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The View Forward: 2021-22 Exhibitions & Programs

The Portland Art Museum and Northwest Film Center Announce Exhibition and Program Schedule for 2021 and Beyond

Looking to the future after beginning a two-phase Spring 2021 reopening last weekend, the Portland Art Museum and Northwest Film Center in Oregon today shared more details about its updated exhibition and program schedule for the coming two years as the Museum reimagines how to fulfill its mission both during and after the pandemic. Following state-mandated closures, the Museum began welcoming visitors back to most galleries April 10, with many popular exhibitions on extended view. Next, on May 5, the Museum will open access to all galleries and unveil Ansel Adams in Our Time, an exhibition that not only celebrates the famous landscape photographer but also offers new perspectives from a diverse range of photographers who worked before, alongside, and after him. 

Later in 2021, the Museum brings Egypt and the story of Queen Nefertari to Portland. Queen Nefertari: Eternal Egypt (opening October 16, 2021) celebrates the role of women—goddesses, queens, and commoners, and offers glimpses into royal life and everyday life of artisans. Also on view in Fall 2021, Private Lives: Home and Family in the Art of the Nabis, 1889–1900 (opening Oct 23, 2021) explores the beautiful, enigmatic, and paradoxical work of Pierre Bonnard, Édouard Vuillard, Maurice Denis, and Félix Vallotton, four members of the “Nabi Brotherhood” of young artists in late 19th-century Paris who explored the domestic interior as a site for artistic expression and inspiration, creating a body of work that helped shape the transition from Impressionism to early modernism. Private Lives is co-curated by Mary Weaver Chapin, the Portland Art Museum’s Curator of Prints and Drawings, and Heather Lemonedes Brown, Chief Curator of the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Frida Kahlo (Mexican, 1907-1958), Diego on my Mind, 1943, oil on masonite, courtesy of the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection.

Early 2022 brings the highly anticipated Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Mexican Modernism (opening February 19, 2022) to the Museum. The exhibition will feature many of Kahlo’s most famous self-portraits and rarely seen oil paintings by Rivera, as well as works by other icons of Mexican modernism.

These special exhibitions are presented alongside an incredible array of other exhibitions and gallery presentations that showcase works from the permanent collection, important loans, featured artists, guest curated projects, and more. 

The Portland Art Museum’s Northwest Film Center continues to adapt and innovate as local in-person theater regulations evolve. Coming off the the most successful and accessible Cinema Unbound Awards and Portland International Film Festival to date (offered virtually as well as via drive-in), the Film Center continues to reinvent cinematic storytelling for audiences through the curation of its vibrant streaming options, and safe, in-person drive-in and new media experiences. With the reimagining of their educational, artist services and community programs, they continue to center Portland as a place where the stories and careers of diverse, risk-taking artists from here and around the world can continue to thrive. 

The challenges of the pandemic underscored the Portland Art Museum’s commitment to supporting artists in a vibrant, reimagined cultural sphere. Last year the Museum and Film Center’s Re:Imagine Artist Fund supported artists through direct relief and sustainability grants, and the fund’s next phase starting this spring provides expanded financial support for artists developing new projects and programs that engage with the issues of our time and explore new avenues of art and film. 

“We cannot wait for visitors to experience these exhibitions and programs,” said Director and Chief Curator Brian Ferriso. “Despite the challenges of the pandemic, I am so grateful that we are able to reemerge with such an exciting lineup. We are thankful for all of our members and supporters who have sustained us through this past year, and we are thrilled to welcome our community back.”


Continuing and Extended

Victor Jorgensen, Refueling at Sea Shortly Before Joining Task Force 50 for Operation Galvanic, 1943, gelatin silver print.

Though There Be Fury on the Waves: Victor Jorgensen at Sea, 1943–1945 (Continuing)

This exhibition commemorating the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II presents indelible moments captured by Portland-born photographer Victor Jorgensen during his wartime service in the U.S. Navy. Online: View virtual walk-through video and works in our Online Collections.

Resist COVID / Take 6  (Through May 2021)

A national public awareness campaign by internationally renowned artist and Portland native Carrie Mae Weems. Launched in April 2020, Resist COVID / Take 6!  draws attention to the disproportionate impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Black, Latinx and Native American communities. The title Take 6! is an allusion to the recommended six feet of separation in social distancing. To support this public art project, the Portland Art Museum mounted banners across its campus and worked with local public agencies and community partners across the Metro area to use billboards and social media to highlight the disparity caused by existing inequalities, to underscore the importance of preventive and protective measures, and to thank the frontline workers risking their safety during this public health crisis. Online: View PAM presentation and billboards, and learn more about Resist COVID / Take 6!

