middendorf on KBOO

Paul Middendorf is the director and curator of gallery Homeland, a nonprofit arts organization in SE Portland. Paul is helping Oregon artists get their work out of town and bringing artists from all over the world to Homeland. He'll be my guest this Tuesday on Art Focus.

Monday, July 27, 2009

a kept man

So many people recommended more Margaret Atwood, but when I returned to the library, her section was practically empty. And so my eye stumbled along the A section to Jami Attenberg, who wrote A Kept Man (she also has her own Youtube channel, which followed her book tour – neat idea).

An artist falls from a ladder into a six year coma. His wife sells off his paintings to support herself and him – as she navigates the art world, the medical system, the eventual deluxe nursing home, waiting for him to die. I stuck with the novel because little details regarding life with a genius rung rather true.

Much of her day is filled with the agendas of a creepy dealer and a creepy best friend of the coma-artist, who is also an artist and player. In fact none of the art people are likable all. They are seen as mercenary because they aid her in the sale of the husband’s paintings, which are worth more and more as time passes. The almost-widow suffers every time she has to sell a work, valued at 50 grand a pop – of which there are hundreds, poor girl.

Things take an interesting turn when she finds revealing photographs. The comatose was no angel. She remembers the questions and doubts and his “authoritive artist voice” answers. I did not have a lot of sympathy for her though because she had no identity, outside of coke whore, before she met him. Great, she cleaned up - but he didn’t. He was the artist who painted whores and strippers and then of course fucked them, ever so necessary to his art. Original story in the history of art!

In just about every novel about artists I have read, dealers are made out to be vulgar or dumb, but I have found this to rarely be the case in the real world. It leads me to believe that the writers did not know any – or just liked easy, cheap shots. Except of course for The “Genius,” which featured a dream-dealer, telling the hero what a privilege it was to work for him…but this is fiction, I must remember.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Pammela Springfield on KBOO

Photo by Dmae Roberts
We’ve seen her all over town, at plenty of openings. She’s not the kind of person you forget.

Pammela Springfield opened a place called Cannibals awhile back, but I think it began to make a dent in the art world when it delivered work to the CAP Auction. That’s when I started walking into galleries and overheard conversations about that wild place on NW 21st and the woman who runs it. But I’ve known Pammela for years – maybe I met her when she hosted a party for the Ramones in ’77, maybe a little earlier.

She’s known for maintaining Keep ‘Em Flying on NW 21st, the oldest vintage clothing shop in Portland. I used to do windows for the shop before she ever owned it, back in 79 – 80. Keep ‘Em Flying has a long history of supporting artists – not just in dressing them, but in also hanging their work. There are artists who have moved on to bigger galleries but they got their start at KEF.

Cannibals has all work made out of something else, it’s all recycled. So as you can imagine it is heavy on the assemblage, but it has paintings too, hats and clothing, strange adventures in taxidermy, cards, toys and collages. I would not call it a gallery, but to call it a shop doesn’t feel quite right either. Pammela Springfield will be my guest this Tuesday on Art Focus.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Eunice Parsons on KBOO

A couple of Sundays ago I was out and about, sort of killing time and meandering. I thought I would check out the latest Eunice Parsons show at 12 x 16. I didn’t really expect the show to rock my world – it’s not like her work is new to me. But the show is completely elegant and invigorating.

After viewing the group show Matriarchs of Modernism at the Art Gym 5 years ago, I interviewed Parsons on KPSU (transcript here). Then when Wid Chambers and I opened Chambers the following year, she was our very first show (along with Paul Fujita).

I remember her telling me that in all of the years that she exhibited in Portland, she never could get the Oregonian to show up. I told her that I would try to change that. Eunice was turning 89 that year; it’s not like eternity stretched out before us. Within a couple of weeks, the O published a nice review by Victoria Blake which I cannot seem to find online (PORT wrote about the show too).

