Music of Many Lands

In conjunction with Generations: Betty Feves, the Museum of Contemporary Craft presents a concert of classical music and new music composed in tribute to Betty Feves on Friday, July 27. This original performance remembers her not only as a visual artist but as a violinist, community activist, teacher, and mentor. Features violinist/composers Mark Menzies, Andrew McIntosh, and Melinda Rice. Organized by Julie Feves.

Music was as vital a foundation in Betty Feves’ upbringing as was art. She began music lessons at the age of six and studied classical violin all throughout high school. In some of her early sculptures, her work sometimes covered musical themes, in pieces such as Musician (1949), Two Musicians (1954), Harmonica Player (1955), and Chorus (1958).

Posted on 07/26 at 06:39 PM

Director’s Corner

July has already proven to be an exciting month here at MoCC. I am thrilled to greet you today as the newly appointed Director and Chief Curator. This institution has been a part of my life since I moved to Portland in 1997, and it is both an honor and a privilege to take on this role.

I want to introduce you to two members of the Board of Directors – Dr. Joe Bloom and Randy Higgins. They joined the board this month, and are already hard at work on projects with the Museum. If you see them in town, be sure to talk with them about MoCC.

We also bid farewell to Kathy Abraham and Linda Aleskus, who have each completed two terms on the Board. The Museum and College are deeply indebted to these committed board members for their time and guidance through the past six years.

On the staff side, Kat Perez, who has been my partner in the curatorial department for nearly 7 years, is leaving the Museum to take up residence in Denver, Colorado. Portland’s loss is definitely Denver’s gain. She will be missed.

Nicole Nathan returns to the Museum this month as the Curator of Collections and Registrar. Nicole worked for the Museum, directing the transfer of artwork from 3934 SW Corbett Ave to our present location, designing our collection storage, and handling all registrarial work until 2008. Having her back at the Museum helps us continue to work on building, researching, and sharing the collection in a number of ways. You can learn more about her on the Museum website.

Special thanks, too, to Sarah Newhall, who has served as our interim director for the past three months. She’s been a pleasure to work with, and though her work in this role is done, we have no intention of letting her get too far away from MoCC!

We also welcome Ryan King, our Windgate Intern who will be working with us for the next six weeks on several exhibitions and projects. Thanks to the Windgate Foundation, Ryan joins us from the Corcoran, where he is completing graduate studies in exhibition design.

Following on the outstanding press for Generations: Betty Feves, we anticipate great conversations to emerge from the upcoming Design with the Other 90%: CITIES exhibition, co-hosted with Mercy Corps. Do take advantage of these last few weeks to come enjoy the Betty Feves exhibition – and please mark August 16 for the Member’s Opening for Design and Reflections on Erik Gronborg: Selections by Jeffry Mitchell.

I’ve just returned from three weeks in Europe, where I spent time meeting numerous contemporary art jewelers, art historians, designers, and artists. I look forward to devising ways to bring those connections to Portland, and to sharing what Portland offers with my new colleagues.

Please come say hello if you attend the music events on July 13 and 27!

Namita Gupta Wiggers

Posted on 07/11 at 06:28 PM

Windgate Intern Announced

Earlier this year, Museum of Contemporary Craft was awarded $5,000 in direct support of a Windgate Museum Intern through the Center for Craft, Creativity, and Design. Each year, the Windgate Foundation selects four institutions for this support, and the Museum is deeply honored to be among this year’s awardees. After a competitive selection process, the Museum chose Ryan King, Master of Arts degree candidate in Exhibition Design at the Corcoran College of Art + Design, for the internship position. King joins the Museum’s curatorial staff this summer to assist with the research, planning, writing, exhibition design, and installation of upcoming exhibitions, and will be blogging about his experience on Untitled, PNCA’s online magazine.

