Wednesday, July 13, 2005

An Attitude with the O

A reader wrote in, concerned about the article written by the new FoodDay editor at the O, entitled, quite interestingly "Here's where we're headed with changes". Our reader wrote, "her tone seemed quite condescending to me, it was surprising."

It's not all that surprising. There are a few writers at the O whose opinion I like. Shawn Levy is mostly spot on with his movie reviews. So is Ted Mahar who was put out to pasture a long time ago, yet someone smartly lets us read his take on classics.

We wrote about Randy Gragg and his arrogance - how Portland needs to be rebuilt in his image and likeness.

But the one who makes lots of people giggle, because of his power yet how much he seems to miss the mark is DK Row. I was told that many local artists think that if they got an elephant to pee color on a canvas, he'd do 2000 words. Yet he seems to have missed some important artists that are knocking folks down, like Molly Cliff Hilts, who has foregone the gallery route to become wildly successful and much lauded. Then there's newbies like Laura O'Brien at Open Door, who's imagination has spawned "6 degrees of separation" where the buyers will be connected forever.

I don't envy reviewers, but in a cultural goldmine like Portland, only having one or two great reviewers at our biggest paper sucks.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

well, yes, the oregonian is awful. we need another DAILY newspaper, with integrity, yet entertaining...someone needs to do it. the tribune is nice for the niche it holds but we need a daily to put more pressure on The O.

Thursday, July 14, 2005 12:48:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the article by the new Food Day editor. Anyone who found it condescending has a serious chip on their shoulder. Lighten up, folks. The woman's talking about bread salad!
I would like to see a serious media critic in this town. Schulberg's a joke, always pining for his long lost glory days and wishing news could be like it was back in the good old days. (Commentary? Come on!)
Let's get a real critic, one who does his/her homework, focuses on the local newscasts, and has a clue about the current state of the industry (good or bad.)

Thursday, July 14, 2005 10:08:00 AM  
Blogger PDXMediaWatcher said...

That's why we're here. It's a black hole I'm trying to fill.

Thursday, July 14, 2005 10:43:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And almost nothing on this board is of general interest, and maybe that's why none of the local papers does much. This is a good board for gossip and sniping about ourselves. It's not rigorous or substantive, though (or you would have done more homework on the O's reviewers than you did, just as one example).

Thursday, July 14, 2005 11:01:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Oregonian's art critic(s) write less than informed reviews on artists who are getting attention elseswhere in the country and it makes them seem like provincial reactionaries.

The O glorifies crafts, yet writes the most intellectaually inconsistent reviews possible for the most intellectually valid artists the region is producing.

Examples: Sean Healy, Matthew Picton, Dan May, Jacqueline Ehlis, Claire Cowie, Amanda Wojick and Dianne Kornberg. All have gotten attention from outside of Portland and all have been criticised for being too complicated, slick and "big city."

Thursday, July 14, 2005 1:06:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmmmm. In concurrence, there are few solid reviewers in PDX, one at the Mercury and a few in the past tense Organ Journal of the Arts, however, D.K. does some good exploration, he gets out there and pokes and prods and hits pavement. It's great to see a critic for the focal paper do this.

Speaking of "provincial" - PDX is a big/small town, so get over it! Breath a lil' and realize that the mere mention of artists (again and again) like Ehlis and Picton aren't going to progress the city to stardom (yes, they make pretty pictures) though - in many ways it is can verge on boredom personified. Sean Healy is quite a good artist, but there is a heap of junkola here in town (Wooley bores with his folk-fringe, the art glass stuff at Butters is just too delicate - and overrated artists like M.K. Guth and Mahlia Jensen are really just bad and boooooorrriiinnngggg (Jensen has made a few stand-out pieces, but her overall ouvre is hack)!

What might perk things up is if back-asswards (sorry) like G. Shettler and B. Sureyth would just put down their ego axes and glve up 10-minutes to swallow the bitter pill of possibility herein...I mean, what was up with the lack-lustre Disjecta opening/auction - seemed more like the final condemning of an idea, PMiddy was their only hope, they bit his head off. Sureyth has toasted himself one too many times at others creative expense, Shettler does try, I must hand it to him, and he has just the right amount of caddy aloofness to spare. (Anonymous should talk?)

Mind you, there are smart young(ish) curators and/or writers in town who have been around a bit, who are trying to get things mapped (N. Curtis, M. Brandau, J. Armbrust, J. Jahn). But, in many ways these guys are like "ladies in waiting" most of the time - and it's no fault of their own really as there isn't a solid collective/organization in town that isn't either haphazard, lazy or just plain unprofessional and lousy (Blackfish and Talisman).

Don't be blinded by the stupifying crap that PICA has tried to pull off in the last few years. It was necessary to let go of their former curator, he was just plain dull, his shows had a fairly modest range, but a widow's peak of a educational and promo campaign. The works by moderately known national artists had no point of contact with the untrendy, retro-ness of the growing cosmoside of PDX. A team approach might work better.

But we lost Haze Gallery, which had a lot of promise, an edge, good energy. Eva Lake's Lovelake may be history, but something interesting is brewing with Chambers, a make-over for sure, it will be impressive. Gallery 500 keeps getting better, thanks to the addition of M. Brandau and the money and committment J. Oswald has put into the whole thing. PDX and Pulliam Deffenbaugh still have class, but need to grow-up even more, not personality wise, they are all good people, just expand! Elizabeth Leach is our only national/international hope in terms of showing top notch artists (but who knows what was hidden inside those quilts last month!?

Portland has quiet greatness (T. Hopkins) and bloated one-dimensional perspectives (B. Guenther) - still there are those who try with quirky ideas or some that simply died too young and stayed pretty (Haze, B. Adkins, T. Norris, M. O. Regan, Ogle, pushdot). But before glrifying or castrating, we realize that all these folks add to PDX's magic carpet.

But it is still fun to watch what happens at Zeitgeist and Compound, Stumptown and Basil Howard. Always something interesting, always something....

The point is, Portland is just within the context of the urban growth boundary mentality. Keeping things "smaller" and within context and not blown out of proportion and throwing darts is probably best, but we all wrangle our way through the smallness and make our own path. That's art, ce'st la vie!

Monday, July 18, 2005 3:17:00 PM  

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