Oregon Cultural Trust

VizArts Monthly: TBA is here! Plus other happenings in September

Lindsay Costello has the inside scoop on September's arts offerings in her monthly column.


For many of us, PICA’s Time-Based Art Festival (TBA) signals an impending change in season. Inching closer to autumn, it’s again time for the iconic festival to challenge the status quo with inventive performances and panel discussions. Starting mid-September, local and global converge when artists share work that pushes boundaries, and this year, the festival offers pay-what-you-can pricing and a single-pass structure. Start planning now. Events fill quickly, and you’ll have both in-person and digital options to choose from (details below).

If you’re comfortable attending in-person events, Church of Film returns to the Clinton St. Theater with more experimental film programming this month, and several galleries are presenting exhibitions on significant themes of upheaval, hegemony, climate, and the unknown. September promises a series of art happenings that will challenge the viewer on the most pressing issues of our time.

Emily Johnson pictured, Image courtesy PICA

Time-Based Art Festival
September 16 – October 3, 2021
Portland Institute for Contemporary Art (PICA)
Various locations

Portland Institute for Contemporary Art’s (PICA) annual festival of performance, film, workshops, lectures, and more has arrived! Since 2003, the Time-Based Art Festival (TBA) has gained a reputation for its commitment to intense, innovative performances and interdisciplinary artworks. This year, with additional COVID-19 precautions in place, TBA offers a robust calendar of events. Several stand out:

  • Let ‘im Move You: Intervention: jumatatu m. poe & Jermone Donte Beacham, co-presented with On the Boards and REDCAT.
    October 1 and 2, 2021, at 6 PM; exact location revealed prior to performance

    In Let ‘im Move You: Intervention, which first premiered in three Philadelphia neighborhoods in 2016, jumatatu m. poe and Jermone Donte Beacham seek to activate the sidewalks and alleyways of historically and/or predominantly Black neighborhoods. Drawing on the structure of J-Sette, the live outdoor performances work “to reveal the powerfully singular expression that can emerge within this highly regimented dance.” This choreographed series of works stems from the artists’ decade-long research into J-Sette performance and the performance of joy. Jermone Donte Beacham will also take part in an online panel discussion on October 1 that further explores the Black queer majorette dance community.
  • The Drift: Garrick Imatani and Travis Stewart.
    September 17, 2021, at 12 PM, and October 3, 2021, at 6 PM; PICA Resource Room, 15 NE Hancock St. Portland.

    The Drift is a “visual archive of the future, where the politics and excuses for failed Indigenous repatriation are bypassed through an inexplicable force that returns all that is lost and stolen.” Garrick Imatani, Travis Stewart, and the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde collaborated on this project, which combines virtual reality, a publication and screening, digital fabrication, and photography. Stewart and Imatani will also participate in an online panel discussion on September 18, further elaborating on The Drift‘s themes of repatriation, healing, and Indigenous futures.
  • GOOD MOURNING: RITUALS FOR DISPLACEMENT: Mia Imani, curated by Wa Na Wari.
    September 19, 2021, at 12 PM; meeting locations revealed prior to performance

    Mia Imani, an international interdisciplinary artivist (art + activist) and arts writer based in Berlin, creates works that live in liminal art/science spaces to address personal and communal traumas of disenfranchised communities. Imani melds dreams, rituals, ethnography, geography, and psychoanalysis to create new visions, activated through experimental reportage and more. For Imani’s performance of GOOD MOURNING: RITUALS FOR DISPLACEMENT, the audience will move to three different locations, all accessible to those with mobility devices.
Work by Michelle Ramin, image courtesy Stumptown Coffee

Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea: Michelle Ramin
July 23 – October 23, 2021
Stumptown Coffee (downtown location)
128 SW 3rd Ave, Portland (Mon-Thurs 7 AM – 3 PM, Fri-Sun 7 AM – 5 PM)

Painter Michelle Ramin is Stumptown Coffee’s newest Artist Fellow, and in Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea, she displays a new series of paintings begun in pre-pandemic 2019. Throughout the last year-and-a-half, Ramin has taken keen notice of the visuals within society’s fracturing: upheaval and violence, wildfires, ice storms, heatwaves, and more. Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea considers the idea of an unforetold “happening” and the resulting halt of modern society. In thinking on this apocalyptic theme, Ramin’s color palette and her paintings’ materiality responded intuitively, resulting in “putrid” hues and globs of paint like “discarded matter.”

