This Wednesday, the Portland State art department is having something of a rebirth.
Wednesday’s exhibition, titled “Say My Name, Say My Name,” will feature an array of events, including artist open studios and a bingo match.
Each of the departments within the school, from art history to graphic design, will host exhibitions and events in celebration of the students and a department-wide makeover.
Even the garage will have a show, a “happening” hosted by the university’s fledgling Time Arts Club student group. A multimedia mix of performance, video and dance music, the happening will have all the trappings of an art party.
Manny Reyes, who organizes events for the Time Arts Club, spoke about the nature of the happening, an event with a long tradition in contemporary art.
“Happenings mean something different to different people,” he explained. “What’s consistent is that it’s an event that brings people together for performance art. It’s really an avenue to experiment.”
Ernest Wedoff, a Master of Fine Arts student involved with the club, agreed.
“Nobody will boo you or anything, so it’s really open,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity to try something new.”
The garage happening will be a first for the club, which typically hosts monthly events in Neuberger Hall.
Each happening is an all-ages event, for which the club entirely reassembles the studio space into a festive environment where musicians or disc jockeys set the soundtrack as artists feature video and experimental performance art.
“It’ll be fun, because we’ve never heard of anything like that here before,” Reyes said. “The garage is kind of a trash center, but we’re going to make it beautiful.”
Reyes credited the idea to the art department curator, Patrick Rock.
“It was his idea that someone do something in the garage,” Reyes said. “As the one responsible for many of the galleries on campus, he’s also been very helpful with some of the logistics, such as projectors.”
The club itself is open to anyone interested in the happenings, with members ranging from students in the art department to those in business or film. Both Reyes and Wedoff underscored the importance of collaboration and participation to the club’s objectives.
“The collaboration aspect is something I’m really interested in,” Wedoff said. “These collaborations I’ve been working on—I never would have thought about them without the club. I feel like it’s really advanced my art practice.”
Both Reyes and Wedoff pointed to the club’s technical wizard, Tim Ferrell, as another example.
“He’s kind of a tech guru,” Reyes said. “He’s really sort of our muscle. He’s definitely the one behind [the scenes], keeping things running.”
Wedoff, who works extensively in printmaking, spoke about his work with Ferrell. The pair often combine projection and print to create a vivid visual experience.
“I feel like in my collaboration with Tim, the projections are more like another layer of print,” Wedoff said.
But the garage happening is just one aspect of a greater programming itinerary by the department.
In addition to department-based events, artist Chase Biado will host a series of exhibitions, collectively titled “You New Bad Things,” in the Art Building’s MK and Lobby galleries as well as in Neuberger’s Autzen Gallery.
“It is a look into a conversation and collaboration amongst peers, an endeavor in earnestness to contextualize and question the cultural currency of the ‘contemporary’ in contemporary art by individuals working across current pluralistic lines and methodologies,” Biado wrote in a statement about the show.
Say My Name: School of Art and Design
PSU Art Building, Art Building annex and Neuberger Hall
Wednesday, March 6, 5–7 p.m.
Drinks and refreshments provided in Neuberger’s Autzen Gallery and Art Building Lobby Gallery
The event will also feature mini-lectures by the art history department and an exhibition by the graphic design department throughout the Art Building annex. The Friends of Graphic Design group will also host a photo booth in the annex.
The overarching event is a chance for the school to celebrate its new face as it undergoes a series of structural changes, including a name change and potential staff shifts.
“The school is reinventing itself,” Reyes explained. “A lot of things are going to change. The whole thing is about creating a new beginning. And to showcase talent, because that’s what we do.”
Both Reyes and Wedoff are excited about for their upcoming show, and they pointed to greater things ahead, both for the department and for their student group. Reyes pointed to the final happening of winter term, which will occur in Neuberger on March 22.
“That’s the mega-list,” Reyes said. “It will be bigger than any happening we’ve done yet. More performers, more art, more music.”
Wedoff also expressed general excitement to be a part of the club.
“I feel like we’ve been lucky; we’ve had a lot of great talent,” he said. “It’s really a blessing to be a part of the Time Arts Club.”