The Portland Art Museum

1 05 2012

A view from the main building through the sculpture garden towards the Jubitz Center for Modern and Contemporary Art.

For the 1st year here I never made it to the Portland Art Museum, despite the fact that I love art.  Not sure why, but maybe because I thought it was small and not worth the effort?  That might be because I never saw it while driving around downtown so I made that stupid assumption.  And it does blend in with the surrounding buildings, but it is well worth seeking out because there’s a lot in there.  And “there” is actually two buildings, one for modern and contemporary art and one for everything else, connected by an underground walkway/gallery.

A blurry Rothko, my phone is old and bad.

Most recently I visited to see retrospective on Mark Rothko, a favorite artist of mine.  It was a great show, displaying his various early styles that I hadn’t seen much of, and then of course his more familiar style of rectangular color abstractions from the early 50’s on.  Turns out he has a Portland connection and lived here for a bit (graduated from Lincoln High!), as well as had his 1st major show here in 1933-34.  Great show, but as a surprise there was also an exhibit of an artist I hadn’t heard of, John Frame.  He makes very intricate marionette/puppet carvings and places them in their own environments.  He Also photographs and animates them.  I suppose it borders on “steam punk” but to me is more medieval-ish with a dark but playful feel.  Regardless, a very interesting artist.  See my crummy picture below, but I’d highly recommend checking out his website to get a better idea of what he does.  Or, go to the museum, but hurry because it’s gone at the end of May.

John Frame's work. There's an unbelievable amount of detail that doesn't show here (like all the eyes in the overcoat!), it's a show that can't be missed.

The permanent collection is comprised of what you’d think.  In the main building there’s European and American paintings, sculpture and photographs from all eras, as well as small galleries for Asian art, Native American art, and a nice local feature of Northwest artists.  The other building, the Jubitz Center Modern and Contemporary Art, houses a massive amount of, well… modern and contemporary art.  Between the two is a nice sculpture garden.  So go, become a member, and enjoy.  A few more random pictures of things I found interesting below….

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This is a work by Joseph Beuys, and it’s quite large.

Works by Milton Avery, an American artist. I just love the expressions on the subject’s faces, sneaky looking. I want a portrait like that painted of me.

Their modern Japanese ceramics were all impressive and intriguing.

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3 responses

1 05 2012
Susan

When did you go? Charlotte & Becky were there last Friday night.

3 05 2012
jonasbrock

We went Saturday afternoon, was there a special evening function Friday? If so, I’m a member, why wasn’t I invited!…

28 05 2012
Paul Mazzoni

I have been to the art museum in Portland, but it was Portland, ME.

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