Hackett weighs in: Seattle v. Portland
Carolyn Zick's blog points the way to Monday's big story up north. Some people will consider this old news, but the Seattle Posts' Regina Hackett sounds the alarm to her fellow Seattlites who haven't been paying attention the past few years: Portland is gaining on Seattle. And, the way she admiringly describes the implications of the new PAM wing, perhaps she is harboring feelings that Portland has already caught up? Her solution: find ways to collaborate and make the Portland-Seattle-Vancouver corrider as accessible as possible.
I think we all know what Regina is trying to do and it's a good strategy but frankly Portand doesn't compare itself to Seattle. We are building our own model and it's more based on vital individuals and art leaders rather than building museums as the only measure of success. Big museum's solidify but do not energize art scenes. We simply have a Huge # of artists down here in PDX in comparison and places like San Francisco are very aware that a lot of their best and most promising are here now.
As for museums both PAM and SAM are kinda slow in the way that the big generalist art museum's always are. The real telling comparison is the activity of the art scene... I mean how many new galleries did we get in the last month alone?
3, 4, 5, it's tough to keep track... plus two of the best established ones, Pulliam Deffenbaugh and PDX just bought and renovated their new permanent homes. We aren't even talking about arts districts anymore (we have several), NW 9th is turning into a gallery row and I think we seriously should think of renaming it such.
Yes, we have a new museum wing but if you compare the living art scene's it isnt even a contest. Seattle's nice and recovering after the 90's but Portland is busy busy busy in a way that makes the idea of catching up seem flat out funny. Instead, Regina is talking about infrastructure and institutions more but Portland's real success is that the main dealers and artists feel enfranchised in a way no other art scene in the US can still claim. What is startling is how much it has changed from good-ish to often exciting in a mere 6 years.
Thanks for the kind words Regina... (I dont think anyone down here has said what you said to me at the black tie muesum opening). Maybe they have to see mee too often!
Latsly, I must point out Randy Gragg and Matt Stadler were not the first big advocates... although important, they simply caught on to what was going on about 3 years after it had already happend. That said its been one giant group effort. Read this wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portland_millennial_art_renaissance
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