PORTLAND< ME.- The Portland Museum of Art
finished 2009 with the second-highest attendance in Museum history and the highest attendance in a decade. With 161,000 visitors, the Museum had an increase of 11,000 visitors over the previous year. The highest attendance record was set in 2000 with 188,000 visitors with the success of two exhibitions by legendary artists Ansel Adams and N. C. Wyeth.
The Museums 2009 success was due to the extremely popular exhibition Backstage Pass: Rock & Roll Photography (January 22March 22), which broke attendance records for the months of January and February. Records were also broken for this exhibition on Free Friday evenings with more than 3,000 people visiting the Museum between 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. each Friday night.
We are so thrilled with the way the people of Portland and the state of Maine have supported the Museum during the last year, said Museum Director Mark Bessire. The success of the Rock and Roll show and our full slate of shows from European artists to Maine artists offer our local audience and tourists alike a variety of exhibitions like none other in the state. As this is my first year as Museum Director, Im especially proud of the Museum and look forward to breaking more attendance records in the future.
Two thousand and ten promises to be another exciting year at the Museum. The exhibition schedule begins with black-and-white photographs in New Acquisitions 2009: In Black and White (January 9February 21). Objects of Wonder: Four Centuries of Still Life from the Norton Museum of Art (February 4June 6) features more than 50 paintings, sculptures, and photographs from the 17th through the 20th centuries. Work by Maine artist Frederick Lynch is featured in Division and Discovery: Recent Work by Frederick Lynch (February 27July 11); and graphic work by German master Max Beckmann is showcased in Modernism and Masquerade: Max Beckmann (18841950), on view March 13 through May 23. To commemorate the centennial of Winslow Homers death, Winslow Homer and the Poetics of Place (June 5September 6) showcases the Museums collection of Homer watercolors and oils on view in the Charles Shipman Payson building for the first time since 1988. The major summer show, American Moderns: Masterworks on Paper from the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, 19101960 (June 24September 12), features 100 works on paper from the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Connecticut and offer a once in a lifetime opportunity to see works by Edward Hopper depicting Maine scenes in the state. A large installation by Maine artist Anna Hepler opens on July 24 and John Haberle: Master of Illusion opens on September 18. The fall kicks off with Debating Modern Photography: The Triumph of Group f/64 (September 30December 5) highlighting the work of popular photographers such as Ansel Adams and Edward Weston; and we end the year with work by MacArthur Award-winning artist Rackstraw Downes (December 16March 20, 2011).