Image: Karl Burkheimer in the studio with Matt Johnston. Photo: Heather Zinger


Namita Gupta Wiggers, curator, Museum of Contemporary Craft

Complaints about a need for critical writing on craft surface with great frequency. Drawing on the musical concept of “call and response,” this exhibition opens a space for critical dialogue and exchange between craft-based artists and art historians. From nearly three years of discussion, studio visits and exchanges of ideas, the resulting exhibition presents artwork and essays by eight pairs of artists and art historians, all of whom currently teach in Oregon colleges and universities.

The objects on view reveal how each artist deals with the frisson between concept and materially-based practices rooted in particular craft-oriented techniques, media and istories. For the art historians, whose research interests range from Gothic architecture, modernism and film to landscape, psychoanalytic theory and commodity exchange between China and Europe, the project was an exciting opportunity to step outside normal research boundaries. As a process-oriented exhibition that integrates objects and writing, Call + Response centers dialogue and inquiry around the vital question of how craft is engaged in contemporary critical discourse.

Museum of Contemporary Craft