When we think of art theft, we generally have images of famous, international works like Edvard Munch’s “The Scream.” But it can happen right here in Portland, and it did, on the outskirts of the Pearl on Oct. 13. Around 7 p.m., thieves made off with “Mary Go ‘Round,” a large mixed-media diptych (two pieces put together) by local artist Rachael Allen. It is believed that this art heist was an inside job.
The work was installed in the window of the Standard Arts Building at 1715 N.W. Lovejoy. Standard Arts is a large warehouse where artists and designers have studios and the window, facing busy Lovejoy, has been graced with a variety of artworks. Around the middle of every month the window is changed out. In fact, the thieves made off with the work only hours before it was to be removed by the artist.
“Mary Go ‘Round” featured a young woman in the foreground, riding a merry-go-round-style horse. In the background is a silkscreened image of one of Portland’s bridges. The artist used her usual style of layering print with paint and collage to address the human gesture in an urban landscape. Scratched into the paint were the words: “Portland steels my heart.”
“Portland has the potential to set some real standards for the rest of the country,” said Allen. “I think we have a real chance to move in a righteous direction if it isn’t screwed up by hungry money lords. We are sort of in a type of brink… a decision needs to be made. I am excited by the future and as well a bit anxious.”
Rachael Allen is also very active in helping other artists with her own gallery and shop called Gallery FIX, located at 1914 E. Burnside St. With partners Dan Ness and Genevieve Dellinger, Allen began a space that shows young artists and sells the work of local designers. You can buy a cool shirt, locally produced, for only $12, or a piece of wall art for under $75. Over twenty different local designers are offered at gallery FIX. Presently the space is being renovated but will reopen for business on Oct. 28 with a show by Sarah Landwehr.
If you have any information regarding the theft of “Mary Go ‘Round,” please contact the artist at [email protected]