Portland Anniversary, Day 2: Comics, Portland Art Museum, Dinner at Le Pigeon

Still stuck on Chicago time, and woke up super early. Decided to head downstairs around 6:00 AM and do a few blog updates.

Yes, I am that nerd that brings along a keyboard when traveling.

Lefse for breakfast at Broder Cafe.

A small little spot, but we got a seat right away (and just beat the rain).

We decided to walk around a bit, and happened to see that there was a shop that Liz had on her list to visit – Josephine’s Dry Goods.

We had a few minutes before it opened, so we popped in to Cloud 9 Comics next door. Liz got a copy of Skyward and I found something new from Jonathan Hickman called “The Black Monday Murders.”

Afterwards, Liz and I parted ways. She had a few shops to visit, and I decided I wanted to check out some modern art. So I headed over to the Portland Art Museum.

Frühe Stunde (Early Hour), by Karl Hofer.

I was just drawn to the story I began creating, while looking at this piece. At first I thought the man was gazing lovingly at the woman, but after a while it seemed like he was assessing. And contemplating leaving.

The woman, as well as the dog, suggest a family, a life. Both are unaware of the man and still asleep. The open window suggests to me he is considering leaving.

Adding to the scene the parted curtain at the foreground made this feel very voyeuristic. And again, the stories I made up in my head reminded me how much we as humans need stories and narratives to define our world. We can’t help but make up stories.

Lisiere de la foret au printemps (Edge of Forest in Sprint), by Alfred Sisley.

Not usually something I go for, but was drawn to the detail and view of this piece.

It isn’t a scenic vista, but rather an obscured view. With a hint of a building in the distance.



Please Participate, by Jeppe Hein.

Peeking outside, I saw this lovely moment.

The construction workers, at rest, outside the art museum, was a lovely image.

Time and the Monuments, by Eugene Berman.

This was very surreal. Took a photo not because I liked it, but because it really just stood out. The more I look at it, the more my stomach seems to hurt.

More modern art.

I’m not sure where the name “Night Truck” came from, but the fact that the piece is a kinetic sculpture was totally fascinating. Clearly, the public kept trying to “make it move” to the point where touching it is no longer allowed.

But how does it move?

I looked around a long time, and couldn’t figure it out.

As I was leaving, I asked the museum workers at the entrance about the piece. Apparently it does still move (and wasn’t welded in place), but only museum staff move it – and even so, do it sparingly. I tried to see if I could wrangle some way to see it on motion, but no luck.

After a while, everything looks like modern art and a placard.

End of Day Nightscape II, by Louise Nevelson.

Close up, the elements of this piece were much, much darker.

The Seeker, by Isamu Noguchi.

Hey, I recognize that name!

Untitled (To Donna) II, by Dan Flavin.

I have to say – in person, this piece looked terrible. I originally photographed it because I couldn’t understand why this was considered art. It looked like some flourescent tubes leaning against a wall.

But looking at it on my phone, looking at a photograph of the colors – it’s stunning. The colors, as well as the shadows and reflection on the corner are phenomenal. But only in the photo – in person, it looked silly.

Locations, by Richard Artschwager.

I was puzzled by the silhouette of the oval, and wondered whether the placement of the light (which caused the shadow) was intentional.

It wasn’t until I walked by a few minutes later that I realized there were other shapes mounted and floating nearby… that were also part of the same piece.

A bit later, I was walking around and heard a very deep rumbling. As I walked closer to the sound, I realized there was a small, almost hidden room showing a film.

The video was “The Bell, the Digger, and the Tropical Pharmacy,” by Allora & Calzadilla. Here’s a brief description of what the piece is about:

The Bell, the Digger, and the Tropical Pharmacy (2014) shows an excavator demolishing an industrial building. The excavator has been fitted with a cast-iron bell that transforms it into a ‘sonic digger.’ The structure is a controversial GlaxoSmithKline prescription drug plant in Cidra, Puerto Rico, closed in 2009 after a female whistleblower, who had worked as a quality assurance manager for the company, exposed serious contamination problems.

The whole process – hearing the film, walking around a corner to discover the darkened theater, then reading the description afterwards was a great experience.

Another video installation: Do I Look Like a Lady?, by Mickalene Thomas, explores beauty and identity through snippets of black comedians and actresses.

There were periods of static throughout the piece, as the clips spanned a wide range of time. As I was watching this, I began to wonder: at what future point will video “static” cease to make sense to people.

There will be (is?) some future generation, where the kids never grew up with video “static” due to degraded tape/film. Because everything they will have ever known will have been 100% digital.

Subtitles, by Victoria Haven.

I had a problem with this one. While I love randomness as much as the next person, the act of using a “computer algorithm” to sort words from one’s text messages and pair them together at random didn’t do much for me.

While I liked the concept, I wanted much more.

I was more taken with this couch, nestled in an alcove. I think I spent more time admiring this, and thought it was pretty cool.

Around here is where I began to question, again, why I keep wanting to go seek out modern art. Because much of the time, I just walk away frustrated.

After decompressing at the hotel room for a bit, Liz and I made our way to Le Pigeon for dinner.

Salmon sous vide.

A delicious dessert that I was not ultimately able to consume. The meal was quite delicious, as we did a five course tasting menu. I had two glasses of white wine, and the alcohol flush thing kicked in – to the point where I knew having dessert/sugar would make things much worse. So I had to hold off.

Despite the uncomfortable end of the night, the whole meal itself was really delicious. And I got quite full, as the dishes were spaced out really well.

Next to us, we got to meet Brenda and Jordan – who recently got married, and were out celebrating. As we’re out in Portland celebrating 10 years, it felt like a bit of serendipity to dine alongside another couple just starting their journey.

The Mystery of the Dry Noguchi Fountain, Located Outside the Art Institute of Chicago
Paris, Day 3: Modern Art at Centre Pompidou
Visiting the Walker Art Center
A Vacation Day in Chicago: Visiting the MCA, Art Institute, and Wandering Downtown

This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. It was very lovely to meet the two of you. We really enjoyed chatting with you and appreciate the marriage advice.

    We had the 7 course chef’s tasting. It was so good but I couldn’t move at the end of the night.

    Brenda Reply

    • It was lovely to meet you both! Congratulations again, and looking forward to crossing paths with you both again in ten years!

      avoision Reply

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