Portland Art Museum. Courtesy of PAM

The Portland Art Museum is reopening

A look at some of the best new exhibits

After closing its doors for the second time in November 2020, the Portland Art Museum (PAM) announced that it will be reopening to the general public on April 10. The reopening is slated to be staged in two phases. 


The first phase began on April 10. This phase grants visitors access to all galleries, except for certain special exhibitions. The second phase will occur on May 5. This phase opens the entire museum to visitors, including the special exhibitions that were previously off-limits.  


The PAM will be open to the public Wednesday–Sunday from 10 a.m.–5 p.m. The museum store will be open as well. Brian Ferriso, museum director and chief curator remarked, “We are looking forward to welcoming back staff and visitors following months of closure. We believe that art, film, and music are essential to our community and to our collective well-being.”


To visit the PAM you must book a timed-entry ticket in advance. Capacity limits will be in effect due to COVID-19 restrictions. All of the mandates that have been in effect for the last year will still be actively practiced, according to Ian Gilliam, head of Press & Publications. “Masks will be required and guests will need to be six feet apart,” he said. “Luckily, we are a large museum and have plenty of space to spread out.” Additionally, Gilliam emphasized the PAM has an excellent fan and ventilation system that will keep air continuously clean. 


Gilliam and the community at the PAM stressed how grateful they are to the Portland community and museum members. They’re looking forward to having guests in its halls once more, as well as the strong slate of exhibitions they have coming in the next year. Exhibits to look forward to include Queen Nefertari: Eternal Egypt (Oct. 16, 2021–Jan. 16, 2022), Private Lives: Home and Family in the Art of the Nabis, 1889–1900 (Oct. 23, 2021–Jan. 23, 2022) and Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, and Mexican Modernism (Feb. 19–June 5, 2022). 


Additionally, May 5 will be the opening of the much-anticipated Ansel Adams exhibition, In Our Time


Ansel Adams’ In Our Time will be open from May 5–August 1, 2021; this exhibit will be making its only stop in the Pacific Northwest at the PAM. Adams was an American landscape photographer, educator and environmentalist. He is best known for his incredible western American landscape photography. This exhibit features over 100 of Adams’ best works including Monolith, The Face Of Half Dome. Captured in the Yosemite Valley in 1927, this breathtaking image is one for fans of black-and-white photography and curious explorers alike.  


Another notable photography exhibit being featured at the PAM is Though There Be Fury on the Waves. This exhibit highlights the work of Victor Jorgensen, a Portland native. Jorgenson was a Reed College student, as well as a reporter, editor and photographer at The Oregonian. After enlisting in the United States Navy, he was selected to serve in the elite Naval Aviation Photographic Unit in World War II. 


Jorgenson’s photographs were originally meant to serve as means for recruitment. He was assigned to take pictures portraying the exhilarating and honorable life of being in the Navy. Jorgenson’s photographs capture the range of actions and emotions that these Navel men went through while facing the unpredictability of war at sea. This is one in a handful of exhibits the PAM is offering a virtual walkthrough of on their official website.


The composition difference in Ansel Adams’ extraordinary landscape photography and Victor Jorgensen’s remarkable portrait work creates an experience that leaves its viewers in awe of both nature and humanity. If you are not a fan of photography, do not fear: there are plenty of other types of art featured in the PAM.


If you have an interest in printmaking, the Joryū Hanga Kyōkai exhibit featuring Japan’s female printmakers is of particular note. When these prints first went on display in Tokyo in 1956, the PAM states, “[they] provided a crucial vehicle for talented female printmakers working in a crowded field of male maestros.” This collection of art brings the history of modern printmaking to life.  


If your artistic interests lean toward mixed media, stop by the APEX: Ed Bereal exhibit. Ed Bereal is an educator and artist, and Gilliam described his work as, “biting political art, hurling viewers into a shambolic spectacle that feels all too close to our current events.” 


The Portland Art Museum is located at 1219 SW Park Ave, Portland, OR 97205. Admission is $17 for students and $20 for adults. If you are a museum member, admission is free. If you are not able to make it to the museum, PAM’s online collections or its YouTube channel offer detailed walkthroughs and digital images of exhibits.