Love Among the Junk

Oregon Confetti
By Lee Oser
(Wiseblood Books, 2017, 318 pgs.)

Lee Oser’s romping satire, Oregon Confetti, follows the spiritual journey of Devin Adams, a semi-corrupt art dealer attempting to maintain his place in the Portland scene without becoming a complete charlatan or losing his soul. In order to patronize true art, he must be willing to peddle trash at exorbitant prices to unsuspecting philistines. As he tells one prospective lover, “I sell art to people who know nothing about art at all. For them, it’s about status . . . It’s all a big scam, a confidence game.” Devin’s one redeeming quality is his devotion to the brilliant but un-trendy John Sun, the last in a line of noble Chinese painters. Unlike nearly all modern artists, for whom Adams and Oser seem to share a profound dislike, Sun is devoted to order, sanity, form, and technique. His art is not a commentary or a protest; it is, like an Orthodox icon, a window to another world.