Posted on 07/11 at 06:16 PM

Thank You

Thanks to you, the Museum of Contemporary Craft in partnership with Pacific Northwest College of Art has met the Miller Challenge. Museum members, board, and faculty, and staff from PNCA joined in to push us over the top. In the final 72 hours of the challenge period, we received over $3,000 in gifts and new memberships to help us raise more than $72,000, meeting our goal. Thanks to your generosity we will receive a matching grant of $35,000 from the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation to support exhibitions and programs at the Museum. Thank you!

Posted on 07/11 at 06:03 PM

Musical Performance

Chamber Music Northwest and the Museum of Contemporary Craft present an intimate evening to celebrate the special connection of music and art in the life of one of Oregon’s most influential artists, Betty Feves. Musician Julie Feves, her daughter, has performed every summer at Chamber Music Northwest since 1974. Joined by CMNW artistic director David Shifrin and two young Protégé musicians, Julie offers a tribute to the role that music played in her mother’s life.

Music was as vital a foundation in Betty Feves’ upbringing as was art. She began music lessons at the age of six and studied classical violin all throughout high school. In some of her early sculptures, her work sometimes covered musical themes, in pieces such as Musician (1949), Two Musicians (1954), Harmonica Player (1955), and Chorus (1958).

Reservations should be made through Chamber Music Northwest by calling 503-223-3202 (ask for Seth Truby) or emailing $50 per person, includes private concert, exhibition viewing, and refreshments

Ludwig van Beethoven
Duo in C Major for Clarinet and Bassoon

W. A. Mozart
Duo in G Major for Violin and Viola, K. 423

Katerina Kramarchuk
“Falling for Grace” for Violin, Viola, Clarinet and Bassoon

David Shifrin, clarinet
Julie Feves, bassoon
David Southorn, violin
Andy Lin, viola *Katerina Kramarchuk, composer, is one of the 2012 Protégé Project artists

Doors open at 6:30 for refreshments, the concert takes place at 7:00 in The Lab, and the exhibition will be open to explore until 8:30.

Posted on 07/09 at 04:01 PM

Museum Staff Grows

Nicole Nathan joins the Museum staff as Curator of Collections and Registrar. Nicole has been involved with MoCC since 2006, when she managed the move of the collection from Corbett to the Pearl District. Since then she has worked as contract registrar for a number of exhibits at MoCC including Generations: Betty Feves and 75 Gifts for 75 Years.

Previously, Nicole held the position of Director of Collections and Exhibits at Oregon Nikkei Endowment in the Old Town/Chinatown neighborhood. She was responsible for setting the overall vision and goals as well as administrative oversight responsibility for all exhibits and collections and increased the number, quality, and attendance at public and education programs 233% from 2009.

Nicole has specialized in collections management and development, as well as project management and exhibit production. Her experience with collections includes over 15 years of working with artistic, ethnographic and historical objects.

She serves as Chair of the Registrar’s Committee – Western Region, and serves on the Century of Action Board and the Multnomah County Cultural Coalition. Her position, Curator of Collections & Registrar aims to expand the Museum’s curatorial department, and increase the capacity of access to 75 years of collections.

Posted on 07/06 at 06:37 PM

Feves in Artforum

In a review of Generations: Betty Feves in Artforum, Stephanie Snyder, curator of Reed College’s Cooley Gallery, explores the inner workings of the Museum’s retrospective of the influential Northwest ceramicist. She writes that the exhibition “goes beyond a presentation of Feves’s body of work, illuminating and educating the viewer about experimentation in traditional ceramic techniques.”

Snyder highlights pieces that speak to Feves’ modernist approach, discussing Plate with Five Figures, Garden Wall, and the Bonfire Pot series. She ends her review on Feves’ later raku work and her lasting legacy. “Feves became a highly skilled raku potter with the help of American raku pioneer Hal Riegger, and she regularly hosted firings on her front lawn. In a memoir by Riegger, included in the show, he describes Feves’s tireless exploration of materials as a form of her fellowship with the natural environment––she experimented with decayed basalt, stream silt, pumice, and dried grasses. One of the many treasures on view is a group of raku bonfire pots that Feves created in 1981, four years before her death. Their nuances embody the imperfections of a lifetime.”

