Holiday Gallery Guide

Celebrate The Magic Garden Strip Club at One Grand Gallery, and support local artists and galleries this holiday season...

These days we’re all defined by our tastes – whether it’s in music, fashion, or food – so don’t forget the visual arts when considering what to buying your friends and family this holiday season. Art is a gift that they can experience over and over again. Art makes the rooms in your home unique, and it’s the best way to support an artist and the local art scene.  With that in mind, let me direct you to the posters that will be for sale under $100 this month at One Grand Gallery.

Magic Garden Last CallIn case you haven’t heard, the Chinatown strip club Magic Garden is closing its doors at the end of December after more than 40 years in business. To celebrate this Portland staple, One Grand Gallery put out a call for poster art “inspired by vintage posters, historical images of the dancing nude, and through re-imagined images, typefaces and symbols of all kinds” for its exhibition Magic Garden: Last Call. With a long history of the nude form in art and painting, there’s plenty of source material to inspire the artists.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn a little history: Magic Gardens opened as a lesbian club back in the ’60s. And while some of you might think my inclusion of an exhibition dedicated to a strip club to not to be your tastes or politics, I’ll just say that the times that I’ve visited Portland’s strip clubs I’ve been impressed with the strength, athleticism, and artistry of movement the women on stage exhibited. These qualities are well worth celebrating in art. Magic Garden: Last Call runs December 530, with an opening reception 7-10 p.m. Friday, December 5.



Confiscated Junk Ship 25713 (The Sellard Ship)-FinalRetouch copyDuplex Gallery – I’m making a point to include this show because even though Eric Petitti is from Boston, the paintings in The No Place People are influenced by Portland’s Shanghai tunnels, and the history of shanghaiing, or as it’s known on the East Coast, pressing. This show is a historical exhibition of a fictionalized future. In presenting his work in this way, Petitti asks us how we construct our own “Historical Truths” through the (mis)representation of people and past events. Duplex also has an online store where works from previous exhibitions can be browsed through and bought.


Michael VahrenwaldHap Gallery –  Michael Vahrenwald photographs banks, built with sumptuous materials and in neoclassical styles, that now host fast food restaurants, retail stores, mom-and-pop shops, and churches. These photographs document the layering of style and functionality as the symbols of the permanence and optimism of the American economy give way to the changing wealth, class and power aesthetics in the United States. Hap Gallery usually commissions a unique series of works from each artist to be sold for less than $100, so you can please the architecture enthusiast without breaking the bank!




elizabeth malaskaNationale – Anyone critical of the patriarchal lineage of modern art has a lot of material to work with.  Which is why there are so many visible references to the “great artists” in Elizabeth Malaska’s paintings. At first glance we might see a vase filled with lily pads, a standing woman, and a chair in front of a tapestry. Closer looking reveals the gun in her hands, and the head a sculpture under the chair. These details and others create an unfulfilled narrative tense with premonition. Elizabeth Malaska: When We Dead Awaken is perfect for the feminists and art lovers in your life!


Buffalo FetishQuintana Galleries – Interested in Native American art and culture? Quintana Galleries has a wide range of works available including Zuni fetish items, Arctic sculpture, Northwest Coastal art, Southwest jewelry, Northwest Coast prints and jewelry, basketry, and Southwest pottery. In addition to supporting contemporary native artists and their creative traditions, don’t forget to sign the petition to get the Washington Redskins to change the name of their football team from a racial slur against fellow Americans.


MitsuOkubo_SpiderlandWorksound International – Spiderland is an installation of drawings by Mitsu Okubo that examines what happens when the body finds itself in conflict with its environment. An LA native with Japanese and Mexican parents, Okubo sought intimacy while growing up with his loud extended family. These contradictions, along with his interest in comics, horror, and porn, feed his work in such a way as to create beautifully grotesque imagery. Whether this will show up in this exhibition is just one reason to go see the show for yourself.


Finally, here are the links to two great maps of the many galleries and art institutions of Portland that have intriguing shows beyond the scope of this brief guide:

Portland Art Dealers Association Galleries and Alliance Members

Duplex Collective’s Gallery Guide

Don’t forget to mention the shows you’re looking forward to below in the comments!

One Response.

  1. I’m looking forward to seeing what my fellow artists have created with recycled materials at the RiPPLe Auction and Exhibition opening at PNCA’s ArtHouse tonight-

Comments are closed.

Oregon ArtsWatch Archives