The Five Visual Arts Shows We’re Most Excited to See This Fall

TBA Festival, a complicated look at a legendary Portland art institution and "Lord of the Flies" in a shopping mall.

Courtesy of Mia Habib

Time-Based Art Festival

Every year, Time Based Art Festival floods Portland with 10 days of wild contemporary art. This year's lineup is a characteristically eclectic mix of performance art, workshops and installations. There'll be choreography inspired by protests, a kiki ball, an atmospheric pipe organ concert, and a play about a psychopomp in a trailer park. Various locations, see for full schedule. Sept. 5-15. Festival passes $45-$500, individual tickets available.

Downstream a Shining Wire

Portland artist Tabitha Nikolai creates virtual worlds that address unexpected subject matter with a deep sense of empathy. Her exhibit Utopia Without You turned a Pearl District gallery into a disheveled gamer's den, and looked at video games as a means of isolation and a necessary retreat from a hostile society. For her next exhibit, Downstream a Shining Wire, she creates an interactive game set in a now-demolished shopping mall from her hometown, where players can act out a Watership Down,-inspired scenario. Open Signal, 2766 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Sept. 17-Nov. 1.

Future Ancestors

Earlier this year, Portland artist Lisa Jarrett and Santa Rosa, Calif.'s Lehua M. Taitano co-founded Art 25, an international collective aimed at examining the history and future of black and indigenous art. For Future Ancestors, Art 25's first exhibit, Jarrett and Taitano collaborated with Honolulu artist Jocelyn Kapumealani Ng to create a series of large-scale portraits and audio recordings that document the artists' cross-cultural conversations. Ori Gallery, 4038 N Mississippi Ave., Oct. 5-Nov. 24.

A Thousand Cuts

BG Osborne's A Thousand Cuts depicts pop culture's pervasive misrepresentation of transgender people to dizzying effect. Across three screens, the video collage plays 10 minutes' worth of cisgender actors playing transgender characters, including David Duchovny as Denise Bryson in Twin Peaks and Carrie Bradshaw referring to "transexual hookers" as "half man, half woman, totally annoying." The fact that at least half the clips end in a laugh track makes the deluge of offensive tropes even more sobering—the title of the piece doesn't come from the number of clips, it's a reference to the phrase "death by a thousand cuts." Fuller Rosen Gallery, 2505 SE 11th Ave., Suite 106, Nov. 16-Jan. 10.

Being Present

Portland Art Museum is hosting a fabricated, untruthful retrospective of one of this city's most legendary art institutions—the short-lived, long-defunct Portland Center for the Visual Arts. The center showcased the likes of Robert Rauchenburg and Andy Warhol, and helped spark the city's regional art movement. This won't be the first PCVA retrospective, but unlike previous tributes, this one will be made up entirely of fake archival material, created by iconoclastic curatorial duo Triple Candie. It will also grapple with the less-flattering parts of PCVA's legacy, including how it failed to live up to its own progressive ideals. Who knows how much one of the city's largest art institutions is actually willing to dig into contemporary art's messy history, but hopefully it will at least break through the seal of reverence. Portland Art Museum, 1219 SW Park Ave., Nov. 16-Jun. 14.

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