Remember good old-fashioned art viewing? Strolling into a gallery or a museum, reading little placards, nodding, making asides to your date or your friend or thin air? Us too. We've missed it. And it's time to get back out there.
We've rounded up the most worthwhile viewing experiences on offer in Portland right now, spanning photography, digital, and site-specific work. Most are free to attend, some require tickets or appointments, and all make worthy re-intros to IRL art if you're just starting to venture back out.
Check back regularly for updated picks, and happy nodding.
This exhibition (originally from the Museum of Fine Arts Boston) revitalizes the work of legendary landscape photographer Ansel Adams, successfully reminding us that his legacy spans far beyond postcards. Putting Adams’ photographs—particularly shots of the Bay Area and the Southwest—in conversation with contemporary images of the same landscapes, the show underlines his considerable influence on our collective understanding of the West. And crucially, it treats the contemporary work as more than just a foil, with enough variety per room to hold down several individual shows. Timed-entry tickets are only available to museum members at the moment, but keep your eyes peeled for a general public release soon. 10 a.m.–5 p.m Weds–Sun. through August 1, Portland Art Museum, 1219 SW Park Ave
The final piece of a three-part event, Can Anybody Help Me Hold This Body is an interactive altar that will park at the outdoor space behind PICA on NE San Rafael Street for three days at the end of May. Preceded by an artist conversation and a movement film called Deadbird, Body has traveled from New York to Philadelphia to Portland, and once it concludes its stay here, it will move on to LA. Participants will bring offerings that commemorate loved one or express general grief, and leave them at the altar—if you choose to engage, you're encouraged to upload your offering to this online archive. 12–4 p.m. Fri–Sun May 28–30, PICA, 15 NE Hancock St
Jovencio de la Paz operates in the fascinating space between ancient artisans and modern tech: Cumulative Shadow features pieces de la Cruz wove on an algorithm-powered loom. Brooding on 0ur machine-run world? Curious about its potential for beauty anyway? Taking a stroll through the Pearl? Great! Schedule an appointment on Holding Contemporary’s website and pop in. 12–5 p.m. Fri–Sat by appointment through May 29, Holding Contemporary, 916 NW Flanders St
The latest collaboration between The Immigrant Story and Oregon Historical Society focuses on six women who've come to Oregon from Burundi, Congo, and Eritrea. Featuring their portraits, words, and photographs of the objects they brought with them from Africa to Oregon, the exhibition is an extension of Jim Lomasson’s What We Carried series. 12–5 p.m. Weds–Fri & Sun, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Sat, through August 22, Oregon Historical Society, 1200 SW Park Ave
New York-based photographer Johnnie Chatman presents a series of self-portraits taken across the American West, in an attempt to interrogate the landscape’s accommodation of Black bodies. The gorgeous, stirring black-and-white photographs are presented alongside bouts of text by W.E.B. DuBois, which underline the project's goals. 12.–5 p.m. Weds–Sat through May 29, Blue Sky Gallery, 122 NW 8th Ave
Hot dads are art, and Johan Bävman is here to prove it! This much-displayed project (it’s been shown in more than 60 countries since Bävman completed it in 2014) examines Scandinavian gender dynamics, using Sweden’s generous paid family leave allowance as a springboard.
Despite the fact that the Swedish government offers new parents 16 months of parental leave, only a tiny fraction of fathers take more than six months, and virtually none split their leave evenly with their partners. Bävman followed 45 men who did take significant advantage of the policy, and photographed them in various domestic settings with their children. The photos are on view at the Nordic Northwest cultural center in deep Southwest Portland, which is also home to a popular outpost of PDX brunch cafe Broder—pop by for brunch and enjoy some dads while you wait for a table. 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon–Fri, 9 a.m.–3 p.m. Sat–Sun, Nordic Northwest, 8800 SW Oleson Rd