Saturday, October 25, 2008

artists wanted

i made french toast this morning for josh and booth the morning (or midday) after we hung out at adam's house with friends late into the night. i drank plenty of coffee, consumed a large amount of sugary syrup, and felt energized and ready to go. it's beautiful here: sunny and in the sixties. a perfect day, one of those most perfect days that seems so full of potential. of course, such a sense of potential could just be the sucrose and caffeine.

booth and i walked north and west to north broadway after brunch to find the portland institute for contemporary art, a very official, important sounding moniker that promises something big and important. alas, after walking all those blocks (really quite a short distance) i was disappointed by what they had to offer. booth and i have not seen any really good art at any of the galleries to which we've been yet here in portland, and i'm beginning to believe that there is no such thing as good art or good artists here in portland. maybe there is a city ordinance against it; there do seem to be plenty of strange municipal rules and regulations here.
we were lured to PICA on the promise of an exhibition featuring a showcase representing one patron's purchases from one artist each year of twelve distinct works. the patron then takes what these artists create and gives them to friends and collectors all over the united states as gifts. sounds interesting right?

what we found instead was more small, boring works which represented nothing more than decorative bullshit. there were small strange sculptures with mysterious titles in french and german which would have looked perfect on an end table or on a credenza perhaps. there were the obligatory paintings representing that meaningless pastiche of found images collaged into a eye pleasing composition. you know i hate art like this. plenty of birmingham artists do it: "oh i found all these images in old books and they were so pretty so i collaged it all together!" really? 'cause that's really dumb and meaningless and you are what's wrong with postmodernism. and then last, but not least, were twelve door mats, woven with bright rectangular patches and a single depressed word like "poet" or "childhood" or "poop" sown into each. were they ironic? were we supposed to infer that we were wiping our feet on each of the concepts? that might have been interesting. but the garish colors were unnecessary and did not add anything at all. the message came across as confused, if that in fact was what the artist was attempting to communicate.

in short, i will completely surprised when booth and i finally do see good art here in portland. of course, as booth pointed out, we could very well put together a gallery with really good art and become an anchor here for art. yet i rebutted that we would have to import artists from outside the city because it looks like no one here has any idea what they are doing.

there is still hope though: at adam's house last night i spied some art that i assume he had made (as he has confessed to us that he attended art school) and the images i saw there looked pretty amazing. and booth and i still haven't been to the gallery openings on alberta st. at the end of the month. i'm hoping i'll see something amazing there.

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