From the Director

Museum director Jeffrey Thomas reflects upon three new exhibitions, the closing of Laurie Herrick: Weaving Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow and more.


Was it really four months ago that I wrote about April springtime in Portland? Well, the fact is, the summer weather is only just arriving with its bright and warming splendor and just in time for the start of the school year at PNCA. We look forward to the return of our PNCA Museum interns and the inquiry and energy that comes from regular tours and visits by classes.

Five months ago, we opened our celebrated Laurie Herrick retrospective exhibition, Weaving Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, which grew and evolved as the weeks went by. As an institution that lives and breathes, we wanted this exhibition to move away from the traditional curatorial practice of presenting a collection of artworks as a static, sometimes calcified grouping of “important art objects.” In this exhibition we sought to inspire in you a sense of query and participation. By incorporating the sounds of a weaving studio into the exhibition and inviting five artists-in-residence to interpret Herrick’s works in projects of their own, the galleries were active, lively and filled with creativity. Because each artist used the craft of weaving as a springboard to investigate different aspects of their own interests, we saw the exhibition expand into all sorts of unusual directions, including installation, dance performance, sound, color theory and industrial design.

We are also pleased that this elegant, incisive and thoughtfully assembled show will travel on to other institutions thanks to support from the Ford Family Foundation and Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF). Weaving Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow travels first to Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington and then on to College of the Redwoods in California,

The Museum is full of energy as three great new exhibitions recently opened. 75 Gifts for 75 Years presents recent acquisitions into the Museum’s collection, thanks to the generosity of collectors, gallerists and curators across the country. These donations and promised gifts fill significant gaps in the Museum’s collection history. Additional support for MoCC during this anniversary year has come through a special challenge grant from the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation.

Northwest Modern: Revisiting the Annual Ceramic Exhibitions of 1950–64 jumps back into mid-century ceramics and examines how the Northwest transformed the way we view clay today. Nikki McClure: Cutting Her Own Path, 1996–2011 is the first Museum exhibition to look at the rich, intricate papercuts of Nikki McClure, a Northwest artist who has focused on universal feelings, actions and traditions. The presenting sponsor for both of these exhibitions is Bank of America.

Also, if you are out and about on First Thursday, remember that we are open late and are free to the public so bring your friends on by. And of course if you want to see or to purchase work from the finest artisans working in the Northwest, you need only stop into the Gallery anytime. We invite you to our First Wednesday evening artist reception in the Gallery, a wonderful way to mingle with new and old friends alike.

Finally, with support from Architectural Foundation of Oregon we have commissioned local design firm studio gorm to help us celebrate our 75th continual year of operations with a distinctly unique and visual timeline that you need to see to believe. But isn’t that what visual art is all about?

My, how time flies when you are making history now.

Posted on 08/12 at 01:54 PM