Read more about positive press for Betty Feves, such as Bob Hick’s review in Oregon Arts Watch and John Motley’s review in the Oregonian.

Posted on 07/03 at 11:01 AM

Gallery: Teresa Sullivan



Artist Teresa Sullivan is this month’s featured artist in The Gallery.

Teresa Sullivan creates intricate and monumental sculptural jewelry from humble materials using the ancient technique of beadweaving, revealing her love of the surreal and the irreverent.  The stories she tells in her beaded tapestries, jewelry, and sculpture are about the power of people discovering their abilities; from super heroines of comics and science fiction to the real mentors of her life. The tiny beads are transformed from something delicate to bold, dense, self supporting artworks.

Although she has an idea for a particular piece before she even strings her first bead, her mode of working allows for discovery throughout the weaving process. Insights develop with the creation of each piece, allowing her to work through the difficult stages and solve the aesthetic and technical problems of making artworks with beads.


Teresa turns this medium, long marginalized as safe/rote/escapist, on its head. Intricate, repetitive weaving techniques give these tiny components structural integrity. The intensely methodical pace of the work allows her to flesh out ideas as she works. With iconic imagery and symbolic use of color, she encourages discussion and even dissent.
The untitled “Ropes” are a post-apocalyptic take on Victorian-era bell pulls. An art world still striving to assert its relevancy in a postmodern/post-everything setting has ever more rigid rules. The heads in these “ropes” call attention to the real people behind the roles they’re assigned and the groups into which they’re lumped—-or pulled.


The untitled “Heads” and “Stacked Heads” satirize the deference given to hierarchy, ancestry and other forms of intimidation—-they’re hollow inside. This hollowness actually lends structural strength to the pieces. With a wooden or other solid core, the beads would be more likely to break in a fall.

Please visit Teresa Sullivan’s website to learn more.

Posted on 06/27 at 05:51 PM

Feves Music Events in July

The Museum honors Betty Feves’ life as a ceramicist and musician with two music themed events in July: Celebrating Betty Feves Through Music and Music of Many Lands.

Music was as vital a foundation in Betty Feves’ upbringing as was art. She began music lessons at the age of six and studied classical violin all throughout high school. In some of her early sculptures, her work sometimes covered musical themes, in pieces such as Musician (1949), Two Musicians (1954), Harmonica Player (1955), and Chorus (1958).

Posted on 06/25 at 12:52 PM

Wiggers Delivers Keynote at Zimmerhof

Director and Chief Curator Namita Gupta Wiggers delivers the keynote address at the Schmucksymposium Zimmerhof Thursday, June 7. In her talk, titled “Treasure House and /or Pleasure House: Democratizing Experience in Museums,” she will discuss how museums today, particularly in the United States, are expected to fabricate experiences. Generally speaking, however, art museums tend to employ display strategies drawn from the “white cube,” retail environments, or those used for anthropological artifacts.

For the exhibition Touching Warms the Art, artists responded to the Museum’s challenge to create deliberately non-precious and durable works, each of which was available for visitors to: handle freely, view themselves in mirrors, capture a photograph for an online Flickr site, and use as inspiration for making work of their own at an Art Bar. While centralizing the experience of wearing contemporary art jewelry occupied institutional focus at the time, re-examination now reveals additional complexities with regards to jewelry, museums, artists and audience.

For Zimmerhof, Wiggers extends a previously published paper, available on the Art Jewelry Forum Blog, to consider the project from the perspective of the other participants: artist, curator, collector, and institution. How does the project critique preciousness, operate at a level of spectacle, and delineate the limits of dialogue as objects move between private and public spheres?

Posted on 06/07 at 03:13 PM

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