We. November 17, 2017 - February 25, 2018
Co-curated by Libby Werbel, Sonya Hamilton and Public Annex, We. highlights work and ideas by selected artists from Public Annex, Outpost 1000, OSLP Arts & Culture Program, and Albertina Kerr, all regional programs supporting artists with disabilities. This exhibition is programmed to create space for critical dialogue around how art world institutions can more thoughtfully integrate the work and the perspectives of artists of all abilities. The selected artists make prolific work, yet often face barriers to inclusion in the institutional art world of galleries and museums. In response, We. has opened the process directly to the artists represented, creating opportunity for agency, self determination and reflection. Public Annex believes the arts provide a unique access point for those with and without disability to collaborate, create, and propose different ways of doing things, steps they consider necessary towards achieving a truly integrated society.
Over its 125-year history, the Portland Art Museum has endeavored to place artists at its core in collections, exhibitions, and education. As the city’s predominant art institution prepares to enter a new chapter, it is time to to reflect on how it is responding to the changing needs of artists, our city, and the changing nature of art today. A new program launched collaboratively by the curatorial and education departments tackles this by asking: what do artists want to see in the Museum that they currently do not?
To explore this question, the Museum will begin a rolling program of exhibitions to broaden relationships and establish new connections with a range of contemporary artists throughout the Pacific Northwest. We.Construct.Marvels.Between.Monuments. will occupy and transform the fourth floor of the Jubitz Center for Modern and Contemporary Art from November 2017 through December 2018. Helmed by visiting artistic director Libby Werbel with assistance from Sara Krajewski, Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Grace Kook-Anderson, Curator of Northwest Art, and Stephanie Parrish, Associate Director of Education, the programming will knit a bridge between Portland’s independent artist-run spaces, activists, and the city’s established institution.
We.Construct.Marvels.Between.Monuments. consists of five programs, partnering with artists and art collectives to collaborate on exhibitions, activate the space with regular performances, and create opportunities for established and emerging voices in contemporary art to be shown side by side. The exhibition series is designed as a platform for artists to ask questions about institutional representation, alternative exhibition models, and what it takes to see themselves and their concerns reflected regularly in their city’s art museum. At the same time, Museum staff will explore ways the general museum can shift to embrace an artist-centered and civic-minded perspective.
Public Annex will also be leading a monthly Contemporary Trends class, free and open to the public, that will meet at Portland Art Museum, exploring a different section of the Museum each time, creating a space for discovery and discussion amongst people who identify with and without disability, to run throughout We.Construct.Marvels. Between.Monuments. on the free First Thursday evenings.
Opening Reception: Friday, November 17 5-8pm
Please join us to celebrate the incredible work on view, meet the artists and enjoy an affordable performance by legendary soul-icon Ural Thomas!