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Thursday 03.20.08

« PNA | Main | Congratulations Michael Patterson-Carver »

PAM's latest contemporary acquisition: Batura + some guests

Tanya Batura, Sourire en Bois, 2007. Clay and acrylic. 10 in x 17 in x 10 in. Portland Art Museum.

The Portland Art Museum's latest contemporary acquisition, Tanya Batura's Sourire en Bois is on now display on the 4th floor of the Jubitz Center for Contemporary Art. The title translates as, "to smile out of wood." The double entendre is probably intended, but it also references how the sculpture has a wooden texture where the torso normally would start.


I first became familiar with Batura's work several years ago in the usual cascade of indistinguishable art fairs but her work always stood out ghoulishly. The work is exaggerated like Franz Xavier Messerschmidt or Gaston Lachaise and our own Storm Tharp, but Batura's work is both somewhat blissed out and mortuary in appearance in comparison. The effect is unsettling, as is the slight bruise of color on the lips (in this case purple) that one often finds in her work suggests that it is or was somehow alive.

This deathlike fetish of pure white ceramic with living color on the mouth heightens the latent grotesque sensuality of the work. Batura even gleans her source material for these faces from headshots of burn trauma, pornography and plastic surgery so the sense of constant alteration is in keeping with the LA mindset (where she lives and works).

Though we are keeping the Batura there are also lots of other great things on loan to see at PAM right now if you want to do your own little Easter Egg hunt.

Here is a list find them all (all private collections unless otherwise noted):

Gerhard Richter, Abstraktes Bild (757), 1992, Lent by the James B. Tananbaum and Dana S. Tananbaum Family Trust (4th floor Jubitz Center)... this is probably the best Richter on display north of San Francisco right now and it's interesting how it looks next to the Tim Bavington, both are stripe paintings.

Rudolf Stingel, Untitled, (one of the gold brocade paintings, which I love) Lent by the James B. Tananbaum and Dana S. Tananbaum Family Trust (4th floor Jubitz Center)

Richard Pousette-Dart, Imploding Light Number 2, 1968-69 (1st floor, Jubitz Center). This is probably the best Pousette-Dart I've ever seen and worth the trip alone.

Morris Louis, Arcturus, 1961(2nd floor, Jubitz Center) Finally a Louis in the Greenberg room...

Hans Arp,Concrétions Enlacées, c. 1958 (Entwined Concretions), (3rd floor, Jubitz Center)

Andy Warhol, Campbell's Beef Noodle (crushed), 1962, Graphite and watercolor on paper, (3rd floor, Jubitz Center)

Willem de Kooning, Untitled, 1965 Location: Discovery Center, 2nd floor, Hoffman Wing, Belluschi Building

There are also a couple of wonderful David Smith sprays, an Arshile Gorky and a very cool Louise Nevelson if you hunt around. I don't want to make it too easy... I found all this stuff by wandering around the hard way (I wonder how many POrtland artsts, curators and critics actually visit the museum just to look?)

Posted by Jeff Jahn on March 20, 2008 at 17:29 | Comments (0)


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