The PICA Annex is a huge, open warehouse space flanked by windows. Two walls run through the room, each navigating sporadic columns and growing in width toward the center like a stretched out diamond. For the next month, the walls will be lined with art and the space will house events celebrating PICA's first 10 years.
"The walls create this fantastic, angular space," says artist/PICA PR manager Kristan Kennedy, "and they serve as a kind of symbol for the past and the future."
Kennedy and I weave our way through the walls, making our way to a back room that will house a light installation by Erica Blumenfeld. On the day of my visit, it is stuffed with boxes of paintings and plastic covered sculptures. There are Miguel Calderon photographs of Mexican school children sporting aviator glasses, a sadistic dentist chair-like piece by Mowry Baden called Now Iguana, and still unopened boxes holding works by Harrell Fletcher, Richard Klein and Dinh Q. Lê.
"Landmark came together by trusting the arc of the artists' careers, not by trying to piece together a retrospective," says Kennedy. "It's an exploration of where we are going as much as where we've been."
Landmark combines work from former exhibits, new work by artists related to PICA, and a look at projects that blossomed under residencies at the organization. Every Saturday, Portland artist Brad Adkins will recreate a "walk" performed by Francis AlYs during PICA's first exhibit, Pushing Image Paradigms, in which AlYs punctured a paint can and wandered the streets of the city. Jane Philbrick will present a sound installation created during a residency at PICA, which features a voice recreation of Jesse Helms making feminist-themed speeches. 25 local artists have been commissioned to create 10"x10" works for a silent auction, and there will be (as they say) much, much more, all wishing PICA a happy 10th birthday.