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2023 in Review: The look of visual arts

From the Rothko Pavilion to Converge 45 to the Hallie Ford's 25th anniversary and much more, a look at some of the highlights of Oregon's year in the worlds of museums and visual art.

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Design rendition of the Rothko Pavilion looking east from the Eliot Tower Condominiums on Southwest 10th Avenue: Rendering by Hennebery Eddy Architects and Vinci Hamp Architects, courtesy of Portland Art Museum.
Design rendition of the Rothko Pavilion looking east from the Eliot Tower Condominiums on Southwest 10th Avenue: Rendering by Hennebery Eddy Architects and Vinci Hamp Architects, courtesy of Portland Art Museum.

While people stayed away from downtown Portland in droves in 2023, some leery of crime and encampments and open drug use, some just used to not going out much after the shutdowns of the severe pandemic years, hammers and crowbars were clacking away at the Portland Art Museum, portending a revival of energy and activity in what in many ways is the center of Oregon’s visual arts scene.


2023: A Year in Review


After several long years of planning, construction started on the Mark Rothko Pavilion, linchpin of a $110 million museum upgrading that will add 40,000 square feet of gallery and other space in the Pavilion itself and include renovations on another 55,000 square feet of existing space.

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The glass-enclosed Rothko addition, expected to open in Summer 2025, will connect the museum’s two main buildings and, as Brian Libby wrote for ArtsWatch, vastly improve visitor access throughout the museum. Construction on the Pavilion and other spaces is bringing a clatter of promise and activity to the heart of downtown, even as it temporarily disrupts the museum’s ordinary operations.

For all the construction noise and clutter, which has included temporarily shutting down several galleries, the museum maintained an ambitious schedule in 2023, including the major current exhibitions Africa Fashion (from London’s Victoria and Albert Museum) and Black Artists of Oregon.

It also became a main sponsor of Jeffrey Gibson’s selection as official solo artist for the United States Pavilion at the 2024 Venice Biennale. Gibson will be the first Indigenous artist to represent the United States as a solo artist in the biennale’s 129-year history.

In mid-December the museum announced that, thanks to an “Access for All” grant from the Art Bridges Foundation, in January it’s bringing back its Free First Thursday admission policy, opening it doors the first Thursday of every month with no admission charge. At the same time, starting in January the museum is moving to a four-day week: It’ll be closed Wednesdays in addition to Mondays and Tuesdays. Daily hours will increase to 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursdays-Fridays and 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays-Sundays. That’s an extra hour Saturdays-Sundays and an extra three hours Thursdays-Fridays.

And, as ArtsWatch’s film columnist Marc Mohan wrote, with the opening of The Tomorrow Theater as the new home of the museum’s PAM CUT film center in a renovated theater on Southeast Division Street (David Byrne was the star attraction at the opening ceremonies), the museum made its first permanent foray into the city’s bustling East Side.

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Another major downtown cultural center, the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education, also underwent a major upgrade in 2023, reopening in June after a four-month shutdown to renovate and expand its galleries and add a significant new gallery devoted to displays about international human rights after the Holocaust. That $2.2 million project wasn’t the only big news for the Jewish Museum: Judy Margles, its director for the past 24 years (see Farewell to a Founder, Friderike Heuer’s profile of Margles), retired effective at the end of the year. She is being replaced by Rebekah Sobel, Policy Director for Museum Programs at the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, D.C.

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Portland’s Japanese American Museum of Oregon chose Hanako Wakatsuki-Chong as it new executive director, replacing Lynn Fuchigami Parks, who retired. You can listen to Jenna Yokoyama’s Stage & Studio podcast conversation with Watasuki-Chong, who came to Oregon from Honolulu, where she had been the first Superintendent of the Honouliuli National Historic Site of the National Park Service.

