Gregory Blackstock, “Euroslide, San Diego County Fair, 1993” at Garde Rail Gallery
Compiling this list really has me looking at the calendar for an open weekend next month. This sounds like a perfect day of looking at photographs:
The Portland Art Museum likes to boast that it has the biggest permanent photography gallery west of the Mississippi, but I can only think of one photography show they’ve done in the past six years that sounds as interesting as the Seattle Art Museum’s current exhibition. Smoke and Mirrors “presents 34 works from SAM’s photography collection that prompt a compelling dialogue about vision and illusion.” With artists that include Hiroshi Sugimoto, Ralph Gibson, and Jan Groover, S&M sounds like a great reminder of how a museum can organize a thoughtful exhibition from its own collection that has something to say besides, “look what we bought.” Seattle Art Museum, 1300 First Ave, Tues-Sun, through Nov 9, $13
Outsider artist Gregory Blackstock is best known for his fantastic book of taxonomic drawings, Blackstock’s Collection. Garde Rail Gallery now introduces The Vernacular Photography of Gregory Blackstock, which looks like 65% Stephen Shore’s Uncommon Surfaces, 35% flea market treasure. Check the website if you don’t believe me. Garde Rail Gallery, 110 Third Avenue South, Wed-Sat, through Aug 2
Regular visitors to the Henry should already be familiar with the rotating exhibitions in the North Galleries, curated from the stunning Monsen photography collection. With motifs as simple as water, architecture, and abstraction, these small shows provide incredible opportunities to see incredibly rare and gorgeous pieces that span the history of photography. Their current selection, Somebody, highlights portraiture from the collection. Henry Art Gallery, 15 Avenue NE at NE 41st Street, Tues-Sun, through Aug 3, $10 (free for students)
Portland’s own Jim Riswold, whose photographs of plastic figurines and other kitschy objects have never made me pause for a second glance, is showing at G. Gibson Gallery. I couldn’t even be bothered to explain the many ways Riswold’s photos don’t work for me; D.K. Row’s review in the Oregonian hits a lot of the main points. G. Gibson Gallery, 300 South Washington Street, Tues-Sat, July 3-Aug 16.
One of the best photographers of the late 19th century, and the photographer of the Pacific Northwest, Darius Kinsey gets the royal treatment at Bellingham’s Whatcom Museum. Logging Days: Recent Donations of Darius Kinsey Photographs highlights 40 Kinseys, “most being exhibited for the first time.” Kinsey’s images of early loggers vamping and working in the undergrowth of mammoth firs rank among my favorite photographs of the American West. Whatcom Museum of History and Art, 121 Prospect Street, Bellingham, Tues-Sun, through Aug 16, free.
The final two shows don’t commence until July’s almost over, but they sound almost worth a trip in and of themselves. Howard House is readying two group exhibitions: Swedish Contemporary Video and Photography: Billing, Djurberg, von Hausswolff (who needs first names, anyway?), and New Photo, featuring the work of Richard Barnes, Martin Klimas, and Fred Muram. These three artists’ websites and work all remind me of how much I love photography. (Bonus: Solo show by Barnes coming up in Nov-Dec.) [Edit: The Swedish artists are Annika von Hausswolff, Johanna Billing, and Nathalie Djurberg.] Howard House, 604 Second Ave, Tues-Sat, July 24-Aug 23