I was lucky enough to make a quick trip to Portland, Oregon (where I grew up) this past weekend to visit my family. Although it was a short trip, John and I made the most of it. We flew out Friday and immediately headed toÂ James Beard Rising Star award winner Gabe Rucker’s “Little Bird“–the sister restaurant to “Le Pigeon“–where we ordered brussels sprouts, french fries, steak tartare and a gorgeous artichoke soup. Sitting at the bar drinking red wine and a smoked orange bourbon cocktail(!) we imagined ourselves living in Portland–everyone plays this game when they travel, right?
Post-lunch we grabbed a quick coffee at Barista and then headed to the Portland Art Museum for a quick but beautiful hour of art. I hadn’t been in years and we both were incredibly impressed. Sometimes Portland surprises you like that. You think it will be pretty good but it wildly exceeds your expectations. The museum’s collection is spectacular. It isn’t overwhelming like the Met, where you feel like you’ll never see it all and race through the museum.Â The quality of painting is extraordinary and it is always a privilege to see art in person. Their collection of Color Field painters is beautiful and there is an Arshile Gorky still life that I could barely tear myself away from. In the downstairs space they had an exhibition similar to StoryCorps: you make an appointment and talk at length about an object you love and cherish and it is held in their archives for others to hear and enjoy. My whole world is oriented around considering objects and the memories surrounding them so I love this idea.
Jules Olitski, Noble Regard (detail), 1989
Friedel Dzubas, Found (detail), 1972
Chris Burden’s “Ghost Ship” fills the sculpture court with the rudders and sails moving and unfurling periodically giving you the feeling that you’re out at sea with them. Really, really beautiful. There is more to come about our visit west and we’ll keep you posted. I didn’t even mention the show of Ed Ruscha’s recent work!
Chris Burden, Ghost Ships, 1991