Yoshida Chizuko (Japanese, 1924-2017), Jam Masjid (detail), 1960, color woodblock print on paper, The Vivian and Gordon Gilkey Graphic Arts Collection.

Joryū Hanga Kyōkai, 1956–1965: Japan’s Women Printmakers (Through June 13, 2021)

Examining the expansive and fiercely creative vision of Japan’s first women printmakers association, the Joryū Hanga Kyōkai, this exhibition unearths a critical, dynamic, and understudied episode of modern printmaking history. Joryū Hanga Kyōkai, 1956–1965 is curated by Jeannie Kenmotsu, Ph.D., who was recently promoted to be the Museum’s Asian Art Curator. View a conversation with curator Jeannie Kenmotsu and works in our Online Collections.

Kano School, Nanban byōbu (“Southern Barbarian” Screens), 1630/1650, ink, mineral pigments, and gold on paper, Gift of Margery Hoffman Smith, 64.13a,b

Objects of Contact: Encounters between Japan and the West (Through June 13, 2021)

Stunning works of Japanese art from the Portland Art Museum’s permanent collection reveal a fascinating three-century history of cultural dialogue between Japan and the western world. Online: View virtual walk-through video and works in our Online Collections.

Ed Bereal, Immortal Beloved, 1962/2015, mixed media, courtesy of the artist, photo: courtesy of Harmony Murphy Gallery, Los Angeles.

APEX: Ed Bereal (Extended through at least June 27, 2021)

In the Museum’s APEX gallery showcasing Northwest artists, installations in a broad range of media illustrate a half-century of Ed Bereal’s biting political art, hurling viewers into a shambolic spectacle that feels all too close to our current events.

Isaka Shamsud-Din (American, born 1940), Hare, Lion, and Spider, 1967, oil on canvas, Museum purchase: Helen Thurston Ayer Fund, © Isaka Shamsud-Din.

Isaka Shamsud-Din: Rock of Ages (Through Spring 2022)

Rock of Ages celebrates Portland artist Isaka Shamsud-Din’s masterful paintings, rich in a narrative combining personal stories and folklore. The vibrant exhibition also highlights the significant mural projects Shamsud-Din has created for Portland in a span of more than 50 years. View online exhibition and virtual walk-through video.

Bue Kee (American, 1893 – 1985), Self-Portrait, ca. 1930, oil on canvas, gift of Michael Parsons and Marte Lamb, 2005.114.3

Portraiture from the Collection of Northwest Art (Through Spring 2022)

For this exhibition, artist Storm Tharp helped select works from the Museum’s collection through his keen eyes as a fellow portraitist. The result is a fascinating examination of how portraiture, across remarkably varied themes and styles, allows for a breadth of expressiveness, a scrutiny of the self, and the occasion to connect with those around us. View works in our Online Collections.


Ansel Adams (American, 1902–1984); Moon and Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, 1960 Photograph, gelatin silver print; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The Lane Collection, 2018.2681; Courtesy, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; © The Ansel Adams Publishing Rights Trust

Ansel Adams in Our Time (May 5 – August 1, 2021)

Ansel Adams in Our Time celebrates the visual legacy of the acclaimed American photographer and includes some of his most iconic images, from a symphonic view of snow-dusted peaks in The Tetons and Snake River, Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming (1942) to the sublime Moon and Half Dome, Yosemite National Park (1960). More than 100 photographs by Adams, displayed alongside images by photographers working both before and after him, will offer visitors a deeper perspective on themes central to Adams’s practice, demonstrate the power of his legacy, and spark conversation about the state of the American landscape of the 21st century. Exhibition organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and curated by Karen Haas, Lane Senior Curator of Photographs at the MFA. Curated for Portland by Julia Dolan, Ph.D., The Minor White Curator of Photography. Presented by The Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation/Jordan Schnitzer, with lead support from Fred and Gail Jubitz and Exhibition Series Sponsors.

Online: Watch an online exhibition primer with curator Dr. Julia Dolan and Dr. Rebecca Senf, author of Making a Photographer: The Early Work of Ansel Adams; listen to a conversation on PAM’s Art Unbound podcast between Dr. Dolan and originating curator Karen Haas of MFA Boston; online exhibition coming soon.

Image from Sea Creatures installation courtesy of Sarah Turner, co-founder of the Mobile Projection Unit.

