Bright Lights Preview: PICA's Angela Mattox

How the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art's artistic director aims to challenge Rose City audiences.

November 1, 2013 Published in the November 2013 issue of Portland Monthly

With two TBA Festivals behind her, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art’s artistic director Angela Mattox will discuss her evolving views of the city, its taste, and her own aesthetic at our Bright Lights forum this month. A glimpse:

What artist in this fall’s TBA Festival were you most nervous about? Moroccan dancer Bouchra Ouizguen. It’s not entertainment; it challenges cultural stereotypes. As of two weeks before the festival, we’d sold only a handful of tickets.

What’s the most surprising thing you’ve learned about Portland? On the positive side, people’s willingness to pitch in and be creative. I’ve never seen anything like it. On the negative side—hands down—the lack of interest in certain cultures. 

Is there a city—a second- or even third-tier city—that Portland should look to? Minneapolis. Their funding world is totally different with all of the foundations based there. But I went to a bowling alley—an old-school one—with a club stage, presenting great stuff. We should mix it up more, and not be so precious. 

Ambitious artistic directors move frequently. How long will you stay here? As long as I’m relevant, pushing boundaries, and challenged. 

Bright Lights features Angela Mattox in conversation with Portland Monthly’s Randy Gragg on November 18 at 6 p.m. at Jimmy Mak’s. You can also read a profile of Mattox in our Fall Arts Preview.

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