The covid pandemic has presented museums and cultural institutions with many challenges, as well as new opportunities. While there is nothing quite like a day at the museum, institutions worldwide have responded to the pandemic by creating ways for visitors to enjoy their collections virtually from the comfort of home. The British Museum, in particular, has created a dynamic online experience, along with their virtual museum, The Museum of the World. Organized by continent, virtual visitors are able to travel across time by way of an interactive, Guitar Hero-esque timeline that features a variety of objects, presented in collections which…


In the article “Race in the Present Day: NBA Employees Sound Off on Race and Racism,” authors Agyemang and Singer counter the notion that American society is post-racial by interviewing employees of the NBA franchise, in order to get their perspectives on race and racism in American sport, as well as society as a whole, and how it affects athletes. …


Popular culture is all about representation, and despite scientific studies and academic research, it seems that in the U.S. we more often turn to popular culture icons and trends to help us form definitions and solutions for who we are as people. Author Richard Dyer (as cited in Cserno, 2006) explains that “the study of representations is more limited than the study of reality and yet it is also the study of one of the prime means by which we have any knowledge of reality” (p. 68). In that respect, it seems that, in the study of race and racism…


In Professor Shawn Michelle Smith’s Guest Editor’s Introduction of the Summer 2014 Visual Culture and Race, she discusses the intersection of visual culture studies and critical studies of race in the United States, and presents the idea that, through the lens of the “white gaze,” and considering sight as itself a social practice, historical depictions of Black people in our culture not only racialize Black people, but also produce racialized viewers (Smith, 2014, p. 2). A particularly divisive way in which popular culture through the white lens often depicts Black characters is by utilizing Black stereotypes. …


Earlier last week, a fake flyer began circulating around Twitter, warning that, on the evening of Friday, July 31, 2020, an “antifa/Anarchist group” was planning to bring down a cross located on the property of New Hope Christian College in Eugene, OR. It is suspected that the flyer was created by a local right-wing white supremacist group in order to incite fear in the community and skew opinions against the current protesting for Black Lives Matter taking place in the area, and across the country. This is a common strategy, and seems a logical theory, as there has been much…


Pablo Picasso, Still Life with Chair Caning, 1912, oil on oil-cloth over canvas edged with rope, 29 x 37 cm (Musée Picasso)

In the early 1900s, a revolutionary avant-garde art movement called Cubism was pioneered by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. Cubism served to dismantle the notion of illusionism, not only in the way in which figures and elements were broken down and reconstructed, but in the way it challenged the pre-established idea of how paintings offer a window through which we view our reality. Picasso’s Still Life with Chair Caning exemplifies many of the features of cubism’s innovations.

Previously, artists devoted much time and energy into developing techniques in order to create images from a single vantage point and moment in…


Having scarcely eluded the mid-to-late 16th century wave of iconoclasm, The Circumcision of Christ is one of less than thirty paintings by Jacob Cornelisz Van Oostsanen still in existence. Measuring 43 inches high by 23 ¾ inches wide, it is a vertically oriented narrative painting that was created using oil paints and fabric mounted on a wood panel. It is framed in an ornate, stained wooden frame, and is currently in the collection of the Portland Art Museum in Portland, Oregon. …


A hidden treasure within the West Hills of Portland, Oregon, the Portland Japanese Gardens offer visitors a tranquil retreat where one can immerse themself in the unobtrusive and elegant Shibui nature of the authentic Zen garden experience. …


The Lan Su Chinese Garden, which occupies a city block in Portland, Oregon, is an authentic Ming Dynasty scholar’s garden. The name Lan Su combines sounds from the names of the cities Portland and Suzhou. Suzhou, Portland’s Chinese sister city, is well-known for its beautiful gardens. ‘Lan’, being the Chinese word for ‘orchid’, and ‘su’ being the Chinese word for ‘arise’ or ‘awaken’, united together is poetically understood as “Garden of Awakening Orchids”. …

Diane Irby

art historian. writer.

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