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Tuesday 10.19.10

« pnca + mocc lectures | Main | Linfield + PSU »

PAM's 50 works from the Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection

herb_Dorothy_Vogel.jpg
Dorothy and Herbert Vogel

Last year, PORT was the only area publication to note that the Portland Art Museum was going to get a very generous gift of 50 works from The Dorothy and Herbert Vogel Collection. Now those works are on display at PAM and it reifies the general consensus that the couple were some of the best eyes for collecting to ever walk the earth (they weren't wealthy, just driven). First of all these 50 works (dispersed from their 2500 work collection, mostly on paper or small fragile sculpture) have an intrinsic coherence. Works by big names like Richard Tuttle and Lynda Benglis (two of my favorite artists) play well with surprising works by Daryl Trivieri, Edda Renouf, Jill Levine, Hap Tivey and Charles Clough so one can really see their eyes at work here. In some cases like Tuttle, Clough and Renouf the gift is of an entire suite of works, adding a nice depth to the bequest. Everything on display here has a poetic and material lightness that comes off as existential grace under the pressures of modern life, which is to say it's all good to extremely good. It also plays very well with the Greenberg Collection, which like this bequest is extra interesting for the less famous artists included.

nonas_vogels_sm.jpg
Richard Nonas, From Northern/Southern, 1974

Surprise highlights are Richard Nonas' From Northern/Southern, Edda Renouf's Crossroads #2 & Untitled Jill Levine's Untitled collage.

Renouf_Untitled_sm.jpg
Edda Renouf Untitled, 1986

The 36 notebook pages by Richard Tuttle alone are exceptional. In fact, the Tuttle pages as a single work is one of my favorite works by that artist. Somehow, Tuttle manages to paint notebook pages in such a sure and delicate way... with so few strokes, that to see 33 of them in series hammers home just how not accidental these works are. Tuttle's works might be nonchalant and extremely influential on young artists working today but they are so infinitely less pretentious that it must be a bit difficult for his followers. No artist since Paul Klee has worked with such poetic existential guile and these 36 pages are a significant addition to PAM's collection. It's an intimate collection, Tuttle is an intimate artist and the 36 pages are incredibly intimate even for Richard Tuttle... so it stands to reason why they stand out. I hope the are on display all of the time.

It also brings up the question of collectors in the Pacific Northwest and who if any of them might compare to this famous couple's eyes? I don't want to answer that question here because all serious collectors are quite different (names like Ed Cauduro and Linda Farris certainly do deserve to be named and there are others that come close) but the NW Film Center will be screening Herb and Dorothy again on October 31st and all art collectors (potential ones too) should catch it.

Overall, this gift exhibition fits nicely into a spectacular series of abstract shows curated by Bruce Guenther at the museum (Cy Twombly, Sol LeWitt, Lee Kelly, Mark Grotjahn) and Greater Portland curated by myself (Donald Judd, M5) and Reed's Stephanie Snyder (Terry Winters & the current Abstract show) along with numerous high profile solo shows by locals. Overall, if ever there was a year for abstract art in Portland... it will go down as 2010 (It's worth an essay of its own).

Posted by Jeff Jahn on October 19, 2010 at 13:08 | Comments (0)


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