Jeff Jahn (born 1970) is a curator, art critic, artist, historian, blogger and composer based in Portland, Oregon, United States. He coined the phrase declaring Portland "the capital of conscience for the United States," in a Portland Tribune op-ed piece, which was then reiterated in The Wall Street Journal.
Jahn's cultural activities in Portland frequently receive attention outside the region from media outlets such as CNN, Art in America, The Art Newspaper, The Wall Street Journal, and ARTnews. Described in the press as "outspoken and provocative", and curatorially as, "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." He originally took up art criticism when then-Modern Painters editor Karen Wright asked him to contribute to the then-London based magazine in the late 1990s. In 2005, he co-founded PORT, a noted visual art blog.
He also lectures on art history or critiques at Portland Art Museum, University of Oregon, Pacific Northwest College of Art, Portland State University, Oregon College of Art and Craft and Lewis & Clark College. In 2010 he was a juror for the Andy Warhol Art Writing Grants. From 2002-2008 Jahn served as a board member of the Portland Art Museum's Contemporary Art Council and was elected to the vice president's post for a three-year term from 2005 to 2008. In 2006, he launched the visual arts non-profit Organism, which has hosted the work of artists Jarrett Mitchell Pipilotti Rist, Yoram Wolberger, Weppler & Mahovsky and Hank Willis Thomas. In 2008, he shut down Organism as the scope of his projects fell increasingly outside of its more narrow mission of living artists. One of Jahn's more recent curatorial project was a scholarly conference and exhibition dedicated to the work of Donald Judd with Robert Storr as keynote speaker at the University of Oregon's Portland campus.
As a curator, Jahn has been behind exhibitions like: "Play" (2002), "The Best Coast" (2003), "Symbiont Synthetic" (2003), "Fresh Trouble" (2005), "Model Behavior" (2007), "Volume" (2008) and Donald Judd (2010). Jahn's art has been exhibited in the United States and Germany. Since 2007, his photography, and spatial installations have received increasing attention. One solo show Eutrophication took place at Pacific Northwest College of Art's Manuel Izquierdo Sculpture Gallery in April 2008 in a space originally designed by a young Brad Cloepfil, then later modified by faculty. His latest solo show Vection at the New American Art Union presented installation art and photography and was picked by the Huntington Post as a top show on the West Coast. Jahn's installation work was selected for the 10th Northwest Biennial at the Tacoma Art Museum where it was noted by numerous critics. One Seattle critic, Jen Graves, described the work as, "a faux forest canopy made of jagged pieces of plywood that create a small, localized environment of green-tinted shadows where you can hide out to think."
Publications, reviews and interviews
Jahn has been published, reviewed and or interviewed in, Art in America, Art News, CNN, Modern Painters, The Wall Street Journal, Art Critical, NYArts, Clear Cut Press, The Oregonian, Oregon Public Broadcasting, Portland Tribune, Portland Mercury, Willamette Week, The Stranger and Diesel music magazine. As publisher and chief critic of PORT, he prompted Stuart Horodner to state, "In the ecology of Portland he is an important independent player....He's calling for a level of seriousness." His critical writings and photos for Northwest Drizzle and PORT are detailed documentation of the developments in the Portland art scene.
On September 5, 2002, The Oregonian said, "…Jahn's laser focus on the present moment emphasizes one important thing about him: He's the voice of right now." On December 20, 2006 Richard Speer stated, "Jeff Jahn has the smarts to mount quirky conceptual shows by nationally known artists…" The Seattle Post-Intelligencer described "Fresh Trouble" (which included China's Cao Fei) as "impressive."
- Jahn, Jeff, Portland Tribune, January 12th 2012.
- Plagens, Peter. Our Next Art Capital: Portland?, The Wall Street Journal, May 2nd, 2012.
- Plagens, Peter. Report From the Blogosphere: The New Grass Roots, Art in America, November 2007.
- Henderson, Harvest, The Oregonian, May 16th, 2003.
- PAM Artist Talks, May 13, 2010.
- Warhol Art Writing Grants
- Gallivan, Joseph, Portland Tribune December 2006.
- Vondersmith, Jason, Portland Tribune  April 15, 2010
- Bancud, Michaela. Game plan: Local arts champion Jeff Jahn assembles a show that focuses on our innate need to play. The Portland Tribune, September 6, 2002.
- Speer, Richard. Organism's sophomore show impresses with restraint. Willamette Week, September 12, 2007
- Motley, John.  Portland Mercury, September 4, 2008
- Art News (review of and image from Zeitgeist at Pulliam Deffenbaugh gallery) September 2008
- Portland Visual Chronicle September 2008
- Jeff Jahn's Vection at NAAU gallery
- Jen Graves The Stranger, January 24th 2012
- Brown, Aaron.  CNN, September 28, 2004
- Think Out Loud. The Region's Art. Oregon Public Broadcasting, August 8, 2008
- Row, D.K. The Oregonian, September 5, 2002.
- Row, David. The Oregonian, September 5, 2002.
- Speer, Richard. Willamette Week, December 20, 2006 .
- Hackett, Regina. Wake up, Seattle. Portland's art world is gaining on you. Seattle Post-Intelligencer, October 10, 2005.