Just some of the Northern Lights exhibition at the Portland Japanese Garden
Guest curated by Sachiko Matsuyama, Northern Lights: Ceramic Art of Hokkaido, features works by 21 established artists of the Hokkaido Pottery Society, with additional works by other members. Northern Lights is a follow up to an exhibition held at the Portland Japanese Garden a decade ago and celebrates the occasion of 50th anniversary of the Hokkaido Pottery Society. This is my 20th year of living in Portland and for that entire time the Japanese Garden has consistently put on the strongest craft based shows in the city. This exhibition is no exception with personal favorites like Masaaki Ishikawa's swirl patterned vessel with blade ridges, Shichiiro Koyama's Bishamon tortoise-shell lattice vessel and my favorite a tiny little green ah glaze bowl by Hideki Takai.
2019 is the Year of Hokkaido at Portland Japanese Garden, which commemorates the 60th anniversary of the sister-city relationship between Portland and Sapporo. In many ways the Portland Japanese garden is the Japanese cultural embassy in the USA.
Northern Lights: Ceramic Art of Hokkaido
April 27 - May 27
Portland Japanese Garden
Far Right Nancy Grossman's Cob I, at PAM's Modern American Realism from the Smithsonian Museum (last day)
Perhaps one would expect a show titled Modern American Realism: Highlights from the Smithsonian's Sara Roby Collection
to be about staid Americana but the opposite is true. In fact one could just as easily call this American Surrealism. The iconic Edward Hopper has such a mood, Louise Nevelson's work is like a gothic child of surrealist assemblage and wood from the first portion of the industrial revolution and Paul Cadmus owes a lot to Georgio de Chirico with its long shadowed architectural arcades. Jack Levine's Inauguration is a surreal fantasy combining three separate presidents being sworn in, playing with the electorate's projections of the assumption of power. But the best cases are Nancy Grossman's Cob I and Theodore Roszak's works, which all the Goth's are gonna Love.
The exhibition is full of first rate works coming from the Smithsonian and it is a wonderful reminder of how weird American Realism can be.. and still is. It is a national strength, the acceptance of so many alternate realities and it is a perfect show for these scary times and looming election, whatever your politics.
Modern American Realism | October 20 2018 - April 28 2019 (last day)
Portland Art Museum
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