Now she’s having this full-on blitz of exhibitions – 12 x 16, the Hallie Ford Museum and a couple elsewhere in the state. This year Eunice Parsons turns 93 and she still manages so much vitality in her collage. She has a backlog of very juicy materials with probably some of the best paper in this town. Eunice will be my guest on Art Focus this coming Tuesday at KBOO.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Cat's Eye

“I don’t want to go,” I said to Ben.
“You don’t have to,” he said. “Call it off. Come down to Mexico.”
“They’ve gone to all the trouble,” I said. “Listen, you know how hard it is to get a retrospective anywhere, if you’re female?”
“Why is it important?” he said. “You sell anyway.”
“I have to go,” I said. “It wouldn’t be right.” I was brought up to say please and thank you.
“Okay,” he said. “You know what you’re doing.” He gave me a hug.
I wish it were true.

And those are really the first words addressing this retrospective the woman artist is having in her home town in Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood. They come in after 92 pages of childhood, girl friendships and games, poverty, a wayward family – all things which are familiar to me actually, art aside. And those kinds of tales probably cast a much wider net as regards readers. But I’ve been waiting for the moment when you just know that this girl Elaine will be an artist, though this story seems more about relationships, not art.

And why would it matter? Because to become an artist is one thing, to stay an artist is another and I want to know how she navigated it, especially back in Postwar days. I'm hoping I hear more about it. One thing I found accurate is her recount of loving small things, of liking bits of paper, tin foil, just simple objects that came her way as a child. As she ages, she wants things more. But Elaine expresses this not just as acquisitiveness or as girlish vanity, but more as an artist who collects and examines something for its own thingness.

As someone returning for a big show, she’s also not wild about discussing what it is to be a “woman artist.” When the local press come to talk about feminism, she’s not buying. But I don’t think I was either back in 1988, when this novel was published. This may be the ideal time to read this book too because I am heading to southern Oregon tomorrow - my childhood home, where the girls were, with its own complexities.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Michael Kenna on KBOO

Michael Kenna has a beautiful show of photographs called Recent Travels at Charles A. Hartman Fine Art. We talked about his work when he was in town. The interview will broadcast during Art Focus on Tuesday.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

posters and polaroids

For the past week I am acting as archivist, detective and photo editor for the film Alien Boy. It has been an adventure and a strange blast from the past as I am visiting some people I haven’t really seen in years. But they are the ones with the poster stashes and cool Polaroids from back in the day.

Like Mark Sten – he printed posters for gigs and has a great record of what happened here. Alien Boy will be able to draw from an archive that spans the birth of punk in this town plus the few years which followed, when James Chasse Jr. was active in the bands Possum Society and the Psychedelic Unknowns.

It was fun to go over the posters with Sten – as they flashed before my eyes, so did the memories of those nights. The scene was so small back then that I knew every band. The entire audience was made up of those kids; all we did was just change places from stage to floor and back again. In fact I wrote somewhere in my diary of 1980: Things are weird now, changing. We see all these people in the audience that we don’t know. I laughed when I read that.

Of course the most important Polaroid from the collection of Randy Moe is the one above, whom we knew as Jim Jim. But the other portraits are a fabulous treasure trove I would like to curate into an exhibition if I had the means. In some cases the photographs spawned posters and it would be fun to show them side by side – like a Polaroid of KT Kincaid (of the Neoboys) was the basis of a poster later made by Randy. There are several examples of this. And as we know, Randy Moe is no slouch of a draftsman.

What I enjoyed the most about the photographs as a collection was how intimate, lively and casual they are. Only a friend from the inner circle could capture such relaxed yet brutal, spontaneous honesty. Even when we are posing like crazy, it is real. There are no “Three Guys on a Stage” pictures. The few which are of a performance do not feel like it, not with their cut-off heads and the fabulous haircuts of the audience.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Michael Brophy on KBOO

This Tuesday my guest on Art Focus will be Michael Brophy, who has a show opening at Laura Russo. There are big oil paintings and small square gouaches. Brophy's house + studio were destroyed in a fire - some of the work is about that.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Jeff in Venice, etc.

