* Ed Ruscha Prints
Tapped to represent the US in the upcoming Venice Biennale, the man who brought us Various Small Fires and Brave Men Run in My Family was interviewed by none other than Peter Jennings last week in NYC. Augen Gallery, 817 SW 2nd Ave, 224-8182, through Dec 31

* High Octane: The Art of Diesel Fuel Prints
Compound is featuring over 150 limited-edition prints by rock poster artists such as Tara McPherson, Todd Barricklow, and Frank Kozik, who pretty much rejuvenated the entire genre and medium in the '90s with his tripped-out posters for just about every cool band that rocked back then. Compound, 11 NW 2nd, Through December

The four local artists in Intermission--Nate Hudson, Annette Bryan, Dennis Dread, and Markus Wolff--work in darkly illustrative veins, pulling influences from vintage comic books, heavy metal artists, and nightmare fantasies. Optic Nerve Arts, 1829 NE Alberta St. #11, Dec. 10 - Jan. 25

* SinTax
I approached SinTax--a Pop art collaboration between Belinki & DuPrey and Gallery 500-with marked hesitance. Promises of a contemporary take on Pop art and consumerism had me picturing silkscreen prints of starving African children and cans of Pepsi. When I first strolled through the Belinki half of the exhibit, I thought my premonition might be disappointingly accurate--it was Ronald McDonald who was juxtaposed with the African child--but there were also some pleasant surprises. Mona Superhero's colorful utility tape "painting" gives her hometown the surprisingly rare opportunity to see what the buzz from Seattle and New York is all about. And Daniel Kaven provides an untitled triptych about surveillance cameras, convenience stores and watching people watch other people while they talk on the phone. RD Belinki & DuPrey, 1224 SW Broadway, Through Dec. 28

* Surface Tension
A long story, how the search for the essentials of painting deteriorated into today's battle between neo-hippy laziness and decorative non-art, but it's not without hope. There are still artists walking the tightrope between the disposable and the derivative, and a couple of them can be viewed at Savage Art Resources' Surface Tension. RD Savage Art Resources, 1430 SE Third Ave, 230-0265, Through Dec. 31

* Michael Paulus
See review this issue.

* Prints for PICA 2004
More than 80 Portland artists will spend all day collaborating on and creating whatever they're inspired to create, then sell it to you in the evening. The result, according to PICA's press release, is "The best holiday art sale this city has ever seen. " We're going to hold them to that. Studio 333, 333 NE Hancock, Sat 4-9 pm

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