Art Portland 1970s

I’ve never been very good at archiving my stuff. I wrote almost 200 articles for Willamette Week from 1974-1983, but I probably saved only a couple dozen of my  clippings myself. However, my mother was better at clipping her son’s stuff, and recently, when looking through my clips box I found this article from 1980 that she saved. For those who were not here in the 70s, here’s some basic info.

(Click on the image to enlarge for readability.)


WW 70s AWW70s Combo

PAM: Good Shows/Dismal View

I finally got to the Portland Art Museum to see In Passionate Pursuit–The Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Collection and Legacy and Blue Sky–The Oregon Center for the Photographic Arts at 40.  These are very important exhibitions, both for the quality of work presented and for the great contextual information for those who haven’t been living in the Portland area for several decades.

But while the works were great to see, I was disappointed.

Both shows look gloomy. Example number one:


What is the point of the tan walls for the Schnitzer exhibition? This gallery always feels stuffy and keeping the walls medium dark just makes it worse.

And for Blue Sky, the walls are gray.


While my friend Chris Rauschenberg says that you should avoid bright white walls because, by contrast, they can make your white mats seem dingy, the gray here keeps the whole show from being bright.

When I went up to the contemporary northwest galleries, I saw bright spaces that let the exuberance of the works speak.


Spaces don’t need to be museumey. Let the work breathe.