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Portland Art Museum's Chief Curator To Retire


The Portland Art Museum’s Chief Curator, Bruce Guenther, has announced he’ll retire next month.

Guenther says he has no immediate plans beyond "a vacation". While he says he would consider private curatorial work, he hasn't accepted any offers.

Guenther says he has no immediate plans beyond “a vacation”. While he says he would consider private curatorial work, he hasn’t accepted any offers.

April Baer/Oregon Public Broadcasting

Guenther has spent fourteen years steering acquisitions and exhibitions at the state’s largest art museum.

During his tenure, the museum opened 28,000 square feet of exhibition space dedicated to modern art. He raised funds to expand staff for five more endowed curator positions. And the museum’s collection has expanded substantially.

He also negotiated an agreement that made headlines last winter, bringing a well-known triptych of paintings by Francis Bacon to PAM for a limited exhibition.

After some health problems last fall, Guenther says he just decided it was time to leave his post.

“I’m retiring,” Guenther said. “I’m going home to my 8,000 books and garden. If things come my way and I feel like getting involved, I will. All of the people in place now are able to create an energy between the collections. It’s not a bad time.”

Guenther says Portland Art Museum was the first museum he visited as a child.

Gunether will stay on through the opening of one last exhibition — works from the collection of local philanthropists Arlene and Harold Schnitzer. His last day will be October 20.

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