Arts Oh, It’s On: PAM v. TAM
posted by April 13 at 11:25 AMon
A press release this morning announces that the Portland Art Museum will be expanding its biennial—which for years has been Oregon-only—to include the entire Northwest. Exactly what the biennial will look like will remain a mystery until this coming Monday morning, when the museum will unveil its “plans for a broader Biennial exhibition program celebrating the most compelling contemporary art of the Northwest” at a press conference in Portland.
I won’t be there, but I’m dying to hear PAM’s plans. Tacoma Art Museum has had a lock on the Northwest Biennial for the better part of two decades, and now a larger institution will step into the fray, giving TAM a run for its money. What will become of the two shows? How will their reputations and their values differ? Which one will be better?
It should be fun to see how it all plays out, considering how contested and overheated biennials get, and ultimately how important they can be seen to be. Also, will PAM’s plan urge TAM to revise the wrongheaded strategy that I believe it employed this year? We’ll see …
I reached TAM curator Rock Hushka on his cell phone in New York and delivered to him the news about PAM’s expanded biennial plans. “How fascinating,” he said. TAM has no plans to overhaul its biennial, he added.
But fascinating indeed.