The Famous ArtsWatch link post: #2 2012

Detail of Scott Weaver's "Rolling Through the Bay"/Courtesy Tinkering Studio Flickr site

The New Year turns and suddenly we are awash in delicious linky goodness, (much of which appeared first on our Facebook page — we hope you’ll like it today!). We have a little of everything, including David Letterman stepping on his tongue!

“The Simpsons,” we all know, is the brainchild of Portland born-and-bred Matt Groening, and the show feeds voraciously in the pop-culture trough, so maybe it doesn’t come as a complete surprise that “Portlandia,” ratings on the rise, will be featured on the show next Fall. Or, rather Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen will be, playing a hipster couple that moves in next door to Homer and Marge.

The idea of MK Guth in Vegas creates the same frisson with us as the idea of Daniel in the den of lions — Guth’s artwork is so social and so intimate and Vegas is so anti-social and so shallow. Or maybe, we’re being too hard on Vegas, because the Cosmopolitan recruited her to do one of her signature pieces, a long braid adorned with white ribbons, each with a wish from a passerby. Cool, though we’re wondering how many were some variant of “win the big jackpot.”  Art in American reviewed the show.

Artist/curator/critic Jeff Jahn has written an op-ed for the Portland Tribune that describes the vital Portland art scene and points out ways to make it better — more shows of important Portland artists at the art museum, more exhibitions of cutting edge work at Portland art galleries and more support of the small alternative scene from RACC.

“No city owns its artists, but a city can choose to (either) support or take its artists for granted.

To be overly simplistic, Portland became a 21st-century leader because it rejected both of the 20th century’s main models: Manhattan’s top-down corporate verticality and LA’s car-driven suburban sprawl. Instead, as a more 19th century-style city of shopkeepers and artists (defined by our citizens more than institutions), we should own the title and take care to not become complacent.”

We weren’t the absolute last people to see this amusing BodyVox video, “Learn to Speak the Body,” but were close. When we dropped by the first time it had 2,658,947 hits. Now, it’s up to 2,659,603. Mitchell Rose and BodyVox are funny!

On the West Coast, we have our obsessives. You know that. Here’s a guy in San Francisco who has spent the past 35 years creating his own vision of the city — out of toothpicks. And it’s kinetic.

We love the Tacoma Art Museum’s Northwest Biennial, the 10th installment of which opens on Jan. 21. One of the things we love best? Seeing which and how many Oregon artists they plucked for the show. This year? Lots and lots of interesting ones.

Calling all playwrights: The deadline to submit your script to the JAW festival at Portland Center Stage is Feb. 1. Rules in the link.

The LA Museum of Contemporary Art has developed terrific, downloadable art curricula for all grades. We all know the connections between teaching the arts and success in school by now, and MOCA makes it easier than ever. There’s also a section for parents.

Literary Arts announced the finalists for its Oregon Book Awards, and we’ve never seen categories so full of great nominees as they are this year. And so great books are missing! Is this the Golden Age of Portland arts and letters? Yes, we think it is.

No, Dave, it is Blind Pilot and they make some pretty great Portland pop.

ArtsWatch regular Lisa Radon writes about Portland painter Laurie Danial for Art Ltd. What does Danial have to say about it? “After a time,” Danial recalls, “I ended up saying the heck with it, and went back to the way I’ve always worked, and that was just approaching painting from a place of something coming from nothing.”

Why do the arts rile people? What are some of the consequences of the protests? Steven Tepper has some answers: “…I looked at all the various things that might correlate with the cities that the highest rates of protest over a four year period in the 1990s, it was the rate of immigration in the decade prior that most strongly determined whether a city was a high city or a low city in terms of its protests levels. Cities that had experienced rapid population changes, in particular if the percent of foreign born had grown significantly, those cities were the most contentious in the late 1990s.”

The next Gus Van Sant project is the old Matt Damon/Dave Eggers project? Well, yes, it very well might be.

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