January 19th, 2009 | by RICHARD SPEER News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, CLEAN UP

Artapocalypse: Quality Pictures closes.

     
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Two years and one month after its grand opening, Quality Pictures Contemporary Art, the gallery is closing, reportedly due to the economic downturn.

Photographer Holly Andres, arguably the gallery's star artist, says the gallery's roster learned of the closure by email last night (Sunday, Jan. 18), and that the email indicated that “the economic storm has claimed QPCA as yet another casualty.” Andres does not know whether the gallery in some alternate form, or owner Erik Schneider as an independent agent, will continue to represent her work. “It's sad,” Andres says. “The gallery's presence will be deeply missed in the Portland art community.”

Schneider, a transplant from the South, kept his Atlanta accounting business operational and flew back periodically to service clients there. It was a way to keep up his revenue stream during the ebb and flow of starting up a gallery in Portland, where he had no pre-existing collector base. Schneider brought a curatorial point of view to Quality Pictures, especially in his realm of expertise, photography. He also showed a willingness to step outside the box of conventional tastes. His gender-themed group shows, Pictures of Women and The Man Show, were notable for their inclusiveness and conceptual derring-do. To his credit, he also took the Quality Pictures show on the road, exhibiting in 2007 (see WW's coverage here) and 2008 (and more WW coverage, here) at the Aqua Art Fair, a satellite to the chi-chi mega-fair Art Basel Miami Beach. And he took an active role in promoting and cross-promoting many of his artists, most notably Andres, in other galleries across the country.

Whether Schneider will stay in Portland or return to Atlanta, and whether he will keep his hat in the local, regional, or national art arena, is not immediately clear. He has not returned WW's phone calls or emails as of Monday afternoon.

“I don't think buying art is all about the money,” he told WW in January 2007, unwittingly presaging the gallery's—and the nation's—impending economic doldrums. “In fact, it's probably 90-percent about the image and 10-percent about the money. But,” he added ominously, “don't ever forget that 10-percent.”

Image of Eric Schneider at Art Basel Miami in 2007 by Richard Speer.
 
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