Kara Walker, The Emancipation Approximation (Scene 18), 1999–2000
Kara Walker (American, born 1969), The Emancipation Approximation (Scene 18), 1999–2000, courtesy the artist
Avel de Knight, The Rehearsal, 1955
Avel de Knight (American, 1923–1995), The Rehearsal, 1955, oil on canvas, 33 x 45 in. © Estate of Avel de Knight.
Donald E. Camp, Man Who Feels Shape (David Stephens), 2006
Donald E. Camp (American, born 1940), Man Who Feels Shape (David Stephens), 2006, courtesy the artist
Paul Keene, Blue Dress, 1985
Paul Keene (American, 1920–2009), Blue Dress, 1985, courtesy the artist’s estate
Moe Brooker, Intentions and Improvisations, 2012
Moe Brooker (American, born 1940), Intentions and Improvisations, 2012, courtesy the artist

Constructing Identity

Petrucci Family Foundation Collection of African-American Art

JAN 28 – JUN 18, 2017

In 21st-century America, questions of race and identity are being explored as never before. This exploration has prompted many artists of color to investigate what constitutes identity, community, and the idea of a so-called post-racial society. Constructing Identity: Petrucci Family Foundation Collection of African-American Art brings together paintings, sculpture, prints, and drawings by prominent contemporary African-American artists along with a selection of historical works from the 1930s, 1940s, and Civil Rights era.Drawing from the Petrucci Family Foundation collection, Constructing Identity features works by more than 80 artists, including Henry Ossawa Tanner, Elizabeth Catlett, Romare Bearden, Norman Lewis, Faith Ringgold, Radcliffe Bailey, Kara Walker, and Mickalene Thomas as well as John Biggers, Barbara Bullock, David Driskell, Joyce Scott, and Sonya Clark, among others. The exhibition brings awareness to the contributions of artists of color, whose work is often historically underrepresented in museums and galleries, to foster a more complete understanding. Constructing Identity includes works by 11 artists whose artwork is also held in the collection of the recently opened National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C., as well as Northwest artists such as Portland painter Arvie Smith (whose own exhibition at PAM has been extended through March 12).

As part of a growing and more thoughtful dialogue about how art reflects the experiences of African Americans, Constructing Identity visually represents a cross-section of themes that speak to all of us in voices from communities of color in America.

“Historically, and within African-American communities, a central question is how do we best represent ourselves—and how do these representations come together to form an ever-changing statement of identity?” asks Berrisford Boothe, curator for the Petrucci Family Foundation Collection of African-American Art. “We offer this art to present a more complete and informed view of African Americans as a people and reveal the dynamic nature, narratives, and impulses that constitute our full humanity.”

Founded in 2006, the Petrucci Family Foundation’s aims to support education and create opportunity for Americans at every stage of and station in life. Its collection of African-American art is a targeted initiative established to focus on, collect, conserve, and exhibit an inspiring range of works, thereby confirming African-American art’s essential place in the history and discourse of American art. The collection celebrates the beauty, compassion, strength, and persistent will within the culture of African Americans. “We want to collect master works that define humanity, that show characters in their full, most authentic human moments,” Boothe says.

Constructing Identity is accompanied by a catalog, an artist panel discussion and artist talks on February 11, and additional programs and community partnerships.

Organized by Portland Art Museum and guest curated by Berrisford Boothe, Professor of Art at Lehigh University.

Community Gallery & Artist Programs

In conjunction with the exhibition Constructing Identity, the Portland Art Museum is excited to be partnering with the Museum of Impact (MOI) on The Art Is Ours education and community gallery. MOI is the first mobile social justice museum creating a more just, connected and compassionate society through our content, education, and outreach. It works to inspire action by exploring self, society, art, and activism. The Art Is Ours gallery includes a reading lounge with over 30 books covering African American art history and artists featured in the exhibition as well as several books for children and families.  The gallery also includes a wall dedicated to displaying creative responses from Portland-based artists of color (ranging from youth participants and emerging artists to more established artists), and a community response wall (coming soon).

