Robert Adams, Kerstin, next to an old-growth stump, Coos County, Oregon 1999
Last year the Portland Art Museum mounted an exhibition of world renowned and Astoria based photographer Robert Adams
. It was wonderful and bittersweet, partially because it is Robert Adams' work (which measures the pang inducing endurance of nature in position to man's destructive tendencies) but also because the work itself wasn't in the museum's collection. Today PAM officially announced that the 69 photographs would enter the collection. Bravo!
Oregon has a bad habit of not celebrating its greatest artists but one by one, starting with Mark Rothko then Carrie Mae Weems and Robert Adams it has sought to rectify this studiued "disinterest" and start keeping score with home grown products who matters internationally.
Besides, there is a sense of a humanist-activist-poet in Adams' work... even if they weren't photos of the Oregon Coast it would fit Portland's civic interests and ethos. Big props to collectors Bonnie Serkin and Will Emery, some anonymous donors and the Oregon Arts Commission who made this landmark acquisition happen. This is one for the ages and the cultural patrimony of every Oregonian from this point forward.
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