Community Update – May 2024

Exterior view of the space in which to place me (Jeffrey Gibson’s exhibition for the United States Pavilion, 60th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia), April 20 – November 24, 2024. Forecourt sculpture: the space in which to place me (2024). Photograph by Timothy Schenck.

To our community,

This spring brought historic recognition for the Portland Art Museum locally, nationally, and internationally. Most notable is our leadership at the Venice Biennale – the most prestigious art events in the world and commonly referred to as the Olympics of art. The Portland Art Museum and SITE Santa Fe were selected as co-commissioners by the U.S. State Department to present interdisciplinary artist Jeffrey Gibson. Gibson’s solo exhibition the space in which to place me was curated by Kathleen Ash-Milby, PAM Curator of Native American Art and Abigail Winograd, independent curator. This historic occasion marks the first time a Native American artist has represented the U.S. with a solo exhibition at the Biennale.

Kathleen and several members of the PAM team, including myself, traveled to Venice to facilitate this important opening on April 20. The Museum has already begun to bring the sights and sounds back to Portland, and we are pleased to be leading a trip to Venice for Oregon and New Mexico educators in June that will result in classroom resources so the exhibition can be shared with students across the state. The New York Times, BBC, and other outlets have published multiple stories about Gibson and the Biennale, and have noted Kathleen’s work as well as celebrated the Portland Art Museum’s role. We could not be more proud to represent our city and our country. I encourage you to watch this incredible video featuring a jingle dance performance at the Biennale.

The New York Times also recently featured the Portland Art Museum and our annual Power Up! program, which invites LGBTQ youth to create art and make personal connections, and our campus transformation project was covered in The Art Newspaper International. Meanwhile, this spring the Museum continued its long-standing partnership with Portland Public Schools hosting the HeART of Portland: A Portland Schools K-12 Arts Showcase. I invite you to learn more below.


Brian Ferriso, Portland Art Museum Director

Program Highlights & News

Gallery view of Jeffrey Gibson's the space in which to place me
Installation view of the space in which to place me (Jeffrey Gibson’s exhibition for the United States Pavilion, 60th International Art Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia), April 20 – November 24, 2024. Wall works from left to right: GIVE MY LIFE SOMETHING EXTRA (2024); THE RIGHT OF THE PEOPLE PEACEABLY TO ASSEMBLE, 2024. Birds from left to right: if there is no struggle there is no progress (2024); we are the witnesses (2024). Photograph by Timothy Schenck.

Venice Biennale

The Portland Art Museum and SITE Santa Fe, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, present Jeffrey Gibson as the representative for the United States at the 60th International Art Exhibition of La Biennale di Venezia. Gibson is a member of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians and of Cherokee descent. The United States Pavilion exhibition is titled “the space in which to place me,” and remains on view through November 24. A selection of coverage is offered below.

Rothko Pavilion rendering at dusk

Campus Transformation

The Museum announced a late 2025 completion date for the campus transformation project that includes the new Rothko Pavilion reimagined art experiences for visitors. A number of news outlets reported on this update, including a front-page feature in The Oregonian.

Youth Programming

Photo of a group of kids in red HeART of Portland t-shirts on stage

HeART of Portland

This annual event celebrates the extraordinary work of local student artists with dance, music, and theater performances and a visual arts exhibition. This year was particularly notable because it marked the 10th year of the Portland City Arts Tax, which supports art teachers in our schools. It was a packed house and a genuine tribute to Portland’s next generation of artists. Several news outlets covered the event

Power Up!

Power Up! is the Museum’s annual event that celebrates LGBTQ2SIA+ youth and allies. It’s an opportunity for making friends, making art, and having fun with a thematic focus aligned to exhibitions and artists on view. The New York Times featured this program in their recent Museums Special Edition.

Sneakers and summer camps

The current special exhibition Future Now: Virtual Sneakers to Cutting-Edge Kicks has been treating visitors to nearly 60 futuristic footwear designs pushing the boundaries of what footwear can be. The New York Times selected it as top pick for West Coast exhibitions.

Alongside the exhibition, the Museum and PAM CUT // Center for an Untold Tomorrow are continuing the sneaker celebration all summer through a partnership with Sneaker Week PDX, design summer camps for kids, and more.

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