Present inspiring contemporary art in Portland, OR

by YU Contemporary
Raw material for Lucy Skaer
Raw material for Lucy Skaer's exhibition at YU

Yale Union (YU) is proud to announce its summer 2013 exhibition, a commission of new work by British artist Lucy Skaer. From approximately 22 tons of lithographic limestone quarried from northeastern Iowa, along with cast terra cotta and milled mahogany, Skaer will create sculpures for installation using the entire second floor of the Yale Union building.

The exhibition will open on July 19th and run until September 12, 2013. Open hours are Thursday through Sunday, 12pm to 6pm. 

Lucy Skaer was born in Cambridge in 1975. She attended the Glasgow School of Art, receiving her BA in 1997. Skaer makes just about everything--sculpures, drawings, videos, films, and prints. She has had solo exhibitions at the Chisenhale Gallery, London; Kunsthalle Basel; Kunsthalle Wien; and Location One, New York. She represented Scotland in the 52nd Venice Biennale, and she was shortlisted for the Turner Prize in 2009. Skaer lives and works in Glasgow, Scotland. 

For the last fifty years, Thom Andersen and Morgan Fisher have been friends and filmmakers. They met as students in 1964 in the film department at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. They made films that spoke with equal assurances about Hollywood and avant-garde histories, but acquiesced to the terms of neither. 

YU's next exhibition, a survey of Andersen's and Fisher's films from 1964 to 2013 is more than a display of reciprocal advocacy. It is not a victory lap for two old friends. It is a chance, at bottom, to see the ways in which their work is different and the ways in which it chimes, and directs our attention to film itself, its plumbing, contrivances, history, and possible political consequences. The survey will take place at the Hollywood Theatre (4122 NE Sandy Boulevard, Portland, OR 97212) over several weekends. Andersen and Fisher will be in Portland on the opening weekend, March 30 and 31, to discuss their working relationship and introduce a new state of Screening Room, (1968/2013). Please join us for this retrospective of films co-curated with Lucas Quigley. 

(all films 16mm)

Screening Room
MF, 1968–, variable length

TA, 1964–65, 6 min. 

Olivia’s Place
TA, 1966/74, 6 min.

— —– 
TA, 1966–67, 12 min. 

( )
MF, 2003, 21 min.


Production Stills 
MF, 1970, 11 min. (16mm)

Cue Rolls
MF, 1974, 5.5 min. (16mm)

Eadweard Muybridge, Zoopraxographer
TA, 1975, 59 min. (35mm)


Protective Coloration 
MF, 1979, video, 13 min. (3/4″ video transferred to DVD)

Standard Gauge 
MF, 1984, 35 min. (16mm)


Los Angeles Plays Itself 
TA, 2003, video, 169 min. (DVCAM)

(all films 16mm)

Projection Instructions 
MF 1976, 4 min.

Picture and Sound Rushes 
MF, 1973, 11 min.

Production Footage
MF, 1971, 10 min.

The Wilkinson Household
Fire Alarm 

MF, 1973, 1.5 min.

The Director and His Actor
Look at Footage Showing Preparations
for an Unmade Film (2)

MF, 1968, 15 min.

Documentary Footage 
MF, 1968, 11 min.

Phi Phenomenon
MF, 1968, 11 min.


Turning Over 
MF, 1975, 13 min. (1/2″ video transferred to DVD)

Get Out of the Car 
TA, 2010, 34 min. (16mm)

Consider the accomplishments of 2012:

In February
, YU and FearNoMusic presented “John Cage, 100 Years,” inaugurating the year’s programming throughout our landmark building.

In March, Paris collective castillo/corrales spoke to us on attitude and institution making.

In April, Common Room, a New York and Brussels based architectural office, designed our exhibition space.

In June, the SAUL STEINBERG exhibition opened. Stuart Bailey joined us for a talk on J.D. Salinger and Steinberg before the exhibition traveled to ARTSPACE in New Zealand.

In July, we opened, “, , , , , , ” a series of exhibitions about Scottish artist Ian Hamilton Finlay with selections by Will Holder. Caitlin Murray of the Judd Foundation, and Tim Johnson have since continued the series.

In July, we hosted an exhibition on Alvar Aalto at Alvar Aalto’s Mount Angel Library in rural Oregon.

In September, YU’s first Artist in Residency began with the curatorial team Cinema ProjectCP has since activated our theater with over 45 films.

In October, the German artistMARIANNE WEX installed her first American exhibition which continues to Presentation House in Vancouver, BC.

In November
, critic and poet Charles Bernstein gave a talk about his friend George Kuchar as part of our ongoing Kuchar Retrospective!

And more music: we presented performances by Ethiopian legend Mahmoud Ahmed (upon which Mayor Sam Adams declared May 5 “Mahmoud Ahmed Day”) and the British electronic musician Mark Fell. Portland’s Daniel Menche made a site specific sound piece and Patrik Czak performed Walter Marchetti’sNatura Morta

None of these programs were possible without the generous support of our members and friends. PLEASE JOIN US BY BECOMING A MEMBER OR RENEWING YOUR MEMBERSHIP TODAY.

2013 will be another ambitious year of bringing emerging and under-represented artists to Portland. By supporting YU, you support the creation of new culture.

