Christopher Wool, I Smell a Rat, 1989-94. Alkyd and acrylic on aluminum. 72 x 48 inches. The Broad Art Foundation, Santa Monica.
I'm very excited about Camouflage
at the Portland Art Museum
, which opens this weekend. It is a show which
focuses on the use of repeated pattern in wall based works over the last 30 years (one of my favorite art subjects).
Featuring a 37 foot wide Warhol titled, "Camouflage" and the public
debut of a new Damien Hirst called, "The Kingdom of The Father," Camouflage is
Portland's must see contemporary group show of the summer. This 8 painting show
in the soaring Schnitzer Atrium space also includes works by Christopher Wool
and the under-appreciated but worthy Philip
. The Hirst is one of his recent butterfly works and was comissioned
by the Broad Arts
. Hirst is known for his PR genuis but please also consider how
he has mastered the art of presentation, which he put to less personal use as an installer for Anthony d'Offay before fame and fortune came his way. Warhol
was also a master of this and its really fitting to see them here together.
This pragmatic but scholarly relevant exploration by chief curator Bruce Guenther
began with the opportunity to show the Warhol from 1986 (lent by Eli Broad)
and grew organically from there. I often find these opportunistic curatorial
shows offer a lot more surprises than giant surveys that travel the museum circuit.
This show reminds me a lot of Ornament
and Abstraction at the ridiculously good Beyeler Foundation
, whose corresponding
catalog also wins my vote for, "best
thematic art book produced in the last 30 years
." It's that good...
in fact, PAM's
big Frank Stella, "Eskimo Curlew
" is one of the images contained
within its covers (though Im not much of a fan of that piece).
A lot of my friends rightfully complain that the Portland Art Museum's lack
of large scale contemporary shows forces them to travel elsewhere to sustain
their interests and I agree completely. It needs fixing (Ferriso and Guenther
obviously know this), but this show does provide some big time art in an interesting
scholarly context. It isn't a replacement for a major retrospective or survey
show but it is very very welcome. (disclosure, I am the Vice President and Programming
Chair for the Contemporary
Art Council at PAM
) When the 2004 Rosenquist
didn't occur after Buchanan had announced it... it was a huge
blow to the neglected contemporary community, we are still waiting (!!!contemporary
people are not group known for patience) but word is something is coming. Since
then smaller solo shows featuring; Pierre
, Roxy Paine and Sophie Calle with current shows by Kehinde
have helped and Camouflage may be just the thing the mass of pattern
painters in Portland need to see.
Camouflage runs August 4th - November 4th 2007 at the Portland Art Museum.