out the First Thursday connection
music to make art
and music are twisted together like braids in a cruller. It's not
a revolutionary concept, but maybe one so obvious that it needs
someone to wave one of those cone-like orange flashlights in front
of it so that we keep noticing.
Gallery on First Thursday: music works its magic more quickly
than a painting putting people in a headspace to appreciate
Tonight I'm hitting the nasty streets of Portland's
Pearl District to see if any First Thursday shows are pounding out
Audio stimulation is vital in aesthetic life, and
most artists listen to music while working. In fact, what they listen
to often dictates what and how they create.
Music is a power-player in the viz-arts scene. And
lots of artists are musicians as well making music to make
art to, perhaps.
So why are musical-themed/enhanced show openings still a minority,
especially in the Pearl? Are gallery owners afraid to disrupt the
solemn air of art appreciation (read: buying)? Sure, a lot of buying
is going on, but why not throw out a little convivial music to accompany
the wheel-greasing wine and make the event more honestly the faux-continental
meet-and-greet it really is?
Maybe artists could take charge and play the music that inspired
them to create what now hovers like an icon on a virginal white
wall. Art is supposed to be all about process, right? So bring some
process into the gallery.
My process starts at the Lowbrow Lounge, listening to talk-bubbles
wobble from topic to topic while watching foam-rings stratify inside
my glass. A room full of light talk can be as relaxing as waves
breaking on the gentle shore all afternoon long, which is a nice
space to be in while seeing and being seen.
young crowd: bringing some process into the gallery.
Naught but hushed tones at Pulliam Deffenbaugh where Jeffry Mitchell's
kitschy vacuum-formed graphic-design bears and paintings of cute
waterfowl capering among the fluffy clouds ("The Apotheosis
of the Penguins") share space with gleeful Babar-like ceramic
elephants. Modern and classical Hello-Kitty cuteness.
The schtick is heavier at Alysia Duckler, featuring colorful, heavily
textured chain-link-and-horizontal-line partite canvases, but no
music. I'd be interested in hearing what Scott Sonniksen listened
to when painting these optically pleasing (if not somewhat garish)
The music's all on the street, with violins, didgeridoos and more
exotic instruments on many corners, played for fun as much as money.
Even the Starbucks on Glisan features small combos on First Thursdays.
collusion: not buying much other than lattés.
The Backspace Gallery and many galleries at Everett Street Lofts
go the DJ route, a pure appropriation art if ever there was one,
but one that works its magic more quickly than a painting
hopefully putting people in a headspace of aesthetic euphoria needed
to really get into art.
So, while seeing art that you wouldn't find at any Pearl gallery
(desiccated condoms on clotheslines) you can jam out to Metronome
spinning "microelectronic funk," too.
But Backspace goes synergistically further than just a DJ, pointing
out that music is only a small part of creative life life
that includes (in the Backspace business plan) a coffee bar, Internet/gaming
terminals, old-fashioned arcade games, art and more.
The lively young crowd may not be buying much other than lattés
I wouldn't touch this late at night, but they are buying into artistic
collusion, where microprocessors, mochas and, most importantly,
music, cuddle up together where they belong.