Out in the Columbia Gorge, meanwhile, Colleen Schafroth retired after 37 years with the Maryhill Museum of Art, the last 22 as executive director, and was replaced by Amy Behrens, who had been executive director of Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens in San Clemente, California. And Louise Palermo, Maryhill’s education curator for seven years and the creative force behind such massive collaborative projects as Exquisite Gorge, left to become executive director of another Gorge cultural center, the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center Museum.

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Several major Oregon art-world figures died in 2023, losses that were deeply felt in the arts community. Among them were artists Katherine Ace, Henk Pander, Martha Banyas, and Peter Teneau; artist and gallerist Susannah Kelly; Donald Jenkins, distinguished curator and onetime director of the Portland Art Museum; writer, professor, and champion of Pacific Northwest artists Roger Hull; collector Duane Snider; and Tom Webb, former director of the Newport Visual Arts Center.

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A few highlights from Oregon’s year in visual arts, as ArtsWatch’s writers and editors saw them:

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Intisar Abioto and a young admirer amid the crowd at The Reser. Photo: Kendall Baldwin
Intisar Abioto and a young admirer amid the crowd at The Reser. Photo: Kendall Baldwin

Jan. 8: More than a place: Abiotos at The Reser. As Studio Abioto’s African-diaspora exhibit “Red Thread: Green Earth” closed with a vibrant performance at the Reser Center, show and space seemed made happily for each other, Kendall Baldwin writes. Abioto family matriarch Midnight and her daughters Amenta (Yawa), Kalimah Abioto (Dr. Wood Chopper), Intisar Abioto, Medina Abioto and Ni Abioto “told a powerful story of African diasporic culture through a holistic expression of sculpture, photography, music, poetry, food, and dance” in the new Beaverton arts center that Baldwin’s father, a partner at Opsis Architecture, helped design.

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Henk Pander, “Dawn,” 2017, oil on linen, 68 x 92 inches.
Henk Pander, “Dawn,” 2017, oil on linen, 68 x 92 inches.

January 16: Henk Pander’s “Ordeal.“There are monsters in Henk Pander’s new exhibition of paintings and drawings, and spirits and skeletons and the detritus of terrible deeds,” Bob Hicks writes. “… ‘The whole exhibition,’ Pander says,’“is about these times we’re living in.’ And what times they are, built on the bones of past disasters, traumas, mistakes, and atrocities — on the never-ending ability of humans to create chaos and mayhem, all too often for the sheer deviltry of it. It’s little wonder, taking in these eight large paintings and six pen-and-ink drawings at Clackamas Community College’s Alexander Gallery, that the show is titled ‘The Ordeal.’ … They’re not pretty pictures. But they’re vivid, compelling, truthful pictures, and they have a seductive and almost terrifying beauty.”

  • This was, as it turned out, Pander’s final exhibition: He died in April 2023, from an agressive brain cancer diagnosed in January. Read ArtsWatch’s remembrance, Henk Pander, Oregon art giant, dies at 85.

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Niraja Lorenz, detail from "Edge of Chaos," 2020. 85 x 123 inches.
Niraja Lorenz, detail from “Edge of Chaos,” 2020. 85 x 123 inches.

January 18: Quilted dynamism: Niraja Lorenz at Helzer Gallery. The quilts in Lorenz’s show “Strange Attractors” at Portland Community College Rock Creek’s Helzer Gallery showcased nothing less than the vibrancy of the universe, Prudence Roberts writes: “The works envelop the viewer in colorful compositions where circles, polygons, triangles, and squares are held in precarious tension as though in a state of arrested motion. Anyone looking for the cozy serenity of a traditional quilt show will not find it here. … Like any good art, the works reward careful consideration and repeated contemplation.”

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The artist Kenji Ide. Photo courtesy Portland Japanese Garden.
The artist Kenji Ide. Photo courtesy Portland Japanese Garden.

