Know Before You Go
Temporarily CLOSED due to current COVID-19 restrictions in Multnomah County. For more information visit Portland Art Museum website.
The Portland Art Museum is the largest art museum in Oregon and one of the oldest in the country. Located in two historic buildings on Portland’s South Park Blocks, the museum is central to the city’s cultural district and houses a large and wide-ranging collection of art.
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Campus and History
First organized in 1892, the museums’ first exhibition was a set of magnificent plaster casts of Greek and Roman sculpture, now displayed in the upper hall of the city’s library. In 1932, the museum moved into the primary building, designed by Pietro Belluschi: a gracious contemporary update of the Georgian style, sleek-lined and advanced in its ideas. The museum’s renovation of the Masonic temple to its immediate north added more exhibition and office space to the campus in 2005.
Belluschi’s original design was ahead of its time. It was airy and admitted natural light into the museum’s galleries, especially the court beyond the entryway, and the visitor today experiences that grand space as a sort of surprise, given the museum’s relative scale. More wings were added, first to house the Pacific Northwest College of Art (then known as the Museum Art School and ultimately separated into its own institution) and then a warren of smaller galleries. The old Masonic temple has become the Jubitz Center of Modern and Contemporary Art, though its old, ornate meeting rooms have been retained.
Portland Art Museum Collections
The museum has strong collections of prints and drawings, photography, Asian art, Native American (especially Pacific Coast) art, and Northwest art, and its European and American collections contain some extraordinary individual pieces, especially from the 19th and 20th centuries. The huge prints and drawings collection was built largely by the late Gordon Gilkey and includes Old Masters printmakers (Dürer, Rembrandt) and the most recent examples of the art forms. And under chief curator Bruce Guenther, the museum’s modern art holdings have increased dramatically, in part because of the addition of the collection of the great modernist critic Clement Greenberg, which gives the museum a unique window into the development of advanced art in the mid-20th century.
Native American Art
The Native American collection was built from two primary sources: the Rasmussen Collection of Northwest Coast art, with its fabulous masks and whaling canoes, and the encyclopedic collection of Elizabeth Cole, which brings the exquisite work of Southwest, Plains, Plateau and Woodlands tribes into focus.
Northwest art is a primary attraction, tracking the development of art in Oregon and Washington since the 19th century. The museum’s curators have wisely spread this work throughout the galleries, placing the best work of Northwest abstractionists alongside their more celebrated New York peers, for example, but a gallery specifically dedicated to Northwest art supplies a good introduction to the fine artists who have worked here (C.S. Price, Mark Tobey, Morris Graves, Hilda and Carl Morris, Sally Haley and Michele Russo).
The North Portland art center's offerings range from visual art installations to collaborations with bands like the Shins.
The Portland Art Museum's Center for Contemporary Native Art showcases the work of modern-day Native American artists.
For two weekends every October, Portland Open Studios invites visitors to explore the houses and offices of artists across the city.
To Bear Witness – Extraordinary Lives will capture, share and preserve the stories of 10 to 12 people from varied backgrounds who left their homelands for safe haven in the United States. Although these refugees had survival on their minds when they first arrived, they jump-started their lives with remarkable determination, finding their way in…
See Portland’s newest theater and dance works every January at Portland’s Fertile Ground Festival.
Ansel Adams in Our Time celebrates the visual legacy of the acclaimed American photographer and includes some of his most iconic images, from a symphonic view of snow-dusted peaks in The Tetons and Snake River, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming (1942) to the sublime Moon and Half Dome, Yosemite National Park (1960). More than 100…
Brighten your February with glowing sculptures and thousands of twinkling lights at the annual Winter Lights Festival.
VIRTUAL EVENT. Please visit the event website for current information. Portland Indigenous Marketplace is organized by the group Indigenous Come Up, a local organization selling Indigenous-made and -designed art, crafts and jewelry at local Powwows and Portland events.
The relationship Rembrandt had with the Jews of Amsterdam is a remarkable story. Most were Sephardic Jews – refugees from the Inquisition in Spain and Portugal. For many generations these Jews had been forced to deny their religious legacy, but in Amsterdam they were free to reclaim traditions and return to their Judaism. Rembrandt lived…
Fuller Rosen Gallery presents NO SANCTUARY, a two-person show of new work by Panteha Abareshi and Kayley Berezney. Set against the backdrop of a global pandemic, NO SANCTUARY explores the intimate relationship each artist has with their own health. Panteha Abareshi’s practice is rooted in her existence as a body with a genetic blood disorder…
TIMELINES FOR THE FUTURE: CHRISTINE HOWARD SANDOVAL is the first exhibition in Turnstones, Lucy Cotter’s program as Disjecta Curator in Residence 2020-21. “Turnstones” is a word found in a poem that, being unfamiliar, offers the freedom to imagine. It recalls how every structure that has sedimented over time contains another possibility and hopes to evoke…
Carnation Contemporary is pleased to present Pangea, a solo show featuring recent work by Hannah Newman. Pangea releases a stream of potential energy from language and inanimate objects, sending resources and bodies into intersecting orbits. Rocks, minerals, research, digital technology, sound, and sculpture are mined for their poetic possibilities to create new supercontinents–clumps of information…
Come learn to draw portraits from a live model at a studio in Southeast Portland.
“Observations from Nature” is a visual arts exhibition including a series of approximately one dozen hand thrown ceramic plate forms on view in the Fishbowl II window of Blackfish Gallery. These works depict illustrations of rural plant life created bytKate Simmons a Clackams County based artist and educator working in a variety of media.
BodyVox starts the new year with a BodyVox Video Installation, filling the entirety of the Maddox Building, located in the heart of the Pearl District, facing the newly zoned pedestrian street amongst tented outdoor dining. The video installation focuses on how dance is affected by light, technology, and perspective, Feb. 4-6. This three day installation…
Disjecta Contemporary Art Center is pleased to present Unquiet Objects, the second exhibition in Turnstones, Lucy Cotter’s program as Curator in Residence 2020-21. Presenting works by ten international artists, Unquiet Objects questions the naturalized but uneasy separation of cultural objects from human life and social reality. The exhibition highlights the value of (art) objects as…
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