Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sherrie Wolf on KBOO

Listen to the interview here.

In August Sherrie Wolf will show “Faces” at the Laura Russo Gallery. All the paintings of faces are from art history. Each piece is no bigger than a foot square. Some will be hung in a long line-up, some will be put into a grid. If you’re down with your art history, you’re going to see some familiar faces – Wolf has lifted from Rembrandt, Ingres, Vigee Le Brun, Vermeer, Goya, Caravaggio and many others. She seems to have adapted the approach of each individual painter, not just the details of a face. I’m looking forward to talking to her about them on Art Focus this coming Tuesday, August 3rd.

Monday, July 26, 2010

John Callahan


There are a lot of things you could have called John Callahan, who passed away on July 24th. One of them was a flirt. That’s probably how I initially met him. Being wheelchair-bound didn’t stop him at all. We ran across each other often in NW Portland and from first sight, we fell into idle chitchat with no introduction.

When I worked at the vintage clothing store Keep ‘Em Flying, he would come in and we would talk for hours. He was a true street person in the most positive sense, wheeling all over town. When he could not wheel, his van-cab roamed the streets with him in tow. I think most of the time he didn’t even know where he was going. You would see him in bars even though he no longer drank.

As I got my ideas together about a gallery and what I would like to show, I knew that the person was as important as the work. I guess it never was just about the art object. Callahan was multilayered. When I eventually asked him if he made anything like “fine art” – sure enough, he had. They were nudes – women of course - simple line drawings. When I looked at them I knew they would make a great exhibition.

Callahan was only the third exhibition I put together at Lovelake. By this time however I realized what an immense project I had taken on. Sure, Lovelake was tiny. But every artist I had chosen was intense and no child either, fully formed with chops and issues to match.

His show was in October of 2003. All throughout September I would go to his house in the evenings, walking by the circling Swifts at Chapman School. Something about the darkening sky and the determined circles of those birds still reminds me of John. In his house, he would circle and circle around in his wheelchair, restless. The amount of energy pent up in that chair was almost too much to take sometimes. In fact every single time I visited him at his house, I couldn’t sleep that night.

We were both having evolving reconsiderations of feminism during the time of our friendship. Sometimes it was a stand off and I recall him once saying to me right in front of the Laura Russo Gallery: “Do you see those people over there, they’re thinking ‘My God she’s going to hit a quad!’” But I wouldn’t let him get away with that and reminded him that he wished for no special treatment. Things were not stagnant between us and I liked that. I am going to miss him.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Diane Jacobs on KBOO


Listen to the interview here.

This Tuesday Diane Jacobs will be my guest on Art Focus. Currently she has a show up called Bowing to Paradox at 23 Sandy – an installation in the front gallery and a room full of objects in back. The gallery website has plenty of installation shots.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Jeff Jahn on KBOO


Listen to the interview here.

Jeff Jahn blasted into this town over ten years ago, curating group shows with far-reaching consequences. It’s safe to say that the PDX art world, as viewed through the commercial gallery system, seemed overly familiar. His curation of “The Best Coast,” “Play” and “Fresh Trouble” are just a few examples of his success at revealing a different kind of Portland art world. Jeff also co-founded PORT, a website all about Portland art – and he occasionally writes elsewhere (such as for Modern Painters). He is also a practicing artist and this month he is showing Vection at The New American Art Union and we’ll talk about the work on Art Focus tomorrow. OPENWIDEpdx has some installation pics here.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Calvin Ross Carl on KBOO


Listen to the interview here.

He’s got a website. He’s got a blog. He’s got another website. He’s a curator. He’s an artist and he’s got a show called Purple Mountain Majesty right now at Half Dozen. His name is Calvin Ross Carl and he’s my guest this coming Tuesday on Art Focus.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Her Pop Autobiography, Revisited

Twitpic by Victor Maldonado

My foray into the commercial gallery system isn’t linear and anything solid is still fairly recent. I have shown in just about every kind of space you can think of, prisons and hair salons included. Anyone who reads this blog knows I did a lot besides make art. Years ago when the galleries suggested I deliver a biography (as opposed to an exhibition history) I dove in, but I wrote no simple tale.

- And what I eventually delivered was called “Career Suicide.” Such a suicide that after much hand wringing and by mutual agreement, we ditched it.

As it was, I never listed oh so many things. Like that I worked for the York Archaeological Trust, washing and cataloguing pottery shards and ancient bones as head of the finds for a Roman site. Or that I made a recording for the Trap Sampler (Drum Bunny), produced by Greg Sage. Nary a mention of makeup of course, and forget all the body painting too. All of that wouldn’t be pertinent.

But it was also decided that so much of the curating, art dealing, radio interviewing and whatever art activities I crammed in was also “Career Suicide” – because all this meant I wasn’t in the studio, right?

Well I suppose if all the fuss is about abstract oil paintings, it makes sense. Though I disagree, an argument can be made that contemporary painting is about painting. It lives in its own universe, by its own rules.

But thank God you couldn’t say the same about the Targets! They possess the biography, right down to archaeology, art history and lip gloss. It’s like she came out of the closet.

I touched on all of this vaguely in a previous post, Her Pop Autobiography. At the time, it felt more like a recount of facts and history which did not perform as allies. Not so today. I want to thank everyone who came and everyone who wrote about this exhibition.