Quintana Galleries

Quintana Galleries, home to Native American art, will close

After 42 years, the important Portland gallery will end its run, with no one immediately to take its place

A major and unique slice of Portland’s art culture is about to disappear: Quintana Galleries, which for 42 years has dealt in fine Native American and First Nations art, will shut its doors for good on August 15. Founded by Rose and Cecil Quintana in a 500-square-foot Old Town space, the gallery grew to be a major player nationally, counting museums and significant collectors among its clients and helping nurture the careers of many leading native artists.

"Eagle & Human Bentwood Chest," David Boxley, Tsimshian Nation, 2012, 26.5 x 34 x 18 inches, red cedar, operculum shells, pigment, Portland Art Museum purchase from Quintana Galleries

“Eagle & Human Bentwood Chest,” David Boxley, Tsimshian Nation, 2012, 26.5 x 34 x 18 inches, red cedar, operculum shells, pigment, Portland Art Museum purchase from Quintana Galleries

The gallery’s artists have covered North America, from Mexico to the Arctic: many Kwakwaka’wakw artists, including carver Calvin Hunt and the prolific Henderson clan; the late, great Haida carver and sculptor Bill Reid; Tsimshian artists David and David Robert Boxley; Oregon’s Yakama/Warm Springs legend Lillian Pitt; Chinook carver Greg Robinson; and many others, from Tlingit to Blackfoot to Cree to Skokomish and more.

Several years ago the gallery relocated to a bigger space on Northwest Ninth Avenue, technically a part of the Pearl District but with a more settled feel than much of the go-go, pop-up neighborhood. Just up from the North Park Blocks on a block sandwiched by the old-time Fullers Cafe on one end and the Pearl Bakery on the other, it’s a quiet stretch that feels like the best of old Portland and new Portland combined. For many people, Quintana has been, quite literally, its heart.

 Interior of Quintana Galleries, 2015. Kevin McConnell Photography.

Interior of Quintana Galleries, 2015. Kevin McConnell Photography.

Cecily Quintana, Rose and Cecil’s daughter, who has been heading the gallery for years, explained the family’s decision in a press statement: “The decision to close the gallery came only after months of careful thought and many family discussions. The reason the Quintana Family chose to close the gallery is simple: after 42 years of running a small business, the Quintanas are looking forward to retiring and enjoying the fruits of their labor. They have chosen to close the gallery rather than sell it, as they were unable to find a buyer who shared the same values and commitment to Native American art that the gallery was founded on.”

The family’s inability to find a successor constitutes a major loss for the city, the region, and the nation, which has few galleries concentrating on the works of native artists, and fewer whose embrace is so wide. Several first-rate contemporary Native American artists are represented in Portland by Froelick, Augen, and other galleries (Quintana’s artists tend to work in more traditional styles, though not exclusively), but the impending closure leaves a giant hole. We wish good luck to the Quintanas, and can’t help hoping that someone steps in to build on what they’ve established.


Holiday Gallery Guide

Celebrate The Magic Garden Strip Club at One Grand Gallery, and support local artists and galleries this holiday season...

These days we’re all defined by our tastes – whether it’s in music, fashion, or food – so don’t forget the visual arts when considering what to buying your friends and family this holiday season. Art is a gift that they can experience over and over again. Art makes the rooms in your home unique, and it’s the best way to support an artist and the local art scene.  With that in mind, let me direct you to the posters that will be for sale under $100 this month at One Grand Gallery.

Magic Garden Last CallIn case you haven’t heard, the Chinatown strip club Magic Garden is closing its doors at the end of December after more than 40 years in business. To celebrate this Portland staple, One Grand Gallery put out a call for poster art “inspired by vintage posters, historical images of the dancing nude, and through re-imagined images, typefaces and symbols of all kinds” for its exhibition Magic Garden: Last Call. With a long history of the nude form in art and painting, there’s plenty of source material to inspire the artists.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn a little history: Magic Gardens opened as a lesbian club back in the ’60s. And while some of you might think my inclusion of an exhibition dedicated to a strip club to not to be your tastes or politics, I’ll just say that the times that I’ve visited Portland’s strip clubs I’ve been impressed with the strength, athleticism, and artistry of movement the women on stage exhibited. These qualities are well worth celebrating in art. Magic Garden: Last Call runs December 530, with an opening reception 7-10 p.m. Friday, December 5.



Confiscated Junk Ship 25713 (The Sellard Ship)-FinalRetouch copyDuplex Gallery – I’m making a point to include this show because even though Eric Petitti is from Boston, the paintings in The No Place People are influenced by Portland’s Shanghai tunnels, and the history of shanghaiing, or as it’s known on the East Coast, pressing. This show is a historical exhibition of a fictionalized future. In presenting his work in this way, Petitti asks us how we construct our own “Historical Truths” through the (mis)representation of people and past events. Duplex also has an online store where works from previous exhibitions can be browsed through and bought.


Michael VahrenwaldHap Gallery –  Michael Vahrenwald photographs banks, built with sumptuous materials and in neoclassical styles, that now host fast food restaurants, retail stores, mom-and-pop shops, and churches. These photographs document the layering of style and functionality as the symbols of the permanence and optimism of the American economy give way to the changing wealth, class and power aesthetics in the United States. Hap Gallery usually commissions a unique series of works from each artist to be sold for less than $100, so you can please the architecture enthusiast without breaking the bank!




elizabeth malaskaNationale – Anyone critical of the patriarchal lineage of modern art has a lot of material to work with.  Which is why there are so many visible references to the “great artists” in Elizabeth Malaska’s paintings. At first glance we might see a vase filled with lily pads, a standing woman, and a chair in front of a tapestry. Closer looking reveals the gun in her hands, and the head a sculpture under the chair. These details and others create an unfulfilled narrative tense with premonition. Elizabeth Malaska: When We Dead Awaken is perfect for the feminists and art lovers in your life!


Buffalo FetishQuintana Galleries – Interested in Native American art and culture? Quintana Galleries has a wide range of works available including Zuni fetish items, Arctic sculpture, Northwest Coastal art, Southwest jewelry, Northwest Coast prints and jewelry, basketry, and Southwest pottery. In addition to supporting contemporary native artists and their creative traditions, don’t forget to sign the petition to get the Washington Redskins to change the name of their football team from a racial slur against fellow Americans.


MitsuOkubo_SpiderlandWorksound International – Spiderland is an installation of drawings by Mitsu Okubo that examines what happens when the body finds itself in conflict with its environment. An LA native with Japanese and Mexican parents, Okubo sought intimacy while growing up with his loud extended family. These contradictions, along with his interest in comics, horror, and porn, feed his work in such a way as to create beautifully grotesque imagery. Whether this will show up in this exhibition is just one reason to go see the show for yourself.


Finally, here are the links to two great maps of the many galleries and art institutions of Portland that have intriguing shows beyond the scope of this brief guide:

Portland Art Dealers Association Galleries and Alliance Members

Duplex Collective’s Gallery Guide

Don’t forget to mention the shows you’re looking forward to below in the comments!