Monday, December 28, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
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
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
Listen to the interview here.
Saturday, December 5, 2009
Monday, November 23, 2009
Monday, November 16, 2009
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.
Saturday, November 7, 2009
Thursday, November 5, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
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
Monday, October 19, 2009
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
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.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
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.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
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
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Friday, September 4, 2009
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.
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.
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.
Monday, August 31, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
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
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Sunday, August 2, 2009
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
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 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
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
“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
Saturday, July 4, 2009
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
Saturday, June 27, 2009
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
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
Monday, June 8, 2009
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
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.
Sunday, May 31, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
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
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
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 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.