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Aqua Arte
Justin "Scrappers" Morrison has organized a show to benefit the Willamette Riverkeeper, and it's sort of a who's who of local, middle-brow, illustration-based artists, like Bwana Spoons, Martin Ontiveros, Brett Superstar, and Amy Lynn Morrison. Reading Frenzy, 921 SW Oak, 274-1449, through July 29

Keep Trying
Ryan Jacob Smith is certainly one of the city's underrated artists, but this could change with Keep Trying. He manages to approximate whimsy without veering into the insulin waters of cutesiness, and relies on a hint of nostalgia, but sidesteps sentimental idealization. What a stud. Motel, NW Couch between 5 & 6, through July 29

Oregon Biennial
Bullshit alert: PAM is throwing an awesome party to celebrate the Biennial, but if you don't have the magic Willie Wonka ticket, you don't get to go. And that's too bad, because White Rainbow, Copy, and artist Dave Eckard are all performing. Still, if the catalogue is to be trusted, the show's going to be pretty awesome. Highly recommended show. Also recommended: letting the public attend your openings. Portland Art Museum, 1219 SW Park, 226-2811, opens Sat, 8-11 pm, exhibition continues through Oct 8, $6-10

Introducing Organism
Organism is a maddeningly vague start-up organization from local writer/hypeman Jeff Jahn. "Organism catalyses an ecosystem of contemporary art and creative people, one where innovative visual culture thrives and grows." Jesus. The whole things kicks off with a party tonight that boasts a video by Pipilotti Rist, who is a very good video artist, and a performance by Courtney Taylor-Taylor, who sings in a very cheesy rock group. Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell, 234-0973, Thurs 7/27, 7:30 pm, $15-40

James Boulton
The show is quintessential Boulton: Q*Bert patterns, Cedar Bar brushwork, aerosol flourishes, and a disorienting play of spatial dynamics. In freeway terms, looking at Boulton's work is like shifting from fifth to second gear repeatedly within each painting, throwing viewers against the seatbelt restraint while the engine strains to normalize its RPMs. It's a wild ride and not for the squeamish, but Boulton's paintings are a perfect visual soundtrack for our exhilaratingly messy times. Pulliam Deffenbaugh, 929 NW Flanders, 228-6665, through July 29

Roger Seliner Benefit Show
I don't know Roger Seliner, but he must be a pretty awesome guy. He contracted Graves Disease, and things aren't going very well for him right now, so his friends have banded together to raise money to help a brother out. There's a silent auction with work by artists from PDX, LA, and NY, including Chris Johansen, and at 7:30 pm, music from Lana Rabel (Juanita Family) and Yes Father kicks off. Reasons to go: (1)good times, (2)good karma. The Funky Church, 2456 SE Tamarack, Sun, 5:30 pm, $5

Joe Macca
At a solo show at PDX several years ago, Macca exhibited two bodies of work with nearly bipolar disparities. The main gallery found a suite of ethereal, gauzy abstractions that looked like gazing into a tropical sunset. The smaller show was of drawings he had sketched on toilet paper rolls, each more sardonic and funny than the previous. It was like the "Funny Joe/Serious Joe" show. Looks like this time we get Serious Joe, with new paintings based on his meditation practice. PDX, 925 NW Flanders, 222-0063, through July 29


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