Before Mark Rothko became one of the most prominent abstract expressionists of all time, he was a student at Lincoln High School.
After emigrating from Eastern Europe, Rothko's family settled here in Portland. This city is where he grew up, and also where he held his first solo exhibit. But the artist's connection to the city isn't well-known, partly because he's associated with the New York School, and partly because his best-known works are scattered around the globe, and the Rothko Chapel is in Houston.
Now, finally, Portland is getting a long-term display of Rothko's works. In October, the Portland Art Museum announced a major expansion in collaboration with the artist's children, who will loan a rotation of his works to the museum over a 20-year period. The facility is called the Rothko Pavilion, and construction will begin in 2018 and be completed by early 2021. The pavilion is a striking glass atrium that will connect the museum's two freestanding buildings. Along with a rotating display of Rothkos, it will also house new gallery spaces and a rooftop sculpture garden.
For its relatively small size, the Portland Art Museum curates some hefty exhibits: It had an extensive Warhol exhibit last fall, and its current Rodin exhibit contains over 50 of the sculptor's works. It also has a solid permanent collection that's scattered with pieces by modern art giants like Monet (including a Waterlilies), Cezanne, Brâncusi and Van Gogh.
But consistent loans of works by an artist as major as Rothko is a big deal for the museum—especially given the local ties. Rothko is probably the best-known, and certainly one of the most visceral abstract expressionists. Even more exciting is the increase in prestige for the museum, which could mean big possibilities for whatever it puts in the rest of the pavilion.
Welcome to Reasons to Love Portland 2017
1. Portland Is Telling Donald Trump That He Won't Get Away With This
2. We're Rich! Portland Has The Nation's Fastest Growing GDP
3. Here's How Far Portlanders Have Ridden in the First Six Months of BikeTown
4. We're Very Happy That Portland Bartenders Can Finally Drink on The Job.
5. When the Snow Hit, Portlanders Saved Lives By Volunteering at Homeless Shelters
6. At Long Last, Portland Has The Kinky Coffee Shop It's Needed
7. A Selected List of All Portland's Recent Number 1 Rankings
8. Move Over PCT: You'll Soon Be Able to Mountain Bike From Washington to California
9. Oregon Has The Nation's Cheapest Weed. Thank God.
10. This is the Best Ski Season Mount Hood Has Had Since Obama Was a Senator
11. Nobody Snowdays Harder Than Portland
12. Portland Finally Has Architecture Worth Arguing About
13. Check Out This Crazy New Recording Studio in a Former Library in Deep Southeast
14. Weed Delivery Will Begin in Portland Any Day Now
15. In Portland, You Never, Ever Need To Call Domino's
16. Portland Is Home to the Most Liberal College in America. No, Not That One.
17. There's A Forgotten Wonder In Oregon City. It'll Soon Be Revealed
18. Portland's Blazers Bootleg T-Shirts Are Lit
19. Portland is Metal AF
20. ILOVEMAKONNEN Moved To Portland. No, For Real
21. Sorry, Donald, We Won't Help You Deport Our Neighbors.
22. Portland Now Has a Patriarchy-Free Social Club and Workspace
23. Oregon is the New Truffle King of the World
24. Check Out These Photos of the Winter Light Festival
25. In Portland, You Can See Every Movie Nominated For an Oscar in the Theater
26. Portland Art Museum is Tapping into the Legacy of Arguably Oregon's Greatest Artist
27. Yes, Portland Has More Pinball Machines Than New York and Los Angeles
28. Portland Has Vegan Everything. A Selected List.
29. In Portland, Dive Bars Never Really Die