Jeff Jahn is a polymath curator, critic, publisher, composer and artist based in Portland Oregon.
An active participant in many of the dramatic changes in Portland's cultural scene Jahn has been published in Art in America, Modern Painters, Art Critical, NY Arts Magazine and Diesel among others. As a curator he has been credited with continually foregrounding an international outlook (Donald Judd, Hank Willis Thomas, Cao Fei and Pipilotti Rist) while supporting the most challenging artists in the Portland scene with high-profile exhibitions in various University galleries and warehouses. In 2008 he was a finalist for the Regional Arts and Cultural Council's top Individual Artist Fellowship in literature.
In 2005 Jahn co-launched the innovative art macro-blog PORT (discussed in Art In America's November 2007 internet art writing roundtable). In 2007 The Walker Art Center dubbed PORT the, "undisputed champ of the regional art blogs." PORT has published often lengthy interviews with; Okwui Enwezor, Ed Ruscha, Fritz Haeg, Carl Andre, Ai Weiwei, Brad Cloepfil , Mickalene Thomas and Inigo Manglano-Ovalle, among many others.
"I go where culture and civilization are best served (preferably by being challenged). I travel to satisfy my wanderlust but chose Portland as my base specifically because it is unique among US cities, it's a nice mix of European planning and Yankee pragmatism in a time that is increasingly suburban and nuance-free politically. Besides, from the craggy beaches to the volcanic peaks and the temperate rain forrests I have a great love for the Northwest landscape.
With that nature as a backdrop, Portland is a unique city that is coming into its own with its cosmopolitan yet bohemian vibe, almost Romanesque civics, West Coast joie de vivre and a vibrant 19th century plan that encourages walking, cafes, environmental awareness and the best bookstores in North America.
It's the alternative to and a lense on LA and New York without being derivative of either one. 'PDX' (as many of its 2.24 million + metro inhabitants call it) is basically National Public Radio in city form."- jj
Press:"Arguably the most gifted curator in Portland..." Richard Speer, Willamette Week July 25th 2006
"... Jeff Jahn has quickly risen to become one of the leading voices in Portland on contemporary art," Brian Libby, Portland Architecture, January 21st 2009
Donald Judd article, Jason Vondersmith, Portland Tribune, April 15th 2010
"Jahn's laser focus on the present moment emphasizes one important thing about him: He's the voice of right now." D.K. Row, Oregonian Sept 5th 2002
"Jeff Jahn blasted into this town over ten years ago, curating group shows with far-reaching consequences." Eva Lake KBOO Radio interview, July 13th 2010
"The exhibition Fresh Trouble could be the missing link between the Affair at the Jupiter art fair and the Jubitz Center for Modern and Contemporary Art." Joseph Gallivan, Portland Tribune September 23rd 2005
"a clarion call for Portland’s new guard of serious artists- the ones creating a dialog that exceeds the bounds of so-called regional art." Harvest Henderson The Oregonian (Portland) May 16th 2003
"In the ecology of Portland he is an important independent player. . . . He’s calling for a level of seriousness." Stuart Horodner in the Oregonian Sept. 5th 2002, by D.K. Row
"Outspoken and provocative, Jahn sees greatness in the arts in Portland and won't let any of us settle for less." Lisa Radon, UltraPDX.com, April 28th 2006
"in an art scene where noninstitutional artists and curators are one of its strongest elements, Jahn’s 'The Best Coast' stood out." D.K. Row, The Oregonian, May 30th 2003
"over the course of a single night, I have never been part of so many lively arguments about what constitutes a local art scene, what pushes it forward, and whether someone like Jahn is necessary or not." Emily Hall, The Stranger (Seattle), May 29th 2003
"Speaking of fresh, Portland's freewheeling, freelance art curator, Jeff Jahn. . . . impressive" Regina Hackett, Seattle PI, October 10th 2005
"Organism's sophomore show impresses with restraint" Richard Speer, Willamette Week September 12th 2007
"To casual observers and culture vultures alike, its obvious the 31 year old Jahn works hard to throw light on Portland’s visual arts scene. . . . And he may have what it takes- he’s competitive, irrepressible and more than a little obsessed." Michaela Bancud, Portland Tribune, Sept 6th 2002
"Indefatigable" Nathan Guequirre, Shepherd Express (Milwaukee) 1998
"Jahn's two photographs, including one of the tram, are beautiful images that emphasize the luminous space and lightness of architectural structures." DK Row, Oregonian, May 15th 2008
"Love him or hate him, local art writer/curator/artist Jeff Jahn is usually willing to put his money where his mouth is" Chas Bowie, Portland Mercury, May 2003
Excerpt of artist talk at Portland Art Museum:
Jahn's Art and Threat and The Best Coast essays are also available online.
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