Monthly Archives: April 2011

Saturday at the Museum…When Families & Artists Meet!

By Julia Einstein
Coordinator of Youth and Family Programs

We like to see families looking and learning and being together at the Museum. I look forward to Saturday, April 30, when three of the Biennial artists will be here to meet families. Each of these artists enjoys sharing their ideas with young people. The artist Carly Glovinski will show the materials (phone books!) that make up her 617, 857 floor sculpture. Alicia Eggert will help us see her work Wonder and show us how to approach her sculpture (slowly from 10 feet away and squint your eyes at a certain point!) and will also show us some of the small motors that operate her art. And Alisha Gould will share her preliminary drawings and the tiny models for her very large Ejecta sculpture.

We’ll also have an art-making event created by Carly Glovinski. Her art is fun to investigate and requires lots of looking again and looking more closely and asking questions. Carly likes to look at everyday objects that are easy to overlook—cheeseburger wrappers, kitchen towels, plastic grocery bags—and she’ll be asking for lots of help in creating art in the Great Hall that will appear to be an ordinary common object (an extension cord) but (you’ll see…) is only “acting” like one!

Join Julia and the Biennial artists Carly, Alicia, and Alisha on Saturday, April 30, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Stay on for art-making with Carly from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Both events are free with Museum admission. Learn more…

Ejecta

By Alisha Gould
2011 Portland Museum of Art Biennial Artist

It was such a great opportunity to install Ejecta at the PMA. We spent four days in the Great Hall nailing about 900 tiny clay “holes” to the wall. On the first day, I determined the overall size and placement of the composition, working from models and mock-ups, and moving around paper patterns and pieces of painterʼs tape until the arrangement felt congruous with the scale and architecture of the space. Then, for the rest of the week, one by one we put up the rest of the trumpet-shaped vessels, making a central dense aggregation that scattered and dispersed on the wall. I love working on large-scale projects and was so excited to have the chance to install Ejecta in such an expansive space. But I have to admit, the first time I went in to see the wall, I was a little intimidated by the scale and hurried back to the studio to make
more holes. In the end, I overcompensated a bit and made about 500 more than I ended up needing.

Besides being given the opportunity to work on a large scale in such an architecturally inspiring space, the best part of installing this piece was getting to work with the PMA staff, meeting the other artists, and talking to all the visitors. Everybody at the Museum was extremely helpful and accommodating (no one even seemed to be bothered by the sound of my incessant hammering all week) and I learned a lot about what it takes to put up a show of this size as I watched everyone working hard to prepare for the Biennial. Being in the Great Hall was fun because all the visitors and school groups got to watch as I installed. It was eye-opening to hear everyoneʼs opinions about the work and have a chance to answer questions. All the kids on school field trips were so curious and totally honest and liked to tell me what the piece reminded them of—barnacles, beehives, bats, flowers, mushrooms, swarms, stars, black holes, and craters on the moon were among the interpretations. By far, the best part was when one group of little kids yelled up to me “good job!” while was I was nervously perched on top of an incredibly tall ladder—it was encouraging.

A little to the left

By Sage Lewis
Assistant Curator

The period of installation is probably my favorite part of the whole year-long process of organizing the Biennial. The works of art that I have seen images of and read about for the past six months are finally delivered and brought up to the gallery. Then commences the puzzle of organizing the show; how to emphasize the presence of each piece while keeping in mind the rhythm of the overall exhibition. Many of the works demand the viewer’s attention in specific ways—through motion, sound, or a close and careful second look. The restrictions of gallery space combine with these factors make for a challenging but rewarding task. Most of the works you see in the gallery have been tried in numerous positions and configurations before finally being placed or hung.

Now that the Biennial exhibition is complete, I wanted to share some glimpses from the process behind the scenes, particularly those installations for which the artist’ spent days laboring over. Their work is ambitious and engaging and makes this year’s Biennial an especially exciting one for visitors.

Natasha Bowdoin’s Untitled (Alice) before and after

Lauren O’Neal and her assistant working on The Earnest Contingent

Museum Preparator, Kris Kenow, assisting Michael Shaughnessy with unloading his bound hay “linear elements”

August Ventimiglia installing Untitled (ilulisap itsirnga)