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Arts Shorts

April 20, 2017

Did you catch Eugene Symphony’s performance of The Damnation of Faust the other evening? It was, I can’t resist saying, one Hell of a show, and if you weren’t there you should have been.

First, the basics: The symphony teamed up with the University of Oregon’s John Park and Harmonic Laboratory to put on the entire two-hour Hector Berlioz oratorio — that’s like an opera with no sets, costumes or staging — with a full-on light show inside the Hult Center’s Silva Concert Hall.

January 5, 2017

This Friday, Jan. 6, is the first ArtWalk of 2017. So let’s start 2017 right: Let’s make it a wildly creative, challenging, innovative year for local arts. Less schmaltz, less macaroni art, less half-rendered fairy paintings and more grit.

December 15, 2016

As the clock ticks down to the inauguration, and the president-elect continues to play fast and loose with Chinese diplomacy, it’s an apt time to go check out Proletarian Revolution: 20th-Century Chinese Propaganda at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. The exhibit features the monumental state-sanctioned puffery of China before, after and during its Cultural Revolution (1966-76). Study it, internalize it, prepare for it, because we have a new POTUS who has already shown a penchant for self-aggrandizing portraits, like the $20,000 Trump portrait paid for via his Donald J.

November 23, 2016

Avoid Black Friday like the plague: The University of Oregon Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art is offering free entry for its “Be Our Guest” Thanksgiving weekend Nov. 25-27 and there are loads of exhibits to see. Check out Scrimmage: Football in American Art from the Civil War to the Present and see the sport put into a cultural context, for better and for worse.

October 20, 2016

Eugene’s art community has a proud tradition of celebrating Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, the Nov. 1-2 Mexican holiday that honors the dead in wildly colorful and mischievous ways.

That grand dame, the Maude Kerns Art Center (MKAC), for one, has been hosting an exhibit and festivities for two-plus decades. The art center opened its 23rd annual show Oct. 14, which will be bursting with frenetic ofrendas (altars to the dead) dripping in marigolds and jittering, dancing calacas (skeletons) through Nov. 4.

September 29, 2016

The Outsiders Ball — a mash-up of art, fashion, music and philanthropy — is about to celebrate its third year.

“I really wanted to start helping out abuse shelters,” says Tracy Sydor, host and local photographer (and occasional EW photo contributor), of the benefit’s origins. Sydor discovered Womenspace, a local nonprofit working to end domestic violence, and proceeds from the event have gone to the organization every year.

September 15, 2016

In a state like Oregon, where art classes are absent from a stunning portion of public schools, art nonprofits fill the gaps, tasked with cultivating communities and our youth in culture beyond football season. These art bodies are typically scrappy and chronically underfunded. To survive a decade is commendable. But to endure 40 years? That is nearing immortality. Lane Arts Council, Lane County’s arts nonprofit stalwart seated in Eugene, celebrates its ruby anniversary 6 to 9 pm Friday, Sept. 16, at the International Cafes at Fifth Street Public Market.

September 1, 2016

¡Viva La Cultura! If you lived in town for an extended period, you’ll notice a sort of pipeline runs between Oaxaca, Mexico, and Eugene, Oregon, with locals, snowbirds, writers and artists crossing paths back and forth across the border. Additionally, Lane County has a slow-but-steadily growing Hispanic population, increasing from 7.4 percent in 2010 to 8.5 percent in 2015, according to the most recent U.S. Census data.

August 18, 2016

Mural mania: Eugene is becoming the mural mecca we always hoped it would, catching up to the flourishing walls of downtown Springfield. The Lane Arts Council hosts its 3rd Mural Bike Tour 10 am to noon Saturday, Aug. 20, spinning off at the Whiteaker Carpark South (5th Alley and Blair Boulevard).

August 4, 2016

Farewell New Zone: The New Zone Gallery opens August’s First Friday ArtWalk with its final show at its downtown location on Broadway (which it has called home for 10 years) with pieces from more than 70 artists, as well as a featured collection — Muses, Dreams and Wanderings — by artist Tom Capri. The come-one, come-all attitude of the gallery and its members has been a bright spot on Eugene’s arts horizon with beloved annual shows like the Salon du People.

July 28, 2016

Cereal and the City: New York pop artist Michael Albert is coming through Eugene with his traveling exhibition, including workshops, 1:30 to 4 pm Tuesday, Aug. 2, at the Hult Center plaza; FREE. Albert is perhaps best known for his cubist cereal box collages, or cerealisim, and his knack for using junk, from junk mail to old business labels to the Frosted Flakes box that started it all.

July 21, 2016

If you haven’t seen the work of self-taught local artist Larry Hurst, get thee to Corvallis for an opening reception of his solo exhibit, What He Sees, 4 to 8 pm Thursday, July 21, at the ArtWorks Gallery, 408 S.W. Monroe Street; FREE. His swirling landscapes and remarkable use of color could have been born out of the wild expressionism of the early-20th-century Fauves, while a fellow EW writer told me his paintings looked Van Gogh-y. Either way, his work is a breath of fresh air over the mountains.