A book I unfortunately can’t finish – not being able to reach the headset of Mann, Amis, Ginsburg or half of the other fellows this reviewer ties the book to. Maybe I could have related more if my trip to Venice was as Bellini-and-blow fueled as the narrator’s, who supposedly is a hero in a dumbass antihero’s costume. The reviewers say he is bored with his drug antics but at the age of 45, I’d say he is pretty damn lucky his heart hasn’t given out. I lost patience around the time the dude was shocked that his love interest said a smart thing, to which he replied (loosely quoted): “What are you doing talking like that, working in the art world?” “I know,” she tells him, “I am going to leave and become a hedge fund manager.”

But then we only know her by her mane, her smell, the turn of her ankle and sandals, nice dresses and underwear. As a Californian object she was so sweetly drawn that shit it was a shocker when she had something intelligent to say. He hardly knows her when before we all know it, they’re on to the ol’ 69. Acrobatic but so easy. Maybe I’m just jealous – why wasn’t my Venice Biennale like that?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

the Lesbian Art Show on KBOO

Today I visited the Lesbian Art Show at Fontanelle, which features Dada-inspired collages, painting and installation by Azsa West and Mary McAllister. I loved this show - it pays smart homage to herstory of the 20th century with a very contemporary feel. There's even a booth where you can enclose yourself with the Well of Loneliness and a shot of whiskey. I was able to snag a spot on KBOO for this show by hosting Friday's Radiozine - that's tomorrow at 11AM.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Diane Durston on KBOO

Today on Art Focus Diane Durston will join me. She is the curator for the Japanese Garden here in Portland. She put together the beautiful Parallel Worlds exhibition, which compares ceremonial robes and textiles between the Ainu of Hokkaido and the Native American artists of the Pacific Northwest.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Arvie Smith on KBOO

Tomorrow my guest on Art Focus is Arvie Smith, who has a show up at Beppu Wiarda. He says the show is about the election of Obama, but I see a lot more than that in these paintings and will have to ask him about it.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Eric Vines of Sitka on KBOO

Listen to the interview.

Between W+K and KBOO, I was going a little crazy. But now W+K Radio is going “grey” and reinventing itself over the summer and I am back to one radio show a week.

Tomorrow I will have Eric Vines with me on Art Focus – he’s the Executive Director for the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology. While I have been a part of their gigantic annual group show at the forestry center and have seen their extensive newspapers all over town, I’ve never fully grasped what Sitka does. So tomorrow we’ll find out.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

artist book from 1984

One thing John Brodie and I talked about in his interview were artist books – books in the Store and also, his own book making. I do not make books now but there was a time when I made many. I can’t say that every page was a great piece, but taken as a whole they were good.

Recently I heard from an artist I knew well in the 80s, Ginny Lloyd. She was cleaning out her closet: would I like back the book I made for her in 1984? Of course I would, since she’s asking. The name of the book was Darling, as you see above. That photobooth is Ginny and in fact the book was filled with pictures of her.

- And filled with collage, painting, colored and lead pencil drawings and all kinds of stuff. Above you see Bryan Ferry with some keys. What he’s got to do with Patti Smith’s Babelogue next door, I don’t know, but at some point I just start filling in pages randomly. Clearly I am still in the throes of New Romanticism.

You can tell that I have now started my career in fashion and makeup by then - I was a makeup artist living on Sutter Street in San Francisco.

This was also the initial time I was interested in the target as regards women but had not made any kind of substantial statement yet. It’s like I visited the idea but did not commit. When I started the recent Target Photomontages, I was building on the casual work of 25 years ago. That's Veruschka below, one of my favorite models.

The image below is from an even earlier time, 1980.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

John Brodie on KBOO

John Brodie has organized Store for a Month, which opens June 3rd. Brodie takes his concept from Claes Oldenburg’s “Store” of 1961, inviting artists to make works on the spot and sell them too. One of the works offered is the piece above, Cloud Painting 1 by Arcy Douglass. Over 60 artists are participating. John Brodie will join me on KBOO this Tuesday and tell us all about the store.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Jerry Saltz on Facebook

Some people think Facebook is a timesuck, but it can be the place where you repeat and investigate your obsessions. We may have stated something once or twice or far too many times in our blogs or website. But we can REALLY hash it out on this other gabbier site.

