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3203 Southeast Woodstock Boulevard, Portland, Oregon 97202-8199

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It is now widely recognized that museums are not neutral containers for art. As theorized by Brian O’Doherty and Aruna D’Souza, among others, museums are ideological constructs that legitimate art objects as commodities and reproduce dominant (and dominating) ways of seeing the world. In this talk, curator Amanda Donnan considers contemporary artistic approaches to working within and against the museum’s’ collecting, display, and programmatic conventions to propose alternative models. Reflecting on a selection of her recent projects and current research, she addresses the museum’s role as a site of colonialist extraction and Indigenous resistance through Omaskêko Cree artist Duane Linklater’s work; a space of self-care and communality in the participatory “clinic” Group Therapy (2018); and secular temple for the practice of attention in ESTAR(SER)’s collection intervention The Third, Meaning (2022).

Amanda Donnan is a Seattle-based curator with twenty years of experience in non-profit art organizations. She was formerly Chief Curator & Director of Exhibitions at Frye Art Museum, where she oversaw the artistic program and organized more than thirty exhibitions between 2017 and 2024. Her projects at the Frye include the solo or two-person presentations Jessica Jackson Hutchins: Wrecked and Righteous (2024), duane linklater: mymothersside (2021; traveled to MCA Chicago and Berkeley Art Museum), Dress Codes: Ellen Lesperance and Diane Simpson (2019), and Tschabalala Self (2019), as well as group exhibitions Door to the Atmosphere (2022; co-curated with Srijon Chowdhury) and Group Therapy (2018).

Previously Donnan was Curator at Seattle University’s Hedreen Gallery; Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, where she was also part of the 2013 Carnegie International curatorial team; and Production Coordinator at Art21 in New York. She holds an MA in art history and criticism from Stony Brook University and dual BFA and BS degrees in visual arts and art education for museums from Pennsylvania State University. 
Amanda Donnan comes to Portland through The Ford Family Foundation Critical Conversations program. Her visit is organized by Derek Franklin, artistic director, Converge 45, and Stephanie Snyder, director and curator of the Cooley Gallery.

Free and open to the public.

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