“People of the African-American diaspora are keepers of the culture. We hold space for the fullness of our humanity, our brilliance, our being, our right to self-expression. The Constructing Identity exhibition, featuring over one hundred works of art, is a roadmap for our journey as we pivot, pause, leap, dance, sway, and glide through the Black experience, leaving a visual legacy trail to enrich the viewer. The Art Is Ours means a tipping point is at hand, where African Americans have agency in our representation and as cultural institutions work to ensure that we are seen, valued, and respected in every facet. To understand The Art Is Ours is to crack open the intersections of our lived experience as people of color, laying our heritage bare for all to see. To proclaim The Art Is Ours sets intentions and permeates this space with consensus and creative resilience. To embody The Art Is Ours is to extend our consciousness towards black excellence, black joy, black radical thought, and black lives—a contested and creative space that asks critical questions, expands the narrative, and finds the through lines from me to we.”
Monica O. Montgomery, Founding Director, Museum of Impact

Sponsors

The Petrucci Family Foundation
Louis and Virginia Clemente Foundation
The Boeing Company
Ronni Lacroute
Exhibition Series Sponsors

Promotional Partners

Portland Trail Blazers

The Skanner News
The Portland Observer
Feb
25
Sat
Public Tour: Constructing Identity
Feb 25 @ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Avel de Knight, The Rehearsal, 1955
Avel de Knight (American, 1923–1995), The Rehearsal, 1955, oil on canvas, 33 x 45 in. © Estate of Avel de Knight.

Explore the Museum with a docent skilled in bringing art to life.

Public tours depart from the Park Avenue entrance.

Tours are free for members or with Museum admission, and free for children age 17 and younger.

Presented in conjunction with the special exhibition Constructing Identity.

Feb
26
Sun
In Dialogue: Art, Power, And Identity @ Trustee Room, Mark Building
Feb 26 @ 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm

In Dialogue is an occasional series of interdisciplinary, discussion-based seminars that explore art on view at the Museum in relation to works in the humanities, social sciences, and sciences. The February seminar Navigating Identity: Youth Voice, Activism and the Power of Perspective will address some of the big ideas raised by the special exhibition Constructing Identity: Petrucci Family Foundation Collection of African American Art. We will explore how young activists approach identity with a new and alternative framework, in hopes of carving out a place for themselves among the overarching social constructs limiting their personhood. Drawing on examples of small, youth-led visual projects as well as historic instances of socially conscious activism within art, we will dive deeper into the meaning of identity, as it relates to each of us. This youth-focused, intergenerational discussion will force us to think of who we are, who we have been told to be, and how to create a space for who we want to be.

The seminar will be facilitated by Tyler White, a young, black, De La Salle North Catholic High School student, community organizer, blogger and cultural enthusiast. White has spent his last year interviewing Portlanders, exploring the nuances of gentrification and recently, producing a show with OPB, The Future of the American Dream. He formally holds the titles of Project Coordinator and Chief Blogger for the I Love This Place Project, Youth Outreach Coordinator for the CENTER (part of Catlin Gabel’s PLACE program), along with being a member of many other organizations and boards.

This series is co-sponsored by Portland State University–University Studies.

Space is limited. Registration required.

Educators, please enter the promo code EDUCATOR16 with Adult ticket type to receive your discount.

Purchase tickets
Mar
11
Sat
Morgan Parker & Friends Poetry Performance
Mar 11 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Join award-winning poet Morgan Parker and some of Portland’s best high school poets for a dynamic performance in the Constructing Identity galleries. In conversation with the exhibition, writers will share original work exploring race, gender, identity, and community. Parker was recently featured in Best American Poetry and is half of the performance duo The Other Black Girl Collective. She recently published the collection There Are More Beautiful Things Than Beyoncé.

Organized in partnership with Tin House Books.

Purchase tickets
Mar
12
Sun
Public Tour: Constructing Identity
Mar 12 @ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Avel de Knight, The Rehearsal, 1955
Avel de Knight (American, 1923–1995), The Rehearsal, 1955, oil on canvas, 33 x 45 in. © Estate of Avel de Knight.

Explore the Museum with a docent skilled in bringing art to life.

Public tours depart from the Park Avenue entrance.

Tours are free for members or with Museum admission, and free for children age 17 and younger.

Presented in conjunction with the special exhibition Constructing Identity.

Mar
15
Wed
Evening for Educators: Constructing Identity @ Mark Building
Mar 15 @ 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

The special exhibition Constructing Identity brings together paintings, sculpture, prints, and drawings from the 1930s to the present by more than 80 African American artists. The exhibition addresses the historic underrepresentation of black artists in museums, providing a more complete understanding of African American art and its essential place in the history of American art over the last century. Constructing Identity confronts the legacy of slavery and celebrates the beauty, compassion, strength, and persistent culture of African Americans. Join us for a guided tour of the exhibition followed by a discussion of African American art and representation with Portland State University professors Lisa Jarrett (School of Art and Design) and d.a. carter (Black Studies).

5:30 p.m. – 6:15 p.m.: The program begins in the exhibition after Museum hours. Come to the Hoffman Entrance on the north side of the Museum, by the gift shop.

6:15 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.: Presentation and refreshments in the Miller Gallery, Mark Building.

