Yes, PORT will have my Bruce Guenther piece for you after the weekend (it is as complicated, personal and historically versed as its subject matter and I want to let it marinate a little more). Still, you should get out and see some art this weekend (shows that opened last weekend, Lumber Room and Abigail Newbold
at PNCA are all still up) and these three new additions might just make your weekend.
(L to R) Homage to Delacroix: Liberty Leading The People (1976) Robert Colescott, Trinitarian (2007) Mark di Suvero, Brazilian Screamer (1931) Morris Graves, By the River (1927) C.S. Price, Chu Culture deer funerary guardian (Late 5th early 4th Century BCE)
In Passionate Pursuit (The Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Collection and Legacy)
is retiring Chief Curator Bruce Guenther's final exhibition at the Portland Art Museum and it is a massive undertaking where the subtext itself is the act of collecting as sustaining patronage. True collectors like Arlene and Harold Schnitzer share their lives with the objects they relentlessly acquire, creating an anthropological biography in a way that others can experience. Curatorially, sifting through the over 2000 objects in the collection in a cogent, focused and yet representative way comes full circle for the Schnitzers, PAM and Bruce all in one fell swoop. It is clearly very emotional for PAM's staff and the Schnitzers. Also, what I like about Bruce's approach to the show is he didn't group by genre or even chronology. Instead, it laid out as clustered objects in conversation and therefore truer to the way the collection has operated in Harold and Arlene Schnitzer's lives.
For example, my favorite corner features a socio-politically challenging Robert Colescott (image above) that has never been exhibited publicly (it typically resides in the conference room) and a similarly banner raising Mark di Suvero... juxtaposed with a stoic C.S. Price horse painting and a poised Warring States period Jing deer holding court together with a mysterious and noteworthy early Morris Graves titled Brazilian Screamer. The effect is dizzying with a boisterous Western style humanism contrasted against a a more quiet Eastern appreciation of the sublime and it takes a lot of unpacking. But that's the thrill of collecting... it isn't harmonious so much as a commitment to being challenged by objects and the inherent conversations that arises amongst them. Some of the important regional artists like Louis Bunce, Michele Russo, Hilda Morris and Mel Katz, who are all in the show... simply would not have had the same careers they had as a community without the Schnitzers' activities as patrons of the arts.
In fact, one particular moment is crucial to understanding the Schnitzers as collectors, the tragic 1977 fire that claimed a large part of their collection as well as the works of many artist from the Fountain Gallery (which Arlene Schnitzer operated at the time). One work on display, Donald Wilson's sculpture Seated Figure (1977) was one of the works saved by attentive fire fighters. Other surprises include an excellent Luis Tomasello, Native American beaded bags and two rather feisty Robert Arnesons. In so many ways it is a crucial biography of art in Portland.
In Passionate Pursuit | October 18 2014 - January 11 2015
Portland Art Museum
1219 SW Park
Bluesky at PAM, Nan Goldin (L)
Another anthropological survey at PAM, Bluesky (The Oregon Center for the Photographic Arts at 40) is an equally crucial history of photography in Portland. Highlights include Nan Goldin, Robert Frank, John Divola, Mark Klett and Larry Sultan along with many others. Bluesky along with its founders Christopher Rauschenberg, Ann Hughes, Robert DiFranco, Craig Hickman and Terry Toedtemeier ...and like the Schnitzers have been a crucial patron in Portland and this exhaustive show helps survey an institution in the way Bluesky themselves could not.
Bluesky | October 18 2014 - January 11 2015
Portland Art Museum
1219 SW Park
Anthony McCall's You and I Horizontal
Curated by Sandra Percival, Zena Zezza will be bringing us two shows this weekend by Brian's Anthony McCall and Laura Heit
at the Hallock & McMillan building, Portland's oldest commercial structure built in 1857 (FYI Statehood was in 1859). McCall will present one of his signature light and space works, You and I Horizontal and Heit will inaugurate the 1857 series of projects, which will look back at the 1800's, "from the mundane to cataclysmic." At PORT we love idiomatic uses of space, especially if the space is idiomatic itself.
Anthony McCall and Laura Heit | October 19 - December 13 2014
Opening Reception: Sunday, October 19, 2-5PM
Presented by Zena Zezza
Hallock & McMillan building
237 SW Naito Parkway (at SW Oak Street)