Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Foggy, Sunny, Rainy Afternoon in Portland: A Visit to a Museum

It's been quite some time since Nancy and I spent time in a museum together--we seem to end up at the Portland Art Museum on our own, so I guess our last joint outing was back in May in Venezia. Today seemed like a day to check out a unique gallery in Southeast Portland that she'd read about. After a couple cups of joe, a brunch of leftovers, and some chores around the house, we headed out to SE 24th and Burnside. Destination, The Velveteria

The genre is, well you guessed it, velvet. Specifically, most of the collection is comprised of paintings on velvet, primarily black, but other colors as well. This medium has been around for some time and I, to-this-day, regret that I never bought the big painting of The Duke as Rooster Cogburn on black velvet that used to be on sale periodically at the Kwik-Fill on the corner of the Elmira Road and the Spencer Road in Ithaca. I missed the opportunity while I was single back in the early 90s--most women seem to appreciate black velvet paintings in "galleries", but not in the home.

While most of the collection is paint on a canvas of velvet, there are other pieces as well, particularly featuring religious items (read Catholic kitsch), shells, small lights, and plaster bases. My favorite item on display was the Virgin Mary crafted of plaster and covered in a very pink velvet, similar to the color in the photo to the left. I don't have a photo of the artwork itself as I respected the rules--No Photos--although Caren, the curator/owner told us we were free to take pictures in the lobby and we could take one picture of each of us in the museum. Here's Nancy in the religious section.

The lobby offered a nice selection of interesting artworks including a stuffed animal, some sort of cat, but you know, plush, not a real stuffed cat--wearing a purple velvet hat. Other features were the ever popular Last Supper on Velvet and The King, Elvis Presley. Caren told us that they were very careful when it came to images of The King since those Presley people are constantly on the lookout for unlicensed uses of his image. The same may be true for Princess Diana as her image was absent, while those of Michael Jackson, Dr. Martin Luther King, Isaac Hayes, Mr. T, Muhammad Ali, The Beatles, all four of The Three Stooges, Dog Bounty Hunter and his wife, Beth, Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock, Jimi Hendrix, Timothy Leary, and a whole host of others were prominently featured. A corner features a few presidents--Ronald Reagan, Barack Obama, and a truly black velvet president, Richard Nixon. There is also a black light room that should appeal to dope fiends, as my father used to call them.

A special section, near the back of the gallery is a, how shall I put it, Boob Apse--an area of the museum filled with paintings on velvet of women with prominent breasts on full display, if you know what I mean.

So, if you have a chance, check it out. It's certainly worth every bit of the $5 admission charge. Caren is as knowledgeable as one can be, I think, about her specialty, and you also get to see The Big Boy on velvet! As was pointed out in Austin Powers, Man of Mystery, "In many ways, Bob's Big Boy never left, sir. He's always offered the same high-quality meals at competitive prices. " But not on velvet!


Newsman said...

I love the photo of the No photos sign!

Did you get the stinkeye for doing that?

Ronna said...

I must have missed this entry...Reechard told me about it. Okay so can we go to Velveteria next time we visit? I just have to see these beauties in real life! PLEEZ!?