Mobile Projection Unit Series: Epic Ephemera (Monthly through May 2021; next events April 24 and May 29 )

In the Portland Art Museum’s outdoor courtyard, the artist-led Mobile Projection Unit presents Epic Ephemera, an outdoor digital installation series at the Museum that reimagines public space and shared experience at an epic scale. An artistic collaboration and curatorial project of Portland artists Sarah Turner and Fernanda D’Agostino, Mobile Projection Unit presents new, experimental, site-specific outdoor projected video works throughout Portland by use of a mobile studio. This series is supported by the Museum and Film Center’s Re:Imagine Artist Fund, an initiative expanding our commitment to supporting artists in a reimagined cultural sphere.

Opacity of Performance: Taka Yamamoto (In-gallery performance; dates TBD)

Portland-based choreographer and artist Takahiro Yamamoto’s new collaborative dance performance Opacity of Performance investigates the physical and emotional effects that both dancers and viewers undergo when visibility, activity, and attention vary over an extended duration. In the Portland Art Museum’s Schnitzer Sculpture Court, for 6 hours each day for 6 days, viewers will encounter three performance areas divided by two movable curtains, which dancers will move to obscure, reveal, and shape viewers’ experiences of the solo performances coexisting in these distinct spaces. Curated by Sara Krajewski, the Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art. Lead support provided by the Oregon Community Foundation.

Northwest Film Center’s Cinema Unbound Drive-In+ (June 10 – September 26, 2021)

Get ready for a summer experience like no other featuring radical, nostalgic, and hilarious cinema under the stars! Featuring stories centering women, BIPOC and queer voices, the Cinema Unbound Drive-In+ will run June 10 through September 26, 2021, at a new, soon-to-be announced location. We welcome guests to safely gather for movies—and more—as this year’s edition will add experiential storytelling elements to the mix (theme nights, family fun, dance parties and dress-up) to help the power of storytelling really come alive!

APEX: Sharita Towne (July 31, 2021 – February 27, 2022)

In the Museum’s APEX gallery showcasing Northwest artists, a new exhibition will showcase the work of Sharita Towne. The transdisciplinary artist gained attention in 2019 for A Black Art Ecology of Portland, an initiative she launched to bring together community organizations in support of creating, reclaiming, and redefining spaces for Black art and audiences in Portland. Learn more about Towne’s work and A Black Ecology of Portland in The New York Times. The APEX series is supported in part by The Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Endowments for Northwest Art. Online: Watch a 2019 Artist Talk by Sharita Towne at the Museum.

FALL 2021

Statue of the goddess Mut, New Kingdom, 18th-20th Dynasties, 1539 – 1076 B.C.E. Limestone, 21 1/4 x 11 x 8 1/2 inches (54 x 28 x 22 cm). Museo Egizio, Turin.

Queen Nefertari: Eternal Egypt (October 16, 2021 – January 16, 2022)

Discover “The One for Whom the Sun Shines,” Queen Nefertari, the Great Royal Wife of Pharaoh Ramesses II. Drawn from the world-renowned Museo Egizio in Turin, Italy, the exhibition immerses visitors in the magnificent palaces and tombs of ancient Egypt, including Queen Nefertari’s Burial Chamber.  Queen Nefertari: Eternal Egypt celebrates the role of women—goddesses, queens, and commoners, and offers glimpses into royal life and the everyday life of artisans through 230 works of art. Exhibition curated by Mr. Christian Greco and organized by StArt. Presented by The Harold & Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation/Jordan Schnitzer, with lead support from Exhibition Series Sponsors.

The Lie, 1898. Félix Vallotton (Swiss, 1865–1925). Oil on artist’s board; 24 x 33.3 cm. The Baltimore Museum of Art, The Cone Collection, formed by Dr. Claribel Cone and Miss Etta Cone of Baltimore, Maryland, BMA 1950.298. Photo: Mitro Hood

Private Lives: Home and Family in the Art of the Nabis, 1889–1900 (October 23, 2021 – January 23, 2022)

