Jon Raymond

  • DEED AND TITLE

    THE LAND SURROUNDING the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia Rivers—site of current-day Portland, Oregon, and its greater metropolitan area—was not that long ago one of the navels of continental civilization. The historical homeland of the Chinook, Kalapuya, Cowlitz, and Tualatin peoples, among many other tribes and bands, it hosted a densely populated, multilingual, intricately hierarchical society, engaged in large-scale industry (leaching and warehousing the food staple of acorns in mass quantities), agricultural terraforming (the controlled burning of grasslands and forests), and

  • Kate Newby

    In an era when the monumental has proven surprisingly ephemeral, can the ephemeral conversely have enduring power? At the Lumber Room, the New Zealand–born, New York–based artist Kate Newby brought her peripatetic art practice to Portland, Oregon, for a long-term residency and a shorter culminating show that burrows into intimate modes of perception and leaves a lingering effect. With tendrils extending into the sculptural, the conceptual, and the socially relational, Newby’s work operates on an interdisciplinary cusp, under the sign of what one might call the strongly subtle or the assertively

  • Gregg Bordowitz

    “I’ve always wanted to be a New York, Marxist, Jewish writer of the ’30s; that’s my idea of fun,” said Gregg Bordowitz in a 2007 interview with artist Amy Sillman. In this first retrospective of his career to date, viewers had a chance to see what happens when an ideologically precocious, queer Jewish kid from Long Island arrives in the big city, not in the era of Clifford Odets and Joseph Stalin, but fifty years hence, in an era of punk and plague. What would Delmore Schwartz, the intellectual angel on Bordowitz’s shoulder, do when confronted by the Ramones, the camcorder, and the pink triangle?

  • Cathy Wilkes

    How faint can a signal be and still transmit its meaning? At Yale Union, Glasgow-based artist Cathy Wilkes tested the limits of gallery-based communication with a small suite of unforthcoming images and objects that asked of their viewers fairly extreme levels of interpretive generosity. Those willing to invest in the artist’s elusive system of signification—more like an ambience of suggestion—were rewarded with a fine, almost transparent, sacramental vibration. For doubters, the experience was probably less.

    Hung along the walls of YU’s hangar-like space, low to the floor, were six

  • Joe Rudko

    The technique of photomontage entered the vernacular of modern art in 1916, at the hands of the German Dadaists George Grosz and John Heartfield. Over the years, artists in every era and region, from Hannah Höch to Aleksandr Rodchenko to Wangechi Mutu, have adopted the practice of splicing old images into new meanings. Among the most recent of these is Joe Rudko, a young Seattle-based artist who brings elegant, trippy nuances to the twentieth-century form.

    In Two Point Perspective, 2018, Rudko used fragments of vintage photographs, ripped into small strips or blocks, to create a simple architectural

  • Alix Pearlstein

    In these exceedingly vulgar times, feminists have been forced to develop an array of responses to daily onslaughts of abuse, some blunt, some subtle. Alix Pearlstein’s recent show at Upfor offered a particularly sophisticated take on contemporary power dynamics, in the form of an installation ringing with implacable ontological implications about gender and society that will, sadly, probably still be relevant a hundred years from now.

    The show centered on a piece called Harem ROOM-1, 2016, a collection of toy kittens arranged on the gallery floor in various groupings. Over here, a trio; over

  • Ryan McLaughlin

    Recently returned to the US after a multiyear sojourn in Berlin, American painter Ryan McLaughlin has come home to a changed nation. His country’s public life, always grotesque, has become an outright horror show, riven by daily violence and the breakdown of any common public language. How might a painter like McLaughlin, of such searching intelligence and melancholy sensibility, get along in this stridently polarized era?

    At Adams and Ollman, McLaughlin continued his long-standing practice of graphic appropriation, showing a suite of seven paintings from 2017 that feature hieroglyphic shapes

  • “Contemporary Native Photographers and the Edward Curtis Legacy: Zig Jackson, Wendy Red Star, and Will Wilson”

    Edward Sheriff Curtis (1868–1952) gets a bad rap for a variety of imperialist sins: sentimentalizing his American Indian subjects by posing them in antiquated costumes, deleting signs of contemporary culture from his frames, accepting funding from the arch-capitalist magnate J. P. Morgan, and generally promulgating the romantic objectifications of the hegemonic, colonizing mind. However, a closer look at Curtis’s life and work makes this judgment hard to square. In addition to tirelessly documenting a vast population of marginalized people against the backdrop of genocide, he spent his life

  • Jessica Jackson Hutchins

    Widely known for her sculptures deploying old couches and cast-off furniture as host bodies for plaster obelisks, papier-mâché appendages, and homemade ceramic vessels, Jessica Jackson Hutchins for this occasion commandeered two Portland venues for a joint exhibition that amounted to something like a pocket retrospective of her work to date. “Confessions,” organized by Portland collector Sarah Miller Meigs and Cooley Gallery director Stephanie Snyder, offered Portland viewers a chance not only to commune with a hometown hero on an intimate scale but also to decipher how Hutchins’s crusty, blobular

  • 1000 WORDS: JENNIFER WEST

    IN RECENT DECADES, a handful of artists have displayed a special kink for the place and time of California in the 1970s. Carol Bove, Liz Craft, Doug Aitken, Justin Lowe, Jonah Freeman, and Jeremy Blake, to name but a few, have all reached into the golden nimbus surrounding the years roughly spanning 1967 to 1974 and come back with distilled essences of the forms and thoughts of the American West. Leftist books on wooden shelves, high-flying kites, and psychedelic cowboys have, in their hands, become rich fetish objects implying variously nostalgic, ecstatic, and gothic meanings, if not full-blown

  • Yuji Agematsu

    The use of trash in the making of art during the past century is so widespread as to defy summarization. Dada, Cubism, Arte Povera, and so-called abject art—not to mention the work of every other coffee-shop collagist and front-yard bricoleur—have all greatly depended on found refuse, with as many meanings generated as there have been artists repurposing the rubbish. Yuji Agematsu, a longtime New Yorker enjoying a happy renaissance (thanks in part to his 2012 exhibition at Real Fine Arts) after a twenty-year hiatus from solo exhibitions, uses garbage, too—in his case to elegantly

  • GOLDEN STATE: THE ART OF CHRIS JOHANSON

    AS THE STORY GOES, about 12,000 years ago human beings migrated to the West Coast of North America. They came from Siberia by way of the Bering land bridge and brought with them a system of spiritual beliefs based in rituals of astral projection, animal metamorphosis, and the healing séance. Approxi­mately 11,500 years later, another migration arrived at the Pacific Coast, this time from Europe—human beings of a decidedly more monotheistic bent, intent on transforming the wilderness into an open-air factory of resource extraction.

    At this axis of magic and enterprise, ritual and engineering,