The Portland Art Museum has hired a new curator for Northwest Art: Grace Kook-Anderson. Her last institutional job was overseeing contemporary art at the Laguna Art Museum. While vastly smaller than Portland’s Museum, it specializes in California art.
As a contemporary art curator there, she worked with living artists to bring highly topical exhibitions to light.
“I think my previous position at Laguna Art Museum prepared me to think about what regional art [is],” Kook-Anderson said.
She talked about keeping tabs on how prior PAM curators developed its regional art collection — from the Museum’s Oregon Biennial, to that show’s new incarnation, the Contemporary Northwest Art Awards, and the opening of the APEX Gallery, a small space within the museum endowed to host vanguard work by regional artists.
“I’ve been long interested in, thinking about the relevance of artists that happen to be right here, nearby,” she said. “It’s something I’ve been interested in championing.”
Since 2015 Kook-Anderson has been living in Portland, and doing free-lance curation and art writing. Her husband, the filmmaker and photographer Lev Anderson, was raised in Portland. Kook-Anderson has also been teaching at Portland State University.
She replaces Bonnie Laing-Malcolmson, who retired in June.