Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Linkage: New music, moving dogs, passing artists

By Barry Johnson

The whirlwind claimed us for a while there, and the only way back was to check on some of our colleagues.

Whirlwind? Well, it was nicer than that. We sat in on a rehearsal of Mary Oslund's new dance for White Bird Uncaged, for example. It's delightful in the intense way that Oslund's dances are delightful (look for a story about it in January's Portland Monthly). And we saw Center Stage's An Iliad and wished that we had time to meditate in print about the centrality of Rage in that reading of it (not to mention a great performance by Joseph Graves). Other stuff, too, but business intervened and we've moved on for now.

Fortunately, other folks were keeping track!

Arts Dispatch is predisposed toward the following proposition: The more classical music limits itself to the music of previous centuries the less interesting it becomes. It's not that we don't love the music of other centuries. We do. But we also believe that new music that collides with that tradition one way or another is critical to its health overall and to its responsibility to "comment" on our lives today, taking comment in the broadest possible way. And just to be fair, we enjoy that moment of true puzzlement that some new music affords.

Anyway, that's a long way into a link to Ultra, which details a new quarterly music series at Holocene that will combine avant-garde composers with traditional musical groups (classical and pop, as I read it).  The first installment will be Dec. 9 and feature Classical Revolution PDX performing music by composers COPYDaniel MencheMatt Carlson, and Thomas Thorson (links via Ultra). Claudia Meza and Megan Holmes are the curators.

From Anne Adams at Culturephile we learned 1) who exactly Allie Brosh is, and 2) that she moved recently to Bend from Montana. We also learned that we are way behind the curve on her blog, Hyperbole and a Half. The most recent post details the trauma her move to Oregon induced in her dogs and from that account, half-drawn and half-texted, you can get a good idea of what the blog is all about and why it has so many followers. Here's a panel from that account!

We've always wanted to explore with an exhibition the link between Bay Area figurative artists and Portland artists in the 1950s. Not to find specific influences, really. More just to acknowledge that West Coast artists were dealing with the wave of Abstract Expressionism emanating from New York City in creative ways.

A show of San Francisco and Portland artists from that period might lead us into some fertile ground. Seattle, too, for that matter.

In any case, Bob Hicks at Art Scatter notes the recent passing of two of those central Bay Area artists, Nathan Oliveira and Beth Van Hoesen, and his account is well worth a look.

The Oliveira's painting at the right, Nineteen Twenty-Nine, was painted in 1961 and resides at the Smithsonian American Art Museum.