Place gallery gets the boot from Pioneer Place

Also Father Kevin Connell (Bag & Baggage's Lear) is recovering from a stroke, Profile names its 2015 playwright

Did John Dougherty's "Shit Balloons" cross a line at Pioneer Place?

Did John Dougherty’s “Shit Balloons” cross a line at Pioneer Place?

The management of Pioneer Place, General Growth Properties, has terminated the lease of Place gallery, according to Place co-founder Gabe Flores, and the gallery’s last day in the downtown mall will be March 30.

In a lengthy account on the Place website, Flores printed an email exchange he had with mall general manager Robert Buchanan. It starts with an email from Buchanan objecting to the three current shows at Place, and the demand for prior approval of Place shows (at least that’s how I read the bureaucratize). Flores responded with an email that pointed out the hypocrisy of Buchanan’s objections within the context of the other shops in the mall and the thinness of his analysis of the artwork he found objectionable. And then it closes with Flores’s account of his meeting with Buchanan, and a gracious thank you to General Growth Properties for its support of the gallery since 2010.

I have emailed Buchanan to ask for his side of the events Flores describes. When he responds, I will follow up, and perhaps talk a little bit about why contemporary art and a mall were strange bedfellows to begin with!

In the meantime, I will just pause a moment to remember the crazy quilt of shows Place has exhibited over the years, some of the ways Place had some fun with its home in a mall, and re-print the list of shows scheduled at Place for the rest of 2014, the work of artists, curators and institutions that we will miss:

Hannah Piper Burns, Palma Corral, Brooks Dierdorff, Will Elder, André Filipek, Chris Freeman, Jonathan Eric Gann, Nicolo Gentile, Erik Geschke, Ben Glas, Katherine Groesbeck, Joshua Kim, Matthew Leavitt, Rhoda London, Mark Martinez, Albert Navetta, Kayleigh Nelson, Travis Nikolai, The Pacific Northwest College of Art, Roger Peet, Julie Perini, PHAME Academy, Portland State University, Claire Redman, Nicolas Reibel, and Gary Wiseman

Perhaps more later.

Father Kevin Connell, the title character in Bag & Baggage’s production Lear, suffered a debilitating stroke last week, though the news about his recovery from the company’s Facebook page has been positive. According to the latest post on Friday, he had been moved out of ICU, “his strength is improving and he is doing better.”

Having lost its Lear, the company marshalled on with “highlights” from the show, which was a creative intervention into the text to begin with. It’s hard to imagine another version of King Lear that could possibly have continued under these circumstances. But this one did, and did very well, according to OregonLive’s Jerry Boone.

Our best to Father Connell and Bag & Baggage: This would be a good time to make a donation to the company.

Meanwhile, Northwest Classical Theatre Company’s more traditional version of King Lear, with Ted Roisum in the title role, continues through March 30. Here’s what ArtsWatch’s Marty Hughley said about Roisum’s Lear: “Indignation burns and churns in him like magma. There is bullying and bitterness in this Lear, but also biting wit and touching tenderness, self-pity and self-awareness.”

We have LOTS of theater news building up, especially pertaining to the 2014-15 season announcements by various companies. For now, we’ll just drop one: Profile Theatre has announced its subject playwright for 2015. It’s Sarah Ruhl, another alum from Paula Vogel’s theater classes at Brown University. Here’s what Profile artistic director Adriana Baer says about Ruhl:

“Sarah’s work is both profound and mundane. She writes how life actually feels, not how it looks. It’s like she’s tapped into the spiritual subconscious of all of us. Her plays are beautiful and fun and whimsical and lovely. When taken together, her plays give a full picture of our longings and our secret selves.”

The company, still in the midst of its investigation of Sam Shepard, will announce particular plays, schedules and ticket information later.

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