With the reliable excellence of the Pearl District’s First Thursday gallery walks, it can be tempting for Portland art lovers to fall into a familiar groove. But for those looking to skip the record a little, we’ve scoped out three fresh shows that are off the beaten arts path but should be on your radar.
JULIA OLDHAM: SPACE EXPLORATION
Oldham weaves the tales of two early space explorers (one a historical Soviet pup, one a fictional robot, both doomed) through video, animation, and music in Farewell, Brave Voyager, a show about galactic martyrdom. Laika’s Lullaby, an animated video with music in collaboration with Lindsay Keats, depicts the canine astronaut’s lonely voyage. Maryland native Oldham also collaborates with her own physicist father in the titular video, which describes the tribulations of robotic astronaut InfiniG. The multimedia show will be held in the Portland Pataphysical Society’s alternative arts space.
PataPDX, Apr 2 thru May 23
INTISAR ABIOTO: AFRICAN DIASPORA
Portland photographer Intisar Abioto—known for her powerful photo series The Black Portlanders—opens a new show, Contents, that explores the stories and lives of people from the African diaspora, with a focus on the role that storytelling plays in both individual and communal identity. “I see stories as things that can revive people, and help people remember or identify who they are,” Abioto recently told Duplex, the art collective putting on this exhibition. “That’s why I love them.”
Duplex Collective, Apr 2 thru May 2
E.O. HOPPÉ: TIME TRAVEL
More than a hundred original prints by the 20th century master of portrait photography currently populate Reed College’s Cooley Gallery in E. O. Hoppé: Society, Studio, and Street Photographs, 1909–1945. The show brings together samples from a body of work that rivals those of other photography pioneers like Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Steichen. Reed’s Stephanie Snyder has curated a show that effectively illustrates the diverse reaches of Hoppé’s portraiture, which spanned artistic and documentary styles and captured cultural icons like George Bernard Shaw and Fritz Lang.
Douglas F. Cooley Memorial Art Gallery, Thru May 10