News & Notes: They talk, we listen, arguments ensue

ArtsWatch collects several arts-related talks from the High Season of Portland lectures

Sydney Dance Company dances "2 One Another"/Ken Butti

Sydney Dance Company dances “2 One Another”/Ken Butti

We have entered, somewhat stealthily, the height of art lecture season in Portland. The colleges are loaded with them and so are the major arts institutions. And before I list several that are coming up in the next week or so, I want to state the obvious. Lectures are good things and sometimes they are GREAT things. They can give us new information, new interpretations of old information, new approaches to art or affirmation that old approaches still work. More, we get to size up the conveyors of this information, interpretation and approach, even test them with a question or two. And we do it all in the company of people with similar interests.

By rights, if the lecturer is up to the task, many of these should be packed, and nothing inspires lecturers to raise their game than a packed, expectant audience.

So, ArtsWatch is inaugurating its Hug A Lecture Week. We have nothing to lose but our ignorance!

Shelley Socolofsky at Blue Sky: We mentioned this one earlier this week. Socolofsky is an expert on how to transfer photographic images to textiles, which is exactly what Chuck Close did in his show at Blue Sky. 6 pm Thursday, October 24, Blue Sky. Free.

Iñaki Alday at PSU: Alday is the Chair of University of Virginia’s Department of Architecture and founding principal, with Margarita Jover, of aldayjover arquitectura y paisaje. The firm has focused on urban landscape and park design and public spaces in challenging Spanish cities. The lecture starts PSU’s “Unclad” international lecture series. 6 pm Thursday, October 24, Shattuck Hall Annex, PSU. Free.

Lydia Davis at PSU: As part of the program around YU’s Susan Howe exhibition, Davis will talk about translation, a topic she knows well having translated Michel Leiris’ autobiograhy, “Rules of the Game,” Marcel Proust’s “Swann’s Way,” and Gustave Flaubert’s “Madame Bovary,” among others. Of course, she’s also a very accomplished writer herself (“Varieties of Disturbance” (2007), “Samuel Johnson Is Indignant” (2002), “Almost No Memory” (1997), “Break It Down” (1986)), and she’s won a MacArthur Fellowship, a Man Booker Prize, a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres for fiction and translation.  7 pm Friday, October 25, Shattuck Hall, Portland State University. Free.

Claire Bishop at PNCA: PNCA’s  MA in Critical Theory + Creative Research program brings Bishop, a regular contributor to Artforum and other magazines, editor of “Participation” (Whitechapel/MIT Press), and author of “Artificial Hells: Participatory Art and the Politics of Spectatorship” (Verso). Those publications put her in the middle of some of the most hotly contested ideas in contemporary art as it wrestles with basic problems of making and viewing. 6:30 pm, Friday, October 25, PNCA. Free.

Dario Gamboni at Reed College: Gamboni’s creative retracing of Paul Gauguin’s in  “Paul Gauguin, the ‘Listening Eye’ and the Universality of Art” leads to observations such as this one: “Gauguin criticized the Impressionists for searching around the eye instead of at the mysterious center of thought,” and he advocated working in the studio, from memory and imagination, rather than sur le motif. One should “dream in front of nature,” he also wrote, praising ornament as a “more abstract form of art than the slavish imitation of nature,” and the creators of Persian carpets for having invented a “dictionary of the language of the listening eye.”” 7 pm Monday, October 28, Vollum Lecture Hall, Reed. Free.



Speaking of unofficial celebrations, October’s Dance Month continues tonight when Sydney Dance Company hits town, courtesy of White Bird, for one night only at Schnitzer Hall. They’ll be performing a new dance by new artistic director Rafael Bonachela, former  dancer and choreographer with London’s Rambert Dance Company, “2 One Another.” If you’re in a mid-week slump, these guys will ratchet you out of it.



Shawn Bender at PSU: Because of Portland Taiko, we know something about Japanese drumming, and Bender, the author of “Taiko Boom: Japanese Drumming in Place and Motion,” will add to our store of knowledge with a examination of the rise in popularity of Japanese taiko drumming and distinctions of style and philosophy among contemporary practitioners. 7:30 pm, Wednesday, October 23, Lincoln Recital Hall, Room 75, PSU. Free.

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