Affair highlights included Daniel Johnson’s Untitled (Rat) at Chicago’s 65GRAND. It was a demonstration of jolie laide (that French expression for “pretty-ugly”) if ever there were one: impeccably composed, beautifully lit; a gorgeous tribute to the photo’s eponymous dead rat. Israeli glass artist Dafna Kaffeman’s works at Bullseye look like sea anemones, glamorously colored in pink, yellow and orange. Modern Culture featured white-hot photos of Blondie and Iggy Pop by New York photographer Roberta Bayley, while PDX Gallery made full use of its room, placing a James Lavadour work in the loo. Laura Russo lined up her stars—Mel Katz, Lucinda Parker and Tom Cramer—San Francisco’s Gallery 415 proved that an art space specializing in Latin American art need not stoop to garish, quasi-quaint folklorica. Pentimenti Gallery’s Judy Gelles offered an intriguing comparison of beach cottages in Melbourne, Australia, and Melbourne, Fla., but perhaps the strongest showing out of any gallery was Portland’s own Pulliam Deffenbaugh, which rocked the house with some brand new and smokin’-hot works by Brenden Clenaghen, Anna Fidler and Matthew Picton.
A special treat dropped out of the blue in the form of the rogue Rocks Box space, whose founder, Patrick Rock, was not invited to be part of the Affair proper but mounted a salon des refusés in a different quadrant of the motel. Rock displayed an intriguing, if lowbrow, assortment of outlawed Chinese art smuggled into the U.S. in a visiting curator’s suitcase. Rock (perhaps best known for his giant inflatable hot dog at Jeff Jahn’s 2005 show, Fresh Trouble ) is an important emerging figure in Portland’s art scene, with a renegade personality and curatorial élan that recall the golden days of Haze Gallery (2003-04).
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