Tag Archives: PNCA

Nan Curtis? Pick up the phone, please

Portland interdisciplinary artist Nan Curtis is the 20th recipient of the annual Bonnie Bronson Fellowship Award. There’ll be a free public reception for her from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Monday, April 25, in the Gray Lounge of Kaul Auditorium at Reed College.

Nan Curtis, "My Mom's Cigarette Wrapper" 2009 cigarette wrapper, paper, frame“My Mom’s Cigarette Wrapper,” 2009

By Bob Hicks

Don’t call them. They’ll call you. But you really do need to pick up the phone.

“My cell phone rang at 8:30 at night,” Portland artist Nan Curtis recalled the other day over coffee at inner Southeast Portland’s J&M Cafe. “My kids had just gone to bed, and — I didn’t know that number, so I didn’t pick it up.”

Then her land line started ringing. This time Curtis figured something must be up, so she answered.

Nan Curtis, "Mom Rocket," 2010. Steel, afghan, pillow.It was Christine Bourdette, the Portland sculptor who was the first recipient of the Bonnie Bronson Fellowship Award 20 years ago and is chair of the Bronson fund advisory committee. Congratulations, Bourdette  said. We chose you. Oh — and you can’t tell anyone for two months.

Just like that, Curtis joined a distinguished list of Oregon artists who have been named Bronson fellows. In order, the fellows include Bourdette, Judy Cooke, Ronna Neuenschwander, Fernanda D’Agostino, Carolyn King, Lucinda Parker, Judy Hill, Adriene Cruz, Helen Lessick, Ann Hughes, Malia Jensen, Christopher Rauschenberg, Kristy Edmunds, Paul Sutinen, Bill Will, Laura Ross-Paul, MK Guth, Marie Watt, David Eckard, and Curtis.

“Those are totally the artists that I grew up beneath. It’s a pretty cool list of people,” Curtis said.

Continue reading Nan Curtis? Pick up the phone, please

Wednesday hot links: Get yer fresh dogs on Rye!

All right, so Mr. Scatter’s been doing this no-meat thing long enough now that veggie franks have actually started to taste good.

At least, if they’re slathered with enough mustard/relish/barbecue sauce/onions/sauerkraut/melted cheese.

And, no, no-meat doesn’t mean no fish or shellfish, or even the very occasional chicken thigh, or (once in a couple of blue moons) a blessed slice of crisp bacon.

Yes, I embrace the vegetable kingdom. No, I’m not fanatic.

Still, most of my links these days are of the virtual variety, a few of which I freely share with you:


To Move, To Breathe, To Speak. Michele Russo, 1960PNCA at 100: Two good pieces on the new exhibit at the Portland Art Museum celebrating a century of the Pacific Northwest College of Art, which began life as the Museum Art School. A few quibbles, a lot of insights and an impressive parade of names from Oregonian arts writers D.K. Row, here, and Barry Johnson, here. Read ’em both and you’ll want to rush right down to see the show yourself. I haven’t yet. I will soon. And if your reflexes are slow, don’t worry: The exhibit stays up until Sept. 13.


LOUISE NEVELSON, OUT OF THE BOX: One of the liveliest, best-written arts blogs in town is Fifty Two Pieces, a site that takes as its starting point artists and artworks in the collection of the Portland Art Museum and follows them wherever its muse travels. Right now the site is concentrating on the great and formidable Louise Nevelson, she of the black boxes. Dig back a few posts and you’ll find a series on Portland sculptor Lee Kelly. You should know this site!


CULTURE JOCK DRIVES TO SEATTLE: … and sees the sights along the way. For anyone who makes that dreary I-5 drive semi-regularly (and don’t a lot of us?) CJ’s tongue-in-cheek record of his recent trip is priceless. Which means you can’t buy it with your Master Card. But you can read it free, here.


HOLDEN CAULFIELD, WON’T YOU PLEASE STAY HOME: For a 90-year-old recluse, J.D. Salinger is a pretty darned public cantankerous cuss. He’s made such a fetish of his desire for privacy and his insistence that his artistic creations are inviolable that by now he’s better known for his churlishness than for the 58-year-old novel, The Catcher in the Rye, that made us aware of his existence in the first place.

rye_catcherMr. Salinger does know the legal profession, and in pursuit of his vaunted rights has made liberal use of it over the years. The New York Times reports here that now he’s suing over copyright infringement — “a ripoff pure and simple,” as his lawyers put it — by the 33-year-old Swedish author of a book titled 60 years Later: Coming Through the Rye.

Now, I’m all for copyright laws and the right of artists to protect their creations. But Salinger has a pretty weird idea of what’s his and what’s out there in the ether to be grabbed and reinterpreted. In Salinger’s mind, John Donne got it wrong: One man is an island entire of itself. Donne, at least, seemed to intuit that life, and art, are about borrowing and sharing and rethinking and creating something new from something old. Salinger thinks they’re immovable ice statues, frozen in time.

