PICA Redux

Since its founding in 1995, the Portland Institute forContemporary Art (PICA) has lended a much needed voice to a modern,experimental and outré visual and performance artscommunity. PICA began as the brain child of Kristy Edmunds, who,seeing a lack of contemporary representation within Portland’sclose-knit artistic community, began hanging provisional showingsof underrepresented artists throughout the city.

Through her curatorial choices Edmunds creates a dialoguebetween the international artistic community and Portland’s moreregional movements. Her efforts eventually grew into the PICA we’veall come to know and love (and perhaps occasionally resent) today,an established voice and driving force within the Portlandcommunity, pushing the aesthetic edge of Northwest andinternational art.

PICA’s headquarters are located at 213 N.W. Twelvth Ave., deepwithin the heart of the Pearl district; it’s a stark contrast tothe more provincial wine bar and boutique oriented galleriessurrounding it. PICA’s 2000 square foot visual arts gallery, wellstocked research library and education center have proved to be aninvaluable resource to the Portland community, hosting lectures,salons and performances the likes of which cannot be found anywhereelse in the city.

The Time Based Arts festival began in 2003 and brought togethervisual, film, music and performance artists from throughout theworld to populate Portland for 10 days of rotating and sometimesdiametric experiences. Artists ranged from New York jazz andhip-hop impresario Mike Ladd to local girl made-good performanceartist Miranda July to British-Indian dancer Akram Khan. Theambitious project featured installations and performancesthroughout the city with each night apexing at the cabaret-stylevenue Machineworks.

TBA returned this year to again challenge Portland with a hugerange of performances, mechanism and frivolity. We at the Vanguardwouldn’t have missed it for the world.