Disjecta Contemporary Art Center

Original shows and innovative programming captivate at this North Portland destination.

Disjecta_JakeRichardson_webDisjecta Contemporary Art Center is a must-see for art lovers.
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    Jake Richardson

    Sleeping through an art show isn’t typically a good sign — unless Disjecta Contemporary Art Center is involved.

    At its annual Quiet Music Festival (June), musical acts encourage the audience to nod off. (All the better for “creating your own REM music videos.”) Such innovative programming has helped the organization, founded in 2000, nab national attention, with outlets like the Huffington Post referring to the event as “the music festival for people who hate music festivals.”

    Originally run out of an abandoned Masonic lodge, the group has graduated to a lofty, 12,000-square-foot (1,115 sq m) space in North Portland. Disjecta has distinguished itself by amassing a wide portfolio of offerings — some 500 shows since 2003 — that range from visual art installations to collaborations with bands like the Shins to the ambitious Portland Biennial, which will draw up to 5,500 spectators for two months’ worth of symposia, exhibitions and talks from March–April 2016.

    Disjecta’s Curator-in-Residence program is a first in the region, inviting visiting artists to create a series of exhibitions and events. Los Angeles-based artist Chiara Giovando presides over this season’s mix from Sept. 2015–May 2016 with picks like Book of Scores, which juxtaposes newly commissioned contemporary scores with historical works, and The Third Ear, an audacious auditory collaboration by artist from as far away as Scandinavia and Germany.

    Rest assured that with Disjecta involved, the arts are wide awake in Portland.


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