Maine art is generally short on minimalism, so a snazzy suite of line drawings and color studies from Bruce Brown's collection instantly become the most memorable in the room. It includes spare, blocky works by Robert Mangold, Martin Puryear, Richard Tuttle, and Dudley Zopp, and a mesmerizing woodcut by Sol Lewitt. They're balanced by four portrait works of various media, highlighted by a self-portrait of famed painter/photographer Chuck Close. All exhibit a cool and profoundly New York sensibility for the longtime curator of the Center for Maine Contemporary Art, subtly asking to what degree it has informed the present generation of Midcoast artists.
Though exalting the rarefied tastes of the curator-collector has become a bit of an obnoxious trend in the art world at large (it's rare to see an art buyer less privileged than the artists themselves), this show mostly avoids those tensions. Its subjects are four Mainers of modest beginnings who demonstrated decades of care to the appreciation of visual art in themselves and the people around them. You could call it home décor, or you could call it progress. ^
"I GOTTA HAVE THAT: THE ART OF COLLECTING," mixed media works | through June 30 | Portland Public Library's Lewis Art Gallery, 5 Monument Sq, Portland | 207.871.1700
: Museum And Gallery
, Portland Public Library, Bruce Brown, John Day, More