Former Portland–artist Lee Kyle surrounded by the girls of 'CENTER JENNY.'

Viewers didn’t know how to react to Ryan Trecartin’s film CENTER JENNY at Upfor Gallery at this month's First Thursday arts walk. The video filled the entire room with a neon cavalcade of body makeuped-millenials, modulated vocals, frenetic editing, glowing contact lenses, drag queens, and seemingly nonsensical plots. It’s loud, confusing, even unpleasant, but viewers couldn’t look away. Folks who thought they’d stop in for a few minutes ended up staying for the entire 53-minute film.

Dubbed “the most consequential artist to have emerged from the nineteen-eighties” by the New Yorker, Ryan Trecartin has pushed the YouTube generation center stage in the art world. First gaining attention with his senior thesis at the Rhode Island School of Design in 2004, he has gone on to show his videos and installations in major museums, win the inaugural Jack Wolgin International Competition in the Fine Arts (the biggest of its kind at $150,000), and steal the show at the 2006 Whitney Biennial.

Ryan Trecartin: Anniversary Screening
Upfor Gallery
Thru Sept 27
Tue–Sat 11 am–6 pm
In celebration of its one-year anniversary, Upfor Gallery is screening the four videos the now-LA-based artist created for the 55th Venice Biennale. Staggered over the month, the works epitomize Upfor’s main mission: to show contemporary art with an emphasis on digital and new media.

“We opened last year with a month-long screening of Frances Stark's My Best Thing,” says gallery owner and director Theo Downes-Le Guin. “Showing Ryan Trecartin's movies is a continuation of what I hope will be an annual tradition of presenting amazing work by internationally-recognized artists on the gallery's birthday month.

An artist like Trecartin is a big win for the nascent gallery—and for Portland in general. Don’t miss the show before it closes on Sept 27. Here's the schedule:

  • Comma Boat (38 minutes): September 4 – 27?
  • CENTER JENNY (53 minutes): September 4 – 13?
  • Item Falls (26 minutes): September 16 – 20?
  • Junior War (24 minutes): September 23 – 27

Since it's no longer showing at Upfor, we've included CENTER JENNY below. Watch for former-Portland drag star and performer Lee Kyle (you might remember him as Splendora from Sissy Boy). You can also view Trecartin’s work on Vimeo.

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