January 24: Japanese Garden’s Circle of Art. “This isn’t a story about poetry,” Brian Libby writes. “Yet given the title of Kanagawa-based artist Kenji Ide’s exhibit at the Portland Japanese Garden’s Calvin and Mayho Tanabe Gallery, A Poem of Perception, featuring a series of small-scale sculptures that invite interpretation—coupled with the unexpected passing late last year of the show’s guest curator, Matt Jay—viewing these tiny sculptures makes for a kind of visual jisei-like experience.” A jisei, Libby explains, is “a traditional death poem, written just before one’s passing as a kind of farewell,” and he continues: “(I)t might be a mistake to ascribe direct representational meaning to the artworks in A Poem of Perception. … Each of these works can conjure other things, yet it’s the delicacy of their placement and proportions, and their collective assemblage, that gives the work its immediacy.”

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The blacksmithing area at the inustrial Southeast Portland makerspace Past Lives.
The blacksmithing area at the inustrial Southeast Portland makerspace Past Lives.

January 25: Renewed purpose for people and machines alike. “Last month, on a bitterly cold afternoon when the winds threatened to turn all of our bones to dust, I paid a visit to Past Lives, a makerspace in industrial Southeast Portland, to see an exhibition reflective of its mission to support currently and formerly incarcerated artists,” Jennifer Rabin writes. “Or more precisely, that’s what I thought I was doing. Less than an hour later, I found myself lying on the floor of the founder’s office repeating, ‘I don’t want to leave, I don’t want to leave.’ What she discovered, in addiion to the artwork, was a treasure trov of tools for making things — “hand tools, electric tools, pneumatics, objects that contain fire and molten liquid, a forklift that they scored for free, industrial machines I’d never seen before, and things I thought were urban myth.”

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The Oracle of Shae, Ladakh, India (caption as it appears in the exhibition).
The Oracle of Shae, Ladakh, India (caption as it appears in the exhibition).

February 14: Engaging humans: Lonnie Graham’s incisive portraits. Blake Edwards writes about A Conversation with the World, photographer Graham’s show at the University of Oregon’s Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art that “brings the world to Eugene’s doorstep.” The exhibit included not just probing black-and-white portraits of his subjects from around the world but also revealing information about their lives, beliefs, and attitudes. “Graham’s portraits buzz with life,” Edwards writes. “Ordinary humans look calmly back into his camera, seemingly curious about this American stranger, but not self-conscious. Ego—’the most profound hallucinogen,’ in Graham’s view—is checked at the door.”

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Rita Robillard’s “Mutant Vegetation,” from the series “Votives for Hanford,” was spawned by the question, What can be done with nuclear waste?
Rita Robillard’s “Mutant Vegetation,” from the series “Votives for Hanford,” was spawned by the question, What can be done with nuclear waste?

February 27: Rita Robillard: “Time and Place” at Hallie Ford Museum mixes mediums and moods. “The expectation, upon visiting an exhibition of work by an artist in any medium, is that one will recognize a signature visual style, that it will be evident that all the work was produced by a single hand,” David Bates writes. “But this isn’t necessarily true, and it definitely is not the case when visiting Rita Robillard: Time and Place.” Ecology, fauna, and place “are obviously themes in many pieces,” he adds, but the 54 works in the show reflect the startling variety of the many places Robillard has lived and her varying interests. “Accompanied by Robillard during a recent visit,” Bates writes, “I made this observation about the variety displayed in her lifetime of work. ‘Oh, I know, yes!’ she said, sounding like she’s heard this before.’“I mean, it is an interesting thing. But remember, I’m 78.’”

