June 2006


Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare’s second annual art show, artist’s reception, and fundraiser is Journey Through the Mind’s Eye.

(Well, actually “Cascadia” is a business, not an artist. And the artwork is not by the staff of Cascadia; the artist’s are people who receive services or housing or something through Cascadia. Only slavish employees or patronizing clinicians identify in this sort of collective “we.” In this case, perhaps both. The show does not take place in one of Cascadia’s dozens of buildings bought with public dollars. And I doubt the show received any financial support from Cascadia – not billable hours, after all.)

Meet the artists, explore visual and other art, purchase your favorites works, and support a studio run by individuals who rely on art to lead them to their recovery from mental illnesses.

Here’s the 2005 flyer for the first annual event. Curious how it links to the Cascadia site – which does not link back. Hmm.

Both of these paintings, the red flowers and the blonde horse, are by James Harger. I am bringing my checkbook, James. I hope you’re there.

Opening Artist’s Reception and Fundraiser Friday, July 7, 2006 6 – 9 PM

I like “Opening Artist’s” replacing the typical “artist’s opening.”

Here’s a bunch of info about prepping for the 2005 event. (PDF file)

At ecoPDX at 2289 North Interstate Ave., Portland, 97227. This looks like a cool place.

Call or write for tickets: 503-552-6265 or events@cascadiabhc.org (this email address does not work for people outside of Cascadia). No price given or address to write to. Phone number is for an admin staff person at Cascadia, not an artist or person receiving services.

Art will hang and remain on sale at ecoPDX until July 30.

For all the promotional blunders, the artwork looks very interesting.

Read – Through art, they master peace of mind – The Oregonian, July 7
Studio – Cascadia Behavioral clients paint their way past society’s labels about mental illness

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To celebrate the 100th post and the 10,000 unique visitor to Portland Public Artwork, we introduce this blog’s photo archive of artworks, now available through Picasa’s web album.

Click here to see the full archive – or in the future simply click on the Picasa logo on the right hand side of the screen.

Currently archive “albums” are divided by the five sections of the city – North, Northeast, Northwest, Southeast, Southwest, and then more specifically downtown, St. Johns, Washington Park, Vancouver Washington, Pill Hill (OHSU) and Portland State University. Photos are still being uploaded, not all are in place now. Close to 250 megabytes of images are now available.

The archive is the largest photographic archive of public art in Oregon. It is not limited to a specific collection, but to the whole city. Because the archive is limited only by geography and artistic merit (and this blog is consistently liberal with both of those boundaries) it will eventually be significantly larger than archives available through RACC or the Oregon Art Museum or the Oregon Art Commission. Once captions to each picture are added the archive will surpass all public internet repositories of public artwork in Oregon, perhaps in the nation, perhaps in the world.

The archive is also completely interactive. Like this blog, you can leave a comment about any piece of art. Please add information! For many artworks, especially non-traditional work, it’s almost impossible to source the artists name or precisely when the work was made. In many places, the archive needs names of the artist, dates the work was made, materials, sizes, titles and background about the work and it’s context.

Please feel free and welcome to use the pictures in any way you like. Of course the archive works perfectly with any browser and cost nothing to create.

Phew.

A series of six shiny silver squared pedestals, about 18 inches on each face, with a large rock on top. The height of each pedestals is measured so the rocks are level as the sidewalk is at a mild incline.

Provocative? No. Beautiful? No. A reminder of our collective experience? No. Happy surplus? No. Expensive crap? Yes.

Right on the SW Sixth Avenue Transit Mall – just one errant bus could take this series out with a hard left hand swerve.

Called Soaring Stones, these were created by John T Young of Seattle in 1990 for the Rouse Corporation’s Park Place Ltd. in 1990. Young is on the faculty of the University of Washington, which also hosts the best of the rest of his awful artwork on their web site.

So who cares? Soaring Stones was paid for and is maintained by the shopping mall – a private concern. It didn’t cost us anything. Just tourists and lawyers and the homeless look at it. And people who ride the bus. And bike messengers. And people who are lost. And people who work at the mall. And lunch time wanderers. And annual parade watchers. Hell that’s sufficient, a quorum.

Regardless of who pays for a piece of public art – as long as it takes a public space it remains public business, our mutual concern. And art is not relative, not in the eye of the beholder, and not something obscure or academic or requiring a license to undestand.

What’s true with Young’s Soaring Stones is 99% of those sharing the sidewalk absolutely ignore it.

Finally, art is hard to make and harder to sell. When bad + expensive art is given a prominent and permanent place, it discourages artists to even attempt to create or market their art. Keeping Soaring Stones, and not sacrificing a bus to demolishing it, is a minor selfish act with wide repercussions.

