Pop surrealism descends on Eugene: Gallery newcomer the Alexi Era Gallery, tucked neatly between downtown and the Whiteaker (at 245 W. 8th Ave.), joins the festivities for First Friday ArtWalk 5:30 to 8 pm Friday, July 1. Owner and curator Aunia Kahn recently relocated the gallery from St. Louis, where it was part of the pop surrealism — a descendent of low-brow art — and new contemporary art movement. This gallery could be a huge boon for the edgier corners of the local art community, as remaining galleries in Eugene tend to show more traditional, safer works. And the timing could not be better, as the Pacific Northwest’s most renowned pop surrealist gallery, Seattle’s Roq La Rue, announced its closing earlier this spring. Aunia, herself a figurative artist and photographer, has shown work locally in the annual Día de los Muertos show at Maude Kerns Art Center.
Speaking of Maude Kerns, it’s time for the center’s biggest event of the year: Art and the Vineyard July 2-4 at Alton Baker Park. For 30-plus years artists and craftspeople have flocked to the festival’s Artists’ Marketplace, featuring more than 90 artists booths. Keep an eye out for the booths of Kyla Corbett, whose felted figurative pieces are reminiscent of Impressionism, and Tim Giraudier, whose crystal-clear photography captures the rugged wonders of Oregon, from mushrooms and fisheries to mossy forests and panoramas. Stick around for the Freedom Festival fireworks show July 4.
2021: A Eugene Odyssey. The official buzzword lately ’round these parts seems to be “2021.” As in: “Let’s tidy up this mudhole before 2021, when the world is watching.” One of the most exciting developments to come out of the hubbub surrounding the 2021 IAAF World Championships is the 20X21 EUG Mural Project, kickstarted by the city of Eugene’s Public Art Program. The goal is, essentially, to commission 20 local and international street artists to paint murals around Eugene before the championships. The Acidum Project, an urban art collective from Brazil, already completed the first mural June 27 on the east wall of Cowfish Danceclub downtown. It’s bright, it’s dreamy and it’s completely different than any art in Eugene.
“There was energy there and excitement,” says Isaac Marquez, the city’s public art manager, of a mural project in the community. “The focus is on artists doing the best public art in the world, period.”
Marquez says he believes the most important part of 20X21 is the community-building, which was in full swing this past weekend when streams of people flocked to the mural to watch and get to know the artists. Debbie Williamson, communications manager at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art and committee member for 20X21, says it will also carve out a notch for Eugene in the international art community. “The more hospitable we are,” she says, “the better Eugene’s world reputation.”
The next artist, the Los Angeles-based Beau Stanton, will begin the second mural in August. To get involved, email 20X21Eug@gmail.com. The project needs everything from volunteers to house stays and meals vouchers for visiting artists.