Look! It’s the Portland Art Crew!

  • Portland art students #thisisantwerp

Antwerp always takes pride in having a vibrant art scene. Of course we know we’re important, being healthy chauvinist Antwerpians, but we just enjoy the occasional lil' pat on our backs... So we were very happy to hear that a group of eight artists and students (Fletcher meisenburg, Kiel fletcher, Mary Brossman, Nadia Buyse, Andrew lorish, Gary Wiseman) from the Pacific Northwest College of Arts (www.pnca.edu) (Portland, Oregon, USA) came to visit Antwerp for a month of scubadiving through the local art scene.

We had a short chat with their professor, Modou Dieng, who was leading the trip.

Why did you come and visit Antwerp, of all places?

Modou: “We chose to visit Antwerp because it has a unique cultural standpoint in Europe as a carrefour between France, Germany, UK and Holland. Also: in april 2010 we hosted an exhibition of artists from Antwerp at Worksound Gallery in Portland. That exhibition was curated by Vanessa van Obbergen, an artist living in Antwerp.”

And who did you meet?

Modou: “We’ve met with painter Luc Tuymans, photographer Dirk Braeckman, painter David Wauters, curator Wim Van den Abbeele, Vanessa Van Obberghen and artist and noisemusic phenomenon Dennis Tyfus. We’ve also met musician and artist Anne Mie Van Kerkhoven. We’ve been to Base Alpha Gallery and went to Manifesta 9, the Mas Museum, the Foto- and the Fashion Museum. Also we’ll head back over to M_hka tomorrow, to meet the director and see the Jimi Durham show again.”

What was your impression of our art scene?

Modou: “We thought it was very vibrant. There was new as well as established art, spearheaded by Luc Tuymans. We felt a big openness to conversation with young American artists like ourselves. Oh, and we enjoyed the Middelheim park museum, and saw Dennis Tyfus, Chris Corsano and Ghédalia Tazartes perform at Scheld’apen and Peter Brötzmann in Trix as well. We were a bit surprised though, that ther is not a young music scene like there is in the arts.”

I’ll have to correct you on that one. Make sure to dive into our music underground: Mitt Land Och Leo, Flying Horseman, Dolphins Into THe Future, Innercity, Orphan Fairytale, Sickboy, Sheldon Siegel...

Modou: “Ah, nice!”

Can you compare Antwerp and Portland?

Modou: “There’s more similarities than differences but Antwerp is way more invested in the arts city wise than portland. Music and nightlife are a bit more vibrant in Antwerp as well. But we do share a local pride of our unique culture. Oh and the food is great in both places as well...”


Stijn Buyst from USE-IT (the guys who make the Free Maps for Young Travellers)