UPDATE December 2006 – As part of the renovation of the Portland Bus Mall, this sculpture has been removed. Don’t hold your breath for it to reappear.

A twenty-five foot tall message in sign language?

An expensive art school project parked?

A trophy from the former Soviet Union?

An enormous frozen Talos buried under NW 5th and Glisan in a anonymous parking lot?

What the hell is this? Why is it sitting in a parking lot in downtown Portland?


After the controversy of siting the Oregon Holocaust Memorial has died down it’s time to take a look at what’s there.

The location in Washington Park was worth fighting for. It’s absolutely exquisite, calm and quiet, surrounded by high timbers, gardens and winding paths. It’s very accessible, and yet alone – a solemn mystery in the woods.

As you come up the stone path early morning a startling corner-of-your-eye sight. A doll (a child) black (burned?) left behind (abandoned?) set modestly on a curved stone bench. There’s another – what’s that? A suitcase?

Step to the level ground. Trees shape a bowl, bright blue sky above. Things are strewn about a dignified park. A black wrought-iron streetlamp.

What are these things? A child’s shoe. A broken violin. Cracked spectacles. A bent menorah, spilt.

The items make a wandering trail to a heavy solemn wall of stone. Tears are streaming down my face. Why? Because I have a soul.

Approach the gray marble, the mass of text blotted out with tears, gravel crunching under foot. This memory device – this memorial – made by those who followed, to clearly know what happened, to understand the cause and effect, to teach to illuminate to illustrate, to change the hearts of others who follow. The text, beautifully scripted by John Laursen of Press-22, is grueling. Facing the forest wall of life are the names of the families of current Oregonians lost in the Nazi genocide.

Does remembering the past alter the future? Possibly, immeasurably. But the black cloud of hatred and death continues unabated. Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Afghanistan Rwanda, Bosnia, Sudan. It’s happening right now, today.

Can a soul be touched, changed? Absolutely.

So the second function of this memorial, and those like it scattered in civilized communities, is to serve as a placeholder for those who did not survive to create their own memorial. When they arrive, I hope Portland can give them a nicer welcome.

Work begins on long delayed Oregon Holocaust Memorial – The Jewish Review

Oregon Holocaust Memorial – Pacific University, which is part of the Oregon Holocaust Resource Center.

Holocaust Memorial, Portland, OR – City of Dust – blog, July 2005

Holocaust Memorial Finished – The Jewish Review, September 2004

Holocaust memorial dedicated in Washington Park – KATU, August 2004

Very depressing. I strongly identified with the visiting parents who come to see what’s become of the $100,000 in tuition, fees, room & board they’ve paid out.

SHRIEK!

I can’t describe the show, other than the artwork was sloppy and thought-free. I didn’t want to take pictures, and can’t encourage anyone to go visit.

I go to this show every year, mostly because it takes place between this and that for me. Every year there is something that makes the viewer cringe – the nature of developing spirits. But this year the show – across the board – was alarmingly bad.

No – the arithmetic to becoming an artist has never penciled out. If you want educational ROI look at name-brand schools in big cities and prep for MBA and never MFA.

All the Pacific Northwest College of Art spaces are interesting. The equipment is fine. The location is terrific. The cost is steep but standard. The staff + faculty are nice, accessible, usually adequate instructors, and often are still making art themselves. There’s plenty of coffee and the PNCA library is fine, cozy – but very usable.

So what’s the problem? Ahh – the remaining factor. The students.

This poem ran in the Oregon Journal to welcome Alice Cooper’s Sacajawea to Portland’s Washington Park.

In yonder city, glory crowned,
Where art will vie with art to keep
The memories of those heroes green,
The flush of conscious pride should leap
To see her fair memorial stand
Among the honored names that be
Her face toward the sunset, still
Her finger lifted toward the sea!

No history research required here beyond Portland’s parks site.

A bronze statue of Sacajawea, the heroic Shoshone Indian woman who helped lead the Lewis and Clark explorers through the mountains of the west, is located near the Chiming fountain.

Mounted on a rough boulder, it was first unveiled on July 7, 1905, at the Lewis and Clark Centennial. Among those present at the unveiling were Susan B. Anthony, Abigail Scott Duniway, and Eva Emery Dye.

The project was promoted and paid for by subscriptions solicited nationwide by a group of Portland women headed by Mrs. Sarah Evans.

The committee commissioned Alice Cooper of Denver, at that time an understudy of Lorado Taft, to sculpt the statue. It was cast in New York and required more than 20 tons of Oregon copper, donated by Dr. Henry Waldo Coe of Portland.

In April 1906, the statue was placed in its current location in Washington Park. Its inscription reads, “Erected by the women of the United States in memory of the only woman in the Lewis & Clark expedition, and in honor of the pioneer mother of Oregon.”

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