According to the Times, Fredrik Colting, the author of 60 Years Later (which revisits Holden Caulfield as an old man of 76), says his novel is a “comment on the uneasy relationship between his imagined version of Mr. Salinger and the Holden Caulfield character: ‘In order to regain control over his own life, which is drawing to a close, “Mr. Salinger” tries repeatedly to kill off Mr. C by various means: a runaway truck; falling construction debris; a lunatic woman with a knife; suicide by drowning and suicide by pills.’

Sounds like Mr. Colting’s caught the contemporary point: Salinger himself is at the center of the Caulfield universe, and putting him there explicitly is a sufficient reinterpretation of and commentary on the original to qualify it as a discrete work.

I do wish, however, that Colting’s defense weren’t sprinkled with this sort of academic obfuscation: “In additional written declarations, Martha Woodmansee, a professor of English at Case Western Reserve University, writes that Mr. Colting’s novel is a work of ‘meta-commentary’ and ‘is thus a complex work, more complex than’ Mr. Salinger’s novel.”


I have a toothache. Leave me alone.

Or I’ll sue.

Scatter gives the money tree a shake, shake, shake…

In this particular phase of the recession, which might actually be worse than a recession, all that anyone can think about is money. Cold hard cash (an expression that implies coinage, actually — I’m imagining Scrooge McDuck’s vault, where he dances a jig and tosses said coinage in the air above his head). Where was I? Yes, cold hard cash. Art Scatter is no different. We can’t help ourselves. We nervously glance at the stock market results, call to make sure our major (and imaginary) patrons are healthy and flush, concoct money-making schemes, pass out the sweaters and vow to save on electricity. And truly, NO money is involved at all in Art Scatter (we’re all about barter), but like we said, we can’t help ourselves.

So, some links to money. Not actual links to actual money, mind you…

DK Row reported that PNCA has nabbed a $500,000 Meyer Memorial Trust grant, with another $400,000 on the way from yet another foundation, part of the art school’s $32 million capital campaign, which will refurbish its building at N.W. 12th and Johnson, among many other things. It’s still $3 or $4 million short, and that doesn’t include another round of fundraising necessary to renovate the 511 Building on Broadway. Some other capital campaigns that could use a boost — Portland Center Stage’s campaign to pay for the Armory building (which was $9 million or so short, the last we heard — looking for an update here!) and P:ear’s campaign to pay for its new home at on Northwest 6th and Flanders (which needs another $1 million).

Oregon arts organizations didn’t do so well in the latest round of NEA grants, at least compared to Washington, which trounced Oregon by a 3 to 1 margin. The list of winners was supplied by colleague Scott Lewis of the Northwest Professional Dance Project, which nabbed $10 thousand. And speaking of dance, Oregon Ballet Theatre received $10k as well and White Bird found its name on a $20k check. Congrats to all and sundry.

Hey, Art Scatter’s got a Senate seat to sell! A Senate seat is worth something, Rod Blagojevich teaches us, so what are we bid? The Chicago Tribune (talk about money problems!) reports that the comedy troupe Second City is excited about the turn of events with the Illinois governor (we are NOT typing Blogojevich again… oops). It’s all about the material, honey, all about the material.

If it’s Wednesday in America, then a Shakespeare theater must be closing (Milwaukee), an opera company has joined the Tribune company in Chapter 11 (Baltimore) and they are talking about the money (and perhaps enjoying the art, too), at an art fair (Miami). Has it ever been thus? Maybe so. But we are reading the tea leaves SO intently these days.

pdXPLORE: Thinking about Portland

Before all of the thoughts generated by the pdXPLORE panel discussion on Tuesday exit my brainpan altogether and my notes go stale, I wanted to get something in a post, even if it’s not completely organized. The five panelists — Carol Mayer-Reed, Rudy Barton, Michael McCulloch, architect William Tripp and Richard Potestio — have each produced elements for an exhibit at PNCA that makes a few stabs at how we can think about Portland’s future in a creative way. I haven’t spent a lot of time with the exhibits, but they didn’t seem integrated into a whole “concept,” at least not to me, so perhaps a more haphazard report makes some sense. So we’ll just jump directly into the highlights.

Portland is a river city. Well, yeah. But both Mayer-Reed and Barton pointed out that the city does a poor job of celebrating its rivers, reaching out to them, dipping its collective toes in them, especially the Willamette. I’ve been hearing this comment a lot lately, which makes me think that the idea of burying I-5 on the east bank of the Willamette may be back in play in a more serious way.

Portland isn’t as green as it thinks it is. Mayer-Reed pointed this out, based on her researches that compared the city to its near West Coast neighbors San Francisco, Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., but several of the panelists mentioned that Portlanders shouldn’t be smug about their density and sustainability initiatives because other places actually have had better results along these lines.
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