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Artist Analee Fuentes included Michael Fisher (now executive director of the Maude Kerns Art Center) as a skeleton putting up a Dia de los Muertos exhibit in “25 and Counting.” Fisher says, “I wonder if that means I’ll be hanging art shows for all eternity …” Photo courtesy: Maude Kerns Art Center
Artist Analee Fuentes included Michael Fisher (now executive director of the Maude Kerns Art Center) as a skeleton putting up a Dia de los Muertos exhibit in “25 and Counting.” Fisher says, “I wonder if that means I’ll be hanging art shows for all eternity …” Photo courtesy: Maude Kerns Art Center

April 12: Return to art: Continuity of community at Eugene’s Maude Kerns Art Center. For 73 years, Ester Barkai writes, the gallery and studio space has offered amateurs and professionals alike a place to show their work and to share skills and support — “a gathering place to learn basic techniques, practice existing skills, exhibit art, and support each other.” The Kerns Center continues to be a beacon of communty creativity, and the many people taking advantage of its offerings range from kids to great-grandparents.

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Installation view of the AI-driven exhibit "This Is the Future" at the Portland Art Museum. Courtesy of the Artist, Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York and Esther Schipper, Berlin.
Installation view of the AI-driven exhibit “This Is the Future” at the Portland Art Museum. Courtesy of the Artist, Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York and Esther Schipper, Berlin.

May 8: “This Is the Future” at Portland Art Museum. The possibilities and dangers of artificial intelligence have dominated headlines in 2023. Hito Steyerl’s 2019 This Is the Future, which was on view late winter and through spring at the Portland art Museum, probes AI’s capacities in art and narrative, Georgina Ruff writes, and has a visceral impact even thogh some of its technology is already outmoded. “In foregrounding (and exaggerating) the role of AI in the work,” Ruff writes, “Steyerl demands that we engage with the ethical complexities and anxiety that AI generates. Daily headlines stoke the sensational polarity of this debate and Steyerl’s use of AI, both actual and fictional, intentionally evokes and subverts expectations.”

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Joe Cantrell, “Jingle Dance,” 2023.
Joe Cantrell, “Jingle Dance,” 2023.

June 13: “We all really are the same stardust.” Writer and fellow photographer Friderike Heuer discovered that her friend and colleague Joe Cantrell was having a one-day pop-up exhibition of his extraordinary photographs of fossils and polished rocks — “photography that goes deep inside the object to the very last level that can be captured in focus,” Heuer writes, “then the next one, and the next one, until the surface is reached. A new computerized technology then stitches all of these individual takes together until the full image is constituted, abstractions and configurations resulting from stacking of sometimes more than 70 individual photographs of a single layered object. The color is natural and not photoshopped, and appears during post-stitching.” There’s a universe inside these micro-images, and as Cantrell likes to points out, we’re all a part of it.

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Derek Franklin’s “TOS #12” (2023).
Derek Franklin’s “TOS #12” (2023).

June 15: Derek Franklin: An artist in three acts. With his own small gallery in a shed, a show at Elizabeth Leach, and a key role in Portland’s Converge 45 biennial, the artist juggles “three ways I get to make magic out of dust,” David Slader writes: “My phone told me to turn right, then left. I drove down a quiet east-county street that couldn’t decide if it was rural or suburban. I glanced around, hoping to see something that looked like an art gallery. Confused, I pulled over on the gravel shoulder. Exploring on foot, I saw a man in a baseball cap walking toward me who was either about to order me off his property or welcome me to visit SE Cooper Contemporary. That is how I met Derek Franklin, artist, curator, and community arts organizer. This is a look at those three sides of a generous and creative spirit who, far more than most of us, is self-invented.”

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Visitors at the Bush House Museum with Jeremy Okai Davis’s portraits "The Advocate (Beatrice Morrow Cannady)" and "The Midwife (Sybil Harber)."
Visitors at the Bush House Museum with Jeremy Okai Davis’s portraits “The Advocate (Beatrice Morrow Cannady)” and “The Midwife (Sybil Harber).”

