Orange and Yellow
  • Orange and Yellow

If you look at this image and you think "Wow that's kind of a shitty painting of some bright rectangles" then I highly encourage you to go to the Portland Art Museum between now and May 27th and spend some quality time with the Mark Rothko exhibit there. Rothko, a major figure in 20th century abstract painting, resided in Portland during his childhood. The current retrospective is the first held at the Portland Art Museum, though the museum hosted the first show of Rothko's career in 1933.

About 11 years ago I saw my first Mark Rothko painting in a Religion and Art class (which was terrible) on a fuzzy slide and chortled "areyoufuckingkiddingme" under my breath. A few weeks later the class took a trip to Los Angeles to see some works. I was humbled and embarrassed. In person the paintings are overwhelming, huge, saturated with color, and so vivid they look like they're breathing.

As if that wasn't enough, upstairs the museum is showing the sculpture of John Frame. His articulated puppets are exquisite, hand-crafted and detailed, dark and haunting. They have the creepiest eyes that totally look alive. There's also a short film on his technique along with a animation he made using the figures, embedded below.

And there's a giant Joseph Beuys installation, best viewed from the balcony. It's kind of a home run over there at PAM. Check it out.