Private Lives explores the beautiful, enigmatic, and paradoxical work of Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard, Maurice Denis, and Félix Vallotton, four members of the Nabi Brotherhood. The Nabis were a group of young artists who were inspired by Paul Gauguin and the growing current of Symbolism in literature and theater. They sought to create an art of suggestion and emotion. Private Lives takes a close look at their paintings, prints, and drawings of home, family, and children, or what Bonnard referred to as the small pleasures and “modest acts of life.” Loans from the National Gallery of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Musée d’Orsay, as well as from many additional public and private collections, will feature in this exhibition alongside the rich holdings of Nabi material in the collections of the Cleveland Museum of Art and the Portland Art Museum. Private Lives is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue published by the Cleveland Museum of Art and Yale University Press. Curated by Mary Weaver Chapin, the Portland Art Museum’s Curator of Prints and Drawings, and Heather Lemonedes Brown, Deputy Director and Chief Curator of the Cleveland Museum of Art, where the exhibition opens July 1, 2021. Presented by The Laura and Roger Meier Family, with lead support from Exhibition Series Sponsors. Online: On an episode of PAM’s Art Unbound podcast, Mary Weaver Chapin and Heather Lemonedes Brown discuss co-curating a major exhibition during a pandemic.

Venice Biennale’s VR Expanded 2021 (September 1 – 11, 2021)

For a second year, the Northwest Film Center and Portland Art Museum will be the U.S. partner for the Virtual Reality (VR) arm of the Venice Biennale through its Venice VR Expanded 2021 programming. For only the second time in its 126-year history, La Biennale di Venezia (the Venice Biennale) is offering its programming both online and at select venues around the globe, building on the success of responding to the challenges presented by the pandemic in 2020. Venice VR Expanded is the official creative VR competition within the frame of the Venice International Film Festival. Featuring 30+ world premieres by artists from around the world, the exhibition showcases the future of storytelling. Curated by Amy Dotson, Curator of Film and New Media of the Portland Art Museum, and Michel Reilach and Liz Rosenthal of Venice Biennale’s VR program. 

Mesh (September 4, 2021 – March 6, 2022)

This Center for Contemporary Native Art exhibition will feature emerging Native American artists from across the country who have worked with artist mentors to develop practices informed by multiple traditions and cultural influences. Intergenerational mentoring relationships are the foundation of Native American art in all media, including basketry, weaving, sculpture, and photography. Presented in the Museum’s Jubitz Center for Modern and Contemporary Art, Mesh will include a wide variety of installations and media. Curated by Kathleen Ash-Milby, Curator of Native American Art.


Diego Rivera, Sunflowers, 1943, Oil on canvas, courtesy of the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection.

Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Mexican Modernism (February 19 – June 5, 2022)

Internationally beloved artists Frida Kahlo (1907–1954) and Diego Rivera (1886–1957) played a crucial role in defining and establishing the avant-garde cultural movement in Mexico in the early 20th century. Their famously stormy marriage reflected their diverging artistic styles: While Rivera’s art projected itself outward, often in vast murals, and concerned itself with the construction of a national identity in postwar Mexico, Kahlo’s turned inward and represented mexicanidad through an exploration of her personal identity. This exhibition from the Jacques and Natasha Gelman Collection of 20th Century Mexican Art and The Vergel Foundation will feature many of Kahlo’s most famous self-portraits and rarely seen oil paintings by Rivera, as well as works by other icons of Mexican modernism. Organized by the MondoMostre. Presented by The Laura and Roger Meier Family, with lead support from Bank of America and Exhibition Series Sponsors.

2022 Cinema Unbound Awards and Portland International Film Festival (March 2022)

The Cinema Unbound Awards and Portland International Film Festival (PIFF) both represent the Portland Art Museum & Northwest Film Center’s embrace of artistic exploration and commitment to equity and inclusion. The Cinema Unbound Awards is an annual celebration presented by the Northwest Film Center, honoring boundary-breaking multimedia storytellers working at the intersection of art and cinema. Though born out of the tradition of film, the Cinema Unbound Awards expands the reach of cinema as an art form to challenge for whom, by whom, and how stories can be told, honoring artists and nonconformists who expand the notion of what’s possible through their creative vision. The Portland International Film Festival features films, new media, audio stories and experiential programs from artists in the Northwest and around the world who celebrate where art and cinema collide. Online: Stay tuned for updates at; view 2021 Cinema Unbound Awards on YouTube.


Vera Gitsevich (Russian, 1897 – 1976), For the Proletarian Park of Culture and Leisure, 1932. Lithograph on paper. Generously lent by Svetlana and Eric Silverman.

