Thanks to Tyler Green's tip
. There may be dancing in the streets amongst contemporary circles in town but John Buchanan, director of the Portland Art Museum and his wife Lucy have done some amazing things... including saving The Museum from financial ruin and redefining fundraising in town. Still, after the master plan was completed what was left? Certainly contemporary art is a hot topic in town and he made no secret of his dislike of most contemporary art... It was time and it is a mark of distinction to move on when needed.
JB officially becomes the new director of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco on February 1st.
What does this means for PAM? ...change of course and Portland is ready for it. Thanks John.
Dancing in the streets would be foolish. The wise would remember what a stifling stupid place PAM was 12 or so years ago.
The Buchanan's came as colonial administrators. So what if they don't ping to local artists interests. That's so so not their function.
What they excelled at - and what we have lost - is the ability to sell art and culture to real estate barons and junk dealers.
And this is no temporary loss. Expect years of backsliding before the most auspicious individual will gain simular traction.
First of all I think the museum has been very responsive to local artists... note the 2 floors devoted to northwest art in the Hoffman wing (which even has young firebrands like Erin Kennedy and Eric Palmer on display). The artists interests are more represented by the galleries anyway.
As for backsliding I seriously doubt it. The Portland Art Museum has a larger endowment now than the Guggenheim does. Also, some pretty great things like Raphael and Egytian shows in 2006 and Rembrandt in 2007 are already in place... The museum is solid. John and Lucy have put the museum on a good foundation but Portland needs to move onto the next step in terms of art leadership.
Honestly, I can say Ive always liked John. For reasons inexplicable to me he was always glad to see me and I think it was just time to move on to bigger things. A year ago (in private, believe it or not) I predicted that the SF fine arts museums might be a likely place for him next, the artist I mentioned it to acted as if I was dreaming. We had a good laugh over it yesterday. This person wasnt a fan.
Fact is, good museum directors are had to find and that is why it was smart to pay John as much as they did. Worth every penny... and that is coming from me... mr. contemporary art. Now its time for someone different and its good.
The museum will find someone new and it will adress the new situation in town and move us to the next phase.
Honestly, I'm bemused with some Portlander's ability to call DOOM every time there is a change.
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