Aqua Arte
Justin "Scrappers" Morrison has organized a show to benefit the Willamette Riverkeeper, and it's sort of a who's who of local, middlebrow, illustration-based artists, like Bwana Spoons, Martin Ontiveros, Brett Superstar, and Amy Lynn Morrison. Reading Frenzy, 921 SW Oak, 274-1449, through July 29; opening reception Thurs 7/6, 6-9 pm

Fail Harder
This project, billed as an "Exploration of the Role of Failure in the Creative Process," comes to you from the junior geniuses at W+K 12. Details are a bit hazy, but there have been murmurs of the world's largest thumbtack installation, a stop motion video about failure, and an interactive event in the building lobby. (Suggested reading: excerpts from James Elkins' Success and Failure in Twentieth-Century Painting.) Weiden + Kennedy, 224 NW 13th, Thurs July 6, 6-9 pm

The Lineage of Harmonic Sensations
The new-ish Portland Art Center now sports an entire gallery devoted to sound installations; Adam Bailey's piece this month promises to "be both anatomical and esoteric in its similarity to the inside of consciousness." Rock the hell on, then. Portland Art Center, 32 NW 5th, 239-5481, through July 29; opening reception Thurs July 6, 6-10 pm

Keep Trying
Ryan Jacob Smith is certainly one of the city's underrated artists, but this could change with Keep Trying. He manages to approximate whimsy without veering into the insulin waters of cutesiness, and relies on a hint of nostalgia, but sidesteps sentimental idealization. What a stud. Motel, NW Couch between 5th and 6th, through July 29; opening reception Thurs July 6, 6:30-9:30 pm

New Photography 2006
Newspace's annual juried exhibition generally draws a nice crop of emerging photographers; this year Christopher Rauschenberg and Jennifer Stoots took the helm as jurors, so this one's a pretty sure bet. Newspace, 1632 SE 10th, 963-1935, July 7-Aug 27; opens Friday July 7, 7-10 pm

Portrait Show
Most unimaginative exhibition name of the year comes from the Hall Gallery. This show of... what was it again? Oh, right—portraits—has a pretty killer line-up of a few dozen artists, including Kristan Kennedy, Daniel Peterson, Sean Healy, Cynthia Lahti, Storm Tharp, and so many more. Very promising. Hall Gallery, 630 SE 3rd, July 7-27

James Boulton
A few years ago, James Boulton left Portland to pursue his MFA in Los Angeles, which completely sucked for Portland art lovers. Like a mash-up of Arshile Gorky and Q-Bert, his canvases were simultaneously old and new, organic and electronic, sprawling and restrained. I have a hunch that the new babies are going to be something special. Pulliam Deffenbaugh, 929 NW Flanders, 228-6665, through July 29; opening reception Thurs July 6, 5:30-8 pm

Joe Macca
At a solo show at PDX several years ago, Macca exhibited two bodies of work with nearly bipolar disparities. The main gallery found a suite of ethereal, gauzy abstractions that looked like gazing into a tropical sunset. The smaller show was of drawings he had sketched on toilet paper rolls, each more sardonic and funny than the previous. It was like the "Funny Joe/Serious Joe" show. Looks like this time we get Serious Joe, with new paintings based on his meditation practice. PDX, 925 NW Flanders, 222-0063, through July 29; opening reception Thurs July 6, 6-8 pm