Curtis Knapp & Steve van Eck

YU is thrilled to announce an exhibition of Marianne Wex’s photographic panels, to be presented for the first time in the United States.

Taking the form of large collaged panels, the exhibition observes the difference between the sexes through the poses and gestures of unwitting subjects. Interested in documenting the ways that social hierarchy defines gender roles, Marianne Wex photographed people on the streets of Hamburg, Germany from 1972 to 1977 and categorized them by their body language; sorting the photos by gender and according to the specific positioning of arms and legs, heads, shoulders, knees and toes. The panels are organized thematically, grouping the photographs by posture, separating male and female, and occasionally a few exceptions to the stereotypically gendered gestures. Wex supplemented her street photographs with advertisements, art historical reproductions, mail order catalogues and other media portraying different era’s ideals in beauty.

Wex’s work is at once conceptual art and historical documentation. It combines the art of photography, and appropriation of found images through a very scientific approach. In the context of the feminist movement of the 1970s, Wex’s approach is understood as an attempt to overcome the separation between the two conventional genders, and between the sciences and everyday existence. The photo panels were shown for the first time in 1977 as part of the exhibition Women Artists International 1877–1977 at NGBK in Berlin, and in addition to the installation Wex published a more extensive book titled Let’s Take Back Our Space: Female and Male Body Language as a Result of Patriarchal Structures (1979).

Yale Union will exhibit Wex’s original photographic panels, in collaboration with the Bildwechsel Archive for Women in the Media Arts in Hamburg, Germany, where the panels are currently held, and participate in the archival preservation of this body of work, including the re-printing of the original book Let’s Take Back Our Space. YU will bring the artist to Portland to give a talk at the opening of the exhibition in October 2012.

Marianne Wex was born in 1937 in Hamburg, Germany, and now lives and works in Höhr-Grenzhausen (Westerwald). She studied art at the University of Fine Arts in Hamburg and taught there from 1963 to 1980. In the late 1970s and early 1980s she showed her work in national and international solo and group exhibitions (e.g., at NGBK, Berlin, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Bonner Kunstverein and ICA, London).

In July of this year, Badischer Kunstverein (Karlsruhe, Germany) presented Wex in her first comprehensive solo exhibition in Germany since the 1970s. She is no longer a practicing artist.

Please join us for the opening reception on October 12th, 2012, 6:30pm, at YU.


October 12- November 30, 2012  

Thursday - Saturday 12pm – 6pm


Mahmoud Ahmed performance
Mahmoud Ahmed performance

In April we asked for help --- we launched a campaign to raise funds to support YU’s contemporary art program. The response has been incredible and we are so grateful. The donations we received went directly to YU’s programming allowing Portland the opportunity to experience some incredible music and art.

At the end of April, YU hosted a music performance by Daniel Menche. Menche is an abstract sound musician and composer, a native Oregonian who has toured in Europe, Asia, and North America. His performance at YU was both heard and felt physically by attendees as the different compilations of sound sent vibrations through the audience and the building.

On Cinco de Mayo, YU and Portland welcomed Mahmoud Ahmed on his 72nd birthday with a certificate from Mayor Sam Adams declaring May 5th, 2012 Mahmoud Ahmed day. One of the great pioneers and innovators of modern Ethiopian music, Ahmed is a true legend who has influenced the way music gets made and distributed on the African continent. His performance at YU was breathtaking and went late into the night, drawing in a huge diverse crowd to experience this amazing music.

On May 12th, YU was again filled with sound, as the experimental electronic music group, Black Dice performed. Drawing in a younger crowd to YU, the group, based in Brooklyn, New York, played an energetic and compelling show making for an inspiring and unique performance.

Finally, on June 16th, YU opened its first exhibition of the season STEINBERG, SAUL. THE NEW YORKER. NEW YORK, 1945-2000. (HAROLD, WILLIAM, ROBERT, TINA, DAVID, EDS.)

“For more than fifty years, Saul Steinberg was The New Yorker’s nonpareil sketcher, observer, spy and – though he would have thought the word dingy and depressing – its chief cartoonist, too. But then he disliked being called an artist, too, since it called to his mind the salon-swindle of ‘exciting’ objects and collectors’ manias. ‘All of those drawings, whimpering at night in the wrong houses,’ was his dry description of the consequences of selling pictures to collectors, rather than publishers.”

-Gopnik, Adam. “Saul and the City.” In The Guardian (Nov. 26, 2008)


The exhibition collects some two hundred magazines, some slightly yellowed, others in mint condition, presenting his work in The New Yorker over a period of fifty years. The exhibition program will include a talk by Stuart Bailey of Dexter Sinister, a lecture by the exhibition coordinators Robert Snowden and Scott Ponik, and a screening of The Right Way by Fischli and Weiss. The exhibition will later travel to ARTSPACE, a non-profit institution in Auckland, New Zealand.

Thank you again for your support that helped make the programming over the last few months possible. YU will continue to support emerging and under-acknowledged contemporary artists, propose new modes of production, and stimulate the ongoing public discourse around art. We hope you will continue to follow and support us as we produce more contemporary art programs in the near future.


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Organization Information

YU Contemporary

Location: Portland, OR - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Jenny Martin
Portland, Oregon United States

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