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Jennifer Steinkamp’s Orbit at PAM (photo Jeff Jahn)

One day before the total eclipse the Portland Art Museum is having one of their essential Miller Free Days. Since PAM is the biggest repository on the study of the sublime in Oregon and an eclipse is the epitome of the sublime by Burke’s influential definition something fraught but ultimately not dangerous if viewed in a safe way) looking at art will enrich the eclipse experience and vice versa. A great deal of art works with the sublime, from Picasso’s Guernica to Damien Hirst’s sharks or even Anish Kapoor’s bean. The sublime can be political, abstract… even photographic. To that end there are several worthy examples on display at PAM. For example, Jennifer Steinkamp’s Orbit is an immersive mandelbrot net of both natural seeming imagery conveyed through patently unnatural means, making it fraught with definitions. There’s also an tasty little Clifford Gleeson painting show on the 3rd floor of the Northwest wing and Several works in Sam Hamilton’s Standard Candles, particularly one video installation where the artist walls upon books into the landscape. Last but not least is the Greenberg collection itself… most of which traffics in the sublime and is extremely relevant (museums often neglect their strengths, its one of their main paradoxes).

Of course, it is unfortunate there isnt a major Rothko on display as his work is some of the most sublime in history… we are all hoping that PAM gets the Rothko Pavilion idea sorted out so the can connect those dots better. Great Rothkos rival solar eclipses.

Miller Free Day
August 20, 2017 | 10AM – 5PM
Portland Art Museum
1219 SW Park Ave

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