When I’m not writing things down on screens and pages, I sometimes like to write things down on walls and floors. That is to say I do “text-based visual art” or at least that’s what I tell the grantors. For this work, I’m very lucky to belong to Portland’s most ethically sourced gallery, Blackfish Gallery, which is also the longest running cooperative gallery west of the Mississippi. I’ve done shows on T S. Eliot’s objective correlative, on Walter Benjamin’s “Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction,” and on rituals, and on birds. Besides being the only writer at the gallery, I’m also the member most likely to think up events and parties. That has nothing to do with art. I just like planning parties. I actually prefer planning them to attending them.
That’s why this Friday, Blackfish is hosting what we are privately calling the Bloggers Ball and what is called on the Evite the more sedate Bloggers Invitational. Every July, for 20-some years, Blackfish has given over its space to recent MFA and BA art graduates. The grads are nominated by heads of their respective art departments, and hundreds of visitors crowd in to see what the future of art looks like. It’s kind of incredible that a commercial gallery -- in the tony Pearl, no less -- would embrace these unknown quantities. But that’s Blackfish. It has heart.
For 20 years that’s been the offering: a show. But then there’s cooperative member, Merridawn (me!), and she wants this time to throw a party. The party was indeed my idea, as was the concept of inviting a bunch of bloggers.
When I was selling this idea to the other members (uh, cooperative, remember?) I said that these young artists are represented in the world by engines of publicity and information that no longer have much to do with newspapers and ads. Instead, anyone with a keyboard and some fingers can be an art critic, promoter, commentator, writer. It’s freeing and it’s scary and we should see what these bloggers and new media writers are all about. So let’s take the young artists and mix them up with the world of media that they inhabit. Also, even though I sometimes prefer to plan parties than be at them, I’ll be there (with no lanyard in sight) because—who knew?—Jenn and I are bloggers, too.
While designing this Friday’s event, the committee -- myself included -- had to keep asking itself, What do bloggers want? Interesting question. I had some ideas, and this Friday they go into action. Spoiler alert: They include free wine and a chance to be heard (read?). I’m also trolling for your your suggestions. Blogger and blog readers: What the heck do you want most?
Wait…someone to write a poem all up and down your arm? Great! I’ve got that covered.