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Arts Hound

Sniffing out what you shouldn't miss in the arts this week
‘Untitled (Dolphins)’ and ‘Untitled (Field Hockey)’ by Tropical Contemporary member Jonathan Bagby
‘Untitled (Dolphins)’ and ‘Untitled (Field Hockey)’ by Tropical Contemporary member Jonathan Bagby

Come the evening of April 1, a Penske rental truck will be parked in Kesey Square as a makeshift gallery.

“There’s not many places in Eugene to show the work we want to show,” says Andrew Oslovar, one of 13 members of the “nomadic art collective” Tropical Contemporary. “Our goal as an art group is getting people to unlock their doors for us so we can put work in their unleased businesses. We can make an art gallery out of anything; we don’t care if it’s nice.”

“Preferably crappier,” adds John Tolles, co-founder of Tropical Contemporary, with a laugh. 

Tropical Contemporary is using the truck for its Deals! Deals! Deals! show featuring art with a contemporary bent and low price tags for First Friday ArtWalk, hosted by Eugene’s public art manager Isaac Marquez, 5:30 to 8 pm Friday (the guided Tropical Contemporary stop is at 7:30 pm). Tropical Contemporary is calling it the “World’s First Discount Art Fair.”

Oslovar and Tolles, who recently completed their MFAs at the UO, say the art world is tough outside the “utopian little bubble” of the School of Architecture and Allied Arts, and space and support now come in short supply. After attending the city’s “A Community Conversation About the Jacobs Gallery Space,” they were inspired to recreate the success of art shows they’d hosted in the university community, in the city. 

“It’s super traditional,” Tolles says of most of the art on display in town. 

“It’s a lot of work that doesn’t create much dialogue,” Oslovar adds. “It’s very pretty and it’s stuff you’d love to hang in your house, but the work doesn’t challenge anyone.”

So for Deals! Deals! Deals!, expect art with a wink and a smile. The collective put it best on its website: “Our boiled-down hopes and dreams have been commodified into products you can purchase for $20 or less!” For more info, find Tropical Contemporary on Facebook.

Hear their stories: The Eugene Concert Choir and Oregon Contemporary Theatre are hosting a free community event, Alzheimer’s Through the Artistic Lens: A Public Symposium, 3 pm Saturday, April 2, at OCT, 194 W. Broadway. The symposium will feature performances inspired by “stories of Alzheimer’s patients, their loved ones and their caretakers,” including the world premiere of Joan Szymko’s Shadow & Light and Steve Yockey’s Blackberry Winter. There will be a moderated panel with memory loss professionals, artists and arts administrators. This is a first-come, first-served non-ticketed event.