Dancing with Signs for the King Neighborhood Association

In September 2011, I made a proposal to the King Neighborhood Association (KNA) to dance with signs on the corner of NE MLK and Alberta advertising their October meeting. The Board happily accepted the free publicity and board members submitted ideas for dance music.


Dancers: KNA Board Members Katy Kanfer and Teri Phillips, King neighbor Becky Miller, and enthusiasts Mack McFarland and Katy Asher
Sign Design: Katy Asher and Lori Gilbert

Dance mix suggested by King Neighborhood Association board members:
1 – Jump, VanHalen
2 – Common Ground, Dave Aude
3 –She’s a Maniac, Flashdance
4 – Burning Up, Madonna
5 – I’m So Excited, The Pointer Sisters
6 – My Sharona, The Knack
7 – Push It, Salt-N-Pepa
8 – Crimewave, Crystal Castles vs. Health
9 – Teachers, Daft Punk
10 – Lose Control, Missy Elliot
11 – Canned Heat, Jamiroquai
12 – Phone Call, Forever the Sickest kids
13 – The Edge of Glory, Lady Gaga
14 – Billie Jean, Michael Jackson
15 – Electric Avenue, Eddy Grant
16 – Hold On, I’m Coming, Sam and Dave
17 – Candy, Cameo


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Art & Money

I’ve been working with the groups InCUBATE and Temporary Services to mount an exhibition at PSU this coming weekend. It will be up for three days – Saturday, Sunday and Monday – so come check it out. Several different events will be taking place in the gallery during the weekend as well, so pair your visit with home-brewed beers and a trivia competition, a currency creation workshop or artist talk. See below for more information!

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The Autzen Gallery Presents Chicago artist groups InCUBATE & Temporary Services addressing Art & Money
PORTLAND – The Autzen Gallery at Portland State University presents works by Chicago groups InCUBATE and Temporary Services May 15-17 during Open Engagement, a conference exploring socially engaged art (openengagement.info). The exhibit demands that we start talking about money and begin exploring alternative economic models within the art world.

With Pilot Studies, InCUBATE introduces their research project on grassroots, community-based fundraising and organizing for creative projects. The exhibit will present their first 5 issues from an ongoing booklet series which addresses everything from how to begin a dinner-funded artist grant program, to pragmatism, to contemporary art in the Ukraine.

Artist group Temporary Services will be distributing their publication Art Work: A National Conversation About Art, Labor, and Economics, a fourty-page newspaper about the state of art during the economic collapse. Articles by artists, critics, historians and activists discuss ways that artists are surviving, alternative funding mechanisms, creative resistance to capitalism and more. Artists and art institutions around the country are distributing this paper and hosting open and explicit conversations about money and its impact on artists and their work.

Art Work features work by Julia Bryan-Wilson, Holland Cotter, Christina Ulke, Marc Herbst and Robby Herbst, Harrell Fletcher, Futurefarmers, Justseeds: Visual Resistance Artists’ Cooperative, InCUBATE (Institute for Community Understanding Between Art and the Everyday) , W.A.G.E. (Working Artsits and the Greater Economy), FEAST (Funding Emerging Art with Sustainable Tactics), Guerrilla Art Action Group, 16 Beaver Group, Teaching Artist Union, Robin Hewlett, and many others. The newspaper is available online at www.artandwork.us and is being distributed for free throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico.

On Saturday, May 15 from 9PM-midnight, Portland’s Gallery Homeland teams with InCUBATE to host a Trivia Night cocktail party to launch the Portland Artist-run Benefit Society, a mutual aid society for artist-run spaces and projects, organized in collaboration with Katy Asher and others. This event will feature Team Trivia play, hosted by Randall Szott, home-brewed beer by Eric Steen and herb-infused vodka by Sam Gould of Red76.

Exhibit and all related events take place at the Autzen Gallery, 2nd Floor Neuberger Hall, Portland State University

May 15-17, 2010 Open hours in gallery Saturday & Monday 9am-5pm, Sunday 2-5 pm
May 15 2:30-4:30 Makin’ Up Money: Alternative Economies Workshop with Maiko Tanaka and Chris Lee
May 15 9pm – 12am Trivia Night for the Artist Run Benefit Society, hosted by Gallery Homeland
May 16 2:30-4:30 Artist talk with InCUBATE, Bitter Melon Council, Broken City Lab and students from the Public Practice MFA program at Otis College

InCUBATE is a research institute dedicated to exploring creative approaches to arts administration and arts funding, particularly for those doing non-commercial creative work. The group organizes exhibitions, publications, lectures, and meals to figure out how to collectively achieve new possibilities.