July 14, 2016

How is the American identity defined today? When a certain Fanta-faced presidential nominee is targeting American minorities with threats of deportation or supporting heightened “security” of browner neighborhoods, the question takes on a new urgency. Two artists, Victoria Suescum and Lee Michael Peterson, tackle the question by exploring their identities as Latin@s (the gender neutral term for people of Latin American roots) within American culture in the new ¿Identity? exhibit up through Sept.

June 30, 2016

Pop surrealism descends on Eugene: Gallery newcomer the Alexi Era Gallery, tucked neatly between downtown and the Whiteaker (at 245 W. 8th Ave.), joins the festivities for First Friday ArtWalk 5:30 to 8 pm Friday, July 1. Owner and curator Aunia Kahn recently relocated the gallery from St. Louis, where it was part of the pop surrealism — a descendent of low-brow art — and new contemporary art movement. This gallery could be a huge boon for the edgier corners of the local art community, as remaining galleries in Eugene tend to show more traditional, safer works.

June 23, 2016

June 9, 2016

Purple pages: Storm Entertainment, a Portland-based comic and graphic novel company, has just released the comic book biography Tribute: Prince in honor of the late artist and his June 7 birthday. Michael Frizell wrote the 24-page comic and Ernesto Lovera and Vincenzo Sansone created the art. “His sound and lyrics defined the era for me in ways that Michael Jackson didn’t and, quite frankly, couldn’t,” Frizell says via press release.

June 2, 2016

With the sun shining more often than not these days, it’s primo mural-painting time. The Whiteaker Community Art Team has a mural going up at 4th and Blair. Half a block north, CALC (Community Alliance of Lane County) is celebrating its 50th anniversary by creating a new mural with the theme of “50 years of struggle for social justice.” Prolific local muralist Bayne Gardner will work with youth to paint that mural in CALC’s front yard, to be debuted during the Whiteaker Art Walk Aug. 26.

May 19, 2016

The Maude Kerns Art Center opens Photography at Oregon Commitment to Vision: 50th Anniversary Retrospective Exhibit 6 to 8 pm Friday, May 20. The late Bernard Freemesser, a longtime photography professor at the University of Oregon, started Photography at Oregon, a fine arts photography exhibit at the UO in 1966. The 50th anniversary show features the work of more than 80 artists including Ansel Adams, Brian Lanker, Barbara Morgan, Mary Ellen and Brett Weston.

May 12, 2016

The New Zone Gallery announced that it will be leaving its downtown digs at 164 W. Broadway in August after a 10-year run. Steve LaRiccia, New Zone’s treasurer and gallery coordinator, tells EW that the gallery is grateful to Oregon Contemporary Theatre, which has been subsidizing rent.

“The owners of the building, Oregon Contemporary Theatre, who have leased us that space, they found a tenant to rent that space for like $3,000 a month,” LaRiccia says, “and we were paying $250.”

April 21, 2016

Metamorphose is back, baby. The third annual upcycled fashion and art show hosted by St. Vincent de Paul April 23 is slated to become an Earth Day weekend favorite. 

“It’s something that engages the community, honors our artists locally and people get to participate with voting for their favorite pieces,” says Mitra Chester, SVdP’s resident designer.

April 14, 2016

There’s no question that artist and filmmaking couple Zackary Drucker and Rhys Ernst live and breathe their art, describing themselves as “extreme collaborators.” Their relationship will be on view in Relationship, a voyeuristic photo series opening April 20 at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. The collection of 26 photographs, which originally were not intended for public viewing, documents five years of their lives together (2008-2013), as Drucker transitioned from male to female and Ernst transitioned from female to male.

April 7, 2016

The world lost a beautiful, warm, generous, mischievous, wickedly smart and delightfully cantankerous soul the night of Saturday, April 2, when Oregon artist Rick Bartow passed away after battling congenital heart failure. He was 69. At EW, our hearts are full of sorrow. Bartow will be remembered for his mastery of color and gesture, and his spirited and unflinching work — paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture, found in museums and collections around the globe.

March 31, 2016

Come the evening of April 1, a Penske rental truck will be parked in Kesey Square as a makeshift gallery.

“There’s not many places in Eugene to show the work we want to show,” says Andrew Oslovar, one of 13 members of the “nomadic art collective” Tropical Contemporary. “Our goal as an art group is getting people to unlock their doors for us so we can put work in their unleased businesses. We can make an art gallery out of anything; we don’t care if it’s nice.”

March 24, 2016

Local actor Kasey Brown plays a skinhead drummer for a band called Cowcatcher in the upcoming grisly feature film Green Room, which pits a punk rock band against white supremacists in the wake of a murder. The horror flick was filmed in Portland in 2014 with actors Patrick Stewart, Alia Shawkat (best known as Maeby Fünke in Arrested Development) and Anton Yelchin (who starred in J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek).