The arts in 2013, Part 2: July through December

ArtsWatch looks back on some of the highlights and significant moments of the year

Here at ArtsWatch we’ve been casting our thoughts back to days of yore. Of, like, January 1, 2013, to June 30, 2013. We looked back on that six-month stretch yesterday to remind you (and ourselves) of some of the bigger and more intriguing Oregon arts stories that zipped past our startled noses.

Victor Mack, Jason Rouse in Portland Playhouse's "Detroit." Photo: Brud Giles

Victor Mack, Jason Rouse in Portland Playhouse’s “Detroit.” Photo: Brud Giles

So today, natch – as Old Grandfather 2013 shuffles off into the sunset of rocking-chair recollection – we continue our review, this time covering July 1 to December 31. What can we say about a six-month stretch that began with a radio station and an opera company shacking up together, and ended with a Portland museum showing off the most expensive artwork ever sold at auction – and to an anonymous bidder, at that? As it turns out, we said quite a bit. Below we’ve provided links to stories on some of the top moments in Oregon’s recent cultural history. Give ’em a click and relive those glory days. Seems just like yestermonth, doesn’t it?


All-Classical FM shacks up with Portland Opera on the riverfront. The radio station’s move into the opera complex puts two local titans of classical sound under the same roof (but still separate).

State of the revolution: Classical music went rowdy when a punk-rocker in fishnet stockings belted the Queen of the Night’s aria from Mozart’s “Magic Flute.”

Pander's "New World": among the top 100

Pander’s “New World”: among the top 100

The Rijks Stuff: Dutch-born Oregon artist Henk Pander returned to Amsterdam as an invited guest artist at the grand reopening of the Rijksmuseum: one of his big watercolors was named one of the top 100 works on paper in the museum’s collection, a remarkable honor considering the museum’s massive holdings and the long and rich history of Dutch and Flemish art. He kept a journal on homecoming and the realities of the artistic life.

El Sistema comes to Oregon: Brett Campbell reports on the innovative Venezuelan system of music education and Oregon BRAVO Youth Orchestras’ adapting of it to the home ground.

Shakespeare scholar Daniel Pollack-Pelzner, who’s picked up a few writing tricks of his own from the Bard, wrote a four-part series on Oregon’s “Summer of Shrew” – a plethora of productions of “The Taming of the Shrew” and its variants.

Angela Allen reports on a fox in the hen house: the feisty Opera Theatre Oregon produced Janacek’s “Cunning Little Vixen” on a Sauvie Island farm.

East Side, East Side, all around two towns:  Patrick Collier ambled around Eastern Oregon and checked out the art scenes in Baker City and La Grande.

Intimate, sexy, intense: Barry Johnson tracks the excitement at 2013’s JAW festival of new plays.


A few good bones to pick: A.L. Adams gets good and gritty at Pickathon 2013, the big roots-rock festival on the deep outskirts of town.

Kjerstine Rose Anderson in Ashland's “The Unfortunates”/Jenny Graham

Kjerstine Rose Anderson in Ashland’s “The Unfortunates”/Jenny Graham

Smoke got in his eyes: Barry Johnson pulled into Ashland along with the smoke from the Douglas County forest fire to the north, and stuck around long enough to report on half a dozen Oregon Shakespeare Festival shows, from “Lear” to “Robin Hood” to Naomi Wallace’s “The Liquid Plain.”

New guy in town: After the latest crisis at Oregon Ballet Theatre, former Goteborg Ballet artistic director Kevin Irving moved into the hot seat and began making plans to reshape Portland’s ballet future.

Jack Featheringill dies. The onetime hoofer, who danced with the greatest in some of the biggest hits of Broadway’s Golden Age, became a Portland theater legend as a director and longtime teacher at Portland State, training many of the city’ finest performers. He died in his adopted hometown at 81.

The farewell tour: After 33 years at Marylhurst, turning The Art Gym into one of the most adventurous art venues in the state, Terri Hopkins announced her retirement. Barry Johnson sat down with her and talked about the highlights of a brilliant career.


"The Big Meal" at Artists Rep. Photo: Owen Carey

“The Big Meal” at Artists Rep. Photo: Owen Carey

New era, lots to chew on: Artists Rep kicked off its first season under new artistic director Damaso Rodriguez with a whip-smart production of Dan LeFranc’s family drama “The Big Meal.”

King of the mountain: Marty Hughley reviews “The Mountaintop,” Portland Center Stage’s production of Katori Hill’s theatrical imagining of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s last night on Earth, in his Memphis motel room.

1970s Broadway prison-musical smackdown: “Chicago” or “Kiss of the Spiderwoman”? A.L. Adams saw productions of both, and made up her mind. Pucker up.

TBA: Artist David Eckard sat down with A.L. Adams to talk about “Three Trick Pony,” his collaboration with choreographer Linda Austin for PICA’s annual TBA festival.

Braking the law: Did the Portland Art Museum violate some crucial art codes by presenting “Cyclepedia,” its blockbuster bicycle-as-art show? Art Court considered the evidence.

The long view: Portland artist Erik Stotik created a 45-foot-long painting that stretched across an entire wall at Laura Russo Gallery. On a Saturday morning in the gallery, he talked about how and why it came to be: “I thought about fragmenting a lot. The world is fragmented.”

Detail from Stotik's 45-foot panorama. Laura Russo Gallery

Detail from Stotik’s 45-foot panorama. Laura Russo Gallery

Matt Stangel considers the naked truth about the dance duo Campo’s stripped-down performance at TBA: “butoh for men joined at the penis.”

Flying blind: At TBA, Third Angle New Music played Swiss composer Georg Friederic Haas’s third string quartet. In a planetarium. In the utter dark.

A shot in the art: TBA’s visual-art exhibition, curated by Kristan Kennedy, created a fair amount of intellectual dislocation on the theme of community. Graham W. Bell entered the ideas to see what he could see.

Tradition. Tradition! Portland Center Stage found a lot of life left in its hit musical “Fiddler on the Roof.”

Art and anger (and sex): Matt Stangel found a pot load of it at TBA in A.L. Steiner’s “Feelings and How To Destroy Them,” which is set in a room decorated to look like a porno theater, and pretty much follows through on the theme.


Alas, we knew you. Dance writer and New York native Martha Ullman West writes a touching elegy to New York City Opera, the “people’s opera company,” on its demise.

What hath Florida wrought? Patrick Collier considers veteran Portland artist Paul Sutinen’s new show at Nine Gallery, showing work that Sutinen made at a month-long Robert Rauschenberg residency in Captiva, Florida.

Power and glory at "Samurai!"/Portland Art Museum

Power and glory at “Samurai!”/Portland Art Museum

The power, the glory, the art of war. Bob Hicks takes a look at the Portland Art Museum’s audacious and surprisingly lovely blockbuster show “Samurai!”

Oregon Arts Summit. On a day in October, the movers and shakers of the state’s arts scene gathered at the Oregon Convention Center to figure out how to move and shake a little more. Barry Johnson took it in.

Down and dirty in “Detroit.” Barry Johnson takes in Portland Playhouse’s crackerjack production of Lisa D’Amour’s Obie-winning play and begs to differ with the prevailing opinion.

Still the future after all these years. The Kronos Quartet breezed through town, once again kicking the doors open to the serious music yet to come.

Nacho usual suspects. Oregon Ballet Theatre opened its first season under artistic director Kevin Gibson with some familiar material and its first work by European star Nacho Duato. Martha Ullman West liked what she saw. 

The Apples of our eye. A.L. Adams writes about “Sweet and Sad,” the second of Third Rail Rep’s planned four productions of Richard Nelson’s often brilliant cycle about the Apples, a single family moving through the troubled times of America in the 21st century.

On our toes. October was a giant dance month in Portland, and Barry Johnson sums up the terpsichory story.

Franco Nieto, Ching Ching Wong, Andrea Parson; NW Dance Project. Photo: Blaine Truitt Covert

Franco Nieto, Ching Ching Wong, Andrea Parson; NW Dance Project. Photo: Blaine Truitt Covert

Kalmar’s elusive contract. How much does the Oregon Symphony pay its music director and chief conductor? The symphony’s not saying, and Kalmar himself won’t return phone calls. Why the secrecy? Who knows? It’s a secret.


State of Wonder. OPB starts a new arts program on radio, and Barry Johnson gets the lowdown from host April Baer.

Moving in and out of the box. A performance in Eugene by the troupe DanceAbility raises fascinating questions about space, architecture, and our concepts of what’s normal in the human body.

All squeezed in and someplace to go: DanceAbility

All squeezed in and someplace to go: DanceAbility

A tale of two Salomes. It was the best of crimes, it was the worst of crimes. After seeing and bemoaning Portland Opera’s production of the Strauss shocker, Maria Choban waxed lyrical about a Seattle “Salome” from more than 25 years earlier. She implored: let it all hang out.

Old Two-Face rides again. Theatre Vertigo gives a double wallop to Jeffrey Hatcher’s bold adaptation of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.”

How long has this been goin’ on? On a gilded night at Tony Starlight’s, a half-dozen old pros under the banner of Cabaret Chanteuse showed the new kids on the block how it’s done.

Tea and Crumpet. Kicking off the holiday season, A.L. Adams interviewed the wry and rumpled Darius Pierce, the reluctant elf Crumpet in Porltand Center Stage’s latest edition of “The Santaland Diaries.”


The games people play. Barry Johnson analyzes the erotic action in Harold Pinter’s mind-game play “The Lover” at Imago.

Art (funding) on the edge. The Precipice Fund, a joint project of the Warhol Foundation and the Portland Instute for Contemporary Art, announced $75,000 worth of grants for adventurous projects.

Blowup in Salem. After 19-year veteran Chris D’Arcy’s surprise firing as head of the Oregon Arts Commission and Oregon Cultural Trust, Barry Johnson traces the bewildering bureaucratic lines of authority in state government and asks: Is leading the Oregon Arts Commission an impossible job?

Arts Cabinet post. Following up on the embroglio in Salem over leadership of the state’s two main arts & cultural agencies, Barry Johnson proposes a radical bureaucratic realignment that would create a Cabinet-level arts chief reporting directly to the governor.

OCFLet the new music thrive. ArtsWatch launches a new Web site, Oregon ComposersWatch, as a resource for the state’s  many composers and followers of new music. Gary Ferrington in Eugene and Brett Campbell in Portland man the control tower.

Shaking the money tree. The Regional Arts & Culture Council hands out $660,000 in grants, aiming for the outskirts of art.

Bringing home the Bacon. The Portland Art Museum shocked the art world by landing the most expensive work ever sold at auction ($142.4 million), Francis Bacon’s large triptych portrait of fellow painter Lucian Freud, for a three-month stay. Barry Johnson separates the hype from the bucks from the art.

Francis Bacon, Three Studies of Lucian Freud, 1969. © The Estate of Francis Bacon. All rights reserved. / DACS, London / ARS, New York / Christie’s Images Limited 2013

Francis Bacon, Three Studies of Lucian Freud, 1969. © The Estate of Francis Bacon. All rights reserved. / DACS, London / ARS, New York / Christie’s Images Limited 2013

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