Temporary Services is a group comprised of Chicago-based artists Brett Bloom, Salem Collo-Julin and Marc Fischer. Temporary Services produces exhibitions, events, projects and publications that blur the distinctions between art practice and other creative endeavors.
galleryHOMELAND is a Portland, OR based non-profit arts organization advancing awareness of Portland’s rich cultural community by creating new opportunities and lasting cultural exchange in a unique series of programs focused on exporting local arts and artists and importing national and international art and artists.
The Open Engagement conference is an initiative of Portland State University’s Art and Social Practice MFA concentration and co-sponsored by Portland Community College and the MFA in Visual Studies program at Pacific Northwest College of Art and supported by the Cyan PDX Cultural Residency Program. Directed by Jen Delos Reyes and planned in conjunction with Harrell Fletcher and the Portland State University MFA Monday Night Lecture Series, this conference features three nationally and internationally renowned artists: Mark Dion, Amy Franceschini, and Nils Norman. Open Engagement is made possible through generous support by:
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**Sweet awesome exhibition illustration (above) by Rudy Speerschneider.

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Open Engagement – What’s going on?

Open Engagement will be happening in Portland next weekend – May 15-17. It is free and open to the public, so come check it out!
All sessions are open to the public with the exception of a workshop and two dinners organized for conference presenters/contributors limited due to logistical reasons.
Sausage Portrait, anyone? Also, check out the Wild Food Cook-off, late night dance parties and bus stop operas.
Catalogue Schedule

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An Artist-run Benefit Society for Portland

As part of my interest in alternative economic models for artists, I chose to invite the Chicago group InCUBATE to put on a gallery show at PSU in May for the Open Engagement Conference. InCUBATE decided to participate, inviting me to try out an idea they’d been working on in Chicago with local Portland Artists – thus was born the Artist Run Benefit Society.

A large number of artist-run groups and spaces in Portland and Chicago operate outside of traditional funding models represented by commercial galleries and the cultural non-profit sector. The Artist Run Benefit Society is a volunteer association designed to increase opportunities for collective fundraising and provide social and educational frameworks for Portland’s independent art groups and spaces to support each other, share resources and contribute to their community. The Benefit Society format is derived from the tanda, a monetary practice formed by a core of participants who agree to make regular contributions to a fund, which is given to each contributor in rotation. Such a form is often utilized by Mexican and Latin American immigrant communities as means of establishing informal credit when the use of banks is not a viable option. One of the most essential elements to any Tanda system is a mutual trust amongst all contributing members and a shared faith in the value of the community itself.
I am still looking for more members for the Society – so if any of you out there have questions or are interested in participating, please contact me!

How it works:
The ARBS runs on a cyclical basis, lasting as many months as there are participating artist groups/spaces. The initial cycle will include six local groups and therefore last six months. We are still finalizing which groups will participate, but at this time Igloo Gallery, SEA Change Gallery, Mike Merrill (pending investor approval) and Signal Fire Arts have stated interest in participating.

The ARBS functions in two parts:

Part 1:
Six member-organizations pay $10 monthly membership fee. That membership fee goes towards an administrator (me) who will work on a part-time basis (6 hours/month) on behalf of the members of the Society. The administrator will serve as primary liason between member-orgs and Fractured Atlas, a national fiscal sponsorship agency which:
· provides grant listings
· allows the member-orgs to apply for grants, and
· enables the ARBS itself to be tax-deductible in case outside funders want to donate to the group at large.
In the case that the ARBS does receive a grant or additional funding, those monies can be allocated to all the members as a bonus.
The administrator’s duties will be decided by the group, however possible tasks for the administrator include:
· assisting with organizing the bar night (below)
· sending weekly emails to the group listing available grants
· grant-writing or cultivating donations for the Portland independent community, or
· updating a website with a shared calendar showing member group activities and events
Part 2:
The ARBS will partner with a local bar or cafe who will agree to give part 15-20% of their proceeds one night per month to the Benefit Society. Each of the groups will sign up for a month during the credit cycle to take responsibility for promoting that month at the bar among their networks and taking home the proceeds percentage for their org to use however they wish.
Artist-run spaces and groups, by being mutually invested in the fund itself, will hopefully have an interest in attending each other’s fundraisers and building the community of participants outwards. The fund accrues value the more the community invests in its well being, meaning that it will become a sustainable model based on the group’s level of commitment to making it work. In essence, the Society is an experimental community bank in which artists can have a platform for sharing resources and discussing creative fundraising tools.