Image courtesy Church of Film

Church of Film
September 15 and 29, 2021
Clinton St. Theater
2522 SE Clinton St, Portland (8 PM showtimes)


All Classical Radio James Depreist

Church of Film, creator/programmer Muriel Lucas’s gathering for cinephiles (and all fans of the weird and dreamy), recently returned to in-person viewings after a pandemic hiatus. The Church of Film screening series takes place twice this month at the Clinton St. Theater; check their schedule for film details closer to the showing dates, or view the Church of Film archive to get a flavor of what might be showing. (There’s a good chance that whatever it is, it will involve supernatural folk tales, queer texts/subtexts, feminism, uncanny valleys, decolonization, gender deconstruction, antifascism, dissent, and/or more, all within twentieth-century cinematic canons!)

Work by Sharada Tolton, image courtesy Helen’s Costume

September 12 – October 12, 2021
Helen’s Costume
Private address (Sunday 1 PM – 5 PM and by appointment)

Helen’s Costume, the free-spirited contemporary gallery housed in a domestic space in SE Portland, has a new location (obtain the address by making an appointment) and a new show, “opening”, celebrating the occasion. The exhibition features work by Portland-based artists Elmeater Morton and Chris Johanson, as well as California artist Sharada Tolton (editor/designer of Neuro Fuzzy Press). “Opening” remains mysterious, but seems to contain themes of mirrors and the abyss, gaps and veils, smoke and sunsets.

Image courtesy Melanie Flood Projects

August 14 – September 11, 2021
Melanie Flood Projects
420 SW Washington St. #301, Portland (by appointment)

Demos/desires highlights artworks by Alima Lee, Christine Miller, D’Angelo Lovell Williams, Devin N. Morris, Elliott Jerome Brown Jr, Jasmine Monsegue, Malcolm Marquez, Pierre Davis, Shikeith, sidony o’neal, and more. The exhibition was curated by Clifford Prince King, a NYC/LA-based artist, and challenges the white supremacist and capitalist castrations of Black artists. Intending to confront the limiting hegemony of the art world, the artists featured expand on their modes and visions of desire and imagination. Read a short text on the exhibition by Emeka Ochiagha here.

Work by Alyson Provax and Serrah Russell, image courtesy Well Well Projects

But of course it’s hard to tell: Alyson Provax and Serrah Russell
September 4-26, 2021
Well Well Projects
8371 N Interstate Ave #1, Portland (Sat-Sun 12 PM – 5 PM)

For But of course it’s hard to tell, Pacific Northwest artists Alyson Provax and Serrah Russell collaborated on a series of works made long-distance, without meeting, in mid-2021. The results engage with the unknown, hidden, anxiety-inducing, and vulnerable, particularly in the context of their working relationship. Provax and Russell question and reach for connection, but also reflect on interior space. Mailing their pieces back and forth became an “exercise in the deliberate ceding of control, as creases, marks, and imprints affected and became part of the work”; this exercise helped the artists consider how to re-engage with each other and the world during and post-pandemic.


