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Friday 03.31.06

« Attack of the 50 ft tall Curator | Main | NCECA Roundup (Part 2) »

Free Day at Portland Art Museum

Ernst Ludwig Kirchner's Dancers (1909) woodcut
(c) by Ingeborg & Dr. Wolfgang Henze-Ketterer, Wichtrach/Bern.

Not only has the Portland Art Museum snuck in a minor redesign of their website's front page (the old one was just terrible and so so creme brulee) they are open free of charge today , thanks to the generous support of the Lamb Baldwin Foundation and the Maybelle Clark Macdonald Fund. Hours 10 AM - 8:00 PM

I particularly like roaming the museum at night and you run into a lot of interesting people during those hours. For me nothing is better than taking in a good Anne Truitt, a Dan Flavin and the only Schnabel I have ever liked before a movie at the NW film center or Fox Theater (disclosure I am a board member of the Museum's Contemporary Art Council).

Definitely check out shows like Roxy Paine's PMU. It's a brilliant work from a few years ago that complicates notions of artistic production, authorship and notions of control vs. serendipity. Basically the artist built a machine which makes paintings according to the algorithms he programed into it. It's a very theatrical even funny process when running (like those plastic animal mold machines at zoos) and very stark and minimalist when it isn't.

Also check out what I consider to be the single best show I've ever seen at the Museum, From Anxiety to Ecstasy: Themes in German Expressionist Prints at the Gilkey Center. Now prints are often considered second tier to paintings for a reason but German expressionist prints are in a class all their own. The German Expressionists often used medieval woodblock printing and stark imagery to address the existential condition before anyone had even named it existentialism yet. Using the medieval to address the industrialized world has never been so successful done. It's still very edgy by today's standards and their social commentary really holds up with a beguiling mix of ugliness, exoticism, death and frustration. Just check out the names; George Grosz, Edvard Munch, Otto Meuller, Franz Marc, Max Pechstein, Erich Heckel and the best of the bunch, Ernst Ludwig Kirchner. Note, if you are a serious graphic designer you really shouldn't miss this.

This show was culled mostly from the permanent collection and PAM has unexpected strength here due to the late Gordon Gilkey's role in recovering stolen art in post WWII Germany.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on March 31, 2006 at 0:00 | Comments (0)


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