History of the Artist Run Benefit Society:
InCUBATE, a group of radical art administrators from Chicago, began work on a project called the Artist Run Credit League in 2008 as part of the exhibition Artist Run Chicago at the Hyde Park Art Center. In the initial structure, the League was set up to work so that each group would pay $20 dollars per month. Each month of the credit-cycle, one ARCL member would be paid the full amount of their individual credit. So, if 10 groups participated, the credit cycle would last 10 months, and each member would receive $200 during one month of the cycle. In the initial version, members were also required to throw one fundraiser per credit-cycle to raise at least $200, the collective sum of which would be distributed equally to all members on a quarterly basis in addition to the rotating monthly distribution. The Chicago version of the Artist Run Credit League developed through discussion with groups in Chicago but hasn’t yet begun functioning.
In order to better understand how to make this model work, InCUBATE is working with Portland artist and organizer, Katy Asher, to begin a League in Portland as part of their participation in the Portland State University Open Engagement conference in May 2010. Katy met with several Portland artists to sense out their responses to InCUBATE’s Credit League. Based on the input from Portland, InCUBATE adapted their model, changing the allocation of the monthly membership fee, and introducing the idea of the popular event in Chicago called the “Peace Party,” held at a place called Danny’s Bar which gives 50% of the bar’s proceeds to a different cause each month. These changes are meant to ensure that the person administering the group does not have to work for free, and that groups will raise more money than they initially invest while simultaneously connecting with others in a community event.

When will it start?
The Portland Artist Run Benefit Society will kick-off with a trivia night and cocktail party on May 15, 2010 at Portland State University. Funds raised at trivia night event will go to the Portland Benefit Society as seed money for their first credit cycle.

Web articles relating to the Credit League:
Journal of Aesthetics and Protest: www.journalofaestheticsandprotest.org/7/tanda.html
Frieze Magazine: http://www.frieze.com/issue/review/artists_run_chicago/

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Signal Fire Residency

Signal Fire is collecting applications for their next round of residencies in the summer of 2010.

It took me a while to post about the Signal Fire Residency I went on last fall because I’ve been trying to collect some photos to accompany my writing. Signal Fire provides residencies in the Mt. Hood National Forest to selected artists from a range of practices. Each summer they bring the artists out to the forest and provide them with food, maps, a bicycle, battery power and shelter for work and sleep space. I was one of the ‘guinea pigs’ for their first summer of residencies and was lucky to take along some friends, Michael Reinsch, Eric Steen and Ariana Jacob when I went.

I’ve been waffling about how much detail to go into in my post about the trip, and have finally decided to use the structure of an “official list” that Michael, Ariana, Eric and I made during our stay as the starting point for the following.

Signal Fire Residency Schedule, Sept 25-27, 2009
Michael Reinsch, Ariana Jacob, Katy Asher and Eric Steen

On Wednesday, we were all excited to go down to Clackamas River which we could hear from our campsite. From there, we agreed that we should figure out a way to cross over to the other side and go poke around in the Big Bottom old growth forest on the other side. Amy (one of the Signal Fire organizers) had made a point of showing us where to go, explaining that this area had recently been designated wilderness, and that it was some of the 3% remaining old growth in the Pacific Northwest. Ariana curled up in the roots of some ancient trees while Eric, Michael and I spent a couple of hours collecting various mushrooms from the carpet of pine needles and moss and trying to identify them using the guides we’d found in the trailer.

After limited success at finding anything edible, we started pelting Ariana with the mushrooms, eventually heading back to camp to figure out sleeping arrangements and make some food. Eric and Michael both wanted to sleep in their own tents, while Ariana opted for the cushions she had spotted in the back of the suburban. I quite happily set up shop in the bed in the trailer. Ariana realized that she needed to drive back into town to make an emergency phone call, and by the time it got dark, she still hadn’t returned. We lit Michael’s camping lantern and carried our chairs and dinner up to the road to wait for her in the case that when she returned she wouldn’t know where to turn off to find us again. We waited and waited, and flashed our lights at a lot of cars that weren’t her. We wondered if she had gotten lost and had gone home for the night. After completing our dinner and drinking some wine, Ariana finally showed up, and we spent the rest of the night taking turns telling our life stories.


