If you're anything like us, you're probably looking forward to this weekend as an opportunity to lay on the couch, build a fire, and surrender to a book or TV series to recover from the holidays and New Year's (here's our NYE guide if it hasn't hit yet). But if you still have some go (or some relatives in town), there's enough to keep you busy, particularly if you like art.
Portland Art Museum
The fall shows are coming to a close, and woe is us to miss them.
2013 Contemporary Northwest Art Awards
Culled from 235 nominations, the six artists in the Portland Art Museum’s contemporary awards exhibition represent a wide range—in terms of cities (from Seattle to Jefferson City, Montana), profiles (emerging to MacArthur “Genius”), and styles (color panels of oil and wax to a tower of electric guitars). While it’s difficult not to be excited about the decorated Seattle artist Trimpin’s imaginative, musical installation sculptures (they won the awards’ the Arlene Schnitzer Prize), we’re also primed for Isaac Layman’s massive genre-pushing photographs and intrigued by Jackson Hole–wildcard, Abbie Miller, whose “Zipped” series—incorporating vinyl, steel, and hundreds of feet of zippers—are glossy, twisted things that look like a cross between a Lady Gaga outfit, salt water taffy, and some sort of alien intestinal tract. Thru Jan 12
Robert Adams: The Question of Hope
The Portland Art Museum hosts an exhibition of 70 prints by Robert Adams, a 76-year-old artist and Astoria resident widely regarded as the most influential landscape photographer of his generation. Throughout his career, Adams has crafted his work as an invitation to ponder the future of the western landscape by examining what we’ve done to it so far. This exhibit, The Question of Hope, marks the first time Adams has directed that call to his fellow Oregonians. Read our feature on Adams. Thru Jan 5
While knights walked Europe looking like drab wind-up tin cans, Japan’s samurai were downright sartorial: embroidered shoulder pads, flared helmets with animal motifs, stunningly bright color combinations, even man skirts! Seek some style inspiration (not to mention crazy history lessons) at the Portland Art Museum’s blockbuster look at the warrior couture of the legendary Japanese private armies. Eat your heart out, Blackwater mercenaries! Thru Jan 12
Blue Sky Gallery
Kent Krugh and Fernando Brito
While the Cincinnati-based Krugh’s series of photomontaged tree portraits, Inside the Gate, is unearthly, Mexican photojournalist Brito’s profoundly disturbing series Your Steps Were Lost in the Landscape is all too of this world, comprising shots of real murder victims left for dead in the Sinaloan countryside.
Warm your hands at Froelick’s Fire Department group show. Consisting of some of the gallery’s best artists, it was inspired in part by a client who dreamed she saved the gallery from an attempted arsonist. Let’s just hope the flames stay on the canvas.
David Curt Morris and Louis Bunce
Works on paper by the late, great Portland modernist Louis Bunce show alongside new creations from New York–based artist David Curt Morris, who applies his background in math and architecture to creating perception-warping, Escheresque sculptures.
Elizabeth Leach Gallery
Ann Hamilton: The Reading
Ann Hamilton's A Reading presents a selection of videos, works on paper, and sculpture from this MacArthur genius.
Only open Saturday and Sunday
This young, Los Angeles–based painter applies translucently thin layers of color to blob-shaped wooden panels with visible brushstrokes, creating abstract works that reveal themselves only to the patient viewer.
Treasures from the UCLA Film Archive
Jan 3-30, Whitsell Auditorium
Northwest Film Center hosts a touring program of movies unearthed from UCLA’s archive, the largest collection of media in the United States besides the Library of Congress. Selections include the 1950 noir classic Gun Crazy, the Victor Fleming–directed 1926 comedy Mantrap, and Robert Altman’s 1969 thriller That Cold Day in the Park.
Production/Distribution Film Fest or The Devil, Probably Film Fest
Jan 4–Feb 6, Whitsell Auditorium
A copresentation of NWFC and Yale Union (the two's websites can’t seem to settle on a name, however), this documentary series turns a critical lens on industrial production with such offerings as In Comparison, a filmic meditation on bricks; Meat, Fred Wiseman’s 1976 study of the process by which animals are manufactured into consumer goods; and The Forgotten Space, a “film essay” on the global supply chain.
Saturday, Mississippi Studios
In spite of its nearly un-Googleable name (trust us), indie sextet Thanks sets itself apart from the soul-revival crowd with now-Joplinesque, now-jazzy vocals courtesy of singer “Jimi Hendrix” and unexpected strings contributed by cellist Lilly Maher. Tonight’s show celebrates the release of the band’s first full-length, Blood Sounds. Brownish Black and DJ Cooky Parker open.
Saturday, Crystal Ballroom
This legendary garage-punk trio, fronted by Portland punk elders Fred and Toody Cole, put out a string of albums on its own Tombstone Records in the late ’80s and early ’90s before breaking up in 2006. Now, Dead Moon rises again for a one-night-only reunion.
Thru Jan 5, Winningstad Theatre
For British playwright Michael Frayn’s smash 1982 farce about a play-within-a-play whose cast’s offstage drama totally derails its onstage drama, Third Rail Repertory Theatre is mounting its biggest cast, largest set, and longest run ever. Read our story about the complexity of the play’s blocking.