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Write Around PAM: Kuna artist

The Kuna are Indigenous people living in present-day Panama. Mola, the Kuna word meaning “to cover” are hand-sewn, embroidered blouse fronts and backs made and worn by Kuna women. Artists use a technique called reverse appliqué to create Mola, layering two to seven pieces of different-colored cloth together. The artist cuts away parts of each…  Read more

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Daily Art Moment: Pierre Bonnard

After a hot, dry, summer, I cheered the recent return of rain to Portland. More than 100 years ago, French artist Pierre Bonnard captured the magic of a rainy night in Paris. In the foreground, a woman with a plumed hat trimmed with red flowers moves to the right. Behind her, another parisienne gingerly steps…  Read more

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Daily Art Moment: Shirley Gittelsohn

Shirley Gittelsohn’s Family Portrait is featured in the current exhibition, Portraiture from the Collection of Northwest Art. The painting depicts her adult children, the family pets, her relaxed husband, herself, and their Cannon Beach gathering place. I’ve been drawn to different details of this piece over time, most recently focusing on Gittelsohn’s self-portrait. She is…  Read more

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Daily Art Moment: Sun Yi

This joyful, exuberant painting is an example of the rich vocabulary of auspicious symbols in Chinese art. The combination here of flowering peonies with pink crabapple and white magnolia blossoms, for example, can be understood as a visual-verbal rebus meaning “May your noble house be blessed with wealth and honor” (yutang fugui). The lively, full…  Read more

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Daily Art Moment: Nez Perce artist

With the school year beginning, I began to think about children and how objects such as dolls are so universal. This Nez Perce doll was surely made for children in the image of women in her community. The clothing is composed of the same materials her relatives wore: soft hide for the dress, leggings, and…  Read more

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Daily Art Moment: Diego Rivera

It’s back-to-school time! In this lithograph of 1932, Mexican muralist Diego Rivera celebrates the importance of “education for all” as one of the guiding tenets of the Mexican Revolution. Here, an Indigenous woman instructs a range of students from young children to elders in an open field. Behind her, laborers prepare the soil for planting,…  Read more

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Daily Art Moment: Lewis W. Hine

I think of photographer Lewis Hine every Labor Day. He was deeply affected by the long hours and low pay he earned while working to help support his widowed mother and siblings during the 1890s in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Hine first learned photographic processes around 1904 in New York City, where he also became active in…  Read more

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Daily Art Moment: Cameron Martin

The highly detailed work Selvian by Cameron Martin both excites and tricks my eye. Is this a photograph? A screenprint? A painting? Martin draws from multiple processes to create this piece and others in his Bracket series; he calls his approach “a kind of media collapse” that leaves us slightly disoriented about what we’re seeing.…  Read more

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Daily Art Moment: Beatrice S. Levy

As cooler temperatures roll in, I am already feeling nostalgic for summer. This moody etching by Beatrice S. Levy captures some of the longing and freedom of the season. Born in Chicago and educated at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Levy quickly distinguished herself in both painting and printmaking. In 1915, Song…  Read more

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Daily Art Moment: Playing Cards

The Native American art collection of the Portland Art Museum contains a number of surprising objects that have fascinating but little-known histories behind them. This set of Apache Playing Cards is a rare example of a playing card tradition among the Apache with very little published research. There is some documentation that suggests playing cards…  Read more