During breakfast on Thursday, we sat around the campfire and took turns reading aloud from the first chapter of Spell of the Sensuous. Afterwards we had a long conversation regarding the possibility of thinking outside of the human-centric state of mind and whether we could think in terms of something that was non-human and non-animate, such as a river or animal. After lunch, we went down to the river. Ariana went for a swim while the rest of us sunned at the bank and later, Ariana collected some musky smelling swamp mint to make tea with.


On Friday, we decided to try and locate Austin Hot Springs which showed up as a small grayed box on our map down the road from where we were camping. We set out hiking, stopping to note familiar landmarks and refer to the map.
We actually stopped and looked at the map a lot. After hiking for a couple of hours, we stopped at a place that we thought might be the springs and I took a nap while Ariana and Eric tried fording the river to see if maybe the warm water was on the other side. Eric ended up coming back, while Ariana got stuck first on the far side of the river and then in mid stream.

After several half-fordings, backtrackings, and foot warmings on the hot rocks she hiked about a quarter of a mile upstream and crossed there, and climed a vertical hill to meet up with us. We spent that night in the warmth of the trailer night talking about the first time we each met one another and discussing our respective MFA programs in true art-student fashion.


Not to be thwarted by our failed attempt to find some hot springs, the next morning we got up early and drove to Bagby Hot Springs seven miles further down the road. While we soaked, we read aloud from Drop City. Upon return from Bagby, we spent several hours sitting in the sun discussing what we would make for the Signal Fire Soft Shovel show which was opening 4 days after we returned to town. We got out a typewriter, markers, paper and sketchbooks. Upon deciding to make and bury a time capsule as a gesture to what the residency might mean to us in the future, we spent the evening developing a detailed list (much more detailed than this recounting) of everything we experienced during the preceding days, read aloud from Ivan Illich in conversation with Jerry Brown and played the card game Shit Boots.


On Sunday, we got up, ate breakfast and started to take down camp. From there, we each completed our contributions to the time capsule just before Amy arrived to help prep the trailer for its trip back into Portland.
Our Bibliography: Drop City, Spell of the Sensuous, Ecotopia Emerging, National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms, The Gum Thief, Clackamas Ranger District Vicinity Map 2002, Love and Community (Jean Luc Nancy), Cabinet Magazine Testing Issue, The Rights of Man, Artist Placement Group: The Incedental Person, his art and ideas, City Works, All That the Rain Promises and More

Other: Much discussion of gastro-intestinal bombs and shovel-visits.

Tmp00033.jpgWe buried the time capsule and drove back into town.Tmp0002F.jpg

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The Incidental Person at Apex Art

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As an employee of Oregon’s largest university, I am enmeshed in a bureaucratic machine both monstrous and humorous. I interact with administrative assistants in a similar position to mine throughout the university system on a daily basis.
For a show called The Incidental Person, currently up at Apex Art in NYC, I’ve collected phrases from my colleagues that they wish they could stamp on the paperwork passing across their desks and service windows. The result (as seen in the phrases at the top of this entry) is a collection of rubber stamps less invisible and less anonymous than Date Received, Copy, Urgent or Paid.
Contributors to the collection include: Dan Ward, Cashier; Rachel Browne, Cashier; Sarah Roberts, Data Specialist; Andrew Bremner, Program Assistant; Connie Blumthal, Receptionist; Ruby Ramirez, Office Specialist; Colyn Ward, Office Specialist; Mercy Joy Luebke, Human Resources Coordinator; and Trudy Pellechia and Tammy Hooper, Human Resources Assistants.

Antony Hudek on The Incidental Person:
“The late British artist John Latham (1921-2006) coined the expression “the Incidental Person” in the context of Artist Placement Group, known as APG, which he co-founded in 1966 with Barbara Steveni, Jeffrey Shaw and Barry Flanagan. Contrary to most artist placement schemes, APG emphasized process, interaction and the artist’s independence in relation to the host institution, rather than any short-term tangible outcome. Like an unbiased observer or a third-party mediator, the Incidental Person placed through APG in industry, government, education or the non-profit sector would negotiate the terms of the invitation from the institution in question and adapt the nature of her or his intervention accordingly. This incidental function, as Latham explained, “is more to watch the doings and listen to the noises, and to eliminate from the output the signs of a received idea as being of the work.” Latham stresses the incidental person’s approach, that is, a certain position or attitude vis-à-vis the context in which she or he is placed. In other words, the identity of the incidental person is secondary to the effect she or he has on a given situation, for the aim of the incidental person is not to be anything in particular but instead “to generate maximum public involvement, and maximum enthusiasm which goes with the involvement.”

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