2011 in Art 

All the Years That 2011 Was, According to Art

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According to art, 2011 was lots of years. Let's talk about some of the years that 2011 was. MATT STANGEL

The Year of Nudists Forgetting How Clothes Work: Watch out for nudists. Sometimes they go naked for so long that they forget how clothes work and end up killing large, wearable animals when trying to get dressed again. Portlander Jasha Lottin is such a person. She killed an old horse and decided to pose for photos inside it in the name of art. Take note, Glamour Shots.

The Year of Foreigners Having Dreams: In one such show at galleryHOMELAND by Berlin-based collective Global Alien—titled Hope and Failure, in which Portlanders were asked to describe the American dream both orally and visually—Americans were the foreigners. Now, I know what you're thinking: "Put on the brakes, Matt! Americans are not foreigners!" But when you're a foreigner, Americans are foreigners to you. Notably, speaking as a foreigner, Mayor Sam Adams said that his American dream is urban farming, while others wished for silly things like citizenship and financial freedom. Meanwhile, traditional foreigners having dreams were featured in Tannaz Farsi's Losing Themselves in a Distance to Far Away Heights at Disjecta, in which the artist asked Iranian nationals and refugees what it meant to "live the dream." My favorite response was from a guy who answered the question by painting a donkey in a kitchen. That, my friends, is living the dream. I mean, how many donkeys get access to human appliances like stoves and sinks? And what would donkeys cook if they had a kitchen? Something with hay in it, right? Like haycake? Or hayberry pudding?

The Year of Artwork That Caught a Chill and Needed to Put on Something a Little Warmer: Artwork is like people in many ways. Art needs to be fed with unashamed truth and honesty. Art needs to be nourished with our time and love and energy. And, sometimes, art gets chilly and needs to put on something a little warmer. Michelle Ross helped prove this fact with select contributions to Interior Margins at the Lumber Room—featuring the artist's archival prints wrapped in fabric. Meanwhile, Ray Anthony Barrett, in an exhibition at Worksound titled Shred of Lights, not only used fabric to bridge the gap between scribblings on the gallery's walls and his painted works, but to help his work through a cold winter in an industrial gallery with only so many space heaters.

The Year of Words That Don't Work Like Normal Words: There's a woman who writes about art named Lisa Radon, and she made up an art show called Reading. Writing. It was at an art gallery called galleryHOMELAND, and it was about words that don't work like normal words: Words that are shapes and words that are covered up by other words and words that are changed into big blocks of color. The artist lady said that words and writing words are like "a Möbius strip," which means they're all turny, like a roller coaster or a wine opener.

The Year of Invisibility: It seems that the United States' decision to create an invisible federal budget plan can be directly traced back to one artist. I'm talking about James Franco, who this summer launched the Museum of Non-Visible Art. After Franco's first sale through the virtual museum—a transaction that sold the air to an attention-seeking PR woman for $10,000—people far and wide took note. "We've learned a lot from Franco," said Republican presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann. "Basically, if you smile like you're about to have perfect sex with someone right after you do something questionable, nobody asks questions," Bachmann told Fox News. "I mean, come on, this guy sold the entirety of a shared natural resource and nobody even blinked! Not a soul! Incredible. We've got a lot to learn from Franco."

The Year of Milepost 5 Continuously Pissing off the People Who Live at Milepost 5: This year Milepost 5 and Water finally reached a peace agreement, after pissing off everyone who lived in the "intentional community" for artists since its launch. "The Milepost 5 people wanted me to modify my colder temperatures in order to make showering comfortable for residents," said Water. "But I wanted assurance that they'd fix the pipes I live in before accommodating their requests. Have you ever turned into mold under a carpet? It's really not pleasant. This is something humans don't quite understand: Phase change and being eaten alive by mold growths are extremely uncomfortable experiences. I wanted asylum from these inhumane conditions." Upon improving Water's living conditions, Milepost 5 now boasts both hot and cold water that exists in pipes, rather than all over residents' personal belongings.

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