June 20: Bush House Museum’s historical reboot. “On Juneteenth,” Laurel Reed Pavic writes, “the Salem Art Association officially christened the Waldo Bogle Gallery in the Bush House in Salem. The event included the official unveiling of two new portraits by Jeremy Okai Davis: one of the gallery’s namesake, America Waldo Bogle along with her family, and a second of Sybil Harber. The two new paintings are part of SAA’s commission for ten large-scale portraits by Davis of Black residents of Oregon.”

Davis’s paintings, Pavic writes, “mark a shift for Bush House,” which is named for Asahel Bush, a prominent pioneer who arrived in Oregon in 1850 and became a leading power broker, editing Salem’s Statesman Journal newspaper for 13 years. He opposed women’s rights and entry into “men’s professions,” denounced the region’s Indigenous population, opposed Lincoln’s emancipation of slaves, and “opposed slavery in Oregon, not because of a belief in equality or the immorality of the institution, but because of pragmatism about balance between free or slave states in the Union.” The Juneteenth event marked a significant reboot for Bush House, and a commitment to explore the history and impact of Black Oregonians.

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Traditional Inuit facial tattoos on Iñupiak and Yup’ik women. Photo: Carter Silago
Traditional Inuit facial tattoos on Iñupiak and Yup’ik women. Photo: Carter Silago

June 29: Alaskan Native artists’ “Protection: Adaptation & Resistance.” “Recent studies have shown that Indigenous women in the United States are more than twice as likely to experience violence as any other demographic, and that, in Canada, the homicide rate for Indigenous women is almost six times as high as the homicide rate for other women,” Beth Sorensen writes. “Violence against women, as well as the pandemic, climate change, and other human health threats and human rights injustices, are at the core” of the the exhibition Protection: Adaptation & Resistance, organized by the Bunnell Street Arts Center in Homer, Alaska, and showing at the Portland-based Center for Native Arts & Cultures, she adds.

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Ka’ila Farrell-Smith, “Ghosts in the Machine 006″ (2022-2023). Northern Paiute lithium topsoil, acrylics, aerosols, and graphite on panel.
Ka’ila Farrell-Smith, “Ghosts in the Machine 006″ (2022-2023). Northern Paiute lithium topsoil, acrylics, aerosols, and graphite on panel.

August 21: Ka’ila Farrell-Smith’s Ghosts in the Machine. Ghosts in the Machine, the title of Klamath/Modoc artist Ka’ila Farrell-Smith’s show of paintings at Laura Russo Gallery, “refers to a recruiting video from the U.S. military to attract attention to its psychological operations division,” Friderike Heuer writes, and thw work in the exhibit “is conceptually linked to the surveillance state, one that uses all kinds of control mechanisms to pursue its goals, including squashing resistance to the extraction and transportation of fossil fuels and other minerals desired by industry.”

Farrell-Smith’s paintings, Heuer continues, “capture a sense of unease, increased by the disorientation introduced by the many overlapping layers, creating fragmented space. This apprehension is growing when you realize that the pigments are augmented by lithium-infused earth that the artist collected in her travels along the Oregon border and Nevada, site of the struggle over one of the largest lithium mines in this country.”

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Hank Willis Thomas, “At the twilight’s last gleaming?“; collection of Jordon D. Schnitzer. At We are the Revolution, Converge 45.
Hank Willis Thomas, “At the twilight’s last gleaming?“; collection of Jordon D. Schnitzer. At We are the Revolution, Converge 45.

September 7: Converge 45: To repair a wounded world. “All art is propaganda,” David Slader quotes George Orwell, and then continues: “Political art is now ‘in.’ In art schools. In galleries. In museum shows. In the homes of sophisticated collectors. And now, in seventeen venues throughout Portland as our city’s revived biennale, Converge 45, continues an ambitious run through December. Don’t let ‘in’ or the label “political art” hold you back from exploring these exhibits. Unlike some current political art, the foundation for Converge 45—subtitled Social Forms/Art as Global Citizenship—is less outrage and finger-pointing than it is an invitation from artists to join them in repairing a wounded world.”

