March 15, 2013

Only 28 out of 900 make Portland Museum of Art's 2013 Biennial

By Bob Keyes
Staff Writer

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

Artist Lauren Fenterstock cuts paper in her studio for an art installation with the help of her studio assistant Jolene in Portland on March 13, 2013. Fenterstock is among the artists chosen for the 2013 Portland Museum of Art Biennial. The two drawings in the middle behind Fenterstock were installation ideas that were included in her application for the biennial.

Tim Greenway / Staff Photographer

click image to enlarge

In this January 2005 file photo, artist Joe Kievitt does some touch up work on his large artwork hanging at Kennebunk Elementary School. Kievitt is among the artists chosen for the 2013 Portland Museum of Art Biennial.

John Patriquin / Staff Photographer

Related headlines

2013 Portland Museum of Art Biennial: Piece Work Artist List

Nate Aldrich (Penobscot)
Kate Beck (Harpswell)
Matt Blackwell (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
*Allison Cooke Brown (Yarmouth, 2005)
J.T. Bullitt (Milbridge)
*Crystal Cawley (Portland, 2001)
Caleb Charland (South Portland)
*Lauren Fensterstock (Portland, 2005)
Alina Gallo (Portland)
Candace Gaudiani (Menlo Park, Calif.)
Bryan Graf (Portland)
Julie Gray (Saco)
Gary Green (Waterville)
*Adriane Herman (Portland, 2007)
Alison Hildreth (Portland)
Garrick Imatani (Portland, Ore.)
*Joe Kievitt (Portland, 2001, 2003, 2007)
Jocelyn Lee (Brooklyn, N.Y.)
Sage Lewis (Columbus, Ohio)
Rahul Mitra (Pearland, Texas)
*Duane Paluska (Woolwich, 2003)
Abbie Read (Appleton)
*Justin Richel (Rangeley, 2003, 2007)
*Jason Rogenes (Georgetown, 2001)
Carrie Scanga (South Portland)
Marguerite White (Newton, Mass.)
Aaron Williams (Ridgewood, N.Y.)
Michael Zachary (Jamaica Plain, Mass.)

*Participated in previous Biennials

Rather than create a "best of Maine" show, she is more interested in building a show around trends and undercurrents of ideas that link one artist's practice to another, she said. She is subtitling the exhibition "Piece Work," which reflects the tradition of hands-on labor of artisans and factory workers who are paid by the piece.

Another change this year was the selection process itself. In the past, the judges made their decisions based on blind applications. They were not aware of the identity of the artists who applied for inclusion.

May removed the anonymity from the selection process, in part because she was not familiar with the artists, their backgrounds or their reputations. "Part of the exercise for me was to get to know the Maine art community," she said. "I did not feel I would be well-served to go it blind."

This is the eighth Biennial the PMA has organized. The every-other-year survey of Maine's contemporary art scene is among the most controversial shows the museum mounts.

Artists often complain that too many artists who have distant associations with the state are selected, and that the process is too subjective and does not accurately reflect the scope of work being made in the state.

May acknowledged flaws in the selection process, but argued that this year's show will be fair and representative -- and very likely more cohesive than past Biennials, because it will represent her singular vision instead of a vision derived from compromise inherent in a juried-panel process.

"A lot of really strong work did not make the show," she said.

"The most important thing I struggled with was how to speak respectfully to the people I could not invite to participate. I don't think there is a right way (to judge a biennial). There are a lot of wrong ways, but I'm not sure there is one right way."


Staff Writer Bob Keyes can be contacted at 791-6457 or:

Twitter: pphbkeyes


Were you interviewed for this story? If so, please fill out our accuracy form

Send question/comment to the editors

Further Discussion

Here at we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • Type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • Exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)