At her debut show at Augen, Grace Weston creates miniature sets made out of children's toys and original sculptures, then photographs the sets in opulently saturated color. With their selective focus, the works are little jewels, their preciousness offset by irony. Like Corey Smith, Weston knows how to use a title to add value to the visual. Couples Therapy shows a disembodied eye sitting in a chair, counseling a heart and a brain. Heaven Help Us shows God as a puppeteer, with humans his marionettes. God, appropriately, is portrayed as a clown. A witty, sure-footed debut. 817 SW 2nd Ave., 224-8182. Closes Feb. 21.
Short Subject: Damien Hirst. Is it cool that the Portland Art Museum is showing four of his works, and should everybody go see them? Yes. Is Hirst the most overrated artist of our time, and did he shoot his wad, Orson Welles-style, with his first major successes—formaldehydic sharks, cows and sheep—in the 1990s? Yes. Would his skeleton cabinet at PAM be better displayed in a museum of natural history than a museum of fine art? Yes. Does his brain-slicing painting at PAM unmask him as a spectacularly shoddy figurative painter? Yes. Final question: Would he beat Matthew Barney in a celebrity deathmatch? Hell no. —RICHARD SPEER.
1219 SW Park Ave., 226-2811. Closes April 22.