Oregon Cultural Trust

Work by Louise Bourgeois, image courtesy of the Collection of Jordan D. Schnitzer
© The Easton Foundation / VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY

Louise Bourgeois: What is the Shape of This Problem
August 31 – December 4, 2021
Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at PSU
1855 SW Broadway, Portland (open to PSU community Tues-Thurs 11 AM – 5 PM; reopens to the public on September 30)

“What is the shape of this problem?”, a question posed by Louise Bourgeois via letterpress diptych, acts as a starting point for the considerations of this retrospective. Bourgeois is perhaps best known for her larger-than-life spider sculptures and other anthropomorphic forms, but her rich practice of drawing, writing, and printmaking is another hallmark of her lengthy career. Louise Bourgeois: What is the Shape of This Problem consists of 119 works including prints, textiles, and a series of eight holograms, ranging from the 1940s to the early 2000s. These works are classically Bourgeois in their emotional tension, depiction of the body, and themes of childhood, family, architecture, and the passage of time. This exhibition was curated by Naomi Potter of the Esker Foundation.

Work by Daniela Naomi Molnar, image courtesy Astoria Visual Arts

the shimmer: Tia Factor and Daniela Naomi Molnar
August 14 – September 5, 2021
Astoria Visual Arts
1000 Duane St, Astoria (Fri-Sun 12 PM – 4 PM)

If you’re in Astoria this weekend, make sure to stop by Astoria Visual Arts for a last glance at Tia Factor and Daniela Naomi Molnar’s the shimmer, which closes on Sunday, September 5. This painting exhibition by two Portland-based artists focuses on indeterminacies and possibilities of place, considering how ongoing human intervention and the climate crisis impact our understandings of place. The artists also unpack the ways in which a painting can become a conceptual place. Materially, the artists use iridescence, experiments in color, and spatial contradiction to create “indeterminate” paintings.

Image courtesy Converge 45

August 25 – October 9, 2021
Converge 45 – Portland’s Monuments and Memorials Project (PMMP)
1010 NW Flanders, Portland (Thurs-Sat 11 AM – 6 PM and by appointment)

Prototypes acts as a vessel for the considerations of Converge 45’s Portland’s Monuments & Memorials Project (PMMP). (The PMMP has, over the last eight months, studied and reflected upon the meanings and impacts of public monuments.) The exhibition highlights Oregon artists involved in a national reckoning of markers of history that compound racial injustice and social inequity. Prototypes also features ideas shared with Converge 45 through its Open Call, wherein they collected ideas for new and re-envisioned monuments and memorials. Converge 45 also offers online and public events delving into more specific topics of civic memory. Artists featured in the exhibition include Avantika Bawa, Jodie Cavalier, Tannaz Farsi, Garrick Imatani, Baseera Khan, Malia Jensen, Jaleesa Johnston, rubén garcía marrufo, Tabitha Nikolai, Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, Vo Vo, Marie Watt, and many more.

Work by Bets Cole, image courtesy Parrish Gallery

Art About Agriculture Competition and Touring Exhibition
August 3 – September 30, 2021
Chehalem Cultural Center – Parrish Gallery
415 E Sheridan St, Newberg (Tues-Fri 9 AM – 6 PM, Sat 12 PM – 6 PM)


All Classical Radio James Depreist

At Chehalem Cultural Center’s Parrish Gallery, the 38th annual Art About Agriculture Touring Exhibition is presented by Oregon State University’s College of Agricultural Sciences. Oregon artists drawing inspiration from food, fiber, and natural resources are featured; the Art About Agriculture program targeted these artists via open call and blind jury. The resulting exhibition includes a wide range of mediums: acrylic and oil painting, watercolor, drawing, mixed media, collage, printmaking, photography, textile art, sculpture, glass, and artist’s books are all featured. Themes range from sea life to landscapes, farms to markets; powerful reflections on last year’s wildfires round out the show.

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Photo Joe Cantrell

Lindsay Costello is an experimental artist and writer in Portland, Oregon, with an academic background in textile research at the Oregon College of Art and Craft. Her critical writing can also be read at Hyperallergic, Art Papers, Art Practical, 60 Inch Center, this is tomorrow,and Textile: Cloth and Culture, among other places. She is the founder of plant poetics, an herbalism project, and soft surface, a digital poetry journal/residency. She is the co-founder of Critical Viewing, an aggregate of art community happenings in the Pacific NorthwestHer artistic practice centers magic, ecology, and folkways in social practice, writing, sculpture, and installation.


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