Trevor

a blog so you can keep with him

Portland Day 6

pamsculpt

Sculpture outside Portland Art Museum

I became a little more adventurous today. After the morning routine, C began to rise from slumber. She helped me look over a route to get to the museum (no one else was particularly interested), and off I went! Navigating alone in a city after approximately five days was interesting… I had a (text) chat with my friend J from Texas on the first bus. I was still a little foggy about which stop to get off at to transfer to the bus downtown; after realizing I had missed it, I got off deeper in the Hollywood district than I had planned.

hollywooddistrict

This Hollywood district map would have helped more if it was next to something other than the bus stop I was trying to find.

After seeing my downtown bus fly by my disoriented brain and figuring out several blocks worth of Portland, I found a 12 bus stop heading downtown! Ah, downtown Portland, that couldn’t be more difficult to navigate than one of its neighborhoods, correct?

After the requisite phone calls to C and a twenty minute walk from the wrong bus stop where I had mistakenly gotten off, the Portland Art Museum was in my sights!

The museum was nice, and the light afternoon museum crowd ment I saw several of the permanent exhibits in rooms alone, an experience that coupled well with this first solo trip to a museum in my life (I think). More than half of the museum’s collection seemed to be owned by the Schnitzer family, Oregon art patrons. Some of the most impressive pieces in the general collection were from ancient China.

wolf

An ancient Chinese tomb sculpture

I’m honestly unsure if I was allowed to take photos. I never saw any signs, and I never got hassled, but, again, I was in rooms by myself several times throughout the trip. If taking small, blurry photographs that can rarely represent the work cause trouble… oops

The Chinese collection was extensive, and they even had a hall dedicated simply to Chinese-Buddhist art, which had quite a few pieces of interest:

stevemartin

Portrait of Steve Martin, ignore the reflection.

So I didn’t get many photos while at the museum. This is actually from a gallery on New York art, and not on Chinese-Buddhism.

The PAM’s special exhibition right now is on the style de Pompadour, or Rococo France (approx. 1725 – 1770), a fanciful art style that acts as a transitory figure between Baroque and Neoclacissism in European art history. This exhibit focused on the artists of the French court during Pompadour’s reign as the Official Mistress of Louis XV, such as François Boucher and de la Tour. The big discovery of the exhibit for me though was Charles van Loo (or, as the museum put it, “Vanloo”). A painter at the courts, van Loo was the artist I was most impressed with in that gallery.

van Loo’s “Halte de Chasse” or “End of the Hunt”. Thanks Wikimedia!

But van Loo was not the most intriguing part. The exhibition was arranged to give the viewer a sort of narrative through the late Rococo style, and towards the end it included some of the criticisms laid at it: “tasteless”, “of low moral character”, and “childish”. What became interesting was the presentation of a room with excerpts from Diderot’s criticisms of the works displayed. I’m curious as to how one would go about an entire exhibit that emphasized not the work or period, but a critic’s oeuvre. How would the emphasis be properly placed? What sort of historical background would have to provided? The Diderot room (also, coincidentally, a room heavy on the van Loo side of painting) gave me a taste for what I hope could be a much more ambitious project.

From the special exhibit I managed to to make my way through the gift store with my wallet intact. With simple directions from the coat check lady in mind (“it’s five blocks that way”), I took a short walk to the bullet train, and started to ride back. By now it was already 2 and I hadn’t eaten, so, feeling cocky with my navigational prowess, I went off the train at the Hollywood district to best my foe from earlier. Using the visual landmarks I’d accumulated, I found a small hole-in-the wall Chinese restaurant called Chin’s Kitchen. It was only to-go food, but it smelled nice, and looked authentic. I tried to thank the woman working the counter in faltering Chinese… she had her laugh for the day!

It was a short walk back to the MAX (bullet train), and off I went towards C’s home. The walk from the train stop seemed so much longer than it ever had, perhaps because I was alone on it for the first time. After eating chicken with an intimidating amount of water chestnuts, I hung out with D for awhile. And here I am! We’re having tetrazini for dinner in a bit, and I’m sure you’ll hear later if much else happens today.

This trip is almost over (tomorrow’s my last full day in Portland(and Oregon)), and I’m glad it’s gone so well. I’ve kept under a budget of $250 for the entire trip, thanks mostly to C’s family for housing me, and the low cost of the Amtrak here and back; it feels like some sort of achievement on my part, similar to today’s solo navigation aided by several people. It’s given me time to read and reflect, and meet lots of fun and interesting people! Something I’ve appreciated the most though is how well this travel diary has gone – I’m not much for keeping habits without others being involved, so I’d like to thank you, the blog reader, for helping me keep my days in perspective.

vaterundsohn

Vater und Sohn
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