Register
Mar
19
Sun
Public Tour: Constructing Identity
Mar 19 @ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Avel de Knight, The Rehearsal, 1955
Avel de Knight (American, 1923–1995), The Rehearsal, 1955, oil on canvas, 33 x 45 in. © Estate of Avel de Knight.

Explore the Museum with a docent skilled in bringing art to life.

Public tours depart from the Park Avenue entrance.

Tours are free for members or with Museum admission, and free for children age 17 and younger.

Presented in conjunction with the special exhibition Constructing Identity.

Mar
21
Tue
Public Tour: Constructing Identity
Mar 21 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Avel de Knight, The Rehearsal, 1955
Avel de Knight (American, 1923–1995), The Rehearsal, 1955, oil on canvas, 33 x 45 in. © Estate of Avel de Knight.

Explore the Museum with a docent skilled in bringing art to life.

Public tours depart from the Park Avenue entrance.

Tours are free for members or with Museum admission, and free for children age 17 and younger.

Presented in conjunction with the special exhibition Constructing Identity.

Mar
25
Sat
Public Tour: Constructing Identity
Mar 25 @ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Avel de Knight, The Rehearsal, 1955
Avel de Knight (American, 1923–1995), The Rehearsal, 1955, oil on canvas, 33 x 45 in. © Estate of Avel de Knight.

Explore the Museum with a docent skilled in bringing art to life.

Public tours depart from the Park Avenue entrance.

Tours are free for members or with Museum admission, and free for children age 17 and younger.

Presented in conjunction with the special exhibition Constructing Identity.

Apr
2
Sun
Public Tour: Constructing Identity
Apr 2 @ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Avel de Knight, The Rehearsal, 1955
Avel de Knight (American, 1923–1995), The Rehearsal, 1955, oil on canvas, 33 x 45 in. © Estate of Avel de Knight.

Explore the Museum with a docent skilled in bringing art to life.

Public tours depart from the Park Avenue entrance.

Tours are free for members or with Museum admission, and free for children age 17 and younger.

Presented in conjunction with the special exhibition Constructing Identity.

Apr
22
Sat
Miller Family Free Day
Apr 22 @ 10:00 am – 5:00 pm
Avel de Knight, The Rehearsal, 1955
Avel de Knight (American, 1923–1995), The Rehearsal, 1955, oil on canvas, 33 x 45 in. © Estate of Avel de Knight.

In celebration of Constructing Identity, join us for a range of youth, artist, and community-driven programs exploring African-American art, identity, and culture. This free day is also organized in connection with The HEART of Portland: A Portland Public Schools K-12 Arts Showcase, which will be on view at the Museum from April 12-22.

An additional free day will take place on May 20 in celebration of Art Museum Day presented by AAMD.

Family Programs are generously supported in part by Sharon L. Miller and Family, the Gordon D. Sondland and Katherine J. Durant Foundation, the Lamb Baldwin Foundation, and the OCF Joseph E. Weston Public Foundation.

Family Tour: Constructing Identity
Apr 22 @ 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm
Avel de Knight, The Rehearsal, 1955
Avel de Knight (American, 1923–1995), The Rehearsal, 1955, oil on canvas, 33 x 45 in. © Estate of Avel de Knight.

Explore the Museum with a docent skilled in bringing art to life.

Public tours depart from the Park Avenue entrance.

Tours are free for members or with Museum admission, and free for children age 17 and younger.

Presented in conjunction with the special exhibition Constructing Identity.

Public Tour: Constructing Identity
Apr 22 @ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Avel de Knight, The Rehearsal, 1955
Avel de Knight (American, 1923–1995), The Rehearsal, 1955, oil on canvas, 33 x 45 in. © Estate of Avel de Knight.

Explore the Museum with a docent skilled in bringing art to life.

Public tours depart from the Park Avenue entrance.

Tours are free for members or with Museum admission, and free for children age 17 and younger.

Presented in conjunction with the special exhibition Constructing Identity.

Apr
30
Sun
The Incredible Journey of Jazz
Apr 30 @ 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm

PART I: 1 p.m. – Interactive History Program

PART II: 3 p.m.- Jazz of the 1930s & 40s Performance

Learn about the history of jazz, from its beginnings in Africa to its development in the United States and current role in global culture, through this special Museum edition of The Incredible Journey of Jazz. Developed and presented by PDX Jazz, this interactive program features a narrator and jazz ensemble who together demonstrate characterizations of historical figures and musical illustrations from different eras and styles to provide the audience with a living experience of jazz. The program will be followed by an all-star performance of classic jazz material from the 1930s and ’40s by African-American composers.

