Monthly Archives: January 2009

Lipstick Traces

By Vanessa Nesvig, Coordinator of Community Programs

Next Monday Greil Marcus comes to Portland to speak about rock & roll. All is abuzz here getting ready for the opening of the exhibition Backstage Pass: Rock & Roll Photography (with close to 300 photos!). Greil should be an entertaining speaker to kick it off. He will have some great stories to tell. Being one of the first records editors for Rolling Stone must have been amazing…the people he met…the rise of incredible stars.

Since this show has been going up, many people have come up to me with their rock & roll stories, and I hope to get some of them recorded. How about you…have you had any brushes with rock & roll fame? We’d love to hear your story!

Greil Marcus will be speaking at the Holiday Inn By the Bay on Monday, January 26 at 6 p.m. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are available here or by calling 207-775-6148, ext. 3227.

In Memory of Andrew Wyeth

July 12, 1917–January 16, 2009

Statement from PMA Chief Curator Tom Denenberg
Andrew Wyeth’s art embodied the spirit of the American century. The land and people he painted in Maine and Pennsylvania came to represent the United States at home and abroad. Among the most famous painters of the modern era, he joins a pantheon of American artists. His name will forever be linked with those of John Singleton Copley, Thomas Eakins, Winslow Homer, and Jackson Pollock as one of those rare creative souls who possess the skills to make others see the world in a different light.

To learn more: Portland Press Herald story

This year’s Biennial: Why so few artists?

Posted by Sage Lewis, Curatorial Coordinator

As you’ve probably heard by now, the 2009 Biennial will be different from any that have come before it. Only 17 artists were chosen to participate—which is significantly less than the usual number ranging from 60 to 80 artists. So why did the jurors decide to be so exclusive?

When Elizabeth, Denise, and Dan met at the PMA for the first time, they looked at the gallery space on the first floor. Over the next two days, (8 solid hours each day!) with this space in mind, they viewed 3,800 works of art. The mission from the start—and it was daunting for sure—was elimination.

At some point in this process, their collective minds formed a track towards refining what they liked about specific pieces. Often juries can be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work presented to them and they don’t have the luxury of time to consider the exhibition as a whole—until the very end. This time it was a bit different, in that, the jurors were fast and furious eliminators and kept the larger exhibition in mind throughout. They were not looking to represent a survey of all the quality work being done in Maine. However, they did manage to select works that run the gamut in both form and content and I’m pleased that the show will represent the art scene quite well in that regard. As our Contemporary Curator Susan Danly says about the diversity of Maine art, “More and more Maine artists are involved in a broad dialogue with other national and international artists. There is no particular ‘Maine’ subject that identifies them as such. Their art engages a broad spectrum of imagery, particularly the landscape and found objects in the built environment, with a sense of the absurd and the mysterious.”

And on that note, I will leave you with the mystery of this year’s Biennial, and perhaps the jurying process a little less mystifying. Stay tuned for more posts on the upcoming Biennial.

Our expert team of onlookers:


Elizabeth Burke, Dan Graham, and Denise Markonish