Converge 45, the Portland-based, non-profit arts organization is proud to announce the artist list for the upcoming iteration of its biennial program. Opening across the Portland metro area on August 24, 2023, this citywide exhibition will feature the work of more than 50 artists and artist collectives in partnership with more than 15 museums, cultural spaces, and public sites.
Organized by writer and curator Christian Viveros-Fauné, Social Forms centers on the idea of art-as-a-social-form: contemporary and historical artworks that take the measure of their era in order to respond directly to the challenges of their time. Grounded in the current socio-political landscape as well as in regional and global histories, this expansive exhibition asks us to consider global power shifts taking place in contemporary society. Social Forms: Art as Global Citizenship is designed to promote increased citizenship during a period of political polarization and retrenchment of civil liberties—where citizenship is a term used not to denote privileged political status but to propose a more inclusive category of belonging in the world.
Many of the artists featured in Converge 45’s biennial are exhibiting or producing major new works. Marie Watt, a key Pacific Northwest artist who is a member of the Seneca Nation, will display a major new public artwork for the city of Portland. Richard Mosse will launch the US debut of his major new film and photographic project, Broken Spectre—filmed in remote parts of the Brazilian Amazon, this immersive installation charts the ongoing degradation of “the world’s lungs,” and is the result of three years of careful documentation of environmental crimes using a range of scientific imaging technologies.
Another highlight will be Malcolm Peacock’s profoundly affecting sculptural installation that explores themes of safety for Black individuals, especially as these relate to the history of Portland. The biennial will also feature a mini-survey of the work of the late painter and printmaker Hung Liu—the Chinese-American artist who foregrounded immigrants, the working class, women and marginalized and misrepresented communities in her groundbreaking work; an exhibition of the rarely seen canvases of Black painter, poet and writer Jesse Murry, curated by painter Lisa Yuskavage and critic Jarrett Earnest; and an important historical exhibition of art-as-a-social-form drawn entirely from the collection of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation.
The program will also present the work of Frieze’s Impact Prize winner, Narsiso Martinez, whose groundbreaking artworks spotlight the precarious experiences of marginalized and misrepresented immigrant communities in the US and abroad.
The artists participating in Social Forms represent a range of practices and media, including painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, textile, printmaking, installation, sound and film, as well as projects that emphasize collaboration with local communities and cultural organizations. Audiences can expect an array of solo and group presentations which unite local, national, and international creative perspectives to examine themes of ecological degradation, indigeneity, displacement, race and representation, migration, and intergenerational dialogues.