YOU KNOW how people who just moved here believe in local things that have never been a thing, like calling Division "D Street" or Lower Burnside "LoBu"? Or how they're all excited about stuff they read about but came too late for, like small rock clubs or "food cart culture"? File "First Friday Art Walk" between those two folders, because yeah, it exists, but it has yet to become what it could be, and also, it ain't what it used to be.
Who's bailed on Friday festivities in the last couple of years? The Portland Art Gallery's long since schlepped its classic alabaster over to NW 29th. YU Contemporary do their own thing. Recess Gallery's tenancy in Brass Works ended in 2014. Nationale moved to Divi—ahem, "D Street"—and got on the Thursday circuit. Golden Rule Gallery drowned in a hailstorm of its own hype. Grass Hut Gallery shacked up with Floating World Comics on the Westside before going online-only. ADX, whose doors are still open during First Friday hours in case you wanna use their jigsaw, no longer consistently host participating shows. Am I forgetting anybody? How could I not? Poof goes the gallery.
Consequently, there are now very few stops within walking distance in the Central Eastside. And the lucky winners of the LoBu Location Game are: One Grand Gallery, showing Mario Galluci's Counterfeit Universe, at best a constellation of fake hardware reconstructed from paper, easily upstaged by the art space's load-bearing beams; and Black Box, with a group photo show that Melanie Flood curated for color consistency and to showcase more than one piece per artist, where possible. Plus there's the Gallery at the Jupiter, with Brin Levinson's prints of spookily lit post-disaster cityscapes being explored by wildlife, and Paige Wright's half-recognizable sculptures of "Snoop [Dogg]" and "Louie [C.K.]" and her far more compelling Self Portrait series—a bit butoh, a bit circus clown, a bit ancient Egypt.
Within strolling distance, Afru's got a sprawling selection of Evan Orlando's loud, colorful oils on canvas masonite, and Worksound International (known as Worksound before its hiatus) carries over last month's show: minimal, disorienting grayscale pinhole photography by Taro Masushio, intended to explore "space between our bodies."
And for any more, you must strike out in search of far-flung one-offs (godspeed!), like John George Larson's wood-fired ceramics at Eutectic; Brooke Weston's dollhouse/taxidermy hybrids at Splendorporium; and Meesha Goldberg's Mystikos paintings, drawings, and neon at Brassworks. But First Friday Art Walk? Right now, that's not (quite) a thing.