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Wednesday 03.26.08

« Califoregon | Main | Nagy APEX lecture »

PAM acquisition: Tom LaDuke

The latest contemporary addition to the Portland Art Museum, Tom LaDuke's Private Islands (2007), is now on display on the 4th floor of the Jubitz Center for Contemporary Art, nearby the recent Tanya Batura acquisition.

LaDuke has been getting a lot of attention lately from Tyler Green and other museums and his work first appeared in Portland in PAM's New In Town exhibition back in 2002. The thing that has struck me about LaDuke's work is how there is always a phantom presence, whether it is the conceptual ghost of Chris Burden haunting his sculpture or a strange phantom use of space and objects in his paintings. It always seems like his subject matter is in the process of coalescing like water vapor either conceptually or perceptually (is there a difference?) on the forms he creates. His work's poetic spatial reflexivity and materiality remind me a lot of Ed Ruscha too (think of the Sunset Strip work or the gas stations and the open sky spaces of LaDuke's landscapes).

In Private Islands the immaculate grey surface seems to be haunted by some apparition taking a photograph of the viewer from some half formed phantom world and it stretches our ability to perceive light and space. There is a television monitor and what looks like a reflection of a full moon as well but it is all pretty difficult to make out... and that is the point. LaDuke doesn't create pictorial space to enter he creates a mood that radiates from the surface of the painting... it's like radiation from an xray of an alternate universe. I also think that this latest acquisition fits incredibly well with several recentish acquisitions like the Batura, Roxy Paine, Jackie Den Hartung, a great (and large) Kevin Appel (in 2000), Yek and Darren Waterston. All of these works address the materiality of their existence in different ways and the LaDuke adds an interesting haunted/perceptually based quality to the more recent parts of the collection.

The funds for this acquisition. were provided by some of my favorite Portland collectors, Bonnie Serkin and Will Emery. Frankly, if Portland had 5 more Bonnies it would radically transform Porland's collecting habits... alas she is a complete original but others can follow her example.

What else could PAM really use you ask? here's a somewhat obvious shopping list:

A large mature Mark Rothko, he grew up here and had his first solo show at the museum (*note PAM is persuing this small early work)
Ed Ruscha
Rachel Harrison
Takashi Murakami
Andy Warhol (there are actually a lot of these in Portland)
Ellsworth Kelly
Jessica Stockholder
Gerhard Richter (an excellent one is on loan but that isn't the same)
Anselem Kiefer
Marc Grotjahn
A late Picasso
Sol LeWitt cube (one is currently on loan)
Damien Hirst
Willem DeKooning
Donald Judd

Yes those are some big holes but it's a good thing PAM is acquiring people like Roxy Paine, Ursula Von Rydingsvard, Tanya Batura and now LaDuke. The Museum has great pieces by Robert Irwin, Richard Serra, Gilbert and George, Dan Flavin, Monet and Brancusi because it collected when the artists were less established.

Posted by Jeff Jahn on March 26, 2008 at 13:35 | Comments (0)


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