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High school students check out Benjamin Mefford's sculpture "Married to My Work" in Lake Oswego's rotating outdoor Gallery Without Walls. Photo: Angela Allen
High school students check out Benjamin Mefford’s sculpture “Married to My Work” in Lake Oswego’s rotating outdoor Gallery Without Walls. Photo: Angela Allen

Sept. 10: Looking at people looking at art. Art is, at the very least, a two-way street. It’s there. And to be completed it needs someone to be looking at it. Angela Allen, fascinated by that process of active exchange, took her camera to Portland’s museums and galleries, to the Guggenheim and Whitney, to Amsterdam, Australia, Berlin and beyond, focusing her lens on people interacting with art.

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Installation image from Isaac Julien’s "Lessons of the Hour." Photo courtesy of Ester Barkai
Installation image from Isaac Julien’s “Lessons of the Hour.” Photo courtesy of Ester Barkai

September 23: Isaac Julien’s “Lessons of the Hour.” Installation artist and filmmaker Isaac Julien’s ambitious and immersive multiple-screen exhibition at Eugene’s Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Ester Barkai writes, took a compelling and innovative look at the life and work of the great 19th century abolitionist Frederick Douglass.

The product of three years’ research, Lessons of the Hour “focuses on Douglass’ life after he escaped from being enslaved and made his way overseas to the United Kingdom, where he traveled and spoke to audiences in Ireland, Scotland, and England,” Barkai writes. “With the aid of others, he was able to raise enough money to buy his freedom from slavery and end his life as a fugitive. Douglass returned to the United States, earned fame as an outspoken abolitionist and orator, and notably became the most photographed man of the 19th century. 

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Sherrie Wolf, "Banquet," 2023. Oil on canvas 40 x 60 inches. Image courtesy Russo Lee Gallery.
Sherrie Wolf, “Banquet,” 2023. Oil on canvas 40 x 60 inches. Image courtesy Russo Lee Gallery.

September 25: Sherrie Wolf’s “Anamaliére” at Russo Lee. The veteran Portland painter’s September show took on animals, art history, and textures of all types, and Shannon M. Lieberman unpacked the paintings’ many art historical references and visual intrigue. “Sherrie Wolf’s exhibition Animaliére … is full of contradictions in the best possible way,” Lieberman writes. “The eleven oil paintings are both sensual and cerebral, deftly weaving together everyday objects and canonical art historical references all while including surfaces that reflect, distort, and play with vision. They are a visual feast, the vivid hues of ripe fruit, the delicate petals of blooming flowers, the soft feathers and wiry hides of animals providing layers of diverse imagery and texture to delight the senses.”

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Lillian Pitt's "River Guardian," Southwest Portland waterfront. Photo: Friderike Heuer
Lillian Pitt’s “River Guardian,” Southwest Portland waterfront. Photo: Friderike Heuer

September 29: Resilient, flexible, forgiving: The gifts of Lillian Pitt. A ramble through public art spaces and The Art of Lillian Pitt: Past and Present, a new exhibit at Salem’s Bush Barn Art Center that the eminent Native American artist calls her last public show, reveals the heart and spirit of a remarkable and beloved artist. “Imagine coming into a room filled with certain vibes: feeling peaceful, enjoying the flow, feeling grounded, dressed up to party, enjoying the rain, feeling the happiest ever, preparing for a calm rest, ready to unwind, feeling the brightness of the day, blending in, feeling proud of your people, feeling regal, filling the sky with stars,” Friderike Heuer writes. “I don’t know about you, but these emotions, expressed in the titles of Lillian Pitt‘s newest exhibition, elicited a sense of joy in me, as well as a smidgen of envy, when I walked among them and the sculptures they were attached to. How can we tap the source of such serenity?”

