It was recently brought to my attention that my emphasis on the controversy related to Place Gallery’s closure, earlier this year, may have implied bias or partisanship on my part.
So, I am here clarifying that I support all of the gallery efforts at Pioneer Place Mall, and generally, most all of the art activities offered in Portland. I don’t typically get into politics about whose approach or style or efforts are better or worse, who was right or wrong, whose drama was about who said what to whom, etc. If you want to know more about my personal biases and views (yes I do have some, as do all of us), contact me! Maybe we can get to know one another better, and we can each learn something and share something.
We have a beautiful, supportive, inclusive, diverse, and vibrant creative scene here that has grown and sustained itself really successfully over time. It is a special thing that has thus far outlasted outside attempts at categorization, exploitation, or explanation. Having come from a background of the “formal art” world (academic instruction, conservative gallery representation or juried art competitions = the only route to success, having to “make it” in NYC or LA before people take you seriously as a “real” artist, etc.), I have been amazed and delighted to be a part of the progressive art scene of Portland. There is room enough here for everyone’s viewpoint, room enough for even controversy to fuel productive thinking, debate, discussion and problem solving towards furthering our collective goals. It is truly like no other place, and I support efforts to keep it that way. It works best when we all work together to keep it going.
The Portland Mercury has released this article that goes into more specific detail about the shutdown and eviction of Place Gallery at the end of this month. This appears to confirm that the eviction is directly linked to the most recent shows the gallery had displayed- including one that poked fun at shopping and consumerism.
My questions are these: Is Portland becoming so absorbed with finding a way to make a profit off of the “creative class” (who came up with this term, again?) that we are now going to be told what art we can or can’t make? What does this say about the property owner of Pioneer Place, and of Portland as an (up until now) fertile ground for innovation and progress in the realms of community, art, and social analysis/social structure?
Note that there will be a closing show on March 30th- I encourage people to come out and show their support of Place Gallery. Or, at the very least, get a view of some art that is on display for reasons other than mere abject consumerism.