The oldest art museum in the Pacific Northwest, the Portland Art Museum was founded in late 1892 when seven leaders from Portland’s business and cultural institutions created the Portland Art Association. The goal of the Association was to create a first-class art museum that would be accessible to all citizens. With more than 42,000 works of art, 121,000 square feet of galleries, and the Northwest Film Center, the Museum provides a comprehensive opportunity to view some of man’s greatest creative achievements. From its earliest days, the Museum has closely followed and supported contemporary art. In 1908, the Museum acquired its first original painting, created by the American Impressionist Childe Hassam in the same year. In 1905 and 1913, exhibitions of avant-garde art were presented at the Museum, including Marcel Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase and other momentous works from the controversial 1913 Armory Show in New York.
Penelope Umbrico offers a radical reinterpretation of everyday consumer and vernacular images. Umbrico works “within the virtual world of consumer marketing and social media, traveling through the relentless flow of seductive images, objects, and information that surrounds us, searching for decisive moments—but in these worlds, decisive moments are cultural absurdities.”
She finds these moments in the pages of consumer product mail-order catalogs, travel and leisure brochures; and websites like Craigslist, EBay, and Flickr. Identifying image typologies—candy-colored horizons and sunsets, books used as props—brings the farcical, surreal nature of consumerism to new light.
Penelope Umbrico (born in Philadelphia, 1957) graduated from the Ontario College of Art and Design in Toronto, and received her MFA from the School of Visual Arts, New York. She has participated extensively in solo and group exhibitions, including at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and PS1 Contemporary Art Center, New York. Umbrico is core faculty in the School of Visual Arts MFA Photography, Video, and Related Media Program. Selected public collections include the Guggenheim Museum (NY), International Center of Photography (NY), McNay Museum of Art (TX), Metropolitan Museum of Art (NY), Museum of Contemporary Photography (IL), Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego (CA), Museum of Modern Art (NY), and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (CA), Los Angeles County Museum of Art (CA), among others. She lives in New York City.