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Saturday 05.13.06

« PM4 | Main | Malia Jensen at Elizabeth Leach Part 2 »

Take Mom to Weimar

Max Pechstein, Self-portrait with Pipe, 1921. Woodcut. Portland Art Museum, Museum Purchase: Helen Thurston Ayer Fund. (c) 2006 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn

PAM's low key From Anxiety to Ecstasy: Themes in German Expressionist Prints is probably the single most satisfying museum show in the Pacific Northwest right now (I've gone 4 times). It features all of the big names like Ernst Ludwig Kirchner, Franz Marc, George Grosz etc. In fact, it's the best show I've ever seen at PAM in terms of depth and intellectual relevance. Early 20th century Germany was a heady melange of decadence, hedonism, industrialization, self expression, politics and an eventual fascist backlash. These expressionist artists defined existentialism before the term existed and unlike most prints, stand as some of the most important artistic accomplishments in any era. Look, Hitler hated this stuff and if your idea of cosmopolitanism is drinking something with Cointreau in it, get your lame intellectual credentials down to PAM to check this out. Yes expressionism was about internal angst but it was also about developing a culture of tolerance and general social engagement.

On Sunday May 14th at 2:00PM there will be a lecture on the art and society of the early decades of 20th-century Germany by distinguished author and University of Oregon professor Sherwin Simmons. For tickets, call 503-226-0973. Bring Mom.

Location: Portland Art Museum, Whitsell Auditorium
Fee: Members: Free. Non-members: Included with Museum admission.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on May 13, 2006 at 16:12 | Comments (2)


I'll second your excellent promotion of this exhibit. It's unfortunate it's a little buried in the PAM exhibitions (part of it is in a stairwell. But you won't want to miss it.

While you're in the museum don't miss toulouse lautrec's pieces in the Jubitz Modern - and maybe check out Roxy Paine's PMU (Painting Machine Unit).

Posted by: dalyPublishing [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 14, 2006 04:24 PM

this is a great show! succinct, yet potent. The Kathe Kollwitz's alone are worth the price of admission.

small but powerful. It also has that iconic Grosz "Fit for active Duty!" Very cool... it even sets up the history of German expressionism by beginning with a beautiful large scale Munch from a generation earlier.... And of course the Beckmann's are amazing. I always admire his ability to intertwine humor and magic into pathos and suffering, I think he is much more complex than the limitations imposed by the "german expressionist" style. I liked this concise show far more than wading through all the hesse glitz to see the few pieces I cared about....

A+ show! thanks PAM for the small but bright firework!

Posted by: Isaac [TypeKey Profile Page] at May 14, 2006 10:26 PM

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