Don’t you love a nice, relaxing visit to the art museum? It’s a perfect rainy-day activity and for Portland, with its tendency towards humidity and fairly frequent precipitation, this is an important option to have in your back-pocket for when it inevitably does rain on your trip. Personally, I found this museum to be well-laid out compared to other museums I have visited, for instance the SAM (Seattle) feels a little bit packed together. Portland has it figured out however, with more than ample enough space for all the viewers and picture takers to have room to look at a piece without standing on top of each other. I went on a Wednesday in the morning, close to midday and there were some student groups touring the facility and viewing the works. Even though the unexpected traffic did add enough people to make the museum feel occupied with a few singular areas or works getting added to a “loop back around” list. This was few and far between, though, and the staff and students were most accommodating. The price for adults is $20 and seniors (62 yrs old) receive a $17 per ticket. You can also join as a member and receive free entry during the entirety of your membership!
The PAM is constantly doing unique and impressive exhibits on a rotation. From October 13, 2018 to January 13, 2019 one they will be showing the exhibit that I saw this go around: Poetic Imagination in Japanese Art, which was so lovely. These works were selected from the Collection of Mary and Cheney Cowles and they have pieces ranging from those from the 18th century on up to 1980s. The curators and gallery designers have done a beautiful job with the Cowles’ masterpieces in such a way that despite the the centuries difference between some works, they all flow seamlessly with each other. Hanging scrolls were in heavy feature – some of the most delicate and stunning work I have ever seen – with such variety, including some that were surprisingly modern but still embracing the traditional enough to not be out of place. A few folding screen barriers were also displayed and there were examples of expertly artisan crafted stoneware. The exhibit had a lot to offer, so much so that I ran delinquent here and was rushing a bit through the last two exhibits (notably, I had allotted 2 hours for the exhibits).
Another exhibit currently in-house: Modern American Realism featuring highlights from the Smithsonian’s Sara Roby Foundation Collection, which is available to view October 20, 2018 to April 28, 2019. There are a plethora of vibrant, color-rich paintings and imaginative and carefully crafted sculptures. The pieces range from the 1910s up to the 1980s and, even though this may seem like a short time frame, the variety is astonishing and the focus on realism from this time period is a rarely seen treat that we owe to Sara Roby’s determination to curate this style.
The remainder of the museum’s collections are permanent exhibits that are always available to be viewed, year-round. Included are extensive sections of American, Asian, European, Native American, Modern, Northwest, Graphic, and Photographic and Silver-work art pieces. Each category has its own designated section and the pieces that have been curated are each distinct, excellent examples of their respective styles. Museums are an often over-looked option for tourists, with each major city having a few and that constant availability being less exciting, perhaps, than the obviously unique sights. Nevertheless, there is a wealth of uniqueness here in the invaluable experience and one-of-a-kind pieces you will only get a chance to view here at the PAM. Don’t miss out, because for less than $20 you can be inspired and educated in a way you won’t soon forget.