2020: The Year Ahead

2020: The Year Ahead


All Things Being Equal… features the
deeply thought-provoking and meaningful work of Hank Willis Thomas.
He’s a multimedia artist who uses photographs, sculpture, and video to address the role
of popular culture in sustaining racism and bias, among other critical and timely
issues were facing in the United States today. We are proud to be presenting
Thomas’s first-ever survey exhibition. There are 90 works on view including a
monumental commission that addresses lives lost to gun violence. Thomas
believes in the power of art to be an effective tool in the fight for social
justice and civil rights. A meaningful aspect of this exhibition for me
personally has been the development of our community partnerships and deepening
our relationships to individuals and organizations within our community.
Thomas’s practice is very richly collaborative and collaborators bring so
much more knowledge and experience to each of his projects and we’ve been able
to thread that into our exhibition experience, as well. Originating this
exhibition at the Portland Art Museum has been so meaningful because it has
allowed me to co-create with a colleague and collaborate with an artist directly
for over three years. And to be able to first present that work here in Portland
and then bring the work that we have done right here to multiple museums
throughout the country is very gratifying. 2020 marks the 40th
anniversary of the eruption of Mount St. Helens. Volcano! Mount St. Helens in Art
explores a beloved local landmark with stunning paintings, drawings, and
photographs dating from the 1840s to the present day. Visitors will experience the
great cycle of volcanic destruction and regeneration through images that record
the majestic mountain before 1980, artists responses to nature’s most
visually spectacular display of power, and finally images that show the strong
resurgence of life in the intervening years. Art and Race Matters is the first
comprehensive exhibition of Robert Colescott. His work challenges taboos around
racial stereotypes and addresses racial politics in a blunt and irreverent way.
The exhibition is a chronology of work that depicts the artists stylistic
development spanning over 50 years and features themes like assimilation and
aspiration imagery in the mass-media deconstructing history and art history
and standards of beauty. It’s so fitting that this exhibition will be here
because Colescott began his career in Portland and was represented for 25
years by well-known gallery owner and philanthropist Arlene Schnitzer. Frida
Kahlo and Diego Rivera are two of Mexico’s most celebrated artists and one
of the most well known artistic couples of the 20th century. This exhibition
features several of Kahlo’s iconic self-portraits as well as rarely-seen
oil paintings by Rivera. Their work is contextualized by photographs and
paintings by other significant Mexican modernists the exhibition reflects the
development of Mexico as a hub for avant-garde art and ideas in the first
half of the 20th century. This exhibition will offer our audiences a rare
opportunity to see firsthand important work by two of the most prominent and
recognizable artists of the 20th century. The exhibition also celebrates the
artists and their sense of community. It tells a story of innovation across
artistic media and offers a look into the artists’ lives, lifestyles, and
relationships. Ansel Adams in Our Time celebrates the visual legacy of the
acclaimed American photographer. The exhibition has more than 150 photographs
and includes some of his most iconic images.
Visitors will also learn more about Adams through the lens of photographers
who worked before and after him, showing those works side by side, and they’ll
also learn about contemporary photographers who are thinking about
land issues today. What I think is incredibly important is that we are not
looking at Ansel’s work in isolation. We are looking at it as part of a continuum
of landscape photography and in particular western landscape photography,
which allows us to think about the ways that different people think about the
western landscape. Hi. I’m Amy Dotson and I’m the new Director of the Northwest
Film Center as well as the Museum’s first Curator of Film and New Media. I
look forward to creating a space where cinema is unbound. When I look towards
opening the doors wider to include new voices, new audiences, and new forms of
storytelling in the mix, I see the Northwest Film Center as a
multidisciplinary space that supports and showcases a diverse range of film
and new media artists creating the vital stories of our time. I am so inspired by
the growing interconnectivity between the Northwest Film Center and the Museum.
I think of the cross-disciplinary program created around the current Hank
Willis Thomas exhibition where Hank, in conjunction with the Northwest Film
Center, curated a four-month series of films that influenced his life and his
work. I’ve also been struck with the possibility of moving stories forward
through unexpected collaboration. The recent melding of the Northwest
Filmmakers Festival and the Portland International Film Festival will bring
greater opportunities for the world to come to Portland and the talents of the
Northwest artists here to be further recognized and shared within our
community and beyond. I can’t wait to see what will happen next as the
Portland Art Museum and Northwest Film Center continue to come together as a catalyst for culture, collaboration, and change.

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