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The 25th-anniversary show at Hallie Ford Museum of Art includes pottery, sculpture, basketry, paintings, photography, and more from the permanent collection. Photo: David Bates
The 25th-anniversary show at Hallie Ford Museum of Art includes pottery, sculpture, basketry, paintings, photography, and more from the permanent collection. Photo: David Bates

October 9: Hallie Ford Museum at 25: Something for everybody. “Spilling across the rooms of the main floor of the Hallie Ford Museum of Art, a hundred pieces of art — in all shapes and sizes, in different media, from different periods and different continents — offer something, it seems, for everyone,” David Bates writes. “A viewer who didn’t know the occasion for this show might not grasp what it is about — and that’s allowing for the conceit that art needs to be ‘about’ something at all. It’s about the Hallie Ford Museum of Art, it turns out.”

The Salem museum’s sprawling main fall exhibit celebrated its 25th anniversary as an important player in the Pacific Northwest’s museum world, and its own permanent collection, with works in the show ranging from a Yangshao ceramic pot and an 18th-century print by Piranesi to works by prominent Oregon artists including Arvie Smith, Lucinda Parker, Henk Pander, and George Johanson.

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Installation view of the exhibit "Africa Fashion." Photo: Portland Art Museum/Charles Campbell.
Installation view of “Africa Fashion.” Photo: Portland Art Museum/Charles Campbell.

November 27: African Fashion and a “rocket launch” of Black Artists in Oregon. The Portland Art Museum is in deep construction mode while a major addition, the Mark Rothko Pavilion, is being built with a projected openig in Summer 2025, but the show must go on. Make that multiple shows, including two major exhibits that spotlight the creativity of contemporary African designers and the work of Black Oregon artists past and present. In a wide-ranging essay that also talks about a third current exhibition, Throughlines: Connections in the Collection, Laurel Reed Pavic discusses Africa Fashion, a show that began at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, and the “undulating, stepped dais that accommodates the mannequins” and that “not only facilitates viewing the clothing from all angles but also gives the impression of a sculptural catwalk. The platform doesn’t move, and neither do the mannequins, but the space left me with the undeniable impression of motion and momentum.”

And she writes about the art and ideas and historical groundings of the ambitious and revelatory Black Artists of Oregon, a broad-ranging show curated by Intisar Abioto that, at its opening celebration, was packed with Black Portlanders eager to see the works of their own region and culture given prominence in a museum setting. The exhibit covers about 140 years of Black art and artists in Oregon, and as Pavic writes, it “can’t be complete, because it is an exhibition of a community that is not only historical but also exists in the present and into the future. It’s why the opening was about who was in the galleries and how the galleries were occupied and equally why so much of Abioto’s social media has been showing the Black community in the galleries with the art. Black Artists of Oregon is about so much more than what is on the walls at 1219 S.W. Park Avenue.”

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Helen Frankenthaler, "First Stone," 1961. Lithograph drawn with tusche wash and crayon. Printed in five colors from five stones on white wove paper; Edition 10/12. Published by Universal Limited Art Editions. Collection of Jordan D. Schnitzer. Image: Aaron Wessling Photography, Courtesy of Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation
Helen Frankenthaler, “First Stone,” 1961. Lithograph drawn with tusche wash and crayon. Printed in five colors from five stones on white wove paper; Edition 10/12. Published by Universal Limited Art Editions. Collection of Jordan D. Schnitzer. Image: Aaron Wessling Photography, Courtesy of Jordan Schnitzer Family Foundation

Dec. 20: Helen Frankenthaler’s prints at OJMCHE. An exhibition at the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education of seventeen prints, made between 1961 and 2005, showcases both the artist’s prowess in print media and the arc of the print renaissance in the United States, Laurel Reed Pavic writes. The prints, from the collections of Jordan B. Schnitzer and his family foundation, also underscore the difficulties Frankenthaler faced as a groundbreaking woman artist in a male-dominated art world, also argue in favor of complexity and against “pernicious simplifications,” Reed Pavic declares.

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