Monday, December 6, 2010


I went to the Portland Art Museum the other day, and was surprised and happy to see a small Catherine Opie show and an even smaller Alice Neel show. It's my local museum now, and the local museum has always been so important to me, since I was a kid growing up in Minneapolis. The Minneapolis Institute of Arts was a short bus ride from me, and it was free, and by the time I was in high school, I knew that collection so well. I had my favorites that I visited: Lucretia, of course, and the mummy, and "dead boy," and that little tiny beautiful girl in the really ornate frame... that's what I remember off the top of my head. There is also that enormous Chuck Close painting, the Magritte Renée loved so much, and "Mrs." Nathaniel Allen. Artist Rembrandt van Rijn Fine Art Poster Print of Painting The Suicide of Lucretia

I miss the museums in New York too, of course--I got to know parts of the Met's collection pretty well, and I love the Whitney, and MoMA was in Queens for much of my time in NYC, and always so expensive (the Met is donation only, and the Whitney has a student/educator membership rate, so I was able to join), so I didn't get to know that collection as well, mostly only going on the occasional insanely crowded free Friday night. Same with the Guggenheim, but that's such a weird museum anyway. I was content to go two or three times a year and walk up the spiral and then down again. It's such an awkward way to view art.

Anyway, so here I am in Portland, missing New York museums, but also missing the awesome Minneapolis museums I grew up with. The Minneapolis Institute of Arts was classic and close and great. PAM is weird. First of all, there's the weirdness of the Jubitz Center, their modern art wing, a separate building which is accessible only through what feels like a secret passage in the basement. That's where the Opie show was, and the Neel show is in the basement passage. The Opie show is mentioned on the website, but I don't remember reading anything about it in the members stuff that's sent to me. The Neel show isn't mentioned anywhere on the website, and there is no way to search the museum holdings. As I recall, all the Neel paintings were long-term loans, but geez.

Alice Neel

That's all I have to say about that right now.

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