Jerry Saltz has posted at least five posts, all short observations, on the paltry numbers of women artists showing at the MOMA. He’s had to post his views so many times because literally hundreds of responses follow and his page nearly sets itself on fire.

I just had to mention it because more than one person has alluded to gender bias in the art world as tediously “my thing.” But this thing, which is so boring to many, is still a hot topic to others. I was surprised and encouraged – not by the sad statistics of course but by the willingness of so many to be that unfashionable. I think you’ve got to be Jerry’s “friend” to see all these posts, but he’s already got thousands and seems to be pretty generous about that….

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Emily Chenoweth on W+K Radio

Tomorrow my guest at W+K is Emily Chenoweth, who has a new novel out called Hello Goodbye. Previously Chenoweth published a short story in an anthology called The Friend Who Got Away. This novel picks up from that story.

I am right now in the thick of reading the book, which is an interesting place to be when heading into an interview. Some people have raised their eyebrows, as if I haven’t done my homework, but I kind of like it this way. I’m fully engaged and curious and besides, the interview isn’t about spoilers anyway.

The book is based on true life and in another time, another year, might have been a memoir instead. It is also especially meaningful to anyone who lost a parent when young - which I did, and so did Emily Chenoweth. The sweetness of youth is eclipsed by illness and death and things are never the same. Chenoweth has this immense gift for graphically recounting the visual as well as emotional details.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Myles Haselhorst of Ampersand Vintage

This Tuesday I will have Myles Haselhorst as my guest on KBOO's Art Focus. He owns Ampersand Vintage on Alberta, which functions successfully as both a shop and a gallery - and that’s no small feat. Often a space works best one way or another, but Ampersand feels serious about its product, its design as a store as well as what they have on the walls. You could get lost for hours – great art books and ephemera – found images, books, postcards and all kinds of photography.

Ampersand also keeps an interesting blog filled with images and old found graphics. I found the warning about not altering images pretty funny though. Of course they did not make them or generate them in any way but now claim ownership so extensively that they state right in the blog: “You may not alter material or build upon it in the creation of new works.” This is a topic for Collage Clearinghouse indeed! We’ll also talk about their upcoming exhibition of mixed-media paintings by Graham Fracha (see image above) and the kinds of exhibitions they produce.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Katherine Dunn interview on W+K Radio

Katherine Dunn has a new book out: One Ring Circus, an anthology of essays on boxing she’s written over the years. She’ll be my guest tomorrow at 10:30AM on Creative Type, my newly-dubbed podcast at W+K Radio.

When I first met Katherine she was not a boxing fan at all. We met at the Long Goodbye’s weekly open mike poetry readings in 1978. By ’79 I was living in NW Portland, her neighborhood. (The Polaroid above is from that era.) Often we met for coffee and cigarettes early in the morning at her place and she would tell me long stories about how she was dreaming up this fantastic character, this hunchback pigmy girl. Ten years later, we had Geek Love.

I was around when she met her soon-to-be husband and had the honor of doing her makeup for her wedding, when I was hardly the professional makeup artist I would someday be. She was incredibly inspired by boxing by this time, but I’m not sure if she was writing about it yet. I left Portland in ’81, gone for sixteen years. But when I returned, we picked up right from where we left off.

It’s an understatement to reveal that she’s been one of the most important mentors and artists in my life. I couldn’t begin to express it, so I won’t try. Katherine of course is a radio pro herself. In all the time I’ve done radio, I’ve never had her on and I am really looking forward to tomorrow.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Anne Grgich on KBOO

Anne Grgich is a self-taught artist working in the tradition of Outsider Art. She makes books and works in paint and assemblage. She has shown all over the world. She’s also someone who used to live here, traveled all over and now she’s back.

Yesterday I went to her birthday party and she showed me a bunch of books she is working on. Some of these are not “books” as we tend to think of them. They are big mirrors or frames or whatever else she has on hand, sometimes beaded and gilded and totally over the top. Then she mounts them together as though they are book pages. She’s my guest this week on Art Focus at KBOO.