Purchase tickets
Public Tour: Constructing Identity
Apr 30 @ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Avel de Knight, The Rehearsal, 1955
Avel de Knight (American, 1923–1995), The Rehearsal, 1955, oil on canvas, 33 x 45 in. © Estate of Avel de Knight.

Explore the Museum with a docent skilled in bringing art to life.

Public tours depart from the Park Avenue entrance.

Tours are free for members or with Museum admission, and free for children age 17 and younger.

Presented in conjunction with the special exhibition Constructing Identity.

May
7
Sun
Public Tour: Constructing Identity
May 7 @ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Avel de Knight, The Rehearsal, 1955
Avel de Knight (American, 1923–1995), The Rehearsal, 1955, oil on canvas, 33 x 45 in. © Estate of Avel de Knight.

Explore the Museum with a docent skilled in bringing art to life.

Public tours depart from the Park Avenue entrance.

Tours are free for members or with Museum admission, and free for children age 17 and younger.

Presented in conjunction with the special exhibition Constructing Identity.

May
13
Sat
Public Tour: Constructing Identity
May 13 @ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Avel de Knight, The Rehearsal, 1955
Avel de Knight (American, 1923–1995), The Rehearsal, 1955, oil on canvas, 33 x 45 in. © Estate of Avel de Knight.

Explore the Museum with a docent skilled in bringing art to life.

Public tours depart from the Park Avenue entrance.

Tours are free for members or with Museum admission, and free for children age 17 and younger.

Presented in conjunction with the special exhibition Constructing Identity.

May
14
Sun
Family Tour: Constructing Identity
May 14 @ 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm
Avel de Knight, The Rehearsal, 1955
Avel de Knight (American, 1923–1995), The Rehearsal, 1955, oil on canvas, 33 x 45 in. © Estate of Avel de Knight.

Explore the Museum with a docent skilled in bringing art to life.

Public tours depart from the Park Avenue entrance.

Tours are free for members or with Museum admission, and free for children age 17 and younger.

Presented in conjunction with the special exhibition Constructing Identity.

May
18
Thu
Public Tour: Constructing Identity
May 18 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Avel de Knight, The Rehearsal, 1955
Avel de Knight (American, 1923–1995), The Rehearsal, 1955, oil on canvas, 33 x 45 in. © Estate of Avel de Knight.

Explore the Museum with a docent skilled in bringing art to life.

Public tours depart from the Park Avenue entrance.

Tours are free for members or with Museum admission, and free for children age 17 and younger.

Presented in conjunction with the special exhibition Constructing Identity.

May
21
Sun
Public Tour: Constructing Identity
May 21 @ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Avel de Knight, The Rehearsal, 1955
Avel de Knight (American, 1923–1995), The Rehearsal, 1955, oil on canvas, 33 x 45 in. © Estate of Avel de Knight.

Explore the Museum with a docent skilled in bringing art to life.

Public tours depart from the Park Avenue entrance.

Tours are free for members or with Museum admission, and free for children age 17 and younger.

Presented in conjunction with the special exhibition Constructing Identity.

May
25
Thu
Public Tour: Constructing Identity
May 25 @ 1:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Avel de Knight, The Rehearsal, 1955
Avel de Knight (American, 1923–1995), The Rehearsal, 1955, oil on canvas, 33 x 45 in. © Estate of Avel de Knight.

Explore the Museum with a docent skilled in bringing art to life.

Public tours depart from the Park Avenue entrance.

Tours are free for members or with Museum admission, and free for children age 17 and younger.

Presented in conjunction with the special exhibition Constructing Identity.

May
27
Sat
Public Tour: Constructing Identity
May 27 @ 3:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Avel de Knight, The Rehearsal, 1955
Avel de Knight (American, 1923–1995), The Rehearsal, 1955, oil on canvas, 33 x 45 in. © Estate of Avel de Knight.

Explore the Museum with a docent skilled in bringing art to life.

Public tours depart from the Park Avenue entrance.

Tours are free for members or with Museum admission, and free for children age 17 and younger.

Presented in conjunction with the special exhibition Constructing Identity.

Jun
10
Sat
In Conversation with Mickalene Thomas
Jun 10 @ 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm

Join us for a conversation with former Portlander and acclaimed multidisciplinary artist and filmmaker Mickalene Thomas. Best known for large-scale portraits, landscapes, and interiors that combine art-historical, political, and pop-cultural references, Thomas’ work often investigates complex notions of femininity, beauty, and racial representation. Her work is part of significant permanent collections including The Museum of Modern Art, the Art Institute of Chicago, Whitney Museum of American Art, The Studio Museum in Harlem, and the Hammer Museum, among many others.

Purchase tickets