Constructing Revolution: Soviet Propaganda Posters from between the World Wars (July 2 – October 9, 2022)

Constructing Revolution explores the remarkable and wide-ranging body of propaganda posters as an artistic consequence of the 1917 Russian Revolution. This vibrant exhibition delves into a relatively short-lived era of unprecedented experimentation and utopian idealism, which produced some of the most iconic images in the history of graphic design. Bringing more than 100 Soviet-era posters from the private collection of Svetlana and Eric Silverman, Constructing Revolution showcases a number of key figures in the Soviet artistic avant-garde, among them Vladimir Mayakovsky, Aleksandr Rodchenko, and Gustav Klutsis. Organized by the Bowdoin College Museum of Art.

FALL 2022

Shedrich Williames (American, born 1934), Untitled, 1972, gelatin silver print, Gift of Al Monner, © unknown, research required, 94.36.1

Black Artists of Oregon (October 1, 2022 – April 9, 2023)

Black Artists of Oregon, highlighting and celebrating the work of Black artists in and outside of the collection, will serve to deepen awareness of the talented artists that have shaped and inspired artists regionally and nationally. The exhibition will be the first of its kind to consider the work of Black artists collectively in Oregon, often underrepresented and unacknowledged. Beginning in the 1920s through today, the exhibition captures the African American experience particular to the Pacific Northwest. Artists in the exhibition will include: Al Goldsby, Thelma Johnson Streat, Isaka Shamsud-Din, Ralph Chessé, Arvie Smith, Shedrich Williames, Harrison Branch, Robert Colescott, and Carrie Mae Weems. This exhibition will be guest curated by artist Intisar Abioto. In Abioto’s own artistic practice, she has been documenting Black figures in Portland since 2013, through interviews, photography, research, and performance, filling the region’s own historical gaps. The Museum’s Re:Imagine Artist Fund is providing the seed funding to Abioto for her research and planning. Lead support provided by the Terra Foundation for American Art.


Northwest Film Center’s Co:Laboratory

Launched in October 2020, the Northwest Film Center’s Co:Laboratory is a new experiment offering virtual (and in person when possible) connection to people, ideas, and innovations in the media arts. Co:Laboratory programming is designed to be community-driven and ever-evolving, ranging from open and free opportunities to programming directed at professionals at all levels. Many programs are team taught or presented, allowing for a multiplicity of points of view and approaches on any one topic.

Create More Resilience (ongoing)

The Museum continues a partnership with the organization Create More, Fear Less that designs creative experiences that connect young people with their deepest creativity, wisdom, and courage so they can more confidently navigate the twists and turns of this world. With Create More Resilience,  five artists created a series of eight resilience-building workshop videos for teachers, counselors, and parents to share with students of all ages. Online: Watch the videos and learn more about the Museum’s youth art experiences with Create More, Fear Less.

NWFC’s Sustainability Labs (Fall 2021) 

The Northwest Film Center (NWFC)’s creative reimagining continues through a new program focused on improving equity, creative diversity, and sustainability in cinematic storytelling. Successfully making a cinematic art form is a feat in and of itself, but sustaining a career in the film and media industry continues to be difficult because of lack of access to mentors, industry leaders, tools, and strategies necessary in communities outside of New York and Los Angeles. The 9-month Cinema Unbound Sustainability Lab, a pilot program that uniquely prioritizes holistic career advancement and sustainability over singular project completion, will act as a catalyst not only for select artists, but for our community and the ecosystem at large. The Lab will welcome cinematic storytellers of all forms—filmmakers, animators, artists working in VR and augmented reality, audio and serialized content—and, in our ongoing commitment to inclusion in media arts, at least 50% of artists who participate in the Sustainability Labs will be representative of marginalized or underrepresented communities (Black, indigenous, artists of color, women artists, trans/nonbinary artists). We will also bring together both NW artists and national artists, uplifting the region’s talent to a global scale and creating long-lasting interconnected cohorts that can support one another now and into the future.

The Numberz FM Community Partnership Residency (ongoing)

The Museum continues its community partner residency with The Numberz FM, a radio station committed to  Black music for Black Portland. The Museum first worked with The Numberz during the Hank Willis Thomas: All Things Being Equal… exhibition in 2019-20. Building upon that base, this residency began in Fall 2020 to highlight the role of art within social justice movements based in Portland; it entails both on-site and off-site interviews with community members, artists, and organizers through video and audio recordings. Sponsored in part by the Regional Arts & Culture Council.

Stay tuned for more updates on upcoming PAM exhibitions, including a major Oscar Howe retrospective in Fall 2022 co-organized with the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian. For the latest on our exhibitions, programs, online art moments and more, follow our art & news blog, PAM + NWFC at Home; subscribe to our weekly email updates and our Art Unbound podcast; and follow Portland Art Museum and Northwest Film Center on our social media channels!