Tag: public collection

Visual Chronicle of Portland: new acquisitions now on view

Visual Chronicle of Portland: new acquisitions now on view

Toward the end of last year, Polygons No. 5 (Oregon Blueberries) was acquired by the Regional Arts & Culture Council for the Visual Chronicle of Portland collection. A special exhibition of all new acquisitions made during 2016/17 is now on view at the Portland Building, through April 21, 2017. Visual Chronicle works normally move around, exhibiting on rotation in different public buildings throughout Portland – so this is a rare opportunity to see many from the collection at once, and probably the only opportunity to see all recent acquisitions together.

Polygons No. 5 (Oregon Blueberries) is also one of the pieces I keep referencing regarding works I’m proposing for PDX-CSA. Learn more and buy in before April 16.

An edition of my first handmade book, A Means of Centering the Mind, also found a home in a collection at the end of 2016, in the Ella Strong Denison Library, Scripps College in Claremont, California.

Acquisitions like these are important: they allow artwork to remain accessible to the public, making sure that culture is not accessible only to the top income-earners; they offer essential financial support, particularly to early- and mid-career artists – even those whose work may not be suited to commercial galleries. The National Endowment for the Arts is responsible for supporting a multitude of organizations across the United States, including the Regional Arts and Culture Council. RACC makes Oregon a great place to be an artist, and I have certainly benefitted directly from their programs.

Unfortunately, the National Endowment for the Arts is on the chopping block in the current proposed national budget. If you are a U.S. citizen, please contact your representatives to let them know that the NEA is essential, and that you are against de-funding the arts.

A Means of Centering the Mind, 2009-15, accordion book, 4.75 x 3 x .25 inches (closed), ed. of 6.

Art hoarder Gurlitt makes Swiss museum sole heir

Read the full story from the BBC

Matisse’s Femme Assise is the subject of an ownership claim

At least Gurlitt’s now-notorious collection will wind up in a museum, whether the Swiss accept it or the Germans declare the will invalid and keep it for themselves. The expense of restoring more than 1,200 poorly-stored works (estimates vary) – in the sense of archival restoration as well as returning an estimated 450 looted pieces – is not a minor consideration. 

I always advocate for the frequent and accessible public display of art, particularly when the works in question are generally held to be “great” works by highly lauded artists. (The politics of those designations notwithstanding.) One of the saddest realities of our generation is the sheer quantity of great works that are disappearing into private collections, because skyrocketing auction prices place them firmly beyond the reach of public institutions. So there is a sad edge, too, to returning looted artwork to family heirs. There is little point in wondering whether the original owners would have bequeathed the works to museums or institutions, and no one can contest the right of heirs to reclaim work that was extorted under duress or stolen outright – but I still hope that even those reclaimed pieces will someday grace the walls of public institutions, to be shared with the world at large.

But back to the Gurlitt collection and its extremely questionable provenance: Many museums will display works that are suspected of being ill-gotten until a rightful heir can be located (though their efforts in that area tend to be pretty minimal). I’m sure the Gurlitt collection would be an impressive, though tenebrous, thing to see.